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Child Custody

There are few cases as expensive, time-consuming and emotionally straining as a child custody action.  The legal principle is deceptively simple: The Family Court works to ensure that the minor child's best interests are served and welfare protected.

If the parents cannot amicably resolve the issues of child custody and visitation, the Court will appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to represent the minor child.  The Court directs the Guardian Ad Litem to do an investigation and make recommendations to the Court.  The Guardian Ad Litem's  investigation includes  Home Visits, meeting with the child, checking the parents' references and background, checking the child's school record, along with making any other relevant inquiries.  The Guardian Ad Litem is an attorney or other professional and provides a professional service for which the parties pay.

In some counties, parents may be advised or required to participate in mediation.  A mediator is usually an attorney with specialized training.  The mediator tries to help parents resolve disagreements and reach settlements.  The mediator does this by conducting negotiations and helping the parties find common ground.  Again, as with the Guardian Ad Litem, the mediator is providing a professional service and both parents generally share the cost; however, paying a mediator can be money well spent given the high cost of litigation.




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