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Ridgeland Child Custody Lawyers
A Tremendous Track Record of Successful Case Outcomes in Custody and Visitation Cases
When a divorcing couple has children together, the matter of custody is often the most important issue in the minds of the parents. Custody and visitation cases are complicated. In fact, they can be the most emotional and conflict-laden issue to be decided in a divorce. Nothing should come between you and your relationship with your child. With so much at stake, you need professional representation from a skilled family law attorney.
At the Hancock Law Firm, our Ridgeland child custody lawyers provide solutions-focused legal guidance to parents. We know your children come first, and we work hard to negotiate a practical arrangement that meets you and your child’s needs. When custody matters cannot be resolved amicably, our family law team fights to make sure any custody decision is fair and reasonable and that your voice is heard and respected. Contact us today for a confidential initial consultation.
What You Need to Know About Mississippi Child Custody Laws
There are many factors that a judge considers in making a custody determination in Mississippi, but the one that trumps all the others and is always foremost in the judge’s mind is what is in the best interest of the child.
While joint or shared custody is normally favored, there are many issues that may lead to one parent having primary custody while the other parent has only visitation rights or even to one parent having sole custody of the child. It is vital that you as a parent are well-represented in this process so that the judge has a true and accurate picture of your fitness as a parent and what custodial arrangement will be in the child’s best interest.
Both parents go into a custody hearing with equal rights to custody. Factors that may influence the judge’s decision in making one parent the primary custodial parent include:
- The child’s sex/gender;
- The health of the child;
- Which parent was the child’s primary caregiver during the marriage;
- The parenting skills of each parent;
- Each parent’s willingness to care for the child;
- The emotional ties between parent and child/children;
- A parent’s perceived moral fitness; and
- The preference of the child (if 12 years old or older).
Contact us now to schedule a consultation with our child custody lawyers!
Physical vs. Legal Custody
The judge in a Mississippi divorce or child custody hearing will decide two separate aspects of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody of course refers to the actual physical possession of the child, i.e. whom the child lives with. Legal custody, on the other hand, refers to the legal right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing in areas such as educational decisions, medical and health care decisions, and other aspects of a child’s welfare, from extracurricular activities to matters of religion.
The court can grant custody jointly to both parents or to one parent alone; physical and legal custody does not have to be granted together. One parent could have sole physical custody with legal custody shared, or vice versa. Normally, if the judge grants both physical and legal custody to one parent, the other will be given visitation rights. Again, this decision is subject to what the judge believes is in the best interest of the child.
Mississippi Puts an Emphasis on Amicable Solutions and Shared Parenting
In Mississippi, courts put a major emphasis on parents working together to find solutions that fit their family’s unique needs. State law favors awarding shared legal custody to parents. In general, sole legal custody will only be awarded to a parent if there is strong evidence that doing so is in the best interests of the child.
Our family law attorneys know that parents must find low-conflict, amicable solutions to custody and visitation cases. We always work hard to help parents get an agreement that truly works for them and their children. At the same time, our Ridgeland, MS custody lawyers are ready to take aggressive action to fight for sole custody when needed to protect you and your children.
Grandparents’ Rights in Mississippi
A child’s grandparents have some (limited) custody and visitation rights. Still, the grandparents’ rights are far below that of the child’s legal parent(s). In Mississippi, grandparents can legally request visitation rights with their grandchildren:
- Before or after divorce, separation, or one parent’s death
- If they provided financial support for the child for at least six months, or
- If they had frequent visitation, including overnight stays, for at least one year.
If deemed necessary to best protect the child’s health, safety, and overall well-being, full custody rights could be awarded to a grandparent. In general, this only occurs when neither of the child’s parents is willing or able to provide adequate care. If you have specific questions about grandparent rights in Mississippi, our Ridgeland child custody lawyers are here to help.
You Can Rely on the Mississippi Child Custody Lawyers at Hancock Law Firm
Child custody cases are complicated. Whether you are working towards a mutually agreeable settlement or you are locked in a difficult dispute, you need to know how to protect your rights. At Hancock Law Firm, we have a passion for helping parents find solutions that truly work for their families. Among other things, our Ridgeland child custody attorneys are prepared to:
- Listen to your story and answer questions about custody and visitation laws;
- Represent you in custody/visitation negotiations;
- Gather the information that you need to build a strong case; and
- When needed, take aggressive legal action to protect your child and your parental rights.
Custody decisions are decided in court based on the evidence presented and arguments made by the parties’ attorneys in a hearing before the judge. Make sure you are represented by a dedicated and experienced attorney who can tell your story to the judge and see to it that your rights and interests are fairly represented in the child custody determination.
Call Our Ridgeland, MS Child Custody Attorneys for Guidance and Legal Advice
At Hancock Law Firm, our Mississippi child custody lawyers provide the highest level of client service and personal representation to parents. We are the advocates you can trust. If you have any questions about child custody or child visitation, give us a call or contact us online for a strictly confidential case evaluation. With an office in Ridgeland, our family lawyers represent parents throughout the region, including in Madison, Brandon, Jackson, Clinton, Flora, and Canton.
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