5 Reasons You Need an Attorney for Your Child Custody Case
If you are going through a child custody case, regardless of whether it’s an initial determination or a custody modification case, it has never been more important to have an experienced attorney by your side from the start. Here are five critical reasons why:
An attorney can help you understand the process and what to expect.
Many child custody cases can be complex. They will involve a lot of paperwork and intricate legal procedures. Not knowing what is required by the Family Court and how to properly adhere to the applicable Rules of Civil Procedure and Rules of Family Court can and will hurt your case.
An experienced attorney who regularly (or better yet exclusively) practices in family law can help you understand what is happening every step of the way, as well as what is reasonable to expect in terms of rulings from the court. This, in turn, will help you make better decisions for yourself and your children and ensure that your rights are protected throughout the case.
An attorney can negotiate on your behalf and advocate for what is best for your children.
In South Carolina, most child custody cases start with a Temporary Hearing, which is typically held within thirty to forty-five days of the initial filing of the case. At the end of this hearing, the family court judge will issue a “temporary order” detailing how the child custody, visitation, and child support will be handled pending further hearings, mediation, or a final trial in the matter.
This temporary arrangement may not be what you want or what you think is best for your children in the long term. Having a knowledgeable and experienced attorney on your side can help put you in a position to receive the best possible outcome by negotiating with the other side to implement changes both parents can agree on is best for the children.
An attorney can help protect your rights as a parent.
When you hire a family law attorney to represent you in a child custody case, he or she will understand the rights that you automatically have with regard to access to information about your children. On the other hand, not having an attorney by your side makes it easier for the other side to manipulate you into agreeing to things you otherwise would never have to agree to.
Also, having an attorney of record noted in the case file will prevent you from missing important notices about future court dates or other important case-related deadlines. Hiring a well-respected, competent family court lawyer to represent you is the best way to help you protect these important rights that many parents lose when they try to represent themselves during a divorce or child custody case.
An attorney can provide guidance and support during a difficult time.
Regardless of whether you are the plaintiff or defendant, a family court case can be a very stressful thing to go through. A good attorney will help to guide your actions and make sure that you do not inadvertently say or do something which could hurt your case. Family law cases are often extremely emotionally charged, and rightfully so, considering they are dealing with subjects most people hold dearest to them. Having a skilled advocate on your side who understands how the case may affect you at different stages is priceless.
An attorney who regularly handles divorce or child custody cases will also have a large network of mental health professionals and other experts who regularly work with litigants in these types of cases. If you need more support than your attorney or your family support network can offer, they will be able to give you solid recommendations on who you can work with on an individual basis to get through this difficult time of your life.
An attorney will be knowledgeable about recent changes in the law and how it applies to your case.
Although the laws surrounding divorce and child custody are relatively constant, there are always new cases coming down from appellate courts, both at the state and federal levels, that are changing how certain types of situations will be treated. These changes could have a dramatic effect on your case, so it’s important to work with a family court attorney who keeps up to date on these developments and knows how they may apply in your specific situation.
When making a hiring decision, ask about what professional organizations the attorney is involved in on a regular basis. Organizations like the AAML (American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers) and the AFCC (Association of Family and Conciliation Courts) are just two organizations that offer their members ongoing news and training about the latest family law developments on both local and national levels.
Custody cases are complex and emotional. If you’re going through one, it’s important to have an experienced family law attorney who understands the law and can advocate for what’s best for you and your children. Contact us today if you need help finding an attorney or want more information about custody cases. We’re here to help.
Ben Stevens is a Fellow in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and he presented at national seminars for both organizations. Mr. Stevens is also a Board-Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. For over twenty-five years, he has represented parents across South Carolina in complex child custody cases. If you or someone you know is facing these or other family law issues, contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule a consultation.
Contact our office at (864) 598-9172 or SCFamilyLaw@offitkurman.com to schedule an initial consultation.
ABOUT J. BENJAMIN STEVENS
Ben.Stevens@offitkurman.com | 864.598.9172
Aggressive, creative, and compassionate are words Ben Stevens' colleagues freely use to describe him as a divorce and family law attorney. Mr. Stevens is a Fellow in the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the International Academy of Family Lawyers, and is a Board Certified Family Trial Advocate by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. He is one of only two attorneys in South Carolina with those simultaneous distinctions. He has held numerous leadership positions in the AAML, and he currently serves as one of its National Vice Presidents. Mr. Stevens has a statewide practice and regularly appears all across South Carolina. His practice is focused on complex divorce and child custody cases.
ABOUT OFFIT KURMAN
Offit Kurman, one of the fastest-growing, full-service law firms in the United States, serves dynamic businesses, individuals and families. With 16 offices and nearly 250 lawyers who counsel clients across more than 30 areas of practice, Offit Kurman helps maximize and protect business value and personal wealth by providing innovative and entrepreneurial counsel that focuses on clients’ business objectives, interests and goals. The firm is distinguished by the quality, breadth and global reach of its legal services and a unique operational structure that encourages a culture of collaboration. For more information, visit www.offitkurman.com.
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