When the parents of a minor child decide to call their marriage quits, the divorce process that follows can be amicable or adversarial. One issue that frequently turns an otherwise amicable divorce into a contentious battlefield is child custody. If the parties to a divorce cannot agree on who will have the primary custody, or “conservatorship” as it is referred to in Texas, of the minor child after the divorce it can also drag the litigation out for months, even years. If you find yourself in just this position, you probably already realize you need the help of an experienced attorney. That, however, brings up the question “How much will a Fort Worth child custody attorney cost me?
A divorce is either uncontested or contested. An uncontested divorce simple means that the parties are able to agree on all issues in the divorce, including divisions of the marital assets and debts, conservatorship and possession and access to the minor children, and spousal and child support. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement on any of the issues in the divorce it becomes a contested divorce. Conservatorship of the minor children is one of the most common reasons for a divorce to be contested. It can also be the most time consuming and costly reason. A custody battle can wreak havoc on the lives of everyone involved for several reasons. When custody of a minor child is at issue, the court must use the “best interest of the child” standard when deciding who to award conservatorship of the child to in the divorce. Ultimately, however, the parents of the child often look at the litigation as deciding who is the better parent. For the parents, much is at stake.
When a judge is forced to decide who will have conservatorship of a child, the judge usually wants as much information as possible upon which to base that decision. Consequently, the court is likely to order a Guardian Ad Litem be assigned to look into what is best for the child. Both parties will probably be required to participate in a home study along with submitting to a thorough background check. Records of all types may be ordered to try and ascertain how the child is doing in his/her current placement because court is typically reluctant to change where the child is currently living if the child appears happy, well-adjusted, and well cared for in his/her current environment. At some point, the court may order the parties to participate in mediation as well in an attempt to resolve the dispute. All of these steps can be time consuming and may involve expenses.
As a party to what appears to be headed for a custody battle, you clearly need the assistance of an experienced attorney; however, you may be worried about the cost of hiring an experienced attorney to help you. Because every child custody case is unique, and because every attorney establishes his or her own fees, it is impossible to tell you what your Fort Worth child custody attorney will charge you. Most child custody attorneys, however, will charge you by the hour to represent you in a custody battle. There is a financial incentive then to resolve your case amicably with the other party. Sometimes, however, no amount of negotiations will result in an agreement. If resolving your custody disagreement isn’t possible, the money you spend on an experienced child custody attorney will be money well spent.
If you have additional questions or concerns related to a child custody battle, contact an experienced Fort Worth child custody attorney at The Law Office of Jon R. Boyd to schedule your appointment today.