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Do I need an attorney for my custody issues?

It may be your hope to complete your divorce with as little outside interference as possible. In fact, if you and your spouse are able to reach agreeable terms on the most critical issues, you may be able to do just that. However, as important as matters of property division and spousal support may be, the issues related to child custody may be too delicate to handle on your own.

The stakes are very high when it comes to child custody orders or agreements. The final decisions approved by the court may be the ones you and your children live by for years. While it is possible that you and your spouse can arrive at a fair arrangement that is in the best interests of your children, there are certain circumstances in which having the counsel of a legal professional may prove invaluable.

When is a lawyer recommended?

To begin with, if your spouse has already secured the services of a custody attorney, you should seriously consider doing the same. Having an attorney means your spouse now has the years of experience and knowledge of Texas law that you may not have, and you are immediately at a disadvantage in this case. If you have your own legal counsel, the attorneys can deal with each other instead of you going head-to-head with your spouse's lawyer in areas in which you are outmatched.

Other factors that may increase the urgency for seeking the assistance of a custody attorney include the following:

  • Your spouse has suddenly changed his or her mind about your plans for custody.
  • Your spouse is planning to challenge your fitness as a parent.
  • The court has ordered you to complete classes for anger management, parenting or other behavioral issues.
  • You are afraid your children will be unsafe with the other parent.
  • Your spouse is attempting to alienate you from the children.

You may also need the aid of an attorney if either you or your spouse already lives outside of Texas or has plans to relocate after the divorce. There may also be important changes, such as your spouse planning to move in with a new romantic interest, and you may wish to protect your child from these circumstances.

Even if your divorce and custody situation seem to be panning out without issue, consulting with an attorney before signing a child custody agreement is always a wise move. An attorney can review the conditions of the agreement and determine if your parental rights are intact and if you have reached the most advantageous settlement possible.

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