6 Things Your Lawyer Needs to Know When Dealing With Child Custody Cases

If you are preparing for a child custody case, it is absolutely vital that your lawyer have all the information so that they can fight effectively for you. Here are six items that Family Matters Law Group needs to have before we go to court in your child custody case.


Information About Your Child

It’s very important for your lawyer to know your child’s full name, any nicknames they go by, their birthdate, current address, addresses they have lived for the past 5 years, and their current school. You may think this is common sense, and to some degree it is, but giving as much information about your child to your counsel helps the lawyer determine what kind of questions they need to ask and to which parties. If your child has been forced to move around over the last five years, it may indicate instability in their current arrangements. Finally, the court has to know that it actually has jurisdiction over this case.


Information About the Other Parent

The court needs to know about the other parent. Think about some basic questions to start with:

  • Where does the other parent live? It plays a part in visitation as well as letting the attorney know where the parent can be served.
  • Where and how often does the other parent work?  It plays a part in visitation scheduling and potentially impacts the type of custody awarded.
  • Is the other parent married? Are they in another relationship? This speaks to who is around your child and who they might be exposed to. The judge will want to know who has regular contact with your child.

These are just a few of the questions your attorney needs to have answers to when it comes to arguing who needs to be the primary custodial parent.


Financial Issues Affecting the Child

Are you currently receiving government assistance, such as TANF or Medicaid?  Receiving assistance is not looked at as a negative. It shows that you are taking steps to provide the needed financial resources for your child. The court wants to know all financial information before it makes a decision about child support payments.

Let’s talk about child support. It is not uncommon for a non-custodial parent to seek custody of a child in order to renegotiate or cease paying child support. Judges do not look favorably on a petition if it appears that is the primary motivation (vs. the needs of the child).

If you’re wanting to be the primary caregiver for a child, you will need financial resources to do that. Child support is a big part. Your lawyer wants for you to receive the appropriate amount of child support, and if you are not currently receiving it, then maybe you should be. Be upfront with your attorney about all financial matters and remember that the ultimate goal is to take care of the children in the best way possible.


Are There Other Cases Involving the Child?

If your child is involved in other cases, such as child support or juvenile delinquency cases, the judge may be able to combine them. Often other cases reveal specific needs that the family or specific children may have. At the least, your attorney can use these cases to make specific arguments.


Domestic Violence Situations

This has a major impact on any child custody case. The Court has an obligation to protect the children from harm. It is very important that you inform your attorney of any domestic violence case that either you or the children have been a part of. If any parent is involved in a domestic violence case (especially if it affects the children), it plays a major role in how much contact and what type of contact the court will award.


Are You Being Honest?

At Family Matters Law Group, we know telling a stranger all these details about your life can be embarrassing and extremely personal. Remember you have attorney-client privilege; all your information stays private unless you give permission. But you don’t want to have your attorney get a surprise in court because you didn’t give all the necessary information. So, the last thing your lawyer needs to know is that you are being 100% honest.

Family Matters Law Group stands ready to help you in your child custody case. If you’re in Fulton County or in any county in the metro Atlanta area, contact us today and see how we can help you.