At Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law, I work with clients that are disputing their current child custody arrangement or trying to establish it for the first time. These cases can be both complicated and difficult but Kim A. Bodnar is experienced and will fight to get you the best possible outcome. If you live in Pennsylvania, don’t try to resolve your custody situation without the help of a skilled attorney because the judge’s determination can impact the future of both you and your children for years to come. To schedule a consultation, call.
When getting a divorce in the 15219 area, you can either try to mediate and negotiate the terms of your divorce or you can go to trial. If you mediate, you should still have an attorney assist you to make sure that your rights are protected and that you don’t agree to something that could hurt you or the kids later on. I can negotiate on your behalf and review the terms of all agreements so that caveats are built in to protect your interests.
If you and your ex cannot agree on a custody arrangement, you will have to go to trial. Kim A. Bodnar is an experienced litigator that can prepare for trial, present a strong case, and advocate for why your proposal is in the best interest of the children. In Pennsylvania, the judge is tasked with determining what is best for your children, not what is best for each of you. It is difficult, and at times impossible, for the judge to know the answer to this. As a child custody attorney, my job is to present the case in such a way that the judge is exposed to witnesses and evidence that proves why your request is best for the children.
The judge will likely review several factors when making a custody determination including their relationship with each parent and bonds with siblings and close family members. As a child custody attorney in Pittsburgh, PA I recommend preparing to address each one of these issues before you file for divorce or a change in custody. For example, the bond the children have with each parent is typically proven by looking at the amount of time that they spend together and what types of activities they engage in. If you take them to baseball practice two days a week and games on the Weekend, this is an example of how you spend time together and have a strong bond. When evaluating relationships with siblings and family members, the same thing applies. You need to demonstrate that a relationship exists by showing how much time they spend interacting. Whenever possible, identify a witness that can testify to the extent of the relationship.
Before making a custody determination, the judge will also look at their school situation and existing routine. When meeting with clients that are about to separate, Kim A. Bodnar typically recommends setting a routine at the beginning that they are comfortable living with later on. A lot of judges in Pittsburgh want to keep the status quo because it is potentially easier on the children and the parents. If you set a routine, thinking that it is temporary, it may be what you end up living with it for years into the future. You can always call us to discuss your ideas prior to approaching your spouse. Simultaneously, if you plan on moving you may want to explore options for doing so first, even if it is only outside of the school district.
As a child custody attorney, the most difficult cases I see involve interstate custody issues. When one parent wants to move a child outside of the 15219 area, and the other wants to stay, it creates an immediate conflict and needs for litigation. These cases require a lot of preparation and savvy. At Kim A. Bodnar, Attorney at Law, I understand the complexities of relocation cases and will work to present a strong case for why the children should or should not be able to move based on what my client's wishes are.
When making a determination of whether or not the children should be allowed to relocate outside of Pennsylvania the judge will need to determine if it is in the best interest of the children and whether or not the other parent would be able to maintain their relationship and bond. This is subjective at best, so Kim A. Bodnar uses evidence and witness testimony as much as possible in order to present the case logically instead of emotionally.
Keep in mind that any time a child is moved outside of their school district it is a relocation case. If the judge decides that the children are not allowed to move, the parent may still do so since adults are free to live where they please. If the relocation request is denied and the parent moves anyway, the other parent will assume majority custody and a visitation agreement will need to be established. If you are considering relocation, call and speak with an attorney before you do anything else. You can schedule a consultation by calling.
In a custody case, it is important to have witnesses that can confirm your version of the story. These can be character witnesses, teachers, coaches, etc. They should testify to the strength of the relationship you have with the children and the activities that you do together. In addition to character witnesses, Kim A. Bodnar will often recommend that you obtain expert witnesses. These are people that are recognized by the court for being experts in their field, and their testimony is assigned a higher value. For example, a counselor could provide expert testimony. A guardian ad litem can also provide testimony. They can be extremely helpful in a custody case because their job is to observe each parent with the children and provide a report on what they saw. In cases where abuse or neglect is suspected, they can provide an inside glimpse into what really happens, something the judge would never see in court. To learn more about how to identify and work with witnesses call.