Although your divorce lawyer will handle the legalities of pursuing your child custody case, there are things you can do. By knowing how to conduct yourself in and out of the courtroom, you’ll improve your chances of getting your desired custody outcome. These tips can be used to benefit your case.
1. Set Your Feelings Aside
Possibly the most important thing you can do for your child custody case is to take a step back. Virtually every type of family law case involves extreme emotions and bad memories, but letting those feelings affect your behavior can sabotage your case. Instead, show the court that you can work with your ex-spouse and that you’re open to compromise. If you can show that you’re able to co-parent with your spouse, that will work in your favor. The Matrimonial Home website is a useful resource if you would like more information.
2. Continue Parenting Your Children
During a child custody case, parents have a tendency to want to be the favorite parent. While the children may enjoy this and take advantage of it, this isn’t going to sit well with a family court judge. The court wants to see that you’re taking your parenting responsibilities seriously. This means making sure your children are eating nutritiously, doing their homework, and practicing good hygiene.
3. Request an In-Home Custody Evaluation
You can help your divorce lawyer present a good case by requesting an in-home custody evaluation. This is an opportunity for an agent of the court to come into the home and see the living conditions firsthand. This can be especially helpful in defending against a bitter spouse who may be suggesting you’re offering substandard living conditions. A report from a court officer on the suitability of your home may be enough to dispel an angry ex-spouse’s allegations.
4. Don’t Badmouth Your Ex-Spouse
While the opposing party may be your ex-spouse, keep in mind that he or she is also your child’s parent. Speaking ill of the individual can leave your children feeling even more distraught. A divorce and custody battle is hard enough on children without exposing them to the adult conflicts between you and the other parent. Additionally, the court may be less sympathetic, if they think you’re trying to turn your children against the other parent.
5. Always Show Up for Custody or Visitation
Failing to appear on time for court-appointed visitation or custody pick-ups can have a negative impact on your case. Tardiness and rescheduling appointments implies that you don’t take your parenting responsibilities seriously. If you’re unable to show up on time as you fight for custody, a judge may assume you’ll be even more unreliable away from the court’s eye.
When you hire a divorce lawyer, your attorney will also offer you advice on how to handle your child custody case. The best thing you can do is follow your lawyer’s suggestions as closely as possible. As your case progresses, you should do what you can to show the judge that nothing is as important to you as the custody of your children.