I wanted to move home to Ohio, which the father did not approve of, but have decided to stay in North Dakota, since the father is set on taking me to court for custody. Not married and never have been. But he does not plan on staying in North Dakota. Our son is only going on 6 months old. I'd just like to know what I can possibly expect when and if he actually takes me to court. Would a judge be willing to grant joint custody? What kind of visitation would be allowed if the father does move? etc.
Child custody determinations are often very complex. Generally, courts have to weigh a litany of factors to determine what's in the child's best interests. There is no specific formula for making such decisions. Depending on your circumstances, in speaking with an attorney, you may only get a best guess scenario because what a judge will see of your situation may not be the same that you or your lawyer sees.
One thing that will help you is to document everything: conversations, emails, text messages, informal custody or visitation agreements, whether the other parent has regularly shown up for scheduled visitation, etc. have this stuff collected and organized before you talk to an attorney. It will save them time and you money.
If you do that, a good lawyer should be able to give you a good assessment of your case within a relatively short meeting. Also, talk to more than one attorney to find a good fit. But certainly, find a lawyer. Parents lose custody cases regularly because they don't have an attorney. It's much cheaper in the long run to get a good attorney for your initial custody battle than to skimp and have to make up lost ground later on.
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