At O'Flaherty law we have a team of child custody attorneys and paralegals who specialize in all matters of family law. We offer consistent advice in an ever-changing world. For any separated or separating parent, the most important issue will be their child/children. We can advise on all family law matters involving children, such as the time a child spends with each of their parents and other practical matters. All cases where children are involved require a high level of sensitivity, discretion and specialist knowledge. We will always seek to gain a clear understanding of the issues before helping you to seek a child-focused, practical and workable solution.
Custody hasn't really been in use as a legal term of art since 2016. Courts now use instead of custody and visitation the terms allocation of parenting time and responsibilities, there is a legal distinction between the two. but for the purposes of simplicity they mean the same thing.
It's often easier to talk in about custody than spelling out allocation of parenting time and responsibilities, but you should know that they mean the same thing.
A temporary custody order is known now as a temporary allocation order. This is basically an order that determines how parenting time and responsibility is going to be handled from the time that a custody case is filed until the time that a full trial after evidence-gathering has been conducted can be heard.
With any family law issues you may be experiencing, including divorce, child custody, child support, visitation rights and adoption, you need to have an experienced team of legal advisors on hand to establish the correct steps to follow that will result in a solution that suits you and your children.
There are two types of child "custody" that the court deals with when ordering for the care of a child.
These include "legal" custody which includes the decision-making capabilities of a caretaker, and "physical" custody which deals with the day-to-day care of a child.
Visitation refers to the time a parent who is not the "primary" caretaker spends with a child.
These apply to all U.S. jurisdictions.
child custody and visitation is typically the most important issue that a family law litigant and their attorney face during their divorce, annulment or paternity matter.
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This can be very subjective in legal terms, there are many factors that a judge must take into consideration, the most important factors are the health, welfare and safety of the child/children. The term used is "the best interests of the child or children" Other factors that would effect this are drug abuse, domestic violence, child abuse, and a history of criminality.
if one parent has a history of violence and or drug and alcohol abuse, then the judge may see this as reason not to award custody or contact.
On the other hand suspicion and hear say would not be considered by the judge, but factual information from law enforcement and health and welfare professionals would be taken into consideration.
The above are reasons to be honest and frank with your legal representation, if your attorney knows of any previous misdemeanors then steps can be taken to prepare before appearing in the court.
The Probate & Family Court has exclusive original jurisdiction in ordering for the care and custody of a child stemming from divorce, annulment, and separate support cases.
The probate court is empowered to make orders that are necessary to protect children while a divorce is pending, and it may also make temporary orders.
The best interest of the children will be the courts primary aim.
The times when custody was automatically awarded to Mom, for the most part have now gone, the courts directive now is to enable children to spend time with Mom and Dad, therefore it is now more important than ever that you seek professional legal advice when looking to establish child custody or visitation rights (also referred to as contact).
The courts are required to look at a number of important factors when determining custody. Currently, judges have an awful lot of power to make orders that they believe are in the best interests of a child, which is always the primary focus of the presiding judge. Other important factors including whether there is a history of domestic abuse or child abuse, whether one parent is dependent on alcohol or drugs, the stability of each parent, the manner in which each parent facilitates the other parent's relationship with the child, and so forth.
What is a removal case?
A "removal" case is often also referred to as a "move away" case, wherein one parent seeks to remove a child from one state to another state or country.
These are very difficult cases, and the court is required to find some advantage for the child in the move. There are a number of important cases that dictate what the judge must look for and consider when deciding whether or not to allow the removal.
These cases should be considered in advance of filing. We have extensive experience with removal cases and if you are considering moving or defending a move, contact our office or another experienced family law attorney right away.
Our family law team has expert lawyers in each sector of family law. Backed up by legal teams and paralegals we are the complete family law firm.
Child support is a complex matter, Mom's and Dad's have a responsibility to support their children after divorce of a partnership separation.
Divorce is often contentious although we do come across uncontested divorce cases. Either way you need to have a good divorce lawyer by your side.
Child custody matters can often be difficult for all concerned, to get the best result for your child or children you need expert legal assistance to get the best results.
The purpose of a free consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. Although most consultations are complimentary, some may carry a charge depending on the type of matter and meeting location.
Prior to starting the divorce process, you will need to gather your financial records so that you can have an accurate picture of where you and your spouse are financially. Get bank account information, tax records, deeds, retirement account information, any documents related to investments or trusts that the spouses have together. Then you will need to gather any records you have regarding marital debts. Get copies of loan paperwork, mortgages, student loans taken out during the marriage, statements for jointly held credit cards.
Once you have everything you need for your attorney to accurately assess what the community owns and owes, you can move forward with the summons and petition for divorce. If there are minor children from the marriage, you may need to complete a confidential vital statistics document identifying them. This document is sealed by the court to protect the privacy of the minors. If you will be requesting temporary spousal support, child support or an order allowing you to reside in the marital home during the divorce, you will want to make that request immediately, in order the ensure as little disruption as possible in your life.
Generally speaking, yes, divorce records are a matter of public record in the majority of states. Some states will automatically seal parts of the record, for example, any information identifying the minor children of the marriage, cases that deal with child or spousal abuse or documents containing vital information like social security numbers or financial information.
An uncontested divorce is when the spouses agree that the marriage is no longer working and amicably agree to divorce. Another example of an uncontested divorce would be if the other spouse simply chose not fight the divorce. The spouses then work together to divide assets and debts from the marriage and the custody and visitation for any minor children of the marriage. Sometimes, the spouses file a joint petition for divorce, depending on what their state of residence requires. As long as things remain amicable between the parties, the divorce remains uncontested. As soon as one of the parties disagree on a
A legal separation is where the spouses ask the court to declare them separated, and sometime make orders regarding support, child custody and how lives in the marital home. A legal separation is not a divorce, you are still legally married, and any assets or debts acquired during the separation could be viewed as community.
Sometimes people who want a divorce but cannot or will not divorce for financial or religious reasons choose this avenue to lead separate lives but again, you are still legally married.
It might seem that these are the same thing but there are some significant differences, which is the reason for the two different titles.
In a cooperative divorce the parties work together to try and come to an amicable agreement, with the assistance of their attorneys. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, they proceed to litigation, where it goes before a judge and respective sides are argued for. Some people like this approach because they can at least try to resolve things amicably, but they have recourse if that cannot be accomplished.
In a collaborative divorce, the parties sign an agreement stating that they agree not to litigate. Additionally, the attorneys representing the parties in the collaborative divorce also agree to no litigation. What that means is if things do not work out, you must get a new attorney to represent you and start the process over. Some people find that this approach helps provide an incentive to peacefully negotiate the divorce.
You should use personal service to deliver the summons and complaint, or the summons and petition depending on what your state law requires. It would be best to utilize a disinterested third-party in personal service, both to minimize the possibility of an uncomfortable confrontation and to have them complete an affidavit of service once they have delivered the papers. Some states do allow service by mail.