Protecting Your Parental Rights And Making Co-Parenting Work
Nothing matters more than your children. You worry about how divorce will affect them and your own parent-child bond. You worry about parenting conflicts and the changing dynamics of your family. You worry about finances and taking care of their needs.
At my firm, Douglas G. Mercier, PA, I take a proactive approach to all concerns relating to care and custody of children. I will help you establish goals and priorities so that I can protect your parental rights in negotiations or in court. I handle family law matters in the Jackson metro area.
Determining Child Custody
If you and the other parent can agree on parenting time and how to raise your children, the court will typically honor those arrangements. But if you don’t see eye to eye, you may have to go to court to sort it out. I am a veteran trial lawyer who can faithfully represent you in contested custody proceedings.
The family courts of Mississippi favor joint custody, but nothing is automatic. Joint legal custody means that both parents have a say in important decisions about the child’s upbringing (education, health care, religious instruction). Joint physical custody means that the child will spend time in each household, but not necessarily 50/50.
In deciding who will have primary custody (or sole custody) and how much visitation the other parent gets, the court will consider many factors, including:
- The age of the child
- Who has been the primary caregiver
- Demonstrated parenting skills
- The health and mental fitness of each parent
- The stability and moral fitness of each parent
- Job schedules and responsibilities
- An older child’s preference for one parent over the other
I will help you put your best foot forward to convince the judge that you are fit for custody and able to co-parent in a healthy and respectful way. I can also help you negotiate or litigate the specifics of the parenting agreement, from daily schedules to summer vacation and holidays.
Advocacy For All Custody-Related Issues
I also have experience in family law disputes that arise during and after divorce proceedings.
- Determination of child support, including deviations from the state guidelines
- Modifications of child custody or visitation
- Enforcement of court-ordered visitation
- Relocating out of state with the children (requires court permission)
- Grandparents’ rights to visitation
I have litigated both sides of these hot-button issues. You can count on me to skillfully represent you whether you are petitioning the court or defending against legal action.
I Understand How Important This Is
I strive to resolve custody disputes out of court rather than set up a winner-and-loser confrontation. While everyone involved should want what is in the best interests of your children, when it is necessary to litigate, you want an experienced trial lawyer protecting your rights.