Sometimes, parents can agree on what they believe is best for their child or children both short-term and long-term. Despite being divorced from the other parent, or never having been married at all, there are certainly circumstances where parents can effectively communicate with one another to reach shared decisions on issues such as education, health, and the children’s general welfare. There are also times when parents are aligned in what they believe is the appropriate time-sharing arrangement for their child or children between the two households. This can result in a primary residence for the children, or two (2) homes for the children where they can be loved equally by both parents on a shared basis. Parents who can agree on what is best for their children in the short-term and the long-term have a tremendous advantage over parents who carry fundamental differences regarding their children. It is beyond dispute that children prosper from stability, and a life that does not involve conflict between their parents. When parents put their children’s needs above their own by way of effective co-parenting and avoid litigation, their children have a much higher rate of success.
Parents who cannot agree on what is best for their children are not alone. In fact, many couples find themselves going through the separation and divorce process due to fundamental differences regarding parenting of their children. This theme has become much more common in recent times, i.e., parenting differences leading to separation and divorce. The custody litigation process is one which can be incredibly challenging for parents advocating for what is most important, and the legal partner that is used through the litigation process is absolutely critical. This legal partner is one that understands the needs of children who are subject to a broken household; this legal partner is one that is able to advocate for the best interests of children that is consistent with established legal principles; this legal partner is one that can be trusted to guide each and every client through a difficult process with confidence and strength knowing that children are most important.
Parents differ on what they believe is best for their children based on a variety of reasons. Some of those reasons are based on reason and logic, and some are based on more nefarious agendas such as financial gain or spite towards the other parent. In many instances when parents do not agree, it is most important to learn the perspectives of experts and non-experts who come in contact with the children for litigation and non-litigation purposes. The goal is always to insulate children from the litigation process but there are tools that can be used to learn what is best for children without their direct involvement with the court. Our law firm is routinely involved in cases that involve forensic custody evaluations, psychological testing, and the appointment of Best Interest Attorneys who directly represent the interests of children. The court is sensitive to the negative impact that high conflict divorce and litigation can have on children, but it also charged with determining a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the children when parents cannot decide this for themselves. In these instances, the firm undertakes a calculated process tailored to each case designed to make an effective presentation to the court regarding the children, their needs, and their parents.
Custody litigation ranges from divorcing parents who live in the same school district to cases in which one parent seeks to relocate to another jurisdiction, thereby minimizing potential time with the other parent. Whether a local custody dispute, one that involves relocation, high-conflict, or one that involves the interpretation and enrollment of foreign custody decrees, Hecht & Associates has the seasoned attorneys to meet your needs and the needs of your children. The ability to create a clear, concise, and child-centered presentation to the court in the form of witnesses and legal advocacy is the distinguishing factor for any successful litigation firm.
Custody law is one of the most nebulous arears of law because while there are factors that the court must consider, there is always the overriding consideration of what is in the children’s best interests. This essentially requires the court to look prospectively into the future and make a decision regarding physical and legal custody of children based on a presentation by attorneys, their clients, and collateral witnesses in a limited amount of time. The factors that the court considers in custody litigation include, but are not limited to the following:
The fitness of the persons seeking custody
The adaptability of the prospective custodian to the task
The age, sex and health of the child
The physical, spiritual and moral well-being of the child
The environment and surroundings in which the child will be reared
The influences likely to be exerted on the child
and, if he or she is old enough to make a rational choice, the preference of the child. It stands to reason that the fitness of a person to have custody is of vital importance.
The paramount consideration, however, is the general overall well-being of the child.
Character and reputation of the parties
Desire of the natural parents and agreements between the parties
Potential of maintaining natural family relations
Material opportunities affecting the future life of the child
Residences of the parents and opportunity for visitation
Length of Separation from the natural parents
Prior voluntary abandonment or surrender
Evidence of abuse against a party or the child
The results of a custody trial will have long lasting effects on children of all ages. The impact on children, and the need to advocate for their best interests is our primary focus at Hecht & Associates. The impact of our attention to detail, aggressive representation, and compassion, has built an incredibly strong reputation within the family law community.