1. Parenting
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

When to Hire a Child Custody Lawyer

"Do I Really Need to Hire a Child Custody Lawyer?"


Close-up of two business colleagues having meeting.
Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

It may be difficult to determine whether a parent needs to hire a good, qualified child custody lawyer. The ultimate goal for a child custody hearing is to find the most appropriate arrangement that serves the best interests of the child. Here are a few other considerations for a parent who is trying to determine whether they need to hire a child custody attorney:

Financial Resources

When deciding whether or not to hire a child custody lawyer, the most important consideration is a parent's financial resources. A retainer for a child custody lawyer may be quite expensive, depending on a number of factors including how many hours it may take to resolve the case, as well as the state in which you live. A parent who is considering whether to hire a child custody lawyer should inquire into how much an attorney may cost prior to hiring someone.

If a parent is unable to afford to retain a private attorney, he or she may be entitled to low cost or free representation through the family court. An important note about free representation is the court may base entitlement to free representation on a parent's income.

Complexity of the Case

A parent may opt to hire a child custody lawyer if they're facing a difficult child custody issue that may involve several complex issues. An example of a complex issue is an interstate child custody case. If a parent is facing a difficult custody case and he/she feels unsure about representing his/herself, a parent should consider hiring a child custody lawyer that specializes in complex legal issues.

If a parent decides to represent herself during a child custody hearing, she should prepare for the child custody case as much as possible so the parent has the best chance of winning child custody.

Attorney's Reputation

A parent may decide to hire a child custody lawyer based on the attorney's reputation at winning child custody. If an attorney has a history of working on certain cases, a parent may choose to hire that attorney to represent him/her on a child custody matter.

If a parent is eligible for low cost or free representation, he/she should inquire into that person's reputation with winning child custody cases. A parent should also inquire into a child custody lawyer's strategy for winning a child custody cases.

For more information about hiring a child custody attorney in your state, visit your state's bar association, as they'll most likely retain an active list of child custody attorneys. Alternatively, ask for referrals from trusted friends and family members who have work with a child custody lawyer in your area.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.