While restraining orders explain temporarily who has custody of a child, these laws are not permanent. When a child is born, both parents are assumed to have joint custody, meaning that the father still has a legal right to be with the child. Filing for a custody order once the child is born is important to making sure that you have worked out all the details of custody – who will have the child when, how they are picked up and dropped off between visits, etc. Custody orders are more difficult to obtain than protective orders, but they are a permanent legal solution. The hearings for custody orders can have proceedings that take months, so taking early action is best way to combat the intricate process.
Here are some tips to prepare you for custody order hearings
- Document abuse in a journal. This can provide a historical record of why it’s important that the child not be around the abuser.
- Keep all legal identification documents in the same place. This includes a birth certificate, report cards and other official documents.
- Be a responsible parent. Take good care of your child so that the court has no reason to doubt your ability to raise the child. Have witnesses that can confirm your parenting skills.
- Seek legal counsel. Having legal representation in a courtroom setting is a useful way to strengthen your case.
Custody orders are going to help determine when the visitation laws and who has the child at different times (i.e. holidays and birthdays). Custody orders also determine who claims the child on their taxes and who will be getting the tax money from claiming the child as a dependent.
Just like with protective orders, you should keep a laminated copy of the custody order everywhere you go, especially at the hospital, with babysitters, at families’ houses and on your person.
If you’re confused or worried, you can always call, chat or text us. We can guide you through the laws having to do with protective and custody orders. Protect yourself and your unborn child by making the smartest moves.