Delaware Child Custody Lawyers at Rahaim & Saints
When a family breaks apart due to divorce or separation, the parents and the court must make a critical decision concerning child custody. The question of child custody can easily become one of the most emotional and contentious issues in the divorce. Child custody laws govern the legal relationship between a parent and each child, as well as the amount of time each parent or guardian gets to spend with the child after the divorce or separation.
The experienced child custody lawyers at Rahaim & Saints work to minimize the stress and charged emotions that appear during many divorce cases. We’ll work with you to produce a solid custody arrangement that protects the child's best interest and allows each parent to provide care to the best of their abilities.
Legal and Physical Custody
In Delaware, each child custody agreement is decided on an individual basis. When a custody petition is filed, two types of custody will be considered: legal and physical custody.
In Delaware, legal custody is covered under two primary categories: joint legal custody, which is the most common form, and sole custody. The joint legal custody arrangement means that the court gives each parent equal decision making for the child. This includes any decision related to the following issues:
- Medical Care Decisions
- Religious Training
- Health and Welfare
If given sole legal custody, one parent has 100 percent of the responsibility and the right to make all legal decisions that relate to the child. However, the other parent can request information and data about the child. Sometimes, the court may decide to use a hybrid approach that encompasses the two approaches.
Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to where the child will live most of the time. The Delaware’s Contact Guidelines outline the various rules regarding the physical custody of the children. The primary factor that determines a child custody case, which the court weighs in accordance with the Guidelines, concerns the best interest of the child. As with legal custody, physical custody can be shared between two parents, called shared residential custody.
In most cases, judges will try to develop joint custody arrangements, so both parents continue to play a role in a child's life, and the child has the support of both parents during their formative years. While generally physical custody and legal custody are awarded either jointly or to the same parent, each case is different. In some cases, these two types of custody are divided. One parent may get vistation but may not be awarded legal custody, for example.
Who Will Get Custody?
Custody proceedings will determine who gets physical and legal custody of the children. Decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, taking the children's best interests in mind. Unfortunately, parents may have different ideas about what is in the best interests of the children. If this is the case, negotiation, mediation or even the involvement of a judge may be necessary.
At Rahaim & Saints, our Kent County family law attorneys are strong believers in mediation and other out-of-court solutions to custody disputes. A mediated or negotiated agreement will often be more comprehensive and equitable than a court-ordered solution. It also avoids giving the impression that a former partner has “won” during a proceeding.
When a reasonable agreement cannot be achieved through mediation, we will use every resource necessary to protect the best interests of your children. In contested cases, we can bring in child psychologists and other experts in an effort to convince the court that you should have physical custody, legal custody, or more visitation than is otherwise called for by the guidelines.
If your spouse is trying to prevent you from getting child custody, or you're concerned about your spouse’s ability to properly care for your child, contact child custody attorneys in Wilmington, DE or your community. Experienced attorneys can advocate for you and your children, protecting your children and your rights.
Understanding Visitation Rights
Child custody arrangements have a profound impact on your child's formative years. They can determine the relationship between your children and you, your children and your spouse, and even your post-divorce relationship with your spouse. Taking steps now can create the best possible solution for everyone involved.
Getting child custody attorneys in Newark, DE or your community involved early can help. Before the issue becomes contentious, child custody attorneys in Delaware can review your options with you and your spouse, offering advice as well as support. Since child custody can affect spousal support and other issues, consulting with family law and child visitation attorneys in Wilmington, DE can have a profound impact on overall divorce and custody proceedings.
Even when you are going through divorce, child visitation attorneys in Newark, DE can make the process as painless as possible. If you’re ready to talk to child visitation attorneys in Delaware so you can protect your rights and children, contact Rahaim & Saints. Our attorneys have been supporting families since 1993, and we can offer a consultation to address your concerns.