Anchorage Custody and Family Law Attorneys
When a marriage or other long-term relationship is coming to an end, it can be a very difficult and emotional time. Finding the right time to end a relationship is never easy, and couples that have spent a lot of time together may have difficulty drifting apart.
If the couple has had children together, both parents will likely want to remain involved in the lives of their children. These child custody disputes are often the most challenging aspects of any divorce or separation. Parents may fight over the time they are able to spend with the child, and this can lead to bitter disputes that require the court to make a decision.
Child custody can be the major controversy in divorce. At the Law Offices of Dan Allan & Associates, we put the best interests of the children first. We focus on an outcome that fosters parental cooperation and a healthy environment for the child while aggressively representing you and asserting your rights.
Our family law practice represents mothers or fathers in the greater Anchorage area and throughout Alaska. For experienced advocacy in determination of child custody and post-divorce modifications or enforcement, call us at 907-344-8851.
Working Together on Custody Issues
Because the court will only see a small picture of the situation, parents may be best served by trying to work out an agreement between one another. No matter how challenging it is to find out an arrangement that works for all sides, the court will issue a ruling that it believes is best for the child. If one of the parents does not like the agreement, he or she will still be expected to honor the decision.
If the parties are able to resolve their differences and agree to custody and parenting time arrangements, it can go a long way toward reducing some of the anger that can sometimes arise during a divorce. This way each parent will be able to enjoy the major events in a child's life, making it easier for both parents to play an active role.
Once entered, these agreements can be difficult to modify. It is important to discuss your case with an experienced family law attorney to help you create a child custody agreement that is focused on the child's best interests.
If it is necessary to have the court determine the appropriate arrangements, you need someone who is able to express your needs to the court. This may be a very difficult time for you and your family, but you need to work with someone who understands the sort of things that the court will consider when making a decision.
Meeting the Needs of Your Child in Child Custody Agreements
The courts often encourage divorcing parties to exercise restraint in badmouthing each other, especially in the children's presence. They are the true casualties, and the actions of their parents can make the divorce situation better or worse for children. Shared custody is preferred by the courts if there are no legitimate reasons to award sole custody to one parent. In the end, the parent who can best meet the needs of the child will often receive physical custody as determined by the court. The other parent may have regular visitation and can have a say in decisions about the child's education, upbringing, and general welfare.
When a court is asked to decide upon a child custody matter in Alaska, it must base any decision on the best interests of the child. Many factors go into what the court will examine before making a decision. These factors include:
- The needs of the child
- The ability of the parents to meet these needs
- The preference of the child, if mature enough to express these wishes
- The love and affection between child and parent
- The ability of the parents to provide a stable environment for the child
Additional factors may also be considered, which generally focus on the lifestyles of the parents. These situations may lead each side to accuse the other of being an unfit parent in the hopes of receiving custody or additional visitation time.
No Gender Bias in Child Custody
In spite of what many divorcing fathers might believe, gender is not an issue in determining custody. The misconception that the mother is always the better parent is not a guideline in the courts of Alaska for determining custody. Many men are taking an active role in their children's lives, whether they have sole or shared custody or a visitation schedule.
Modifications of Custody After Divorce
We represent either side when a non-custodial parent seeks shared or full custody. Factors that can influence the court include:
- Active involvement in the child's life
- The custodial parent's alienation or interference with visitation
- A parent's alcohol or drug problem
- Domestic violence
- Child abuse or neglect
- Preference of a child if sufficiently mature
We also handle child support enforcement and modifications.
We also represent either party in the hot-button issue of a custodial parent who wants to move out of state or a significant distance within Alaska. Judges are reluctant to deprive the non-custodial parent of regular interaction. The court will consider the best interests of the child and the motivation for the move. The parent left behind will often be awarded summer, vacation and holiday time with the child.
Child custody disputes can turn an otherwise peaceful divorce into a nasty court battle. Contact lawyers who will strive for a workable parenting arrangement but vigorously represent you in contested proceedings. Dan Allan has practiced in Alaska since 1981 and knows how to protect your interests. Talk with us in a free initial consultation.