10 Ways to Win a Child Custody Battle - Divorce Help
In the midst of all of the components and complexities of a divorce, the determination of child custody is likely one of the primary concerns of exes who have children together.
Don’t become disheartened if your child’s other parent has more money or a better attorney than you – there are plenty of other components that a court will consider before coming to a determination. The following are ten tips that can put you a couple of steps ahead of your ex, and make a judge lean a little bit more in your direction.
Be the first to take action
When a mother or father is the first to step up to the plate and take the other to court, it shows the judge how important the child custody is to that parent. You take initiative, you want to be the primary parent in your child’s life and you are willing to take whatever action is necessary.
Pay child support, even before it’s mandated
When your child is not living with you during a custody battle, it may be tempting to skimp on payments to the other parent out of spite. Pump the brakes on the revenge because it will only hurt your case. Even before a court orders payments, give some amount of money to the (temporarily, we hope) custodial parent every month. Don’t do it in cash either – you will want a paper trail to prove those transactions.
Be responsible, dependable and accountable
Keep your job, but don’t overdo it at work. A court will look at consistent and reliable employment when considering who should receive custody, but a parent who lives and breathes their career may be deemed unfit for sole custody because they won’t likely be able to carve out enough time for their child.
Never skip a visit
Parents who jump through hoops to make sure they are able to see their child on every scheduled visit will gain a nod of approval in court. If for some reason you are unable to make every visit (we get it, life happens) then make sure to call the other parent to give an explanation and reschedule.
Stay in town
After a divorce, many people want to get outta dodge and escape the place they have called home for so long. Doing this when you have a child is a big no-no in the eyes of any judge. A parent who moves away and plans to take the child with them will take them away from their school, friends, sports and other extracurricular activities. Turning the life of a child upside down is something a court will frown upon.
Always try to maintain a cordial relationship with the other parent
Allow free flowing communication between you and your ex, and continue to try to co-parent your child. Ex-husbands and wives who alienate the other parent will negatively affect the lives of everyone involved, and a court is likely to take note of that.
Attend every court hearing
Missing court will not only demonstrate a lack of responsibility and forethought, it could result in a warrant for your arrest. Needless to say, a judge won’t be too fond of that.
Well, we aren’t saying that you can’t enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. However, mental preparedness to care for a child is one of the primary concerns when a court is deciding a child custody case. Any parent who demonstrates drug or alcohol abuse or addiction will be unlikely to be awarded custody of their child.
Keep your hands to yourself
Courts will look into any history of domestic violence or child abuse that either parent has had. If violence never plagued your house, keep careful and refrain from using any type of force in your relationship with your ex or your child. Even marginally aggressive behavior can prevent a parent from being awarded custody.
Dress the part
Showing up to court looking like you just rolled out of bed is not a good idea. Take a little extra time on your appearance on the the morning of your court date and dress professionally. A court will want to see that you take this seriously. Appearance may not be everything, but it certainly makes an impression.