Wanting to win primary custody of your children isn’t enough to make it happen. You have to have an action plan. Here are important things to do and things you should avoid if you want to win primary custody of your children:
DO – Be professional at all times
The court has to decide which of you is the better choice for the children. A big part of that is deciding which parent is more likely to give the other parent open access to the children. You don’t have to like your ex, but keep every communication professional like you’re talking to a coworker.
DO – Use your parenting time
Sometimes, a child custody battle comes down to which parent the children spend more time with. It’s important to spend time with the children every chance you get. If the other side denies you visitation, make sure you ask for time, even if your requests aren’t honored. Never cancel a scheduled parenting time with short notice.
DO – Think about appearances
In family law, appearances matter. If the court believes the picture of you that your ex is trying to paint, you’re in trouble. Take every chance you can to present yourself in the best light possible. Dress appropriately, be on time for court and make sure that you have suitable housing for the children.
DO – Learn the law
Knowing the law that applies to your case can give you a lot more confidence in the process. The judge’s statements might make a lot more sense. In addition, knowing the law helps you make better decisions.
DO – Chase the paperwork
In family law, the courts seldom take your word for it. Instead, they want to see the proof. Save all of your communications with the other party. Save school records and photos of the children. You don’t know what might be important later.
DO – Lawyer up
A Child custody attorney can help you understand your options. They can help you create a strategy for success. They can help you identify concerns before they become problems.
DON’T – Bad mouth your ex to the kids
Save your complaints about your ex for your friends. Venting to the kids hurts them short term and long term. If your ex can prove you’re doing it, it’s a great way to lose custody.
DON’T – Make bad choices
Now is not the time to get a DUI, get in a domestic argument or take drugs. This is especially true when the kids are in your care. Make sure that you don’t involve yourself with people who do these things. Even one error can be where the court hangs its hat when it’s time to make the big decision.
DON’T – Say no to the court
The court may give you things that they want you to do. It may be substance abuse counseling. They may want you to take a parenting class. The court might order you to complete a graduated parenting time schedule where you spend progressively more time with the children.
It may not be fun, and you don’t have to think it’s fair. However, if that’s what the court says you have to do, it’s what you have to do. It’s important to play along if you want the court to look favorably on your case.
DON’T – Make things up
While it’s okay to present your concerns to the court, don’t make up things that aren’t true about the other parent. If the court finds out you’re not telling the truth, it can be enough to lose custody. Present your concerns honestly, and work with your attorney on a plan to gather evidence of your claims.
Going through a custody battle? Thomas Pyles can help. He has more than 25 years of experience fighting these types of cases. Just use the form to the right to schedule a free meeting with Thomas Pyles and learn how he can help you.
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