Interviewer: As an attorney what would you say is one of the most difficult aspect to deal with when it comes to custody law?
Danielle Hawkes: Supervised visitation, parties can have their visitation supervised by professional supervisors, or they can agree on a third party supervisor, for example grandparents to supervise or an aunt or uncle or a friend could supervise. Courts do not want to limit a parents ability to care for their child so they prefer not to impose a supervision requirement. However, in cases that involve drugs, alcohol, child abuse, things of this nature, the court will impose temporary supervision until that parent can become rehabilitated and the intention is that the supervision will be lifted at some point. If that parent works towards a point where it can be lifted, the court is not going to look to implement supervised visitation permanently if that parent is working well to correct their ways.
The Emotional Aspect Involved In a Child Custody Case in Utah
Interviewer: What are some of the more harder things, generally for any attorney to deal with.
Danielle Hawkes: I think it is the couples thing that.. One, the emotions are incredibly high. Usually people try to enjoy their children and the emotions are just so understandably high that it makes it really hard for people to make decisions and they have to have a lawyer who is going to walk them through the process very carefully and make sure that it is really the lawyers job to make sure the deadlines are met, that all the evidence is gathered by a certain time and if the court gets it on time.
Working with the Attorneys Representing the Other Party Can be Difficult
The other thing is working with other attorneys, the opposing parties can be very difficult sometimes and sometimes people think that these cases are all about winning and the bottom line is nobody, there’s one says one judge in town, he says all the time, nobody wins in these cases and the biggest loser is the child and to the extent that we can minimize that by working together and working with opposing sides, I think that the role in, those are the cases that are the big winners. Nobody is happy about it, nobody is happy about divorce, everybody is happy about sharing their kids and not having their kids next weekend.
There Has to be a Workable Solution Acceptable to Both Parties in a Child Custody Case
But they really are the big winners because they avoid all of the other turmoil and cost, it’s extremely expensive to go through these procedures. So I think that’s the most difficult part is to get really contentious cases to a point where there is a resolution. Parties can’t fight these cases until their kids turn 18. There has to be some finality; there has to be some solution that is workable for the parties and getting them to that point is not always easy.
Occasionally Custody Cases May Be Disputed and Settled in Court
Interviewer: Sometimes it does get messy and it does get a little bit ugly sometimes with the parents. Have you seen a lot of that?
Danielle Hawkes: Yes. Sometimes we have cases that have to be fought in court. Sometimes you have a party who doesn’t understand that what they’re doing is very bad for the kids and you have to fight to the tooth and nail to keep those kids safe and there’s sometimes parties who break every rule that gets laid down, you make a rule that the party is not supposed to pick the child up from school and then the next day the party is picking the child up from school.
Custody Cases Cannot Be Settled Simply By Relying on the Goodwill of the Parties Involved
Those cases are, they really take a lot of work in the court system and you have to use the court system because the court system lays down a rule and then you need to bring in order the show cause and all hold that party in content for breaking that rule. And those cases, we can’t just rely on everybody’s good will to deal with it all over the telephone and email. You have to get into the court system you have to file motions, you have to be really involved in that case in order to keep those kids safe.