Today i want to talk about the importance of legal definitions in your custody case. Whatever country or state you are in you need to look at the custody laws for your state. There is probably going to be a section of the law that sets forth definitions of certain legal terms.
For example it is probably going to have definitions of what it means to have legal decision making or legal custody of your child. Also physical custody, parenting time or domestic violence. There are a lot of definitions for custody and you really need to get familiar with these definitions.
The reasons I want to bring this idea up specifically because in one of my client's cases (father of the child) the other party was accusing my client of domestic violence during the relationship. He discovered by definition of domestic violence didn't apply in his case. But what he also discovered in the definition section of the statutes in his state, was that not only did the law in his state provide for domestic violence, but it also made a provision for domestic abuse.
I know in Arizona we often refer to domestic violence and that is what this particular statute defined. But he also had to look to another part of the statute and figure out whether there were acts of domestic abuse or whether he had committed domestic abuse. Or whether the other side could accuse him of committing domestic abuse.
Had he not known to go to the definitions in his state and look at what these legal terms meant, then he would have not been able to prepare his case for the courtroom. He would have been kind of flying blind, not knowing what domestic violence or domestic abuse meant.
So in order to effectively argue your case to the judge you have to understand these definitions. I've talked to you before about how clients come into my office all the time, and when I ask them what do you want in your case, they will say example they want 50-50 custody. And I don't know what that means and in many cases people don't know what that means either. They don't know that there is a difference in legal custody and physical custody.
You have to know the basics. When you are building your custody case the most important part is the foundation. Not only does that begin with knowing what you want, but what the law says in your state.