Top Laconia, NH Child Custody Lawyers Near You
Child Custody Lawyers | Laconia Office
213 Union Avenue, Laconia, NH 03247
Laconia Child Custody Information
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Visit our free Child Custody Resource Center.
Shared Custody and Visitation
When parents of a child are separated or get a divorce, they have to determine the child’s custody and visitation rights. Custody arrangements can include shared custody or sole custody. Joint legal custody and joint physical custody mean the parents both have the right to make legal decisions for the child and share physical time with the child.
Even when both parents have shared custody, the parent who spends the most time with the child is generally considered the custodial parent. The other parent has visitation rights and can see the child based on the visitation schedule and custody order.
Legal Issues in Child Custody Disputes
When parents cannot agree on a child custody agreement that works for everybody, they may have to go to court to have family law matters decided. In most cases, the court will first have the parents go through mediation to work together on a schedule. If mediation does not work, the court may decide the custody and visitation arrangement.
How Do Judges Decide Child Custody
Family court judges must consider what is in the best interests of the child when determining custody. The court can consider several factors, including the child’s relationship with the parents, the parents’ work schedules, the child’s wishes, siblings and extended family, distance between parents, cooperation of the parents, safety and stability, and any other relevant factors.
In most cases, judges emphasize making sure the child will spend time with both parents. To make this happen, a judge will likely want to know what each parent’s home environment is like, whether each parent will be able to give a child the proper attention, and in which situation the child will be most likely to thrive.
Taking Away Parental Rights
Parents can lose their parenting rights if the child is abused, abandoned, or in an unsafe environment. A parent or the state can petition for a termination of parental rights. The other parent will have a chance to respond in court to present their side of the story. Grounds for terminating parental rights include abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Can I Change a Child Custody Order?
If both parents are unhappy with the current custody arrangement, you can negotiate a change to your agreement or modify the child custody order. If a family law judge feels that the changes are in the child’s best interests and benefits outweigh any negative impacts, then the court may modify the child custody order.
If you want to change a child custody order and the other parent disagrees, you may need to show a substantial change in circumstances to justify the change. This could include one of the parents moving out of state, suffering from a disability or illness that affects their parenting ability, domestic violence, exposing the child to an unsafe environment, or having a change in work circumstances that requires rescheduling visitation.
What If My Ex Isn’t Paying Child Support?
It can be very difficult for a custodial parent to take proper care of their child if the other parent isn’t paying their fair share. However, in most cases, a parent’s failure to pay child support or spousal support is not enough to deny visitation. If your ex isn’t paying support, you can contact your New Hampshire child support program to enforce child support orders.
How a New Hampshire Child Custody Attorney Can Help
A family law attorney can help you resolve your custody legal issue and guide you through the process. Child custody lawyers can help you navigate the legal system, while avoiding costly mistakes or procedural errors. For legal advice on your custody issues, you should look for a family law firm with a practice area that focuses on New Hampshire child custody cases like yours.
What do judges look for in custody cases?In every state, family court judges must consider what is in the child’s best interests when determining custody. In most cases, judges emphasize making sure the child will spend ample time with both parents. To make this happen, a judge will likely want to know what each parent’s home environment is like, whether each parent will be able to give a child the proper attention, and which situation the child will be most likely to thrive in.
Who has legal custody of the child when the parents aren’t married?If the parents are not married, the child’s biological parents both have parental rights unless the law says otherwise. An exception to this could be if no father is listed on the child’s birth certificate. In that case, the father would have to go through the legal process of establishing paternity to be able to assert his parental rights for visitation.
How can a mother lose custody of her child?A mother can lose custody of her child in much the same way a father could. This could include abusing the child, abusing drugs or alcohol, providing an unsafe home environment for the child, or abandoning the child.
How can you change a child custody order?If you or your ex are unhappy with the current custody arrangement, you can negotiate a change to your agreement. If a judge feels that the changes are still in the child’s best interests, then they may approve the order. If one of you is pressing ahead with seeking a change and the other parent is contesting it, you will need to prove a “substantial” change in circumstances. This could include one of the parents moving out of state, suffering from a disability or illness that affects their parenting ability, exposing the child to an unsafe environment, or having a change in work circumstances that requires rescheduling of visitation.
When to Hire a Lawyer
It is in your best interest to get legal help early on in addressing your situation. There are times when hiring a lawyer quickly is critical to your case, such as if you are charged with a crime. It may also be in your best interest to have a lawyer review the fine print before signing legal documents. A lawyer can also help you get the compensation you deserve if you’ve suffered a serious injury. For issues where money or property is at stake, having a lawyer guide you through the complexities of the legal system can save you time, hassle, and possibly a lot of grief in the long run.
Tips on Approaching an Initial Attorney Consultation
- Use the consultation as a means of gaining a better understanding of your legal situation.
- Ask the attorney how many cases similar to yours he/she has handled. An attorney’s experience and knowledge can speak to their expertise (or lack of) in addressing your situation.
- Your attorney should be able to articulate roughly how long a case like yours will take to resolve and what sort of procedures to expect.
- Determine how comfortable you are working with the lawyer and/or law firm.
Tips on Hiring an Experienced Lawyer with Child Custody Cases
The more experienced a lawyer is in legal practice, the more likely he/she will be able to bring about a successful resolution to your issue. Since experience matters, lawyers who’ve been practicing law for many years (with a successful track record) tend to be in high demand. You should look for information about a lawyer’s experience and ask questions during the initial meeting. It’s a very good idea to ask the lawyer how many years he/she has been practicing law and the expected outcome of your case.
Common legal terms explained
Pro se – This Latin term refers to representing yourself in court instead of hiring professional legal counsel. Pro se representation can occur in either criminal or civil cases.
Statute – Refers to a law created by a legislative body. For example, the laws enacted by Congress are statutes.
Subject matter jurisdiction – Requirement that a particular court have authority to hear the claim based on the specific type of issue brought to the court. For example, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court only has subject matter jurisdiction over bankruptcy filings, therefore it does not have the authority to render binding judgment over other types of cases, such as divorce.