It probably goes without saying that fighting for child custody while going through divorce is likely to be one of the most painful periods in someone’s life. Not only are they parting ways from someone they thought they’d be with long-term, they have to argue as to why they are the more suitable person to parent the children they had together. It is highly recommended that any parent going through this predicament get legal help from a family law attorney for guidance, representation, and support.
The divorce process can take upwards of a year, depending on the circumstances of the separation. Parents who want to establish child custody and visitation before the divorce has been finalized may be able to do so through the following ways:
Maintaining Status Quo
If the parents can live amicably together in the same home as the divorce is happening, then they may not have to argue over child custody for the time being. This is the most ideal situation for the children since they won’t have any disruption to their daily life. They will also be able to see both of their parents on a regular basis. If parents can maintain the status quo, then it eliminates the need for a child custody dispute and no decisions have to be made until after the divorce is finalized.
De Facto Custody
If only one parent moves out of the home formerly shared together and no court order was made, then the parent remaining will be given de facto custody. The court wants to see that the child has consistent parenting so living in the same home is going to benefit them the most. In a way, by moving out and leaving the child behind, that parent is giving voluntary custody to the other parent. Parents who want to seek custody of their children are not advised to vacate the family home unless there is danger in staying.
Temporary Custody Order
A divorce petition and motion for temporary child custody orders can be filed. Then, the spouse who didn’t file the motion or petition will get a copy of the notice, must respond within a certain timeframe, and attend a hearing. At this hearing, each parent will have to showcase why they are the most suitable parent, along with what type of custody they are hoping for and why. Parents can expect to gather evidence in support of their claims and provide financial information, such as their income and work schedule. A child custody lawyer, like a child custody lawyer in Rockville, MD, can help you prepare for this hearing and answer any questions you have about what to expect.
A temporary child custody order can be sought by the parents if one of them doesn’t voluntarily give custody to the other. What the judge decides will have to be enforced by each parent until the divorce is complete and a permanent child custody arrangement has been established.
Thanks to the Law Office of Daniel J. Wright for their insight into how child custody and visitation may be determined before a divorce is finalized.