Divorce proceedings are difficult and messy enough. And things could only get more complicated once child custody hearings begin.
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A child custody case can go either way, but you stand a much better chance of winning child custody if you have an action plan in place.
That action plan on ‘how to win child custody’ should include the following the dos and don’ts of winning a custody battle listed below and what not to do during a custody battle:
Get the services of a child custody attorney
While you can get any lawyer to represent you in court when fighting for custody, it’s still best to pick a lawyer who specializes in family law and guardianship.
With an experienced child custody lawyer by your side, you have a better chance of winning the child custody case.
Display your willingness to work with the other party
You may not like your ex for whatever reason, but it’s an undeniable fact that he or she is a part of your kids’ lives, and you have to work together to get the best result for your child’s sake.
Show the family court that you’re willing to do so, because open hostility could make you lose child custody instead, like what happened with countless other parents.
Be professional at all times
Professionalism is important if you want the judge to see you as a parent who is involved, competent, and loving.
All those qualities will become apparent to the judge when you show up on time for hearings, dress in a professional manner, and observe proper behavior and etiquette in court.
Documentation is essential in just about any court case, but even more so in child custody cases where you believe your child is at risk for abuse with your ex.
If you know your ex to have a history of abuse—physical or otherwise—you have to document your interactions with him or her so you can use them in court.
Badmouth your ex to your child
Whatever you think about your ex, keep your thoughts to yourself. Never let your child hear anything negative about your ex coming out of your mouth because that person is still that child’s parent.
Anything you say against your ex will not only be construed by the court as you trying to influence your child but will also hurt him or her, and your child has already suffered enough.
Make up stories
Making up stories is basically lying, and you don’t want to be lying to a judge in court if you’re actually interested in winning the custody battle.
Just be as honest as you can when you present your side in court, and if you can show evidence of your claims, then don’t hesitate to do so.
Abuse alcohol or drugs
The slightest hint that you abuse alcohol or worse, drugs, and the court will have no qualms about granting full custody to your ex.
Never put yourself in a position where even the mere suggestion that you’re an alcoholic or a drug abuser could lose you your child forever.
Involve your child in the court case
This is less a way to win the child custody case than a way to spare them from the whole mess, but it’s just as important.
Your child’s welfare should always be at the forefront of any custody case, and sharing to them details of the case or dragging them to court is hardly a way to show that you care.
Keep them out of the court case as much as possible.
While it’s true that following the custody battle tips above do not guarantee a legal victory in your favor, doing so will increase your chances of getting the best possible result for you and your child.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Sam Mazella is the Marketing Director of The Peterson Law Firm, the go-to practice in Arizona when facing divorce, child custody, child support, and financial crisis. In his spare time, he enjoys cooking and doing camping trips with his family and friends.