Montgomery Child Custody Lawyers & Custody Attorneys
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If you need to change or modify custody of a child that has already been ordered before, you have to go back and change the prior order whether it was in a divorce or a non-divorce custody hearing. To change legal custody in Montgomery County, you typically should get a Montgomery child custody lawyer to file it for you. That way you have a child custody attorney to argue your case for you to the judge. When a child custody lawyer files your petition to modify custody in Montgomery County, your case will be set for a hearing. The party with custody at the moment will be notified and they will show up to the hearing to oppose your petition. Whether you need a custody lawyer in Anniston or Montgomery, we can help.
Your Montgomery child custody lawyer will make your argument to the judge and the other party will argue why custody should not be changed. Both sides will present evidence and witnesses to explain the changes in circumstances that would justify modifying custody or the lack of any substantial changes to justify any changes. At this hearing, the judge will ultimately decide whether to change custody per your request or not. If you need to change custody then call our Montgomery child custody lawyer today for a consultation about the custody modification process.
If circumstances change substantially after custody is granted to someone, then you can petition to change custody because of these substantial changes. However, there have to be a substantial change in circumstances for a judge to make such custodial changes. For example, if you do not have custody of the child but since the prior Order the custodial parent has been using drugs around the child or otherwise putting the child in danger then that would be a substantial change.
Our Montgomery child custody lawyers typically require something called a retainer to start a child custody modification going. If you and the other parent agree on the change, then we can do a quick agreement to change the custody without a hearing or anything sometimes. A modification of custody by agreement can be done simply and is mostly paperwork. We charge a low flat fee to do this for you, so if you need this done our Montgomery child custody lawyer can help. If you are not in agreement then you will have to pay a retainer and it will be much more expensive
Retainers are what you pay the Montgomery child custody attorney to file the petition for modifying custody and work for you at an hourly rate, billing the retainer amount as they perform the work. When the retainer is gone, then you have to refill it for the child custody lawyer to keep working for you on the case. The retainers for our Montgomery child custody lawyers to file a contested custody petition starts at $2500 and can be more, depending on your circumstances. Call our custody lawyer in Montgomery County today for a consultation.
To modify custody in Montgomery, the courts use a standard from a court case called Ex Parte McLendon. This standard is sometimes called the McLendon Standard. To satisfy the McLendon Standard, the party asking for custody must show the following:
- That there was a material change in circumstances that occurred since the previous Order regarding custody.
- That the change in custody would be materially in the best interest of the child.
- That the disruptive effects resulting from this change in custody are outweighed by the benefits of the custody change.
The court uses the “best interest of the child” standard when making the initial custody decision, generally just taking into account the best interest of the child. When a petition to modify custody is filed, the court uses the more strict McLendon standard. This is because judges are hesitant to change custody due to the inherent disruption it causes for the child. So if you are the non-custodial parent then you need to not only show the child will be better off with you, but that they would be so much better off that it outweighs the disruptions caused from a custody change.
A Petition to Modify Custody is filed in county where the original Order for custody was entered. The petition should have all of your allegations for why custody should be changed. Once filed, the other parent must be served and notified of the filing. If you call our Montgomery Child Custody Lawyers today we can get it filed and get your ex-spouse served today.
There are many factors a judge will consider when modifying custody such as the health, needs, relationship of parties to people around them, home environments, age of parties, mental and financial stability of parties, interpersonal relationship between child and parents, whether there has been interference by a parent with the other parent’s relationship with the child, and the wishes of the child. These are just a few of the possible things a judge can consider, but they can consider anything they think is relevant in the courtroom. Let our Montgomery child custody attorneys help argue your case to the Court on your behalf.
If there is no Order already in place, then you will need to get custody decided by filing a custody petition. If you and the other parent(s) are in agreement about the custody petition, then we usually charge a retainer up front of at least $1500. If you are married you can just file for a Montgomery divorce and obtain custody in your divorce filing. If you are not married then you can still file a petition for custody in Montgomery County, Alabama.
Our Montgomery custody lawyers can help you modify custody if you need a custody or divorce attorney in Prattville, Millbrook, Autauga County, Lee County, Montgomery County, Macon County, Dallas County, Pike County, Chilton County, Elmore County, or anywhere else in and around Montgomery, Alabama. Call our Montgomery child custody attorneys today for a consultation and to find out whether you have a good custody modification case to file or not.
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