Separations and divorces are stressful. Things get even worse when there are disagreements and hard feelings. The ultimate goal of a child custody hearing is to establish the most appropriate arrangement that serves the best interest of the child. What one parent thinks is best can be completely contrary to the other parent’s feelings and/or beliefs. The ideal situation is for both parents to sit down and come up with a compromise that suits their own unique situation. Unfortunately, when conflicts arise and emotions are high, this is next to impossible for some. In many cases, feelings, pride, and more can stand in the way of making rational decisions or having the willingness to compromise.
Am I getting a custody order for the right reasons?
The first thing to look at is whether you are getting a custody order for the right reasons. Child custody Erie orders are never mandatory. Since the courts will only be able to see a sliver of the entire family situation, mistakes can be made. There are both advantages and disadvantages of obtaining a child custody erie order. If you want to ensure you have a fixed schedule, rights to make legal decisions, or are in disagreement about medical care or where the child will live, a custody order may be the best way to go.
Disagreements About Child Welfare
Are you having disagreements about what is in the best interest of the child? Are the disagreements based on facts and not emotion? When there are disagreements between parents about what is in the best interest of the child, court officers get involved in making decisions FOR both of you. You are as likely to be as satisfied (or dissatisfied) with decisions as the other party. Often times, neither party will be completely happy with the results. It is next to impossible for mediators and judges to know the complete situation. They have a few minutes to listen to both parties and make a judgment call based on a small glimpse of the entire situation. The task of deciding who is more reliable, credible, and responsible is a cumbersome one and can be inaccurate. If you are in a “Mexican Standoff” about major issues, you may have no other choice but to enter into a mediation program or request a child custody hearing.
Normally in Pennsylvania, your case will go to a mediator first. If you are unhappy with the mediator’s decision, you have the right to appeal and go to trial. This is where having an experienced trial attorney will matter the most. Many people may choose to go to mediation without an attorney and choose to hire an Erie PA attorney only if it ends up going to court. HOWEVER, on the other side of things, having an attorney in a mediation can sometimes prevent a trial altogether! The best option is to have a consultation with an experienced child custody Erie PA attorney who can answer your questions and give you the legal advice most appropriate for your situation.
When considering whether or not to hire a lawyer for your child custody hearing, you must consider your financial resources. A hearing is expensive for everyone involved. If your attorney can help you get a good decision in mediation, you may save yourself several thousand on future trial attorney fees. However, having a child custody lawyer will not guarantee anything and you must be prepared to either settle for the mediation decision or fight it out in court, which will require a substantial legal investment.
If you have a case that has complex issues, such as moving out of state, an attorney is advised to help get favorable results. The most experienced family law attorney Erie PA has to offer will know the law and give you realistic expectations.
Contact Erie PA Attorney Keith H. Clelland
Hiring an Erie PA family law attorney will give you the advantage of knowing your legal rights, having an impartial representative to present facts, and leveraging the experience of a professional to know what tactics have higher success rates in mediation and trial situations. At the very least, a consultation with a qualified attorney is always recommended!