Child custody is probably the one area of high asset divorces that tends to be the most nerve-wracking experience for either party involved. It is both a stressful and emotional process to go through that most likely pales in comparison to matters such as spousal support or property division.
A high net worth divorce can impact almost every aspect of an individual's life. Nevertheless, the relationship with the children is sacred to the parent who values this connection and strives to continue being an active and present member in their children's lives. Parents seeking sole or joint custody need to demonstrate they are invested and engaged in their children's lives, not merely passive participants.
Some custody battles can take a long time to resolve because of various factors or tactics that tend to complicate the process. A few of the most common issues that may lengthen a parental responsibility case can consist of:
- repeated appeals submitted by the opposing side
- potential investigations that need to take place
- expert witnesses that need to testify (such as social workers, doctors, or mental health specialists
You Need to Be Ready for the Challenging Road Ahead
Not all parental responsibility cases will go to trial. Some of them can be settled through alternative dispute resolution means, such as mediation or informal negotiation. However, if the case cannot be settled, it will go to trial, and a judge will decide the outcome.
When considering awarding custody, the courts will put the children's best interests above everything else, taking into account their safety, security, and comfort over parental preference or convenience. Children require a supportive environment in which to thrive, and the parents must attest to this fact when they request custody. In deciding the best interest of the children, the court will consider several factors, among which:
- the children's preferences
- the children's relationship with each parent
- the parents' work schedules
- the parents' ability to provide for the children
- the physical and mental health of both parents
- the geographic location of each parent
- any prior domestic violence charges or allegations
Every situation is unique, and you cannot put a time stamp on a parental responsibility case. You can, however, rely on your legal team to obtain an estimate of an overall timeline, considering the factors that might lengthen your case.
In Florida, there are several things you need to know about the consistency and fairness of the judicial process when it comes to custody cases:
- the same judicial officer will preside over all hearings and the trial
- parents can request a closed courtroom, even though trials are open to the public
- family court cases don't have juries
Going to trial over parental responsibility and time-sharing requires serious planning and rigorous organizing. Mental preparation is key when going through a court hearing that requires understanding how the process will unfold, what outcomes to anticipate, and choosing how to respond to what you are presented with. Opting for legal support is one of the best decisions that you can ever make when going through this experience.
The lawyer that will competently represent your interests will be familiar with the judge's policies for their courtroom, will guide you through preparations, and help you:
- gather evidence
- select witnesses
- develop arguments
- plan the testimony
When selecting evidence, you need to consider elements relevant to parenting that can strengthen your case. The types of evidence that can help prove your claim or challenge the other parent's claims may include:
- family timetables
- photos and videos
- emails, call logs, text messages
- social media posts
- school and medical records
- financial and legal documents
Witnesses are an important part of your case. Expert witnesses such as social investigators or forensic psychologists can be appointed by the court or employed by either party to offer their professional opinion on various issues. Non-expert witnesses such as relatives, teachers, family doctors, or social workers can also be brought in to support the case and testify to matters they personally observed.
The parental responsibility trial will result in a final judgment that will include:
- a parenting plan
- a time-sharing arrangement
- a child-support order
Reach Out to The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary for Support During a Custody Battle
Only a lawyer experienced in complex family issues can guide you on how to manage your expectations and conduct during a fight for parental responsibility. Here, at The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we will work to obtain the best possible outcome and help you build a strong argument for why your request for custody is in your child's best interest.
We strongly support your endeavors to reunite your family and work with you to ensure an adequate response to any challenging situations that may arise. Tensions tend to run high in custody battles, even if you went through an amicable high net worth divorce. We can help diffuse difficult situations before they get too tense and work to keep interactions neutral.