Best Attorneys, Advocates, and lawyers to assist you in your Court Custody matter. When is the best time to get them involved in your case?
When dealing with a family law matter, it is essential that you obtain the best legal advice possible. And in this regard, the best attorney, lawyer, or advocate for you. Not necessarily the most expensive or experienced. This is so as we are dealing with your children, that require the best care and protection.
Child custody, child guardianship, visitation and care are all interrelated. However, they all have one underlying principle: the child’s best interests. If parents cannot agree on what is in the child’s best interest, Attorneys, Advocates, lawyers, and the Court may get involved. Your legal representative needs to be on the same page as you.
What do child custody, child guardianship, visitation and care relate to?
The terms child custody, child guardianship, visitation and care relate to a child’s life in relation to a parent, caregiver or interested party. However, if you are a caregiver, your conduct would directly affect various aspects of the minor child’s life. These include daily care, education, medical treatment, and overseas visits. This article attempts to address how the law expects parents to exercise their parental responsibilities and rights concerning their minor children and what they should do if there are issues. If you have a legal problem relating to child custody, child guardianship, visitation, and care, it may be best to consult with a lawyer, attorney, or advocate.
The law focuses on what is best for the child.
Often parents would fight over what parental responsibilities and rights they wish to exercise concerning a child. That would be the conduct of separated parents, divorced parents or parents who share no history but for having a child together. What often happens is that parents focus on what is best for them and not what is best for the child involved. That is unfortunate as they navigate parental responsibilities and rights with the wrong tools. As stated, they need to focus on what is in the child’s best interests. That is so, as the court that makes the final decision follows the best interests of the child principle.
Examples of when a child’s view may be disregarded
It may, however, happen that what is best for the parent may also be best for the child. However, that would not always be the case. It would, however, be the case by chance. For example, a parent may want to have primary care of the minor child because it means they would not have to travel far to see the child. It would be convenient for the parent. But luckily for the parent, the child’s school is close to that parent’s home. Therefore, it would be in the minor child’s best interests to be cared for by that parent. In this scenario, should a court have to adjudicate over this matter, its reasons for allowing the latter parent to care for the minor child primarily is based on what is best for the child (the location of the school) and not what is best for the parent (less travel).
However, the outcome would be different if the school was central to both parents’ homes in the same example. The other parent may argue that they may have more time to care for the minor child and assist in homework, extramural activities, etc. In that case, that parent would have a better chance of obtaining primary care.
What about what the child has to say?
In our law, we are expected to consider what the child has to say about a situation or decision involving them. Here we are referring to a child custody matter. This principle does not apply to all children, and it would depend on the age and maturity of the child involved. For example, a child who is 14 years old would be mature enough to provide input. However, we cannot place too much weight on the wants of a three-year-old child who is not even school-going. However, the three-year-old child’s familiarity with the parent and fondness would play a role.
Having said the above, it is essential to note that the law does not blindly follow what the child wants, which would be absurd. What is expected is for one to listen to the child, see their reasons, and consider that in relation to the facts of the matter. This includes what the parents have to say.
For example, if the child says they want to live with the father because each second weekend, they go to KFC, and the beach and have fun, and at Mom, it is always homework, a healthy diet, and chores, the child’s reasoning is not sound. One would also need to consider whether a parent can care for a child. It would be senseless to place a child in the care of a parent who is rich, works seven days a week and has a handful of nannies to care for the child, despite the other parent working from home and having a lot of time for the child.
When do I fight for parental responsibilities and rights over my minor child?
If in an unfortunate situation where the parents cannot agree on caring for the child, then it is advised they receive professional help. That may not be seeking legal advice from the word go, and it may be meeting with a social worker or a mediator first. If things are getting out of hand, it may be best to consider seeing an attorney, advocate, or lawyer to assist you in your matter.
What Court would be approached in a Child Custody dispute?
There are three possibilities for the Court you may approach in a Child Custody dispute. They are the divorce court in a divorce matter, the Children’s Court, and the High Court.
The divorce court will be the appropriate forum if there is a pending divorce. But not always. If you wish to represent yourself, then the Children’s Court is your best option. If you can afford legal representation, your attorney, lawyer, or advocate will advise you whether to approach the High Court.
Best advice on the way forward when it comes to attorneys, advocates, and lawyers
The best advice we have when it comes to attorneys, advocates, and lawyers in child custody matters is that you make use of the one you can work with. It is not ideal to use the most experienced attorney or advocate when he or she is swamped and has no time for your case.