Going through a divorce is never easy, but the process can be exceedingly more complicated when there are children involved. If you are considering leaving your spouse with whom you share children, you should be aware of the impact on a New Haven divorce.
Custody disputes can significantly impact the amount of time and resources required to resolve a divorce case. The dedicated marital dissolution attorneys at Dolan Divorce Lawyers will work to make this legal process as straightforward as possible for you and your children.
When there are children involved in a divorce, spouses must resolve all issues surrounding custody and child support in addition to the division of assets and debts and alimony. With regard to the guardianship of a child, legal and physical custody both need to be addressed.
If both parties agree on custody and child support, those matters can be resolved along with the division of assets and debts and alimony. The parents can negotiate a divorce settlement and create a parenting plan to be reviewed by the judge.
However, any disputes about legal or physical guardianship or the amount of child support can end up being litigated before the judge at a trial. In these cases, it would be beneficial to retain legal counsel for contested divorce hearings about matters involving shared children.
In some cases, divorcing spouses can ask the judge to have a custody evaluation conducted by a family relations officer or guardian ad litem (GAL). A guardian ad litem is an attorney for the children, and parents typically split the cost of hiring this third party to consult on the case.
Aside from the family relations officer and GAL, the divorcing parents can bring in other individuals who have relevant information about the child’s wellbeing. It may be suitable to have therapists, doctors, or teachers provide insight in a case. Typically, the guardian ad litem or the family relations officer reaches out to those individuals as they form their recommendation with respect to child custody in the divorce.
In cases where there are no financial disputes concerning division assets and debts and alimony, a custody dispute can prolong the dissolution process. A custody evaluation generally takes a minimum of three or four months to conduct.
The third-party conducting the evaluation might even require that the children attend therapy before they issue their recommendation. Processes such as these can lengthen the entire divorce case.
If the dispute continues after the guardian ad litem or family relations officer provides a recommendation, the custody case will have to be resolved at trial. Any contested divorce trial will complicate the process considerably, as each party will need to bring in multiple witnesses to argue their case for legal and physical custody. A local attorney familiar with divorce cases involving children can advise parents on the types of witnesses that can strengthen an argument for custody.
The best time to consult with a divorce attorney is when you are first considering leaving your partner, or after you have been served with dissolution papers. A lawyer can help you set your expectations about the court process and represent your children’s best interests.
But, if you have already begun the process as a self-represented party, you can still involve an attorney at any point in the case. Regardless of where you are in your marital dissolution, call our firm today to discuss children in a New Haven Divorce.