Win Your Child Custody Case
Child custody cases can range from simple to complex. Regardless of where your particular case falls on this spectrum, there are a few things you must know about child custody. While learning these tips will not guarantee your success, going to court without them could be disastrous.
Keep these important facts in mind to help you win your child custody case:
- What is in the best interest of your child? This is the primary question the family court judge is seeking to answer when he or she awards custody of your child. Keep this in mind in all dealing with the court and court personnel. Everything you do, everything you say, and every paper you file should indicate that you are the stronger candidate for custody of your child.
- Be Prepared: Research what happens in a child custody case before you go to court. If you do not know what to expect, you can be swept along by a fast paced trial, and end up with a custody order that does not entirely suit your purposes. By learning what to expect, you will be prepared to answer questions, and be able to state your preferences, and the reasons for those preferences clearly and confidently in court.
- Ask for help: If you need help, or don’t understand something, ask questions until you do. If you are representing yourself, it is imperative that you fully understand the different types of custody, and what the court can and can’t do for you. Even if you have an attorney, you should ask questions if you do not fully understand something about your case.
- Know what you want: Come to court armed with a custody and visitation schedule already lined out, whether your child’s other parent has agreed to it or not. By knowing what you want, and what you will settle for, you can make a clear and convincing argument for your side. By handing the judge a prepared agreement, you also make it easier for him or her to rule in your favor.
- Document everything: Put everything in writing. If it isn’t written down, it didn’t happen, as far as court is concerned. Write down everything from your strong points (a list of what you do for your child daily, different things you do together, etc), to your former spouses weaknesses (they didn’t show up for a meeting, forgot a visitation, have unsafe habits or practices, etc). You should also document the money you spend raising, housing, and feeding your child, for proof of both your commitment, and to your support needs.
While every child custody case is unique, heeding the above advice will make your case stronger, and will make it more likely that you will achieve the outcome you want.