Are you a proactive or reactive person? When it comes to child custody, it’s always better to be proactive. You would rather be one step ahead of the other parent than two steps behind. But how do you know if you should find a lawyer to help you with child custody, or if you can get through it on your own?
If you notice any of the below signs, it may be time to start your research for the best child custody lawyer for you.
Reasons to Hire a Child Custody Lawyer
#1: The Other Parent Already Has a Lawyer
If your ex has already found a lawyer to help them pursue child custody, they’re one step ahead of you. They’ve found someone with knowledge of how child custody battles work, and this person can use that expertise to their advantage. Your best bet is to find an attorney to join forces with you to put you on the same playing field as the other parent.
#2: The Other Parent Isn’t Paying Child Support
Because of the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, district attorneys have the ability to get you court-ordered child support from the parent who doesn’t pay. Working with a family law attorney, you can request that the court serve your ex with papers dictating that they meet to set up a payment arrangement. You can even ask the court to hold your ex in contempt, which means if they do not set up a payment arrangement, they can go to jail.
The lawyer you choose can help ensure that your ex pays the child support you deserve. Plus, they can assist you with pursuing whatever level of custody you’re working towards.
#3: You’re Overwhelmed
One of the biggest benefits of having a child custody lawyer by your side is their ability to take the complexity of the case off your shoulders. You’ll no longer have to deal with the paperwork, deadlines, court dates, and other legalities on your own. You’ll have a teammate who knows the system and can ensure you’re checking all of the boxes in the right way at the right time. This is a huge weight lifted.
#4: You Can’t See Your Child(ren)
Is the other parent keeping the kids away from you? In Ohio, among two married parents, one parent cannot stop the other from seeing the child unless a court order states otherwise. If a married woman wants to keep the father away from the child for certain reasons (or vice versa), she must get a civil or criminal protection order through the courts.
If you are in this situation, having a family law attorney by your side can help stop the other parent from keeping the kids away, unless dictated by the courts.
#5: You’re Worried About Your Child’s Safety
At the end of the day, the goal is to ensure your child has a loving home with a guardian who will protect, provide, and care for them. If this is currently not the case, you have a valid (and urgent) reason to seek help from a child custody lawyer to ensure your child is in the safest place. If your child is in a potentially unsafe environment, there’s no time to spare. A family law attorney understands this urgency and will work to get the child out of the unsafe environment as quickly as possible.
#6: You’re Not Sure How to Prepare
There’s quite a bit of preparation that goes into pursuing child custody. For example, you’ll need to have the following documents on hand:
- The child’s birth certificate
- Existing custody orders, parenting plans, or child support paperwork
- Information about the child’s safety and welfare
- Information about the other parent’s ability and willingness to parent (which you may have logged in your custody journal)
- Any relevant communications between you and the other parent (which you may have logged in your custody journal)
- Any other court papers, such as a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Temporary Order of Protection
Working with a family law attorney ensures you prepare properly, covering all of your bases. He or she will help you gather as much information as possible to help win your case.
#7: The Other Parent is Playing Dirty
To decide on custody arrangements in Ohio, the court considers each parent’s ability to care for the child. Some of the factors they use to determine parenting orders include the parent’s:
- Ability to care for the children
- Ability to follow court mandates
- Mental and physical health
- Overall character
- Family relations
- Cooperation with the other party in the divorce
- History of substance abuse or criminal record
If the other parent is gathering evidence against you, it’s a wise decision to have a child custody lawyer by your side. They can help you gather and provide the court with evidence that you are, in fact, the best parent to care for the child.
If you are taking a proactive approach to pursuing child custody, you are already on the right track. And while you might be hesitant to hire a child custody lawyer, there’s no harm in meeting with one to discuss your unique situation. This consultation will help you decide if having a lawyer by your side will ultimately benefit you.
Columbus Ohio Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer
The Law Offices of Kenneth R. Kline LLC is honored to work with both traditional and non-traditional families to assist them through extraordinarily difficult times. Please contact us with any questions.