When dealing with a legal issue involving your family—from divorce to child custody—the sooner you seek legal counsel from a law firm, the better. Onboarding an attorney before you file with the court allows us to prepare together and put a deliberate plan in place. Working with a Westport family lawyer from Freed Marcroft can give you the best chance to achieve your goals for a positive outcome.
Ending a Marriage
Divorce is one of the most common reasons people seek a family lawyer. Issues to be settled during a divorce include the division of marital property and parenting. Some couples choose to create a marital agreement—either a prenuptial agreement before getting married or a postnuptial agreement during a marriage—that outlines a division of assets in the event of a divorce.
A Westport family attorney can do more than guide you through a traditional divorce. While we have lawyers experienced in divorce litigation, we can also help you resolve your family issues through mediation or the collaborative divorce process.
Child custody disputes don’t always happen during a divorce. Unmarried parents who no longer want to cohabitate can also benefit from legal counsel. Just as with a divorce, the family court still governs child custody arrangements of cohabitating parents. The court applies the “best interest of the child” standard when determining a parenting plan and may weigh several factors, including:
- Physical and emotional safety of the child
- Child’s temperament and developmental needs
- The ability of each parent to be actively involved in the life of the child
A Westport family attorney can explain how, in their experience, divorce courts tend to view what’s in the children’s best interests. This can help you develop a preferred custody arrangement to which the court is more likely to be receptive. If you and your co-parent cannot reach an agreement, a Westport family attorney can advocate to the court the parenting plan that works best for your children and you.
While the divorce court considers any child custody order “final,” the court can also change its order. Legal counsel can help you seek modifications to the parenting plan post-judgment when you’ve experienced a material change in circumstances and, of course when the proposed modification is in the children’s best interests.
Securing Alimony and Child Support
The divorce court might require one spouse to provide the other financial support through alimony. When parents raise children in two households, the court can also order child support. Generally speaking, there’s still child support even when both parents spend substantial time with their children. This is because the Connecticut child support system operates on the principle that a child should receive a proportional share of both parents’ income as if the parents were still living together. This approach reflects the policy that parents should bear the additional expenses of maintaining two separate households. In other words, the higher-income earner often pays child support to the other parent to smooth out some financial differences between the child’s two homes.
A Westport family lawyer can negotiate child support during custody cases between unmarried parents and in the divorce of married parents. While Connecticut offers the divorce court judge guidelines to determine the appropriate amount of child support, the judge can deviate from these guidelines if it’s in the children’s best interests or if the family’s income exceeds those in the guidelines.
Reach Out to a Westport Family Attorney Right Away
If you are facing a family issue that requires legal help, now is the right time to talk to an attorney. Freed Marcroft will assist you as you navigate these life changes and set yourself up for the next chapter. Contact a Westport family lawyer and schedule a confidential consultation with one of our team members.