Child custody and visitation matters are near and dear to all parents’ hearts. Virtually every divorcing parent who has walked into my office the first time tells me that the children are all that matters, the number 1 priority. I tell them that I am a father who co-parents with my daughter’s mother and that I understand what they are going through (her mother and I get along great and it’s still not always easy). I also understand that money matters – and I tell people that your children come first, but so does money because you need money to live and care for your children. I remind people that it is not “greedy” or “shameful” to seek money from your spouse. That support and property are essential to giving your children the best life possible for them.
Custody cases are fraught with emotion. Many people, believing they can represent themselves, make the mistake of handling their own custody case. I believe that you are your own best advocate, but I also believe what Abraham Lincoln once said: “he who represents himself has a fool for a client.” This is nowhere more true than in the emotionally charged world of child custody and visitation. We begin to strategize your case through a mixture of storytelling and fact-finding from the minute you step into our office. Constructing a narrative of your case, you as a parent, the life the children have with the other parent, their future opportunities, their mental health and well-being, and how the future is likely to play out gives the Judge a sense of who you are as a person. We approach each case with a similar fact-finding mission, but work to uncover the best approach to present you to the Court. We parcel out all of the irrelevant details of your case – things that when you represent yourself you may think are very important (evidence of affairs or some small amount of marijuana or alcohol use) – and focus on you. What you bring to the children’s lives, your particular situation and how you give care to your children.
This is a level of detail that few firms can provide. We are tenacious and tactical, an approach that has brought us tremendous success in the child custody and visitation realm. We also try to manage expectations about the types of results that are likely – the court will rarely award a week on/week off with an infant and will also just as rarely award “full custody” to one or the other parent of a 12 year old. There are times for each scenario however. This office has been a part of many different custody and visitation outcomes over the last almost decade of work.
We are passionate about representing parents seeking more time with their children whether at the beginning stages of a divorce or when seeking a visitation modification after the divorce has been final for years. We file ex parte, emergency motions where there are domestic violence or substance abuse issues or where law enforcement is involved. We strategize longer, more drawn out processes when circumstances call for it – I call it a “double jump” like in checkers – when we play for one custodial order for a period of time solely with the intention to make a second request for a larger timeshare later. We deal with challenging out-of-state custody disputes as well as disputes between parents who are nearly neighbors. We also deal with challenging health, educational or religious issues in parenting – these are the Joint Legal Custody issues. We have worked with parents of sick children limited by religious beliefs, with parents of children whose health issues threaten their ability to work and earn income, with parents who are facing off with a spouse a deeply divergent religious tradition than their own, and with the issues of parochial and other private schools.
The Law Office of M. Jude Egan brings expertise into the area of child custody and visitation issues.