Weighing the Risks of a Child Custody Trial

A mother and daughter holding hands

In our experience, there is no comparable area of law to child custody law. Our children are the most important people in our lives. The fact that separated parents are attempting to work out their parental rights, where children live, and when they will see their children, inspires some of the most highly contested situations we have ever seen.

Every parent has an instinct to fight for their children, with some adamant that they must have their day in court. We always advise our clients of the reality that most child custody lawsuits do not go to a contested trial, and are instead resolved by agreements between the parents. This is because there are inherent risks in proceeding to a child custody trial.

Child Custody Trials Come With Risks

Child custody decisions are made based on what a judge determines to be in a child’s best interest. Judges are thereby given broad discretion to consider a wide array of factors when deciding how to award legal and physical custody, as well as parental visitation and access. These factors include:

  • A child’s wishes, depending on the child’s maturity.
  • Which parent will allow a continued relationship with the other parent.
  • The level of conflict between the parents and their ability to co-parent.
  • The mental and physical health of each parent.
  • The needs of the child.
  • The nature of the parent-child relationship with each parent.
  • The child’s sibling relationships and contact.
  • Any history of abuse, neglect, kidnapping, or domestic violence.

Further, judges are considered the “fact finders” in child custody proceedings, which gives them the sole authority to make decisions about (1) the credibility of the witnesses and (2) what to believe when faced with conflicting evidence. Judges are also human beings, who enter court proceedings shaped by their own life experiences.

As such, a decision that seems easy and predictable to you is anything but that to the people making the decisions about your children’s future. So an outcome that you believe to be a foregone conclusion can turn out to be an unpleasant surprise. We therefore urge our clients to have an open mind when it comes to negotiating a child custody agreement and to trust us to zealously advocate for their best outcome.

Seek Family Law Representation from Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P.

If you need assistance resolving the custody of your child, contact Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P. You and your children need certainty and stability. Our attorneys understand that enforceable child custody orders can help ease stress for a parent. We are therefore motivated to provide compassionate, effective, and responsive representation to our family law clients. Let us help you. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule an appointment or contact our office through our website.

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