Published On: Wed, Nov 22nd, 2017

Ten things to look for when getting a child custody lawyer

Child custody is an emotionally distressing and contentious issue. When relationships between parents break down and agreement can’t be reached, then mediation is usually the first stage of arranging a parenting agreement.

Working with the right lawyer will ensure that your needs, and your child’s needs are paramount.

gavel judge court case ruling

photo by Okan Caliskan via Pixabay

There are a number of things you can look for in the lawyer that you hire to take care of your custody case.


A lawyer who knows that family issues are extremely distressing and will be mindful of your emotional state, and your children’s and focuses on a person-centred care approach will help keep you calm and focused during the legal proceedings.

Lawyers have a reputation of being cold and uncaring, but this is not the case. Many lawyers, particularly those working in family law, are very considerate and mindful of the distress faced by those participating in custody proceedings.

Child custody lawyers are specialist legal providers, who regularly work with children and young people. They have a special way of being attentive and compassionate to both you and your children.

Child Friendly

Have a look at your potential solicitor’s office when you enter it. Do they have spaces for children to play, and have a comfortable environment?

Are the reception staff welcoming, and are there refreshments available? Have they offered you information brochures about what to expect?
Do the solicitors have a policy on being family friendly and child friendly?

If you can visibly see that there are rest rooms nearby, toys and other entertainment items for children, and the environment is friendly and inviting, you are more likely to experience a child friendly lawyer.

When you called the office to make an appointment, did you find that you were offered an information package to help prepare you for what to expect?

Did the receptionist offer you an appointment time that fits in with your work and other commitments? Were you offered any type of online appointment should you not be able to make the appointment in person (such as Skype or Messenger)?

These type of outside hours, or Skype appointments work better for busy parents, and assist you in not having to find a babysitter while you attend your appointment.

Payment Plans

When you make enquiries to various solicitors, be sure to discuss payment options with the receptionist. Some lawyers offer a payment plan, and may require an up front deposit in order to start legal proceedings.

Child custody lawyers may invoice in advance, and you have to ensure that whatever lawyer you work with will help you maintain your cash flows and still maintain affordability in your life.

The commitment of maintenance and other costs associated with raising your children is already very expensive, having to ensure that you plan for these costs is imperative so that you are able to prevent financial distress to yourself.

Case Preparation

Does the child custody lawyer in Sydney you approached have information for you on how to best prepare for your custody case?

Have they given you information on collecting receipts for items you have paid for, have they assisted you in providing information on keeping a journal of when you see your children and also documenting all interactions with the other parent?

You will need to talk to your child or children about their wants and desires, and ensure that you document discussions with your children.

How does the other parent respond when you attempt to discuss any matters to do with the child’s wellbeing? Does the other parent call you to harass you and ask for money?

Have there been any previous problems with domestic violence or abuse, and has the solicitor told you how this will be taken into account?

Timeframes, Costs and Expectations

Have the solicitors you have approached given you a reasonable expectation of the costs that are going to be incurred in mounting a custody case?

Do you have an idea of the hourly rate that your solicitor charges? Are you aware of the costs of certain items, is your lawyer attempting to be fair in their disclosure?

Ensure that costs are fully itemised and that the solicitor you are engaging is putting your best interests at heart. When you are more informed and the solicitor is transparent about costs, and expected timeframes, it helps build trust between you and your legal representative.


A relationship breakdown is traumatic for all people involved. When two adults form into a partnership, and a child or children come about as a result of that relationship, the intention is always to stay together.

When an unexpected travesty such as separation or divorce occurs, emotions run high, and decisions are difficult and financially costly.

Taking time to consider all aspects of engaging legal representation, and understanding timeframes and what is involved will help reduce the stress involved.

The right child custody lawyer in Sydney will help not only represent you, but prepare you and be transparent about all aspects of the case.

Author: Colin Steinway

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  1. Kate Rafton says:

    Know your rights and responsibilities!

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