During custody battles, the court takes one primary factor into consideration––what is in the best interest of the children. Courts want to award custody to the parent who can raise the child in the most stable environment. In order for you to win your custody case, you must prove to the court that it is in your children’s best interest for you to be awarded custody. Here are several things that can help you get custody of your children.
Documenting interaction with your children
Simply informing the court that granting you custody is in your children’s best interest is not enough. You must find ways to demonstrate this to the court. This pertains not only to your parenting skills but to your day-to-day interaction with your kids.
Document everything that relates to your children. Having detailed records to show the court the amount of time you spend nurturing and caring for your children will benefit you greatly. Document all activities you do with your kids. This will demonstrate just how engaged you are in your children’s lives. The objective is to show continuity.
Being your children’s primary caretaker
It is important to be the parent who takes your children to the doctor. If your children are in school, you should be present at all school activities and build a rapport with their teachers. Courts generally award custody to the parent who is the children’s primary caretaker––the one who primarily feeds them, clothes them, takes them back and forth to school, etc.
Being active in your children’s lives
Spend quality time with your kids and take photos. Courts like to see that the parent to whom they will grant custody is involved in their children’s active lives and takes an interest in their physical and emotional fitness, along with, supervising their recreational and social activities.
Identify witnesses who have observed you interacting with your children and who are willing to tell the court that you are a good parent. This can be a family member, neighbor, friend, or even better, a teacher, doctor, priest, pastor, or another caretaker. The longer the witness has observed you interacting with your children the better.
When you are in the middle of a bitter divorce and custody battle, it can be very difficult to keep your emotions under control, and your desire to convey your resentment and frustration can cloud your judgment.
Don’t lose your cool in court and badmouth your ex-spouse or give the impression that you are bitter. This may cause the judge to question your character. In fact, this alone may be sufficient to motivate the judge to change his or her mind about awarding you custody.
Documenting concerns about ex-spouse’s ability to raise your children
A parent’s ability to raise their children is of the utmost importance to the court when resolving custody issues and it will fully investigate any concerns regarding a parent’s fitness.
Document any concerns you have regarding your ex-spouse’s parental fitness, for example:
- Your ex-spouse’s overwhelming work schedule
- Your ex-spouse interfering with or missing visitation, or generally displaying a lack of cooperation or willingness to co-parent.
- Your ex-spouse badmouthing you in front of the children, or your children commenting on any inappropriate behavior or bad parenting.
- Your ex-spouse cohabiting or having overnight visits by a girlfriend or boyfriend while your children are there.
Furthermore, any evidence of past or present alcohol or substance abuse, domestic violence and/or psychological problems in regards to your ex-spouse, will severely cripple their chances to gain or maintain custody of your children.
Being fully prepared
Start building your case as early as possible so that you are 100% prepared. Being fully prepared and knowing what information to use and how best to present it to the court is the best way to win a custody battle.
An attorney who is experienced in fighting custody battles can help you prepare for what is often a very stressful endeavor and effectively present your case to the court. In addition, he or she can keep you from losing sight of what is most important––the best interest of your children.