(US family law) Normally parents are given complete custody of their minor children unless illness or divorce, changes that. Considering the fitness of the parent/s, courts decide to give joint or sole custody. Under certain circumstances, a non-parent can also be given the custody of a minor.
How the court decides the custody of a minor?
The laws and guidelines vary from state to state. However, the principal concern in most child custody cases is the safety and security of the child. If you can prove that the custodial parent is not taking good care of the child, you can take appropriate actions to get the legal custody. The court orders several factors such as the following:
- The mental health of the parents
- The wishes of the parents
- The wishes of the child considering he or she has attained the age to decide on such issues
- The quality of life the child is leading currently
- Whether the child has experienced abuse or negligence
When you decide filing for custody, you will be required to deal with these or other related issues.
The rules are not the same in every state when it comes to challenging the custody of a minor. Also, the legal procedure will vary according to the circumstances for seeking the custody like
- You are going through the divorce process currently
- You are seeking to modify an existing child custody agreement
- You are appealing for a temporary order (emergency)
- You are a non-parent and you believe that the parents are not capable to take care of the child
What are the steps to take?
You will be required to take the following steps:
- File the forms and other necessary paperwork with the relevant court. You may have to appeal for a court order and submit appropriate documentation in order to justify your appeal.
- Send the copies of your appeal to the custodial parent/parents
- Submit evidence to the court to prove that you have served the copies to the custodial parent/parents
- After these, you have to be present at the time of hearing. The judge will evaluate your appeal and enquire you and the custodial parents on significant matters. The judge may need more information to pass the verdict. Or else, you will receive an immediate decision.
Consult an attorney
The entire procedure of seeking the legal custody of a minor is complicated. For a non-legal professional, it is difficult to handle the legal complexities. That is why it is advisable to take help of an experienced attorney specialising in this area of law. So, while choosing among Miami child custody lawyers, you must put stress on the experience factor.