Cases Involving Unmarried Mothers with Infants
Many problems arise in cases involving unmarried mothers with infant children. If the couple has not been sharing child-rearing duties, even if the father is perfectly capable of caring for his child, the mother is often concerned the father will not be up to the task. As a result, courts have begun utilizing parenting coaches or consultants, as well as classes the parents can attend together. The purpose of this approach is to provide an environment for people to learn how to communicate their needs regarding their children’s care, eliminate false concerns from the custody process, and create an effective parenting plan for the couple.
Cases Involving Purported Abuse
When representing a client where abuse has been perpetrated on the client, it is important to first assess the level of abuse and how real it is. This means determining how and when it happened, as those allegations may work against the client’s case in court. For example, I once saw a case in which the mother, who was abused at some point during the relationship, focused on protective orders and domestic violence because the father bit her finger, neglecting to address something more serious that had occurred several years earlier. The judge did not take the mother’s claims seriously, and she lost custody to the father by aggressively relying on a minor incident, even though it technically was abuse.
Cases involving Substance Abuse / Mental Health Issues
If the case involves substance abuse or mental health issues, the attorney must first triage and assess the level of the difficulty involved by relying on any existing diagnoses. It is critical for the attorney to ensure those issues are under control before entering the courtroom, as the court must determine whether the client can be trusted to successfully manage and navigate the condition, and to be around the child unsupervised for extended periods of time. The client must follow all of the legal firm’s standard protocols for that particular condition. When determining those protocols, it can be helpful to consult with an expert qualified in that area. The attorney may employ psychiatrists, or even social workers who are individual counselors, to ensure the client goes to doctor or counseling appointments, manages any medications, and generally has the situation under control. In such situations, clients can often sound caustic and conflictive when they are confronted with the issue, so the attorney should teach the client to communicate in a more appropriate manner.
Complex Child Custody Cases
Our Austin Law Group is experienced in handling complicated cases of child custody. It can be very difficult to understand the legal ramifications of your actions without consulting an Austin attorney, especially when it involves difficult issues such as violence or mental health. Speak with an attorney now.