Child Custody Attorneys in Dover, DE

Custody Cases Are Emotional and Consequential

In Delaware, when spouses are going through a divorce, child custody decisions are based on several factors that are taken into consideration to determine what’s best for the child. These factors involve the child’s welfare, the quality of parent-child relationships, the stability of the home environment provided by each parent, the mental and physical health of the parents, and the child’s wishes (if they are old enough to express them).

At Schmittinger & Rodriguez we are dedicated to assisting clients in navigating the legal process while advocating for their children. We will provide you with a compassionate child custody lawyer to guide you of provide strong legal representation to protect parental rights and prioritize children’s well-being.

 

Types of Child Custody
Arrangements

As DE lawyers, we provide guidance and representation for a range of divorce custody arrangements. Every situation is unique, and a comprehensive understanding of each case is crucial. Therefore, we work with parents to help them make informed decisions regarding their children’s well-being.

These are the types of divorce custody arrangements that can be made through the legal system:

Sole Custody

Sole custody refers to a situation where one parent is granted primary physical and legal custody of the child. This means that the custodial parent has the authority to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing without the need for constant consultation with the other parent. While the non-custodial parent may still have visitation rights, the custodial parent has the primary responsibility for the child’s daily care and decision-making.

Joint Custody

Joint legal custody involves shared physical and legal custody of the child. Both parents have equal rights and responsibilities in making important decisions about the child’s education, healthcare, and overall well-being. Joint custody encourages ongoing cooperation and collaboration between parents, providing the child with the opportunity to maintain a close relationship with both parents.

Joint Physical Custody

Joint physical custody specifically refers to an arrangement where the child spends substantial and roughly equal amounts of time living with both parents. This arrangement emphasizes the shared physical care and residence of the child. In joint physical custody, the child has a significant amount of time and contact with both parents, allowing for a more balanced and ongoing relationship.

Shared Custody

Shared custody is a form of joint custody where the child spends substantial and roughly equal amounts of time living with both parents. This arrangement allows for shared parenting responsibilities and promotes a sense of stability and continuity for the child. Shared custody arrangements require effective communication, cooperation, and flexibility between the parents.

Visitation Rights

Visitation rights allow the non-custodial parent to spend time with the child on a regular basis. The visitation schedule can be negotiated or determined by the court, taking into consideration the best interests of the child and the availability of both parents. Visitation rights are essential for maintaining and fostering a strong parent-child relationship, even when one parent does not have physical custody.

In cases of determining custody arrangements after a divorce, the court takes into consideration a range of factors that influence the child’s best interests. Factors include the parent’s ability to offer a nurturing environment, the preferences of the child (if age allows), and the involvement history of each parent. As experienced family law attorneys, we work closely with you to understand your unique circumstances and assist in obtaining a custody arrangement that enhances the well-being and joy of your children.

Get Started Today

Contact Schmittinger & Rodriguez

At Schmittinger & Rodriguez, we understand how difficult and stressful it can be to deal with a family law matter. It can be traumatic and emotionally charged.

Our team has decades of combined experience handling family law issues. We have a deep understanding of Delaware law and will provide dedicated legal representation throughout your case. Our experienced attorneys are committed to providing you with personalized attention and will fight hard to get you the best possible outcome for your case. If you or someone you love has a family law matter, contact Schmittinger & Rodriguez today and let us help you through this difficult time. We will work hard to get you the justice, security, and peace of mind that you deserve.

