Norfolk Child Custody Lawyer

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Norfolk Child Custody & Visitation Attorney

One of the most difficult experiences any parent can ever have is a child custody determination. Whether you are an unwed parent looking for a court order to dictate custody rights of your child with your co-parent or divorcing and must resolve child custody as an element of your divorce, this process will be much easier if you have an experienced Norfolk child custody lawyer advocating on behalf of you and your child.

Compassionate Legal Representation for Child Custody Cases in Norfolk, MA

The team at Farias Family Law, P.C., has years of experience handling a wide range of complex family court cases, including many child custody cases. The unfortunate reality is that many parents begin these proceedings with unrealistic expectations and hold onto common misconceptions about how custody is awarded in the state. Our team can clarify your situation and help you understand what to expect in your impending custody case.

We take time to listen to each client’s individual story, providing them with compassionate and responsive legal guidance through all stages of their case until they secure a custody order that suits the best interests of their children. We can help gather the documentation and evidence you will need to submit for a family court judge’s consideration, address any concerns you may have about your impending proceedings, and prepare you to meet your case with confidence.

How Is Child Custody Decided?

The Family Court of Massachusetts has a legal duty to align every child custody order with the best interests of the children the order will affect. This requires careful consideration of many factors pertaining to both parents, and every custody order must be approved by the court before it becomes legally enforceable. Each parent will have the opportunity to make their case, but absent agreement, the final decision rests in the hands of the judge overseeing the custody determination.

When a judge evaluates parents in a child custody case, some of the factors they will examine include:

  • Each parent’s respective parenting plan, including their philosophy regarding parenting, goals for their children, and how they intend to run their respective households. Judges will also evaluate parents’ relationships with children from previous marriages.
  • Each parent’s perceived motivations. Unfortunately, some parents will use their children as leverage and seek custody out of spite, effectively weaponizing their own children. Also, some parents seek custody for financial gain. A judge is more likely to grant custody to a parent who demonstrates genuine care and concern over a parent who appears motivated by spite.
  • The criminal history of each parent. Family court judges are less likely to award custody to parents who have criminal records that include drug and alcohol offenses, violence, or domestic abuse of any kind.
  • Each parent’s living arrangements. If a parent seeks physical custody, they must be able to provide a safe living space for their children and demonstrate stability in their living situation to the judge.
  • The child’s preferences. If a child is old enough and capable of conveying their thoughts on the custody order, the judge is likely to want to hear from them. The child can describe their bond with each of their parents, and the judge will consider what they have to say in their final determination.
  • Each parent’s income. One of the most important aspects of any child custody order is the accompanying child support order. Both parents are expected to contribute to the financial needs of their child, and a noncustodial parent will often be required to pay child support to a custodial parent based on their income and the child’s needs.

Ultimately, you may need to accept the fact that the judge may not see things from your perspective. Many parents struggle with the fact that despite their negative feelings toward their co-parents, a parent’s relationship with their child is completely separate from their relationship with the child’s other parent. Your Norfolk child custody lawyer can help you have more realistic expectations regarding custody and increase your chances of reaching a positive outcome.

What Does a Child Custody Order Include?

There are two types of custody outlined in every formalized family court order. First is legal custody, or the ability to make major decisions for a child. In most cases, legal custody is shared equally by both parents, even if one parent receives minimal physical custody rights. A family court judge is only likely to deny legal custody rights if a parent is proven to be unfit or an existential danger to the child in some way, or if the communication between parents is so poor that it will hurt the child to have them both involved in decision-making.

Second is physical custody, which applies to the child’s residence and where they will spend their time. Some custody orders involve joint physical custody, and children will alternate between spending time with each of their parents on a consistent schedule. Other orders involve one parent having more time with their kids than the other, in which case they become the custodial parent.

A child custody order will also dictate terms regarding child support. If you are required to pay support, it is vital to make your payments on time and in full. If you experience any unexpected change in your life that influences your ability to meet your support obligation, you can petition the court for modification. If you are owed support by your noncustodial co-parent, a Norfolk child custody lawyer can help you ensure they meet their obligations.

Find Your Child Custody Attorney in Norfolk Today

Approaching a child custody determination is very difficult for any parent. Without proper guidance, you may not obtain the exact custody arrangement you would like, and it’s possible to encounter various issues that you will not know how to address on your own. Hiring an experienced Norfolk child custody lawyer to represent you makes it easier to approach your case with peace of mind, and with their help, you will be more likely to reach your goals for your case.

The team at Farias Family Law, P.C., can provide the compassionate legal representation you need in this difficult situation. We know that your case may be daunting and emotionally stressful, and our goal is to help you have some peace of mind during your forthcoming proceedings and to help you reach the result you hope to see. Contact us today and schedule a assessment with a Norfolk child custody lawyer to learn more about how we can assist you.

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