How A Lawyer Can Help You Get The Best Child Custody Outcome
When a couple with children divorce, they may think they can handle child custody matters themselves. They may want to save money, so they choose to proceed without a lawyer. Is this a good idea?
Divorce lawyers tend to have a reputation for wanting to argue. However, studies show that divorcing parents who retain lawyers are actually more likely to settle outside of court. Plus, both parents are more likely to share custody.
While this may seem like good news, low-income parents get the short end of the stick in these cases because they are less likely to have the money to hire an attorney. They are less likely to receive joint custody and they tend to have worse relationships with their former spouses. In addition, their children don’t adjust as well as those whose parents hired a lawyer, at a rate of 43%, versus 61% of children whose parents are not low-income,
The benefits, however, are best seen when both parents hire lawyers. When just one parent has a lawyer, it may create an opposite effect, where that lawyer attacks the other parent, creating anger and tension during the divorce. So the trick is to ensure that both parents have lawyers. In this situation, attorneys tend to encourage clients to reach a co-parenting agreement instead of heading to court.
In fact, of the 1,000 divorced adults surveyed, 86% of cases resulted in a settlement outside of court, which is considered to be the best outcome. In addition, 82% of the overall cases resulted in joint custody. This is widely considered to be the best option for children, except in rare cases.
Those with more money and education were more likely to have legal representation. Of those who had lawyers, nearly three-quarters were very satisfied with the outcome. Of those who did not have attorneys representing them, 59% were very satisfied.
Another benefit of having each parent with a lawyer is that these cases were also quicker to settle. When just one parent had a lawyer, the divorces were less likely to settle and took at least a year to finalize. When both parents had lawyers, the cases were settled in roughly seven months, on average.
There is a downside to these benefits, though: the cost. When both parents are represented by lawyers, the average cost is roughly $18,000. That’s compared to $8,000 when just one parent has an attorney. And when neither parent had a lawyer, the total cost was just $500.
Seek Legal Help
While many divorcing couples think they can successfully battle things out without a lawyer, having the right legal help can be beneficial and actually make the process much smoother.
Fort Lauderdale child custody attorney Edward J. Jennings, P.A. can help you get a good outcome in your divorce, whether you are dealing with issues pertaining to asset division, child custody, alimony, and more. Schedule a consultation today. Fill out the online form or call 954-764-4330.