Albuquerque Child Custody Lawyer
New Mexico’s family courts prefer when parents share responsibility for their children and when both parents contribute to the important decisions regarding education, welfare and lifestyle. Unfortunately, parents cannot always agree on the best interests of their children and important custody decisions are left up to a judge to make.
At the law firm of Stephen P. Eaton, Attorney at Law, we guide our clients through the child custody process and help protect their parental rights and the well-being of their children. In many cases of divorce, we will encourage a client to cooperate with their former spouse in order to devise an agreement that works for both parties. It is rarely ideal to let a stranger make decisions about your family that have the potential to leave a lasting impact on the future of you and your children.
However, we are always prepared to go to court to fight for our clients’ rights when custody arrangements cannot be agreed upon. If you need an advocate on your side, contact lawyer Stephen P. Eaton in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Legal Custody and Physical Responsibility
- Legal custody is often confused with time sharing. Legal Custody refers to the right to make decisions about your children. The Court wants parents to both be involved in those decisions.
- Joint Legal Custody. Unless one of the two parents is determined to be unfit, the court will expect that both parents have the opportunity to maintain a relationship with their child or children. Joint legal custody does not mean that a child will spend exactly half of his or her time with each parent but does mean that both parents will be active in the children’s life.
- The other option is Sole Legal Custody. Sole Legal Custody is usually only available when a parent is absent or unfit. In those circumstances, the court may grant one parent the sole responsibility for making decisions about a child or children.
Whether the parents have Joint or Sole Legal Custody, the Court always considers what timesharing arrangements are best for the children. This is usually referred to as Physical Responsibility, or timesharing. There are two general categories of Physical Responsibility:
- Shared physical responsibility: An arrangement where the children spend large amounts of time in each parent’s home. (at least 5 days out of every two weeks). Both parents have responsibility for school, medical care and arranging for and getting the children to their activities. This usually requires good communication, similar parenting styles and parents who live close to one another.
- Primary physical responsibility: An arrangement where the children live primary with one parent and visit with the other parent. (For example, Every other weekend visitation). Under many circumstances this arrangement is best for the children.
The Court uses research on the developmental needs of children to determine what Legal Custody and Physical Responsibility arrangement is best for children in each unique case. Stephen Eaton limits his practice to Family Law so he can stay up to date on the latest research about child custody. He can help you evaluate your unique situation and craft a parenting plan that meets your and your children’s needs.
It is possible to create creative custody agreements that work for both parties. Typically, agreements that are drafted out of cooperation are easier for parents to comply with and are also easier to amend when lifestyle changes occur.
Contact Child Custody Lawyer Stephen P. Eaton
For more information about child support in New Mexico, contact us at Stephen P. Eaton, Attorney at Law. Call us in Albuquerque at 505-837-9200. We accept all major credit cards as payment for our legal services.