Three Steps to Take in Child Custody Cases

children in front of sunset

If you and your spouse are separating, and you have a child, you have a delicate situation ahead of you. You want to keep your child’s welfare at the top of your mind, of course, but you also need to protect your own best interests.

Here are four steps to consider as you prepare to deal with the custody agreements involving your child or children.

  1. You Can File an OSC

An OSC, or an “Order to Show Cause,” is a way to obtain formal custody orders soon after you file for divorce. The OSC is a form and application that you fill out, which includes places where you declare your income as well as your itemized expenses. You file an OSC with the court, and then the court gives you a hearing date. At that point, you can serve your spouse (or other parent if unmarried) with the documents. There are specific rules surrounding the timing that you serve the document, and the manner in which you serve it. We can assist you through every step of that process.

  1. You Can Prepare a Declaration

The Supporting Declaration you file is a piece of paperwork in which you explain your circumstances, and explain why you should be the parent to receive primary custody – or whatever situation it is you are trying to request for yourself. Rather than explaining your situation in person to the Judge, who must see hundreds if not thousands of cases, you submit your case in writing. You declare what you feel the court should know about your parenting situation. Among the information this declaration should include: the ages of your children, their names, the orders you would want to Court to make on their behalf, and an explanation of why this decision would best serve the interests and needs of the children. If there is an existing plan in place which you feel should be changed, you can explain why the current arrangement is not ideal for the children. Remember that this declaration is all about the needs of the children, not the needs of either parent.

  1. You Can Request Physical Custody

Essentially, this is a request for sharing the time with your children. You can write in specific times that each parent would spend with the children, and you can allocate these times however you wish – two weekends a month, alternating weeks, two days / five days each week, etc. Assisting you with these documents, among other services, is how a family law attorney can help you.