Our Position on Initial Custody Requests

Clients hire attorneys that they believe will increase their likelihood of “winning” and who also reflect the client’s philosophical viewpoint. If you don’t agree with ours, ask yourself if you have genuinely realistic expectations. Although we are always our client’s zealous advocates, we continuously ask our clients to examine the best interests of their children.

Your child has a right to maintain a significant and meaningful relationship with both parents. The health, safety and welfare of children is paramount. Resolving custody issues quickly and thoughtfully can lessen a child’s suffering in your break up. As attorneys, solving a custody dispute is hard and rewarding work. While we realize that it is not always proper, joint custody with a flexible parenting schedule is the optimal solution.

The romance is over. You are probably disappointed and angry. This isn’t how your life was supposed to work out. You’ve probably been “room mates” for months. From now on, consider yourself a “business partner” in raising your child; the most important investment of your life. However, children are not property to divide like a joint checking account. Consequently, neither separating parent has a presumptive “right” to”50%/50%” parenting time.

There are rare circumstances when full custody orders are necessary and Hughes Law Group attorneys have secured such orders. However, unless there is a serious safety or sobriety issue, neither parent should request full custody orders. A parent demanding full custody at the outset for the purpose of “bargaining down” to a more reasonable percentage is simply wrong. Bad faith tactics only increase distrust and anxiety of parents and children. Your child deserves two parents that, although living apart, still act as a team to meet that child’s needs. The discussion should revolve around the child’s needs and whatever parental behavior prevents implementation of shared parenting time.

Our clients meet with an attorney at our firm prior to a custody mediation/evaluation to address any parental behavior or safety issue that prevents meaningful co-parenting (sometimes these involve domestic violence, alcohol abuse, drug abuse,mental health, parental distrust, alienation and poor communication). This preparation vastly increases successful dispute resolution on child-oriented terms and ensures that the evaluator understands your position.

No parent is perfect. Parents need to recognize problems and fix those within their control. Both sides need to answer the question, “How do I contribute to this seemingly unresolvable problem?” Doing so is not simply a settlement exercise, it is finding a solution rather than perpetuating expensive custodial disputes.