Make Sure You Understand the Costs of Child Custody Litigation
Concern for your children should be paramount when you are going through a divorce. Addressing their needs in a child custody proceeding can be a difficult task requiring a great deal of attention. No matter your financial situation, time and money is finite. As you go through the process, you will want to help your son or daughter directly rather than devoting resources to litigation centering on custody and visitation arrangements.
Before deciding the best way to proceed, it’s helpful to understand the true costs that underlie a child custody case, even when parents are in general agreement on the issues relating to legal authority, residence and visitation. You should take the time to research the legal fees and other expenses associated with:
- Initial legal review and paperwork — Retainer payments for divorce lawyers are usually several thousand dollars and that money often just covers the law firm’s initial paperwork and investigation of your case. When children are involved, the legal bills go higher, due to the required deeper inquiry into all types of information that could be relevant to what is in the children’s best interests.
- Parenting plans — A sound parenting plan is necessary to obtain an appropriate custody order and to avoid problems later on. This document should be detailed and cover such issues as where children should spend their holidays and who will be responsible for their transportation between homes. Many decisions that need to be included concern practical matters having little to do with legal issues, but if you put these arrangements in the hands of an attorney, you will pay a premium for work that could have handled in other ways.
- Contested issues — If significant disagreements exist regarding custody or visitation provisions, arguing the decision before a judge is costly for both parties. Just preparing the necessary documents and getting on the docket takes time, which is billed to the client. To succeed in court might also take additional research and expert testimony, further running up legal bills.
Mediation with an experienced, neutral third party can serve as a cost-effective means of negotiating and finalizing child custody terms. Instead of spending money on needless paperwork or addressing matters where there is no dispute, you can get to the heart of the matter quickly and resolve it privately.
Solutions Divorce Mediation handles proceedings for divorcing spouses in Nassau and Suffolk counties. To discuss your matter in a free consultation, please call 1.631.683.8172 or contact us online. Our office is in Melville, NY.