Tips & Advice
What are the different types of child custody?
Legal custody allows a parent to make major life decisions for a child. Sole legal custody allows one parent to make all legal decisions for a child; with joint legal custody, this responsibility is shared by both parents. Physical custody determines with which parent a child will live. With sole physical custody, a child lives with one parent, and the other parent could be granted visitation. With joint physical custody, the child usually splits time equally between parents, living with one parent for one part of the week, month or year, and spending the rest of the time with the other parent.
What does a child custody attorney do?
A child custody attorney represents a parent's interests and provides legal counsel to their clients before a case goes to trial. Once the case has been taken to court, child custody attorneys are responsible for gathering and presenting evidence designed to convince the court that their clients should gain or retain custody of their child or children.
How much does a child custody attorney cost?
Throughout the course of a custody dispute, it can cost anywhere from $3,000-$40,000 or more to retain the services of a child custody attorney. The nature of the custody dispute will also influence the total cost. If one party is uncooperative or is seeking sole custody, this can result in increased legal fees.
What is a child custody lawyer?
A child custody lawyer specializes in handling child custody cases. If parents with one or more children divorce, arrangements will have to be made regarding child custody. In these instances, a parent can hire a child custody lawyer to serve as an advocate in legal proceedings.
What type of attorney can help with child custody?
An attorney who specializes in family or custody law can help with child custody. These attorneys have the training to help clients win legal guardianship of children and/or negotiate any custody terms. When choosing a child custody lawyer, it's a good idea to seek references from friends, family members, the state bar association, and court clerks at your local court office.
The primary types of adoption are:
- adopting through an agency (using a public or private agency
- adopting independently (a direct arrangement between birth parents and adoptive parents, usually via a conduit),
- (a combination of independent and agency where a candidate is identified independently, but the process is navigated by an agency)
- adopting as stepparents (stepparent formally adopts the child of the new spouse)
- relative adoptions (a relative adopts a familial child, perhaps in the event of death of the birth parent)
- same-sex adoptions (same-sex couple as adopting parents)adult adoptions (adult adopts someone over the age of 18)
What are the benefits of hiring an adoption attorney?
There are several benefits of hiring an adoption attorney. An attorney can obviously navigate all the legal wrangling involved in adoption. They can also help with potential future issues, such as the birth parents wanting the child back, which can be a traumatizing situation. Adoptions attorneys can also provide more freedom between birth parents and adoptive parents in approving or rejecting each other, potentially providing a more satisfying match. An agency match is usually not negotiable.
How much do adoption attorneys charge?
Costs to hire an adoption attorney can vary, so it’s wise to consult with one directly to understand all the potential expenses. Court documentation fees can range from $500-$2000, and attorney fees can range from $1,500-$12,000 or more depending on other variables and attorney rates. A reputable adoption attorney should be willing and able to explain all their costs up front.
What is an independent adoption?
Independent adoption is when prospective parents are advised by an attorney specializing in adoptions, rather than going through an adoption service or agency. While this is quite common and legal, there are several states that do not allow this method: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, North Dakota and Massachusetts. Independent adoptions can potentially be much lower cost than agency adoptions.
Is it necessary to hire an attorney in order to adopt?
While it is not necessary to hire an attorney in order to adopt, it is strongly advised. There are many potential legal landmines involved that professional attorneys can help navigate, from all the complex laws and paperwork, to potential future issues, such as a birth parent wanting the child back, or persistent health issues. Attorneys can also provide more freedom between birth parents and adoptive parents in selecting or rejecting each other, versus an agency. Because you will need to be covered legally at some point in the process, it’s advised to have legal counsel available from the start.