From Start to Finish, Our Florence Child Custody Lawyer Will Be by Your Side.

Our Florence child custody lawyer understands the intense feelings involved when child custody is of issue. Custody decisions can be difficult to make. You may worry you won’t get to spend the amount of time with your children that you believe you should. Our compassionate attorneys will answer your questions and make sure your rights are protected. We are dedicated to giving you and your children the best outcome possible in negotiating child custody arrangements.

While divorce is one of the most common reasons custody concerns arise, it is not the only circumstance where this occurs. Not all parents are married. And, when unmarried couples with minor children separate, custody must be determined. Regardless of marital status, disputes regarding what is in the best interests of the children are common.

Child custody law is often contentious and always emotional. The decisions that are made in a custody case will affect both you and your children for years to come. In many cases, parents, have difficulty accepting what is best for their children. Even when divorce and separations are amicable, child custody decisions can be hard to make. At Ringer, Lingold & Spencer, our child custody lawyers in Florence, MS, are known for providing faithful service to our clients.

Your goals are our goals, and we will work tirelessly to achieve them. Contact us today at (601) 845-5050 to schedule a meeting and learn how we can help you.

Our Child Custody Lawyers Know the Law and Use It to Protect Your Child’s Best Interests

Let’s face it. Since your children were born you and your spouse or partner have raised them together. Each of you loves them, and you both have likely become used to a specific way of life and shared responsibilities. One person may do the school drop-off and pick-up while the other handles sporting events or homework. But there has been an opportunity to trade off and participate in everything . . . and the child custody process may change that.

Child custody laws focus on what is best for the child. However, parents often have different ideas about what custody arrangement would provide that.

The laws concerning custody can be complex, and your child custody agreement determines much of your child’s/children’s upbringing. Working with an experienced and compassionate child custody attorney is important. You want to engage a child custody attorney who knows the laws of the state, is familiar with the local courts, and can help you develop a child custody agreement that best meets the unique and specific needs of your family.

Child Custody in Mississippi

Our Child Custody Lawyer Explains How Custody Is Determined

If you have minor children and decide to divorce or separate, you know that determining custody and developing a child custody agreement is critical. These official decisions serve as the framework for co-parenting by outlining expectations and setting schedules. Formal custody plans, once they have been adopted, help reduce emotional conflicts. Having a defined legal plan means many decisions have already been made.

In Mississippi, courts determining the custody of minor children approach each case under the assumption that both parents are entitled to custody. Additionally, decisions always focus on the best interests of the children.

Types of Child Custody in Mississippi

There are two types of child custody in Mississippi: physical and legal. Both are important in the upbringing of your child.

Physical custody focuses on the general day-to-day care of the child — where the child lives and when. The person who is awarded physical custody will have their child live with them regularly. There are often circumstances where joint physical custody is appropriate and will be ordered.

Legal custody applies to parental decision-making about important parts of your child’s life, ranging from education to healthcare to travel decisions, among others.

Physical custody, however, does not identify how much time the child spends with each parent. This is determined by visitation and is a related but separate decision. Visitation can affect the other parent as well as grandparents. Your child custody order will establish physical custody (where the child lives and when), visitation with the non-custodial parent or other relatives, and legal custody in the form of decision-making authority on specific issues. The responsibilities and rights covered by legal custody include, but are not limited to, education, religion, and healthcare.

In 1983 the Supreme Court of Mississippi ruled on Albright v. Albright, 437 So. 2d 1003 (Miss. 1983). In deciding this case, the court outlined a number of issues to consider when determining custody. They are topics that help establish what is best for the child. The list below identifies some of the factors considered in a custody decision.

  • Parenting skills
  • Parenting health and age
  • Child age and gender
  • Child’s health
  • Parents’ employment responsibilities
  • Home, school, and community record of the child(ren)
  • Parent’s ability to provide primary childcare
  • Who cared for the child before the separation
  • Relationship between the parent and child
  • Stability of the home
  • Parents’ moral fitness
  • Child’s preference.

It is important to realize that these items are looked at holistically. While some factors may be more important than others, it is the combination of all that will be used in making custody decisions.

Child custody proceedings are notoriously complex, requiring a host of paperwork and resulting in many, many questions.

Our child custody lawyers in Florence can provide more information about how custody may be decided in your particular case. The support that we can provide is invaluable and can truly make a difference during this pivotal time of your life.

How Child Custody Is Determined in Mississippi

The first step in seeking custody in Mississippi is attempting to develop a plan that is acceptable to both parents. In a perfect world, all outstanding custody issues, including where your children will live and attend school, can be resolved simply. Of course, in many cases, this proves to be impossible – many couples simply cannot agree.

Life is not always perfect, and in cases like this, it becomes necessary to bring the child custody case before a judge to resolve the conflicts. When this happens, our attorney will file suit and serve your ex with a court date. We are skilled negotiators and will seek to get the best agreement possible to serve your children’s needs first and foremost and to protect your needs as well.

What Is a Child Custody Plan?

