Getting divorced is difficult under any circumstances, but when you have children it becomes an even larger challenge. As a parent, you want what’s best for your child, but you also want to keep them in your life as often as humanly possible.
When parents get divorced, the children’s time usually has to be split between both parents, and the process can be difficult for everyone. Some cases are more obvious than others, but in most situations, each parent will lose some of their time with their children.
If you are getting divorced and want to win your child custody case in court, here are some important tips for the best way to do that.
This may seem obvious, but a lot of parents lose sight of their children’s best interests during a divorce. However, this should be the absolute most important thing throughout the process, so make sure not to lose sight of it.
Winning child custody should not simply be about “winning”, it should be about ensuring that your child ends up in the best possible situation for their personal growth and development.
A custody battle that becomes heated, or one that is used as a form of revenge, only negatively impacts the child. Even young children are aware of this kind of tension and debate over them. Just going through the process of a child custody battle can take an emotional toll on your child, and this could follow them for the rest of their lives.
Additionally, older children are much more aware of what is going on and will have concerns about the unknown. They may be worried about moving homes, changing schools, being separated from a parent, making new friends, and so much more. Make sure you understand what is important to them before pursuing certain aspects of your case.
It is also important to reassure your child throughout the process and let them know that this is not their fault and that your main objective is to keep them safe and happy.
You will definitely want to hire an attorney for this process. While you can represent yourself, it is not advisable to do so and you can risk losing your case.
Any legal matter takes a lot of expertise and knowledge, so you want someone who has experience. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible so that you don’t have to deal with any paperwork on your own.
Choosing the right attorney can be difficult, but one of the most important steps is to find one who specializes in family law. You may have a cousin who can help you for cheap, but if they’re a bankruptcy lawyer they aren’t going to have the kind of knowledge you need. You also want someone who has plenty of experience dealing with cases like yours.
A lawyer who has just graduated or one that works for an unreputable firm might give you a more affordable price, but they aren’t going to have the experience you need. You should make sure that the lawyer you hire has handled this kind of situation, and has preferably been successful, in the past.
It is very important to not get your hopes up in a situation like this so that you can act rationally throughout the entire process. It is very unusual in most cases for one parent to receive 100% sole custody, however, if your circumstances warrant this kind of decision it is also important to fight for that. If you believe your children’s well-being and safety will be at risk if they are left alone with their other parent, you and your attorney need to build a case that shows the judge this.
However, in many cases no matter how much you may dislike or mistrust your ex-partner, it is very difficult to get a court to support sole custody for one parent. For this reason, you need to also focus on building a case as to why you are a suitable parent as well. If you believe blindly that you could win 100% custody, you may focus more on evidence that shows your ex is a bad parent, and not what shows that you are a good parent.
To avoid this, set realistic expectations for the process and prepare yourself for an outcome that may be less than ideal. A lawyer can also help you determine the likelihood of achieving your goals throughout the case. They can tell you whether you have a strong enough argument for full custody or not, and readjust your expectations from there.
Having a positive relationship with your child and making your presence engaged may come without any thought for you, but when navigating this new situation it could be difficult. You might be very focused on all of the details involved in settling your divorce, and this could cause you to lose sight of your role as a parent. Now more than ever, it is very important to stay positively engaged in your child’s life, and also to pay attention to how the divorce is making them feel.
Roni Davis is a writer, blogger, and legal assistant operating out of the greater Philadelphia area.