Whether you are going through a divorce or a complex separation, when you have children, child custody will likely be the most heated issue you face. While you and the other parent may try to come upon an agreement regarding child custody, in many cases, it is simply not possible. From disagreements on physical or legal custody to different views on visitation time, finding a mutual solution between mother and father can be challenging. That is why custody cases must often be resolved in court.
If you are facing a serious child custody battle, it is important that you prepare yourself ahead of time. Taking steps to present yourself as best as possible in court and strengthen your relationship with your child can go a long way in helping you securing a more positive and favorable custody outcome.
How to Prepare for Your Child Custody Case
When the court has to determine child custody, there are certain factors they will look at. Most importantly, their decision will rest on the foundation of the child’s best interests. It is important to present yourself as a reliable and acceptable parent ahead of time so that you can build credibility and trust.
The moment you and your spouse or partner decide to split up, you should begin taking steps to reinforce your relationship with your child. Simply showing up and claiming to be certain things in court will not be enough to win a custody battle.
Follow these tips in the time leading up to your child custody case:
- Take action as soon as possible: When you are the first parent to take initiative and bring the other parent to court, it is a strong example of how important your child and custody is to you.
- Pay child support if your child isn’t living with you: During a custody battle, it may seem strange to pay child support before a ruling has been made, but showing that you are willing to support your child in any case can be a strong demonstration of your suitability as a parent.
- Always be responsible, reliable, and dependable: Stay on top of work, but don’t miss out on time with your child to invest more in your job. The court values consistent employment, but also want to see that you can be a caring parent.
- Don’t skip out on any visits: Even when your schedule seems packed, demonstrating that time with your child is more important to you will make a strong impression. If you can’t make a visit, make sure to call plenty of time ahead and reschedule if possible.
- Stay around, don’t go on any extended trips: While it may be tempting to get away from the mess of your divorce or separation for a few days, it is important that you maintain consistency for your child. Flightiness can be seen as unsuitable for a custodial parent.
- Show up to every court hearing or meeting: Making sure that you are at every court hearing on time (or early). This will be a strong example of responsibility and priorities. In fact, missing a court date could end up in a warrant for your arrest, so don’t take any risks.
- Remain as cordial as possible with the other parent: Though it can be challenging to be friendly, always avoid getting into arguments or heated debates with the other parent. Try to maintain good communication and do not alienate the other parent if your child is currently living with you.
- Keep up a clean and professional appearance: By taking time to make yourself look professional, it shows the court that you are responsible and truly care about the impression you make. While appearance alone won’t win a custody battle, it does help make a strong impression.
At The Law Office of Darren C. O'Toole, LLC, we believe in advocating fairly for the rights of mothers and fathers. If you are facing a heated child custody battle, don't take any risks! Be the first to initiate legal action by calling our Monmouth County divorce lawyers!
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