Tips & Advice
What is a child custody schedule?
A child custody schedule pertains to visitation rights, and might go into great detail as a court-ordered breakdown of when a child lives with and spends time with each parent. It is not uncommon for child custody schedules to be broken down by the hour, established months in advance.
Primary custody is the classification for the parent with whom the child spends the majority of their time in unequal joint physical custody distributions.
The legal definition may vary somewhat by state, but joint custody generally refers to a dynamic in which both parents retain physical custody rights after a divorce. This typically means the child spends time at two homes and, technically, has two different addresses.
Can a child custody ruling be reversed?
Yes, but in most states and jurisdictions, the “bar” for so-called abuse of discretion is high. In order to overturn a custody decision, the guardian in question must be proven to have violated specific terms of the agreement in a manner so egregious that the child was endangered or otherwise put at serious risk.
What are the primary factors taken into consideration during custody cases?
The foremost consideration is almost always a suitable living space for the child. Social services might inspect a home to ensure it meets certain standards for public health, in addition to providing a positive and loving environment. Beyond that, the court will look at the custodian in question’s less tangible connections with the child, particularly in third-party cases, to ensure they are providing the best possible care. Work history, income, personal health and any official legal records will all be taken into account. The opinions of the children, or child, also might be taken into account.
Can someone other than a parent get custody of a child?
Yes, in circumstances where neither parent is alive, available, or otherwise fit to care for the child, a relative or other legal guardian can win full custody, provided they display to the court “legal standing.” For a third party, that entails not only a suitable living space, but also sufficient connection to and involvement in the child’s life.
What is the difference between the legal and physical custody of a child?
Physical custody means the child lives, either full or part-time, with that parent. In essence, a parent with legal but not physical custody rights will have visitation privileges as well as a right to be involved in decisions directly affecting the child, such as where they go to school.
How much does it cost to file for child support?
Child support payments are generally dictated by the net income of the non-custodial parent, but in conjunction with the earnings of the custodial parent. The payment model will then determine the non-custodial parent’s obligation based on their percentage of the total earnings. For example, if a non-custodial parent earns about $2,000 per month out of $4,500, the court might use an economic table based on average child-raising costs to determine the former’s payments to be around $1,000 per month.
How much does it cost to hire a child custody attorney?
Different attorneys and their firms will structure billing differently, but if they’re charging a flat fee, it usually starts at around $3,000 and can cost as much as $6,000. Hourly fees range anywhere from $100- $400. Some firms might ask for a retainer, and still others might work out alternative payment plans for families with fixed incomes. It’s worth noting a lower fee does not necessarily indicate lower quality service, but rather a representation of what the attorney expects the case to cost them in time and resources.
What type of attorney handles child custody cases?
Most child custody lawyers specialize in that area of expertise, but some might position themselves more broadly as family litigators. What’s most important is for the client to seek answers to the questions pertaining directly to their case, and feel comfortably with the attorney’s qualifications, experience and ability to address their specific needs.