Child Custody and Child Support Lawyers
For many divorcing couples, issues involving their children are the most difficult. In most cases the best thing for everyone involved is for parents to come to an agreement on child custody, parenting time and support on their own and have it approved by a judge, rather than having the court decide for you. For some couples that is not possible, and in certain situations, such as abusive relationships, it may not be in the best interest of the child. Even if you and your spouse can come to an agreement on your own, an experienced child custody lawyer can guide you in drafting an agreement that meets all of the requirements in your state.
Understanding Child Custody
The biggest mistake you can make when it comes to child custody is thinking you know how the court decides who will get custody. Acting on the assumption that a judge will rule for or against you can cause you to lose your child.
The court’s job is to act in the best interest of the child. Custody is not a punishment or reward for behavior in the marriage and the court frowns upon parents who treat it as such. The court’s criteria for determining what is in the best interest of the child may be radically different to your own and what you believe is obvious. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, this is one area of divorce where you should never try to go it alone without an attorney.
Generally, the court prefers that the child maintains a good and active relationship with both parents and favor parents who want that for their child. The court favors parents who are willing to set aside their differences, work together, and put their children first.
Parents can also come to an agreement on child support on their own, but it must be approved by the court. You may or may not be allowed to deviate from the child support guidelines used in your state, and either way you will need to understand those guidelines and how they would apply in your case.
Child support is calculated in a few different ways depending on your state. The Percentage of Income Model only considers the non-custodial parent’s income. The Income Shares Model considers the income of both parents. The Melson Formula is a more complex version of the Income Shares Model and takes into consideration the basic needs of both parents.
To connect with an experienced child custody and child support attorney in your area, please search our network of experienced divorce law firms today.