If you’re new to the child custody process, you may be wondering what a temporary custody agreement is. Learn when you need one here.
In the US, Utah and Alaska have the highest marriage rates. A closer look at a 2021 study reveals that approximately 23 women per 1,000 get married in these locations.
Unfortunately, marriages aren’t always as blissful as they should be. There are even occasions when children are no longer safe in their own homes. Sometimes, a judge might appoint someone for a temporary custody agreement.
It’s crucial to understand the nuances of this scenario before moving forward. Let’s explore what you should know.
What Is a Temporary Custody Agreement?
This is an arrangement that grants custody of children to their extended family members. Although the term “temporary” is part of the name, this type of custody can last indefinitely in certain states.
In general, parties suitable for temporary custody include:
- First cousins
- Step parents
If a temporary custody situation changes, the judge may reassess their decision. For example, grandparents who care for a child might fall ill or pass away. The judge will then determine another party’s eligibility.
What Factors Influence Child Custody?
At the end of the day, it’s up to the judge to decide on child custody and child visitation. There are certain factors that can influence their ruling. Listed below are some of the most notable.
Abuse or Domestic Violence
If abuse or domestic violence has occurred in a home, temporary custody may be awarded to someone outside of the home. If a couple divorces, a spouse with a history of abusive or violent behavior likely won’t get primary custody or even joint custody of their children.
Extended family members might seek temporary custody of a child if they discover the child’s household is unsafe. Allegations of abuse carry heavy weight in court.
To clarify, let’s assume a child visited a relative and told them that their father frequently displayed abusive behavior. This in itself might be enough evidence to pursue a temporary custody agreement.
An unstable home environment is one that doesn’t serve as sufficient shelter. There might be ongoing issues with utilities, pest infestations, or neglected repairs.
A couple in the middle of a divorce can also create an unstable environment for children. Judges will consider what disruptions are at play before deciding to grant temporary custody. In some cases, a judge might decide to keep the child at their home as long as things don’t get out of hand.
Parents must meet their child’s emotional and physical needs. They must also provide basic necessities like food and clothing. If the judge deems a parent incapable of handling these obligations, temporary custody may be awarded to somebody else.
A common scenario can include a parent who is never home or otherwise neglects their child. Regardless of why someone is incapable as a parent, it could lead to them losing custody of their children temporarily or indefinitely.
It’s never in a child’s best interest to be in a home rife with substance abuse. This includes both alcohol and hard drugs.
When this type of behavior occurs on a regular basis, it opens a gateway to other potential issues. People who abuse alcohol might be more likely to engage in abusive behavior. Parents who use hard drugs could neglect their children for days or even weeks.
If temporary custody is granted, the judge may order a parent to enroll in a substance abuse program. The final outcome will vary from case to case, but it often results in a parent proving they can change their ways.
The Child’s Preference
In certain situations, the judge may take a child’s preference into account. This is most often true when a child is older or displays substantial maturity.
For instance, a 14-year-old might have a part-time job and prefer to live with their father after their parents’ divorce. Their father’s home is closer to both their job and their school. A judge will likely consider the child’s preference in this case.
However, there is a risk of parental alienation in situations like these. This term refers to when a parent believes they lost their right to be with their children.
This can result in anxiety, guilt, erratic behavior, etc. Judges strive to avoid causing undue emotional distress when granting custody.
If a parent claims parental alienation, it can greatly complicate the case. The main problem here is that the parent the child doesn’t choose may not necessarily have been abusive or neglectful. The child may not have as close of a relationship with them.
So, judges need to consider how it will affect that individual and whether it will lead to parental alienation.
How Do I Find a Lawyer?
Although finding a child custody lawyer might seem overwhelming, it’s more straightforward than most people believe.
Many lawyers can help with child custody cases, but it doesn’t mean they have substantial experience. Search for someone who specializes in this area of law. This will maximize your chance of success.
How comfortable are you communicating with them? Dealing with child custody is often an emotionally charged process. If your lawyer is difficult to communicate with, you might find working with them to be unpleasant.
They should also be easy to contact via phone, text, or email. Ask about their payment structure. Some lawyers charge an hourly rate, while others charge a flat fee.
It’s in your best interest to search for the latter. Lawyers who charge hourly often embellish their billable hours.
For instance, they might spend 30 minutes doing clerical work and then bill you for it.
Finally, check their past reputation. See what previous clients have to say about the attorney’s professionalism, timeliness, and the results they got. A bit of research goes a long way when making your decision.
Protect Yourself ASAP
Divorces are never easy, and they can become more complicated without the right legal representation. It’s crucial to protect yourself as soon as possible. Your attorney will help you navigate the many nuances of divorce, such as dealing with a temporary custody agreement.
Ready to get started? Book a guidance call with Johnson/Turner Legal today. Our team has the knowledge and resources to help you take the next steps.