Will she need a lawyer for a custody case? 23 Answers as of May 31, 2013

The husband does not live in the home. Now he wants full custody of their newborn baby. Wife has never kept baby away from him. How should the wife be prepared for their first court date? Should she have a lawyer?

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Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
Yes, the wife should have a lawyer to represent her.
Answer Applies to: Virginia
Replied: 5/31/2013
Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
She should get a family law attorney who practices in the county in which she and the baby resides.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 12/5/2011
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
Custody cases are very difficult. Any custody order may have a long lasting effect. Certainly, either parent may be awarded physical custody whether they are the mother or the father. As a result, it is wise to hire experienced legal counsel. Courts make custody determinations based on what the court believes is in the child's best interests. In most cases, the court will award primary physical custody to one parent while the other will have a parenting schedule. The court will consider any relevant facts in making a custody determination including 13 specific factors outlined in Minnesota Statutes. Your case should be carefully framed to address each of the relevant statutory factors to be effective. You should consult with legal counsel.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 12/5/2011
Law Office of Jane E. Ginsburg
Law Office of Jane E. Ginsburg | Jane Ginsburg
If you can afford one, having a lawyer can be an advantage especially if the other parent has one.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/3/2011
Marca Tanner Attorney at Law | Marca Tanner
It depends. Without more information I really couldn't give a decent answer to this question. Assuming that the mother is a fit parent, without criminal issues, the court will not upset the status quo. It is highly unlikely that the court would give custody of a newborn to a father who has not been living in the home. However, if there are other factors, like the mother having trouble with the law, or a child protective services case being opened against her, or the mother having any mental health or depression issues, it is possible that the court would remove the child from the custody of the mother. That does not mean custody would be given to the father. I recommend a lawyer be present in the court with a client in domestic cases, if only because it gives the client needed support emotionally. Otherwise, if this is truly a case of a perfectly fit mother with no criminal or mental health problems, the court will not upset the current custody arrangement in an initial court appearance. If this is anything other than the Perfect Mother scenario, she would definitely want a lawyer present.
Answer Applies to: Utah
Replied: 12/3/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    She should probably hire an attorney. The reality is that fights over children can get complex, intense, and very paper heavy fairly quickly. Most people don't have the time or training to deal with this. So, hiring a lawyer is probably best.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/3/2011
    Lewis, Pfanstiel & Williams, PCLO
    Lewis, Pfanstiel & Williams, PCLO | Ryan J. Lewis
    Yes she should absolutely have an attorney to protect your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    If at all possible she should have an attorney to ensure that all the proper procedures are followed in order to allow the judge to decide what is in the child's best interest.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    The Law Offices of Mandy J. McKellar
    The Law Offices of Mandy J. McKellar | Mandy J. McKellar
    I always recommend that the parties have an attorney if its financially available. Especially for court dates as so many things could go wrong.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Yes, wife should hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    Absolutely she should have an attorney! When something so incredibly important is at stake as who gets to spend time with the child and what appropriate timesharing is in the best interest of the child, it is of tantamount importance that the matter be properly presented to a judge so that an appropriate decision is made. She should consult with an attorney immediately, especially if she already has a pending court date!
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Dunnings Law Firm
    Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
    Yes, get a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/31/2013
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    Of course she should have a lawyer. Did she go to law school and specialize in family law.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    WOW. She needs advice from a domestic relations attorney now. She needs to file for divorce or legal separation to protect her rights to the child. Husband has as much a right to he child as she does, so to protect herself, she needs to quickly move ahead.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Unless she wants to have the case go very badly she had better get a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    To ensure the mother and child are properly protected, the mother should secure the services of a skilled family law attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    Yes, the wife should get a lawyer. She will want to make sure that she is prepared for the hearing.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    Linda C. Garrett Law
    Linda C. Garrett Law | Linda Garrett
    Need, no. Strongly recommend, yes. At the very least, mom should hire an attorney to provide coaching services. This means she appears in court, but she is prepared to make arguments as she will have received some advanced coaching.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC
    The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC | Elizabeth Zwiebel
    Short answer is yes. In order to protect her rights, a lawyer may be necessary.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 12/2/2011
    David A. Browde, P.C.
    David A. Browde, P.C. | David Browde
    Yes, she should be represented by a local family lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 12/2/2011
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