What Questions to Ask a Lawyer About Child Custody?

Before hiring a lawyer, you may want to ask yourself a few questions about the attorney’s experience, cost, and fee structure. Experience can be a huge factor in the outcome of your case. You should also consider how comfortable you are with this person. You should be able to discuss the next steps in your case, including the next scheduled meeting and the cost. 

Do I need a lawyer to file for child custody? 

Before you file for a child custody case, it is important to understand what is involved. The process begins by preparing your documents, which you must take to the Superior Court Clerk’s Office and pay an entry fee. The clerk will sign your documents and return them to you. The petition will contain information about your case and instructions on how to respond. 

You can file for a custody case yourself, or you can hire a lawyer. You must fill out the appropriate court forms, which will include a request for an order. You should state the reasons for your request, including the facts that will show your child’s best interests. You will also need to fill out a financial disclosure form. 

You can also file for custody if you’re a nonparent. While you’ll have equal rights to custody, you can’t force your spouse to return the child unless you have a court order. 

Do I need a parenting plan? 

One of the first questions you need to ask yourself is “Do I need a parenting plan?” It’s common for the court to draw up a parenting plan, but they’re rarely as specific and thorough as you would like. A good parenting plan will include stipulations for transportation, holidays, and communication forms. Depending on the circumstances, a plan might include other items. 

Parenting plans are legally binding documents between the parents. If they violate them, the court can impose fines and other penalties. To change the terms of the plan, a party can petition the court. However, they must provide proof of their need for a modification. 

Mediation is another option for parents in need of a parenting plan. A mediator is an impartial third party who helps parents reach an agreement. They can also provide instructions on how to create a parenting plan. 

Can I afford the legal fees? 

A child custody lawyer’s fees can be astronomical. Depending on the type of dispute, the number of required third-party experts, and the level of expertise needed, these fees can cost anywhere from $100 to $450 per hour. To get an accurate idea of what you can expect to pay, take a look at the rates of the top child custody attorneys in your area. 

One option is to pay the attorney directly. You can either transfer the money into their account or pay him in person. However, you might want to make an appointment with your lawyer before you pay the fee. You may also want to pay the fees in advance so you can avoid surprises. 

Another option is to try mediation. Mediation is usually less expensive than court proceedings. Mediators charge around $100 per hour. However, some cases may require the assistance of specialist professionals, like a child psychologist. A custody evaluation will set you back anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000. However, if your child custody case is highly contested, costs can rise to hundreds of thousands of dollars.