Child custody law issues often produce situations that parents find extremely concerning. Folks in such circumstances may wonder how far the law can go to bar someone from having custody over their child. Whether you're trying to block custody or are worried someone might prevent you from having your kid, you should be aware of these four aspects of how the law handles the problem.
The Child's Best Interests
A child's best interests represent the core of all judicial decision-making in custody law. The court must determine what will best foster a kid's physical, mental, and emotional growth. In the broadest sense, this covers things like making sure a child will be clean, warm, clothed, and housed. However, it also extends to the ability of a kid to get an education, grow up within a family, participate in a culture, and have a childhood.
Access to Parents
Within the idea that a judge must affirm what's in the best interests of a child, the law assumes that both biological parents should each have access to the kid if at all feasible. Generally, whenever possible, a judge will want each parent to have at least partial custody.
Notably, the courts will go to great lengths to make things feasible if a parent is willing to cooperate. Suppose a parent has drug and alcohol use issues alongside financial problems. A judge may offer court-appointed counseling to help the parent become fit to have access to the child. In the meantime, the judge might also offer court-monitored time with the child, such as having a social worker present. The goal in these cases is to work toward more custody.
What Permanently Prevents Custody?
Virtually nothing can guarantee one biological parent will never have custody of their child. Circumstances change, and the court is usually open to modifying orders to account for positive developments. If a parent has had a notably bad track record, the court will want to see commensurate long-term improvement to justify modifying a custody order.
How to Handle Serious Custody Issues
A child custody attorney will strongly encourage you to document everything that happens. This applies whether you're worried about access to your child or trying to prevent someone from having custody. You will need to prove to a judge what the conditions are surrounding the kid.
Bear in mind, the court worries about serious problems. Dirty fingernails aren't the end of the world. Generally, adverse custody decisions come from notable instances of abuse or neglect. Also, there usually has to be a long-term pattern to justify deviating from the norms of shared custody and access.
Keep these tips in mind when looking for a child custody attorney near you.