When to Hire a Child Custody Lawyer and How Much does it Cost

The ideal family situation is one in which a happily married husband and wife raise their children together in the same household. However, that does not work in many cases. Sometimes married or unmarried persons have children, they may separate or divorce and custody issues arise on legal and non-legal grounds. Those issues sometimes seep into the co-parenting situation and cause wars to erupt.

California’s child custody rights website is a great example of an informational site that can provide basic information on custody rights. While the California child custody rights laws may not apply in your state it should give you a general idea of what you should be checking for on your states’ website. Contact a local attorney if you have more questions on specific child custody rights within your state. If you are looking for help from a divorce lawyer in your state Click here. Below are four situations that will help explain when to hire a child custody lawyer and how much does it cost.

When the Custodial Parent Is Abusing the Child

A caring parent should never accuse another parent of abusing a child unless evidence of such abuse exists. Clear cases of abuse include broken bones, intentional burns and obvious mental and emotional anguish. Even in those cases, the parent must review all factors before that person hires child custody lawyers and tries to take a child away from a loving parent. The “review of all factors” should include the initiating parent’s review of his or her true motivation for the action. Anger, jealousy, hatred, irresponsibility and third-party meddling are not legitimate reasons to seek custody of a child. A person should only take such an action if he or she truly believes that the other parent has harmed the child. Otherwise, the child could truly end up experiencing irreparable damages.

When One of the Parents Gets remarried

Another reason that a parent may seek to hire a lawyer for child custody is if one of the parents gets remarried and visitation rights all of a sudden start to change, are restricted or become stressful to the children. Remarriage is a tough situation for all parties, and the parties should handle it with care. The parties should not cast any of their burdens on the child. The child should be able to live a happy life without having to choose between two people that he or she loves. In some cases, a divorced mother’s rights or divorced father’s rights can be strained when one or both parties remarry.

It is important to understand that remarriage is probably going to happen and a few basic rules may help you and the children adjust, show some respect and acceptance, don’t be negative, and don’t compare and never put a burden of doubt on the children. An attorney can help guide the parents into developing a plan that is best for all parties.

When a Parent Is In Jail, is Mentally Incompetent or Drug Dependent

An incarcerated parent obviously cannot take care of a child. Therefore, the other parent may want to hire an attorney to obtain custody. A drug addiction is a serious condition that lowers the parent’s ability to make sound decisions that are in the best interest of the child. A parent may want to seek custody if the other parent has a documented, not assumed, case of severe drug or alcohol dependency. Finally, a mentally incompetent person may be unable to care for a child. However, the mental incompetency must be proven, documented and severe enough to cause extreme harm to the child. It cannot be based on the personal opinion of a party who has a selfish interest in the case.

When the Custodial Parent is Homeless

Homelessness could be a reason to seek custody, but it should be traditional homelessness, not new-age homelessness. In other words, a parent cannot support a child from the middle of the street. Parents should make alternative arrangements if one of them is on the street with a child. However, a parent can very well support a child from a shelter, hotel, motel, trailer, RV, shack and the like. They may not be ideal homes to some people, but they are living quarters for people who do not have much. As long as a unit has running water, electricity and some food, then the parent is not harming or endangering the child by housing him or her there. The harm does not come from the alleged “subpar” living. It comes from the people who mentally abuse and condemn the people who live there. A homelessness custody “suit” should be based on truth and not on discriminatory principles.

How much will a Child Custody Fight Cost?

Each of the above examples of when to hire a child custody lawyer usually means that there is a lack of communication when it comes to caring for the children. It is situations like these that can mean a drawn out fight involving at least one attorney and probably two. Most lawyers will charge between $100 to $400 an hour or more. If your attorney is charging you a flat fee it will probably be between $2,500 and $6,000 depending on your location, the experience of the lawyer and a normal custody battle without a lot of complications, the more you fight, the more you will pay.

Some lawyers will ask for an upfront retainer fee but this is only a set fee to hire the lawyer and really has nothing to do with what you will be charged for his services. Depending on your location you could be looking at $2,500 to over $30,000 with a very complex child custody fight.

Mediation prices would be a lower cost option for you but mediation means working the situation out between the couple and a third-party and not a court fight. These prices may seem to vary a lot and it really does depend on your specific situation.

Free child custody lawyers or family law attorneys should be available through the county of residency. One can sometimes find Pro Bono child custody lawyers using a random search. Unfortunately, the paperwork that is involved with obtaining representation from “free child custody lawyers” is so long that a loving parent might lose by default for not completing it. Patient justice seekers may benefit from completing the paperwork.