Washington, D.C. Child Custody Lawyer Seeks Lasting Solutions
Experienced attorney handles parenting discussions with compassion
Washington, D.C. is a joint custody jurisdiction, which means that the court starts out with the concept that it is in the child’s best interests for parents to share the responsibility of raising their children. My firm, the Law Offices of Jesse A. Gadson, PLLC, guides clients on issues relating to legal authority, residence and visitation by encouraging healthy cooperation and advocating for parents in court when necessary. No matter how tense relations might be between parents, I draw on more than 35 years of legal experience to identify the best solutions for their sons and daughters.
Understanding the types of custody
The following two types of custody arrangements must be resolved when parents go their separate ways:
- Legal custody — After a divorce, parents must determine who has the authority to make important decisions on the child’s behalf. It is usually preferable to establish joint legal custody so that both parents have a say regarding their child’s education, medical care, religious upbringing and other matters. However, if your co-parent might not be able to handle this responsibility safely, my firm can seek sole legal custody.
- Physical custody — Many factors should be considered when deciding where a son or daughter should live after their parents have broken up. These factors include physical comfort, parental fitness, educational opportunities and the youth’s existing daily routine. If the homes are near each other, shared physical custody might be appropriate. This does not necessarily mean that the child spends equal time in each home, as one residence might be closer to the child’s school.
Judges do not want to make custody decisions, so my firm looks to settle these issues whenever possible. If you have to go to court to fight for what is in your child’s best interests, you have to demonstrate that you’re willing to respect your former partner’s parental rights. First impressions can be very important and you should have an experienced attorney to help bolster your case.
Enforcement and modification of custody and visitation orders
During the development of an initial custody order, any pertinent information can be discussed and presented to the judge. Once a permanent order is in place, however, it becomes more difficult to make changes. A parent seeking to modify custody terms must show that substantial and material change has occurred and that the proposed adjustment is in their child’s best interests.
Deciding what best serves a youth’s needs can be complicated, especially in situations when a parent with primary physical custody wants to relocate to a new home that is farther from the noncustodial parent’s residence. The party seeking to move might have a compelling reason, such as a job change, family medical crisis or new relationship. However, this must be weighed against the noncustodial parent’s visitation rights. Whether you are requesting or opposing a relocation or some other type of custody order modification, it is critical to have an experienced family law attorney by your side.
Violating the provisions of a custody order can lead to civil sanctions, and possibly even criminal punishment. Frequently, a father or mother who has been unwilling to abide by the existing parenting plan will find their custody or visitation rights curtailed. When clients come to me for assistance with the enforcement of a custody order, I act quickly to remedy the situation and am prepared to pursue relief in court if necessary.
Knowledgeable adviser assists with visitation issues
A parent who does not have primary physical custody is entitled to frequent visitation with their son or daughter. By working closely with each client, I am able to negotiate a visitation schedule that covers the school year, holiday periods and vacations, along with related issues such as transportation between homes and how special family events are handled. If you are unsure about how to balance everyone’s needs and wishes, my firm can identify creative solutions and prepare a detailed schedule for approval by the judge.
Contact a compassionate Washington, D.C. child custody lawyer for a consultation
The Law Offices of Jesse A. Gadson, PLLC advises parents in Washington, D.C. and Maryland on child custody and visitation arrangements. Please call 202-972-1343 or contact me online to discuss your situation and legal options. My office is on Columbia Road NW in Washington, D.C.