Developing custody plans, also known as parenting plans, is an important step in providing for minor children during separation and divorce. These plans outline a host of issues and take some of the emotion out of co-parenting decisions. A child custody plan will:

  • Identify where the child lives and when
  • Determine vacation and holiday schedules
  • Define a process for addressing concerns and issues.

Our Florence child custody attorneys can explain how these plans work and what you should expect. They can also guide you as you create your custody plan or work with the courts in this process. Don’t try to manage this on your own. There are complex laws governing custody. Work with someone who understands them and can protect your wants, your rights, and the best interests of your child.

Turn to our team at Ringer, Lingold & Spencer to get compassionate, skilled representation. Call us for help today at (601) 845-5050.

Frequently Asked Questions About Child Custody

Our Child Custody Attorney in Florence, MS, Responds to Your Concerns

Family dynamics can be challenging and are always personal and unique. Thus, you may have a host of very specific questions about how child custody works in Mississippi. Our attorneys find that when discussing custody with clients, there are a number of issues that always seem to arise. Below, our Ringer, Lingold & Spencer child custody attorney addresses some of the questions asked most frequently.

  • My ex and I have agreed to share custody, is this an option?

    Yes, it is. While courts often like to identify one parent to assume primary custody in order to minimize disruption to the child’s life, there is an option to share what’s called “joint physical custody.” Under this agreement, your child would spend significant in-person time with each parent. Ideally, you would live near each other so your child could move back and forth seamlessly. This would provide them the opportunity to attend school, socialize with friends and participate in extracurricular activities without interruption. It is important to understand that even in cases of joint custody, one parent may still be required to pay child support to the other. Our child custody attorney can explain how support is determined and ordered.

  • Can I modify my custody agreement?

    Yes, custody orders can be changed.

  • Do grandparents have a right to visitation?

    Yes, Mississippi Code section 93-16-3 outlines the rights for grandparents to have visitation with their grandchild. Under this statute, grandparents can petition for visitation when custody is awarded to a parent, a parent passes away or parental rights are terminated. Additionally, if grandparents are being denied time with their grandchildren, they may be granted visitation if they have a good relationship with the child and it is in the child’s best interests to maintain the relationship. Our child custody attorney can review your specific situation with you to help determine whether grandparent visitation may be sought.

  • Will my child need to go to court in our child custody case?

    Not necessarily. Young children, in particular those under the age of 12, generally do not appear in court unless a dangerous situation exists. Children over 12 can often sign what is known as a parental preference affidavit, which the judge can take into account when determining custody. However, a child’s wishes alone will not determine custody – they are just one aspect that could be considered.

  • We moved to Mississippi from another state, can Mississippi modify my custody order?

    According to The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA), only the child’s home state can make changes to a custody order. The home state is defined as the one in which the child has lived for at least 6 months. However, the state of Mississippi does have jurisdiction to enforce an agreement that was drawn up elsewhere.

Without a doubt, the questions posed above are only a small fraction of those a parent involved in a custody situation is likely to have. Contact the divorce attorneys at Ringer, Lingold & Spencer at (601) 845-5050 for more detailed answers to your particular questions and concerns.

Managing Child Custody Issues

Ringer, Lingold & Spencer – Mississippi Proud. Winning Results.

The law firm of Ringer, Lingold & Spencer is a fixture in Florence. With over 70 years of combined experience, the firm is committed to providing the highest level of service to members of the community. The partners live here. They work here. And they love here.

Handling custody cases requires a mix of empathetic listening, personal attention, and an aggressive approach. We understand the importance of custody to our clients and will work tirelessly to help them achieve their goals.

By leveraging our legal expertise with our first-hand experience in local family courts, we bring our clients the service they deserve.

Attorney Amanda Lingold Spencer

Amanda’s practice focuses on family law. She is warm and compassionate with clients and tough on opponents. Her legal work centers on child custody, divorce, adoption, contempt and modification actions. Amanda is adept at both negotiating and litigating, and her no-nonsense approach to legal matters means she’s honest, forthright and direct in assessing each legal case.
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    Contact Our Florence Child Custody Lawyer Today

    If you are in the midst of a separation or a divorce and are also managing child custody issues, the advice and counsel of an experienced child custody attorney can be your greatest asset. The custody process is fraught with emotion. Parents are often angry with each other, anxious about a new way of life, and worried about the well-being of their children.

    The custody process is complicated and can include everything from developing plans to court hearings. In every step, requirements must be met and documents need to be filed. You want qualified professionals advising you to ensure that you and your children get the best outcome possible.

    Our family law attorneys at Ringer, Lingold & Spencer know Mississippi law and are dedicated to our Florence community. We are ready to work for you. Contact us today at (601) 845-5050 to share your story and learn how we can help as you begin a new chapter in your life.

    I highly recommend Lingold & Spencer law firm. Cameron Benton represented me. I was frequently informed of all changes to my case. I never had a problem getting in contact with the office. The process was explained to me in detail and my case was settled much faster than expected. I am highly pleased with […]

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    I cannot say enough good things… They not only resolved my issue with ease, but also worked dilligently to keep me informed. Phenomenal group of people!

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