When two parents are married or living in a coupled relationship, the child’s custody is divided equally between the two parents. The two parents share physical and legal custody of their children unless there is a compelling cause to remove the kid from their homes, such as neglect or abuse. He and she are jointly accountable for providing care for the kid, and they are both involved in making decisions for the child.
The situation becomes more challenging when the parents no longer live together since the child will have to live with either of them. The parents may not be working together to make all decisions about the child’s upbringing.
The moment you begin the process of requesting child custody, you’re all-in. To get your child back, you’ll have to do everything you can to present your side of the story in court accurately. Child support and legal custody aren’t as vital to most single parents as physical custody is. But how do you get started, and where can you find out more? The family lawyers at ohio-family-law.com have the answer to your questions. Gaining custody of your child is much more likely if you follow these steps:
1. Seek The Advice Of An Attorney
Technically, you are not required to retain the services of an attorney to obtain custody of your child. It is, however, strongly recommended.
Suppose you do not already have an attorney. In that case, you should consider, at the very least, schedule a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney to learn more about your specific situation.
2. Know Your State’s Child Custody Laws
You must know your state’s child custody rules to obtain custody of your child. In other words, it doesn’t matter whether you’re working with a lawyer or not. Consider this: the more firsthand knowledge you can gain, the better. Make it a top priority and dedicate the necessary time to your investigation.
As you read the small print, make a note of the questions that come to mind. Before your next child custody court, make sure to ask those questions of your lawyer if you have one.
3. Custody Resources In Your State
In recent years, several states have made their child custody information, including the papers necessary to file for custody, available online. If you print these documents at home, it will save you the time it would take you to go to the courts in person.
4. Fulfill The Requirements For Each Form
Make sure you fill out all fields on each form completely. To avoid delays, don’t leave any boxes blank or provide any incomplete information. Make a note of whether your state necessitates the notarization of your application. Once you’ve completed everything but the signature, you’ll need to go to your neighborhood Notary Public. This is a free service provided by a large number of banks.
5. Fill In The Forms At Your Local Courthouse
Child custody paperwork must generally be filed in person in most states. However, a lawyer will take care of this for you. Remember that the clerk cannot provide you with legal advice if you’re doing it independently. They are only able to give guidance on how to file the documents. Being pleasant and courteous is always a good idea. As you get ready for your hearing, the clerk may be an invaluable resource.
6. Plan Ahead Of Time For Your Court Appearance
Prepare for court, whether you’re working with a lawyer or going it alone. If this is the first in a series of child custody hearings, expect the hearing to run 15 to 20 minutes.
Because you’ll only have a few minutes to convey your thoughts, be strategic about what you say. A list of concerns you wish to solve is helpful, narrowing your list down to the most critical ones. Also, practice your talking points with a friend to help you narrow them down even further.
7. Go To The Hearing On Child Custody
Although this is apparent when seeking custody of your kid, you’d be shocked at how many parents fail to appear in court or arrive late for their scheduled court appearance. Make sure you get there early enough. Put some consideration into your look as well, and make sure you are dressed professionally for your next court date.
8. Make A Case For Your Position
Your time in court will be limited, so make the most of it. Furthermore, because there is no jury, you will not be required to speak in front of a group of people. Make every effort to maintain your composure and talk slowly and clearly.
Nothing your ex says should cause you to lose your cool. State the facts of your case as you now understand them. In addition, keep in mind that you should listen twice as much as you talk. Never interrupt the judge while they are speaking, and make sure you answer each question thoroughly.
9. Wait Patiently
This is the most challenging aspect. Many parents go to court thinking that the judge will make a decision right away. Still, it takes numerous court appearances before the judge makes a definitive judgment on child custody arrangements in most circumstances. Be patient and trust that you’ve done everything you possibly could to obtain custody of your child up to this time.
10. Respect The Decision Of The Judge
When the judge finally makes a judgment, you must follow their instructions. If you are denied custody of your kid this time around, remember that you can file an appeal with the court to have the decision reconsidered at a later time.
In the meanwhile, follow the court’s recommendations, whether it’s enrolling in a parenting course, finding work, or relocating to a larger apartment. Do all in your ability to comply with any requirements imposed by the court, and have faith that your efforts will be rewarded if and when your case is reviewed again in the future.