Divorce is an emotionally traumatic time even when you and your partner are striving to reach an amicable dissolution to your marriage. When children are involved, emotions can be heightened. Unlike assets you are able to divide, children are not equally divisible, and will undoubtedly be affected by their changing circumstances.
The best child custody attorney should be someone with experience, who above all else will approach a custody case with the compassion and discretion that the situation requires. You need someone in your corner who is able to advocate for you and your children with clarity of vision and purpose if the custody of your children comes into contention.
It is important to be clear and honest with your attorney about your end goals, and to be able to trust their advice so you can develop clear expectations. Your attorney’s familiarity with the child custody laws in their jurisdiction is paramount. In Virginia and Maryland, Legal Custody is the ability to make major decisions for the child (i.e. for health, education, or welfare), and Physical Custody is the ability to determine where the child will reside. In determining custody, the paramount concern for the court is the best interest of the child. There are many factors a court considers in determining the best interest of the child, including which parent is best able to accurately assess and meet the child’s needs, the role the parent has played and will play in the future in the child’s life, and whether a parent has unreasonably denied access to the child. As a practical matter, a judge has a lot of discretion to decide custody. Some parents end up with shared custody arrangements, and other parents obtain primary or sole custody. Every case is unique.
In many cases, it is better to settle your custody case out of court through negotiation, mediation or collaborative divorce, so that you can maintain control over your child’s life. Either way, it is critical to understand that your attorney is fighting for your right to your future with your child, and to this end, you want to trust someone whose undivided attention is focused on what is in the best interest of your children.
At BSGR, our team of attorneys have extensive experience in child custody cases, especially in front of local judges. This is critical experience when you are entrusting someone with the well-being of your children.