Child custody is a very complicated process, and that often means that a lawyer needs to get involved in smoothing things out. It is not just about the parents, but the child as well, who can easily start to get stressed or even angry as things continue to spiral out of their own control.

But what does one of these custody lawyers do?

Pushes Back Against Other Lawyers

If one side of the issue has a lawyer, the other should get one too. This is not really an ‘arms race,’ but more of a situation where you can’t really match a lawyer’s legal knowledge. If both sides are lawyering up, then it means that things have already passed the point of an easy in-person agreement between the parents.

Not getting your own lawyer in this kind of situation can be really risky since it puts you at a clear disadvantage. Many of them will offer free consultation, and there are usually free lawyers available – any lawyer is better than no lawyer, and they can help make things balanced again.

Handles Sudden Changes

Sometimes things change. Maybe domestic violence or child abuse suddenly becomes apparent, one of the parents remarries or moves away, or cooperation between both parents breaks down. In situations like this, things can change so significantly that you need a lawyer to make it all work because an average person can’t get around the problems this creates.

A decent lawyer will handle your paperwork, track the deadlines and court dates involved, and update the information to fit with whatever the current status of the custody issue is. This means that you can’t miss any laws which did not apply at first, but apply now that one of you is married or you do not live in the same state anymore.

Your Partner Switches Goals

Sometimes, one partner will decide to simply switch what they are doing. They might suddenly decide that they do not want any custody, want all the custody, or want to make the court think that you are not fit to look after your own child.

If this happens, switching gears becomes much easier with a child custody lawyer to back you up, smoothing out the work you have to do and keeping records of what agreements you have already made or tried to work towards.

Even at a basic level, having somebody who knows each law related to this kind of situation can help you navigate it without putting your child at any more risk, especially with an ex who is clearly trying to scramble for any kind of good outcome. They may even be able to help you use it against a vengeful partner to show that they are desperate and using underhanded tactics.

Making Sure, You See Your Child

Sometimes, a former partner might decide to keep the child hidden, obstruct your visits, or constantly cancel at the last minute as part of manufactured ’emergencies.’ Lawyers can help keep detailed logs of when visits are supposed to happen, temporary custody alterations (like the child breaking the normal routine if you are busy on a work-related trip), and other information.

This can also be for the safety of the child if your ex might be doing anything to harm them or neglect them. While it is easy to get help if your ex is clearly doing something wrong, a lawyer can be very useful in more subtle situations where there is still a legal vagueness to everything.

Preventing Claims Against You

If you have had any history of running afoul of the law or even just doing things that are vaguely an issue (such as using drugs legally and recreationally), they will come up in court. A spiteful ex can use them against you and try to defame you or destroy your character, basically increasing their chances of getting a good result from the case without having to do much extra work.

A good lawyer will help prevent unsubstantiated rumors, clear your name if there is any slander happening, and order the proper tests to make sure that you are not currently misusing any drugs or over-drinking. If this seems like something that your ex may be likely to do, then you should get a lawyer ready because defending yourself like this can be exhausting.