If divorces weren’t already one of the most stressful things a person can ever go through in their life, the addition of custody battles over children brings a new painful and complex element to the mix.
How to maintain full custody of your child can break down to several steps, most of which involve keeping track of every record, piece of paper, and signed document the court gives you during the duration of your divorce proceedings. And secondly, with your focus and enthusiasm, it will be clear your child should belong in your custody.
While there is no sure fire way to maintain custody, there are 5 tips you can focus on to make the best case possible to maintain full custody of your children.
1. Keep everything you do legally above board.
Nothing will have a child removed from a parent’s custody faster than the parent getting in trouble with the law. Even something as harmless as going above the speed limit with your child in the car, or forgetting to buckle a seatbelt, could be considered serious child endangerment. Showing that you can be a danger to your child at any point will have the court or Child Protective Services immediately removing the child from your care.
2. Do what you can to be viewed favorably by the court.
Showing up on time, dressed as though you were attending a business meeting and not just on your way to the grocery store. Arrive with documents in hand, in order, signed dated and ready show to each clerk. This proves you have respect for the court and their system and you are dedicated to keeping your family together. People who come to their hearings ready, informed, and serious about their case get much better treatment than families where the children’s well being seems to come second or third to whatever mom and dad had planned that afternoon.
3. Taking your child’s wishes into consideration
In some states, the judge will take into consideration which parent the child would rather live with full time. This doesn’t mean the child will instantly end up with whichever parent they prefer (judges can usually tell when a parent is using bribery or fun over responsibility to curry favor) but if a child is comfortable in one home and not the other, it can be part of the decision making process.
Above all else, it is about the safety and well being of the child or children in question, and their opinion can matter.
4. Be civil to your co-parent.
A sure-fire way to impress the court is to be polite and kind to your former spouse. No matter how nasty things were behind closed doors, when you are in front of your child and the lawyers, judges, and other civil servants determining your child’s future be sure to act as sane adults. By being able to calmly and maturely discuss matters of the children’s education, health, and other needs reflects back well on you, making it more likely you are the best place for the child to live.
5. Remember, it is all about what is in the child’s best interest.
At the end of the day, the judge is determining which parent will have primary custody for the best interest of the child. Which parent has the safest place for the child to live? Which parent lives closer to the school that the child currently attends? Who has been primarily caring for the child in his or her early life? Naturally, if one parent abuses, molests, beats or in any other way harms the child, there is no question of custody not going to an abusive parent.
If you are going through a divorce and battling custody, we can help. Custody battles are never fun but making sure the court has the necessary information to make the best decision is crucial. The skilled attorneys at Minella Law Group have experience with child custody cases. For more information or to schedule an appointment call us at (619) 289-7948. We look forward to helping you!