It is essential to hire a child custody lawyer in Monroe, GA who is completely devoted to fighting for you and has your child’s best interest at heart. Failure to secure a competent child custody attorney could mean wasting time and money for a court order or agreement that is not in your favor.
Questions to ask before Hiring a Child Custody Attorney Monroe, GA
Part of getting the right child custody attorney for your specific case and circumstance involves asking the relevant questions. This is also largely dependent on child custody laws in your region of residency. These laws differ from state to state. Here, we focus on the state of Georgia.
Will I get Custody of my Child?
This is the first question you may ask your prospective child custody attorney. In Monroe, Georgia, there are two main types of child custody: physical custody and legal custody.
Parents are typically awarded joint legal custody in most cases. This means parents share the responsibility of making decisions concerning their children. This also means they have equal rights to the child’s education and medical records.
However, if the parents cannot reach a mutual agreement, one parent will be legally awarded the final decision-making power. This will be the parent with primary physical custody of the child in most cases.
In most cases, physical custody is also a shared responsibility. But there is normally one parent who has primary physical custody while the other gets secondary physical custody of the child.
The legal system in Georgia determines the sole physical custody of the child based on many factors. However, the courts consider who has been the child’s main caregiver during the marriage.
If you have a child custody case in Monroe, GA, it is wise to have an expert lawyer that understands these laws and will help fight for your rights.
What is your Approach to Child Custody Cases?
This is an important question to help you understand your prospective lawyer’s commitment. They should show some zeal and aggressiveness when dealing with your case. They have to go above and beyond to protect your rights in their approach.
A child custody lawyer who is not enthusiastic or proactive might be of little benefit to your case. An effective lawyer should secure a settlement, all while ensuring they have a strategy, experience, and expertise to win, should the matter go to trial.
Have you Handled Cases Similar to Mine?
Hiring a family law attorney who has successfully handled cases similar to yours increases your chances of getting a favorable outcome. This is because not all family law cases are similar and working with someone with experience in your particular type of case is imperative.
Whether you need to renegotiate child custody or child support, you need legal representation that is right for you. For this reason, you should ask this question before hiring a child custody lawyer.
How Long have you been a Child Custody Attorney?
Besides the child custody lawyer having relevant expertise in your case, do they have experience? Relevancy and experience are different aspects. You will feel more confident and comfortable if your child custody case is in the hands of a seasoned child custody attorney.
An experienced family attorney lawyer can maneuver unforeseen circumstances with ease and calmness. They are also familiar with the demeanor of the magistrates and court staff in Monroe, GA. After all, they work with them every day, meaning they are less likely to get on their bad side.
Can my Child Decide to Live with Me?
According to the laws in Georgia dealing with custody issues, your child can decide which parent to live with when they are 14 years old. However, this decision is not absolute. Even after the child makes the decision, the parent who has not favored it can legally argue the decision is not in the child’s best interest.
The parent must present evidence to this argument. However, it is usually hard to overturn this decision unless extreme circumstances exist.
What is Considered an Unfit Parent in Georgia?
The court understands that no parent is perfect in every Monroe, GA, family law case. Normal shortcomings in human beings do not automatically disqualify them from being good parents. However, in some circumstances, the court will appoint a child custody professional evaluator to examine the details of your case. Some of the factors the evaluator will consider include:
• Responsiveness to the child’s basic needs – These include shelter, food, and clothing. It also has parental guidance, emotional availability, and space to study and socialize.
• Involvement in non-age-appropriate activities – Is the child drinking, staying out too late, or exposed to adult content in the media?
• Relationship with the other parent – The courts will not favor parents who constantly antagonize the other parent.
• Cases of child abuse or domestic violence have to be thoroughly investigated and necessary action taken
• Psychiatric illness is an issue, but if the parent is receiving help and is not a danger to the child, they can still get custody
However, deciding whether a parent is unfit does not entirely rely on the evaluator’s observations. Other considerations include police reports, medical records, Child Services records, statements from other adults in the child’s life, and others.
How much does a Child Custody Lawyer Cost in Georgia?
Most people are not aware of how expensive child custody cases can get. Professional attorneys are likely to ask what your budget is to evaluate the right strategy and payment plan.
For instance, some people cannot afford a professional forensic psychiatrist, while some can. Also, many other factors affect the cost of hiring a child custody lawyer. Some of them include:
• If you have a contested or uncontested case
• The fee structure (flat fees or hourly rates)
• If you go to trial
• Length of the trial
• Location of court
• Number of witnesses (and if they are expert witnesses)
It isn’t easy to put a definitive cost to hiring a child custody lawyer due to the aforementioned factors and much more.
Get the Top Lawyers for Family Legal Matters in Georgia
Our family law attorneys at Hanks, Ballard, and Barth, LLC serving clients in Monroe County and other areas, understand how challenging the experience can be. But, our law firm also understands how to provide the best legal representation you need.
For more information, visit Hanks, Ballard, and Barth, LLC at our office in Monroe, GA. You can also call (770) 267-8988 for a free consultation or book an appointment.