our reviews

What Our Clients Say

Brian Jenkins
2023-10-05
Mr Catts went above and beyond to handle my complicated case. The level of professionalism is second to none. The staff and Mr. Catts were kind, courteous, and listened to my concerns with compassion. I would recomend this firm to anyone needing legal help. They earned my trust in am amazing way.
Linda Wilson
2023-10-04
Mr Catts and his legal team went above and beyond for me. They never stopped pursuing all avenues to get the compensation that I deserved. The staff was courteous and showed compassion. I felt like they really cared about my injuries. I highly recommend their services to anyone
Tatiana Sida-Amor
2023-09-17
I was recommended to this law office by my doctor after my car accident in the summer of 2021. I ended up working with Mr. Catts. I appreciate how forthcoming and hardworking he was about my case. The office is extremely professional to ensure that I got the best settlement that I could get. The open communication eased my mind and allowed me to handle things I needed to for myself. Definitely recommend them if you want lawyers that give you results.
Kathyjo Mays
2023-09-07
I recommend them highly and have referred them to many of my friends and family. Very informative and def kept me up to date about my case. Schmittinger & Rodriguez def worked very hard for me.
Mary Zober
2023-09-06
The staff is friendly and makes you feel comfortable. The firm worked on getting my settlement and kept me informed every step of the way.
Sharonda goode
2023-08-15
Great experience! Doug Catts, Ryan and Ms. Kaye are awesome to work with. Very professional, friendly & knowledgeable. They are expensive. But get the job done & in a timely manner. I use Mr. Catts for all my legal needs.
Hot Box237
2023-08-15
I will recommend this lawyer to any one, I feel like crying. He is kind, patient and a good listener. He solved your problem and at the end advice you. Thank you very much.
Cheryl Rowe
2023-08-15
Doug is personable...assertive and he will get the job done!
Patsy Ware
2023-08-14
Schmittinger and Rodriquez attorney Doug Catts is the best, I highly recommend him. As an attorney he is forthright, honest, transparent and sincere. Doug Catts and his staff are amazing.

Factors Considered in Child Custody Cases

When it comes to custody cases, the primary consideration is always the best interests of the child. The court carefully evaluates various factors to determine the custody arrangement that will promote the child’s well-being and provide a stable and nurturing environment.

Here are some of the key factors that influence custody decisions in Delaware:

Child’s Best Interests

The court prioritizes the best interests of the child above all else. This means that the custody arrangement should be designed to meet the child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs to the fullest extent possible.

Parent-Child Relationship

The strength and nature of the relationship between each parent and the child are significant factors. The court considers the level of involvement, bonding, and interaction between the child and each parent, as well as the ability of each parent to provide love, care, and support.

Parental Fitness

The court evaluates the physical and mental health of each parent to determine their fitness to care for the child. Factors such as drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence, criminal history, and any evidence of neglect or abuse can significantly impact custody decisions.

Stability and Continuity

The court considers the importance of providing a stable and consistent environment for the child. Factors such as the continuity of the child’s education, community, and social connections are taken into account to ensure minimal disruption in the child’s life.

Parental Cooperation

The willingness and ability of each parent to promote a positive co-parenting relationship and facilitate frequent and meaningful contact between the child and the other parent are essential. The court encourages parents to demonstrate a cooperative attitude and a willingness to work together in the best interests of the child.

Child’s Preferences

If the child is of sufficient age and maturity, their preferences may be considered by the court. The weight given to the child’s preferences will depend on their age, maturity level, and the overall circumstances of the case.

It’s important to keep in mind that every custody case is unique, and the court carefully considers the family’s particular circumstances and dynamics. The goal of our family law attorney is to help you present persuasive evidence, assert your rights, and showcase your capability to provide a safe and caring home. This way, we can work towards ensuring that the court’s ruling is based on what’s best for your child.

Resolving Child Custody Disputes in Court

When custody disputes cannot be resolved through mediation or negotiation, it may be necessary to seek resolution through the court system in Delaware. Going through the court process can provide a structured and formal approach to resolving custody disagreements.

Overview of the court process in custody cases:

  1. Filing a custody petition: The process begins by filing a custody petition with the appropriate court in Delaware. This initiates legal proceedings and establishes the court’s jurisdiction over the case.

  2. Pre-trial conferences and hearings: The court may schedule pre-trial conferences and hearings to address preliminary matters, such as temporary custody orders or interim visitation schedules. These conferences and hearings aim to streamline the case and gather relevant information.

  3. Presentation of evidence and arguments: During the custody hearing, each party has the opportunity to present evidence and arguments to support their desired custody arrangement. This may involve testimonies from witnesses, documentation of the child’s needs and preferences, and any relevant documentation supporting the parent’s ability to provide a suitable environment for the child.

