Divorces can be very messy situations to find yourself in, especially when there are children involved. Unfortunately for many, the pain of separating from a loved one is trumped by the frustration and the pain which is caused through a custody battle for the child. In most cases the preferred option is of course to come to an amicable agreement about who will care for the child predominantly, with a schedule in place for the other parent to have regular contact with the child. As my good friend and lawyer David Turlington regularly tells me however, this kind of agreement is a rarity, and most cases are settled by a judge.
If you are currently going through a custody battle, here are some tips that will give you the best chance of winning.
There is no obligation on your part to contract the help of a lawyer for child custody battles, but it is something that is strongly advised. Lawyers will be able to offer you vitally important advice and guidance on how to proceed with the case, as well as being able to support you through this difficult time.
With the help of your lawyer, you will need to have a comprehensive understanding of child laws in your state. The reasoning behind this is simple, the more that you know and understand, the more methods by which you will have to approach the custody battle.
If you honestly believe that the other parent would not be very good at being the sole carer for your child, or that staying with them could be a risk, there are ways in which you can present this with your lawyer, to simply show the facts. One thing which you absolutely must avoid doing, is engage in mudslinging with your estranged partner. The reason behind this is that if you start tossing accusations and insults, you could end up appearing every bit as bad as the person you are trying to show as a poor parent. Present facts, not outbursts.
There is a huge number of forms and documents which must be filled out when you apply for custody of your child, and it is absolutely imperative that you fill these out with accuracy. even if you believe in your heart that you would be the best parent to look after your child, the judge will base his or her decision on cold hard facts, and nothing else. If therefore you have embellished any information on the forms, or made errors, this could be something which blows holes in your case. Don’t try to lie or enhance any of your answers, make sure that you complete the documents accurately, otherwise it could very well be your undoing.
The idea that mothers always win custody of the child is not strictly true, and this means that whether you are the mother or the father, you must do all that you can to win your case.