A child custody battle can be stressful and difficult to get through. Your children are the most important thing to you and it can cause real trauma to think that you have to go to court just to defend your right to spend time with them.
However passionate you feel about getting custody of your children, it’s important to do certain things so it doesn’t become uglier than it needs to. Take a look at what you need to know to avoid rough child custody battles.
When your relationship has broken down and, perhaps, you’re still feeling hurt, it can be difficult to be amicable with your ex-partner. This is especially true of ex-partners who may try to push your buttons or make you look less capable as a parent.
However, the court tends to favor parents who are willing to see past their differences and work together for the benefit of the children. If the court can see that you’re willing to work with your ex to ensure the children get the best out of the result, you’re more likely to get the time you want with your kids.
Put the Hard Work In
Some parents make the mistake of thinking that the court only wants to see the children having fun and being happy with their parents. That is important to see but it’s also vital that you put in the real hard work too.
The court needs to know that you’ll do what it takes to invest in your children’s development. Whether that means being there to help with homework assignments or taking them to school or extracurricular activities.
If you can demonstrate that you’re willing to get your hands dirty and you aren’t just there for the easy parts, you’re more likely to be awarded time with your children. You can read more about it here.
An In-Home Custody Evaluation
It can help if you’re willing to show your parenting skills via a home visit. This can be especially helpful if you believe your ex-partner may attempt to give a negative impression of you as a parent.
If things go well, there will be a documented visit for the court to use in its ruling. It’s not always easy to present a picture-perfect view of parenting in one visit but the majority of social workers will be able to see that you’re making an effort.
Know the Law
It can help your case if you prepare yourself before having to go to court. Find out what the law in your state says about child custody. For the most part, if both parents demonstrate the ability to carry out parental duties, joint custody is awarded.
However, if one parent wants sole custody of the children, it can become more of a battle. It will be necessary for that parent to demonstrate why their partner is unfit for joint custody. This is why it’s so important for you to do everything right during this time.
If you believe your children won’t be safe with your ex-partner, it’s important to present evidence of this. For example, if your partner has a history of substance misuse or domestic violence, you may feel you need sole custody of your children.
Document any conversations with your ex-partner that demonstrate anger issues or other behavior potentially harmful to children. Any evidence you can present will help your case but you should be aware that your ex-partner could do the same thing to you.
When talking with your ex-partner, be careful of what you say, how you say it, and what could be misconstrued. If you’re worried about saying something that could be used against you, you could use a mediator to exchange information.
What the Court Frowns Upon
There are certain things that the court frowns upon when it comes to a child custody case. As a parent, you will be expected to tick all the boxes before you get the custody agreement you’re hoping for.
Some of the things you should avoid doing include:
- Rescheduling time with your children: The court needs to know that time with your children comes above anything else.
- Bad mouthing your ex: Although it can be difficult to do, you should try to show your ex some respect in court and in front of your children.
- Being late: never be late to a court or to pick up your children. It can look like you aren’t committed as a parent.
- Bad behavior: To you, it may look like an evening out with your friends but to the court, it could be portrayed as unsavory behavior. Never misuse drugs, alcohol, or do anything that could be misconstrued as unhealthy.
- Argue with the court: It can be frustrating but the court may make requests that ask you to demonstrate your parenting.
- Involve your children: It’s natural for your children to want to know what’s going on but it’s also important to protect them. Answer their questions honestly but without involving them in the case too much.
- Making things up: If you feel like the case isn’t going your way, you may be tempted to invent a negative story about your ex-partner to sway a result in your favor. The court will find out you’ve lied and that will impact your chances negatively.
Dealing With Child Custody Battles
Dealing with a child custody battle is never easy so you must have a strong support system throughout it all. Part of that support system will be an experienced family lawyer who can get you the best result from your case.
Take a look at our website and what we can do to support you.