Preparing for a Child Custody Consultation

By Jim Warren


Typically, people look for family lawyers to help specifically with child custody matters when they want to modify their current custody situation or receive notification that their spouse wants to do the same.  People in these situations often like to interview at least a couple of attorneys, and that’s fine. There’s a good fit out there for everybody.

Getting started with a custody attorney involves an initial consultation. This is usually a very productive meeting for both client and counsel. For the client, it’s an opportunity to learn about the process, think about your goals, and properly set your expectations. For counsel, it’s a chance for us to get a good grip on the basic facts of your case and set about our work advocating for your best interests and those of your children.

Documents for Your Consultation

While you’ll be able to express your feelings and goals in your child custody consultation, you’ll also want to bring as many documents as you can to support your case.

Often people who are meeting with us have observed that the ex-spouse has been violent or acted in ways a judge may deem unfit to parent, such as abuse of alcohol or drugs. Be sure to bring any police or medical reports pertaining to domestic violence situations substance abuse.

If you have a prenuptial agreement, please bring that as well. While prenuptial agreements don’t apply directly to child custody (they simply handle the dissolution of the marriage and allocation of pre-marital assets), they can help us better understand your financial picture and that of your ex.  To further establish your financial situation, bring your household budget and the details of any child-related expenses, such as healthcare and daycare.

Since the court is comparing the parents according to what it thinks is in the best interest of your child, we’ll also need to see information regarding work history and educational background for each of you (just have this written down rather than trying to remember a long job history or dates of attendance in school during the pressure of an all-encompassing meeting).

Finally, if your ex wants to change schools for your children, you’ll need evidence that their current schools are better for their stability and performance. To that end, you’ll need to bring report cards and any applicable notes from their teachers or administrators.

What to Ask of Us

It is our honor to work with those prospective clients who choose us for representation in child custody matters. You are completely within your rights to ask some questions of us to evaluate our firm as a good fit for your situation.

You may want to ask about our background and experience, particularly in child custody matters, as well as how we know the applicable laws to work here in North Carolina. We can also discuss potential strategies, our methods of communicating with you along the way, and legal fees you should expect to incur for your particular matter.

At Warren Family Law, we’ve been helping Charlotte-area clients in child custody matters for more than 35 years. While all people are different, and you can never truly say that you’ve “seen it all,” by any objective measure we’ve seen a lot. Child custody matters often get more combative than the actual preceding separation and divorce, and we’ve helped hundreds of clients get the results they and their children deserve. Contact us today to get started.