  4. Evaluation and investigation: In some cases, the court may appoint a custody evaluator or conduct a comprehensive investigation to gather additional information about the child’s living situation, each parent’s capabilities, and other relevant factors.

  5. Best interests determination: The court’s primary consideration in child custody matters is the best interests of the child. The judge will carefully evaluate all the evidence presented, including the factors listed in Delaware law, to make a custody determination that promotes the child’s well-being and safety.

Factors the court considers when making custody determinations:

  • The child’s physical, emotional, and developmental needs

  • The parent’s ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment

  • The child’s relationship with each parent and other significant individuals

  • Each parent’s willingness to promote a healthy co-parenting relationship and facilitate ongoing contact between the child and the other parent

  • Any history of abuse, neglect, or domestic violence

  • The child’s preferences, if they are mature enough to express them

At Schmittinger & Rodriguez, our law firm and the child custody lawyers have extensive experience with custody issues and litigating them in family court. Our goal is to protect your parental rights and advocate for a custody arrangement that serves the best interests of your child custody lawyers.

Child Support in Delaware

Child support is an important part of any child custody arrangement and provides financial assistance to the custodial parent. In Delaware, the amount of child support is determined by applying a formula that takes into account both parents’ incomes as well as other factors such as health insurance costs and daycare expenses. The court may also consider non-financial contributions made by each parent for the child’s welfare.

It is important to note that either parent may petition the court for a modification of their existing support order if there are substantial changes in circumstances or one party experiences an increase or decrease in income. The lawyers at Schmittinger & Rodriguez have vast experience with child support matters and can provide effective legal representation throughout the process.

How We Can Help You with Your Custody Matter

Schmittinger & Rodriguez can assist you with your custody matters including:

  • Guidance: Our experienced child custody lawyers will provide personalized guidance tailored to your unique situation, helping you navigate the complexities of custody.

  • Negotiation and Settlement: Our skilled negotiators will work to reach a fair settlement through negotiations with your spouse and their legal representation, advocating for your best interests and that of your child, including child support.

  • Litigation Representation: If needed, our experienced litigators will present your child custody case effectively in court, striving to secure a favorable outcome in property division proceedings.

  • Protecting Your Rights: We are dedicated to protecting your rights and ensuring a fair share of the marital estate, advocating for a property division outcome that reflects your contributions during the marriage.

 

How Are Child Custody Cases Resolved in Delaware?

Child custody cases in Delaware can be complex and emotionally charged. When parents cannot come to an agreement on child custody and visitation arrangements, the family court will step in to make decisions based on the best interests of the child. Here are the steps involved in resolving custody cases in Delaware:

    1. Mediation: In Delaware, parents are required to participate in mediation before a custody case can go to trial. During mediation, a neutral third-party mediator helps the parents reach a mutually acceptable agreement on custody and visitation.

    2. Custody Evaluation: If mediation is unsuccessful, the court may order a custody evaluation. A custody evaluation typically involves interviews with the parents, children, and other relevant parties, as well as observations of the children with each parent. The evaluator will then make recommendations to the court on custody and visitation arrangements.

    3. Trial: If mediation and a custody evaluation fail to produce a resolution, the case will go to trial. At trial, each parent will present evidence and arguments in support of their desired custody arrangement. The judge will then make a decision based on the best interests of the child.

    4. Modification: Custody arrangements can be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances, such as a parent relocating or a child’s needs changing. The court will again consider the best interests of the child when making modifications to custody arrangements.

It is important to work with experienced family law attorneys when dealing with child custody cases. Our outstanding lawyers can help you navigate the legal process, protect your rights, and work toward a custody arrangement that is in the best interests of your child.

Why Schmittinger & Rodriguez
Is Right For You

At Schmittinger & Rodriguez, we understand that divorces and custody are stressful and overwhelming experiences. That is why we are here to provide the support and guidance you need to navigate the process.

We will work diligently to ensure that your case is handled professionally and ethically and that you receive to obtain the best outcome possible under the law. Call us now for a free consultation, and let our team of skilled lawyers fight for your rights! Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your case. Remember, YOUR CASE is OUR PRIORITY!

Skip to content