The True Cost of a Custody Battle
There is probably not a more important, or emotionally-charged, issue in separation and divorce than that of child custody. Custody involves not only the amount of time that each parent gets to spend with his or her children; it also encompasses the right to make major, life-shaping decisions for the children. Certainly, this is not something to be taken lightly. In fact, many times, custody may be one of the few matters in a divorce that is truly worth fighting over, as long as the fight is reasonably based and necessary. People are almost always more motivated to find the money to fight a custody battle because they believe strongly that they are doing what is best for their children.
However, while the emotional component of a custody battle is inevitable and unavoidable, child custody needs to be approached the same way as any other aspect of a divorce… logically and reasonably. Otherwise, you could easily end up with hefty legal bills and undesirable outcomes.
3 Things to Consider BEFORE a Child Custody Battle
- It’s all about the children. A custody battle should never be fought for you. You should not pursue litigation out of spite or animosity towards the mother or father of your child. The only reason to fight over child custody is to protect the wellbeing of the children. No matter how much you may dislike the other parent, in most cases, reaching a reasonable agreement where both parents are able to be active participants in their children’s lives is truly what is in the children’s best interest.
- If you can settle, you should. The court system is set up to encourage divorcing couples to work out the important details of their divorce amongst themselves. Most judges will tell you, “You’d be better off making this decision rather than me, but I’ll make it. You know these things better than me, but it’s my job to decide if you can’t.” The Judge will often require the parties to participate in mediation, settlement conferences, pre-trial conferences, etc. in the interest of promoting compromise.All too often, parents spend huge sums of money to get to the finish line of a custody battle, only to realize that they could have gotten there a lot quicker and a lot less expensively if they had just acted more reasonably along the way. Yes, sometimes no matter what you do the other side just isn’t willing to bend. But, you should still keep trying.
- A win today may not be a win tomorrow. Just because custody is resolved at one point in time doesn’t mean that it’s resolved permanently. Custody is an issue that can be modified by the Court at any time and by further Court Order. You may resolve custody only to have circumstances change down the road, one of the parties to ask for a modification of the custodial arrangement previously ordered by the Court. Now, you’re right back in that that same emotionally-charged battle mode and incurring similar expenses again.
It goes without saying that, in separation and divorce, people make emotional decisions. They fight over all kinds of issues and those conflicts typically cost them significant amounts of money. Unlike fighting over furniture and big screen TVs, the costs incurred in a child custody battle are often justified and necessary in order to safeguard your children’s wellbeing. However, just because it’s for a worthy cause doesn’t mean you should let your emotions control your decisions. By approaching the issue of child custody with a realistic and reasonable attitude, you can help minimize both your emotional and financial costs.
If you are facing a custody battle and have questions about your rights and what to expect, contact Coover Law Firm, LLC to schedule a consultation with experienced family law attorney Fred L. Coover, Esquire in our Columbia, MD office. Fred has been practicing divorce and family law in Howard County, MD for over 30 years. He understands the sensitive nature of child custody issues and fights to defend the best interests of his clients and their children. Call us today at (410) 995-1100. We look forward to serving you!
Disclaimer: The information in this blog post is provided for general educational & informational purposes only. It is not intended to convey legal advice or serve as a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter.