Anytime children are involved in a divorce, it’s sad. But as a parent, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of obtaining custody so that you can provide your children with the best possible life.
Be Honest With Yourself
Any good parent wants custody of their children. That’s never a question. But there’s a difference between wanting full custody and realistically being able to take full custody. In other words, your heart might want full custody, but can you actually handle it?
“The court will look to ensure that you have a clear sense of the new life you are petitioning to take on. Think of all of the responsibilities that you juggle on a daily basis and how you will manage them while being a single parent,” VeryWellFamily mentions. “Determine what you truly can and cannot do, and be clear about that with others. This will improve the likelihood that your request will be taken seriously.”
Admitting that you can’t handle full custody isn’t a sign of weakness. (There’s a reason the traditional family is designed to have two parents.) Be honest and realistic with yourself. Anything less is a disservice to your children.
Consider Your Child’s Best Interests
You’ll recover from your divorce. It might take a few months (or even several years), but you’ll eventually move on with your life and find happiness with someone else. The same goes for your spouse. Before too long, your marriage will be a distant blip on the radar – a cautionary tale, but nothing permanently detrimental to your future or development. The same can’t be said of a child.
Divorce impacts children far more than it impacts adults. While they’re resilient little things, the very nature of divorce creates a void in your child’s life. And no matter how much you dislike your ex-spouse, it’s worth posing the following question: Is my child better off having both of us in their life? The answer depends.
For starters, it’s important that you understand what custody truly means.
As attorney Rowdy G. Williams notes, “Most parents don’t realize that custody is both a physical and legal reality. Even if you have full physical custody, it’s possible that your ex-spouse could also have some legal custody – making it possible for them to make important decisions in your child’s life. If you’re worried about their frame of mind, you need to fight for total custody on all fronts.”
Having said that, unless your ex-spouse is abusive and/or a threat to your child’s safety and well-being, sole custody is rarely the best option. It’s in your child’s best interest to have some form of joint custody. You have to be humble enough to admit this.
Helpful Tips for Getting Custody
Whether you’re aiming for full custody or partial custody, here are several helpful tips that will increase your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.
- Be involved in your child’s life. As the court evaluates your case, they’ll look for evidence of a meaningful and healthy relationship between you and your child. This includes “objective expressions” of your love. (i.e. Do your child’s teachers know who you are? Do you attend your child’s sporting events, birthday parties, and award ceremonies? Do your child’s best friends’ parents know who you are?)
- Ensure you have space. The court is going to evaluate whether or not you have the proper conditions for your child to live with you. If you have your own place, make sure there’s a bedroom for the child.
- Treat your co-parent with respect. As much as you might despise your ex-spouse, you have to treat them with respect. A failure to do so could lead you to look like the villain.
- Be careful and cognizant. Anything you say to friends, neighbors, or even loved ones, could be used against you. The same thing goes for emails, text messages, and social media posts. Be very careful and cognizant of what you say during this time.
Hire a Good Attorney
At the end of the day, it’s imperative that you hire a good attorney who can spearhead your fight for custody and allow you to obtain as many rights as possible. It’s unlikely that you’ll get 100 percent of the outcomes you want, but a good attorney can help you get most of them.