5 Child Custody Tips

When you are involved in a case regarding custody of your children things can get crazy and out-of-hand very quickly.  So, here are a few tips to help you out in your child custody case.

  1. Really try to work with your spouse to parent together regardless of the custody arrangement.  When you are going through a divorce (or you are already divorced and you are fighting over custody) things can really turn ugly, and I mean fast.  What almost immediately happens is that the parents cease communications with one another and therefore cease parenting together and consistently.  This causes confusion for the children and can lead to problems for you in the lawsuit.  Just a few weeks ago I was in a custody hearing and each party was talking about “my son this” and “my son that.”  The judge quickly lashed into them and reminded each of the parties that this was “their son” and they had to parent together.
  2. Don’t bad-mouth your spouse in front of the children.  Let’s face it, kids talk.  I never know what is going to come out of my two year old’s mouth, but it is almost always something he heard his mother or me say.  I’m sure your kids are the same way.  When you talk to you kids about their other parent you really put them in a bad predicament.  You confuse them and you cause them to lose respect for their parent.  Depending on how mature they are, they may even lose respect for you.
  3. Don’t bad-mouth your spouse in front of the Guardian ad Litem.  In any contested custody matter, the court is going to appoint a Guardian ad Litem to represent the best interest of the minor children in the case.  It is the Guardian’s job to investigate the circumstances surrounding the children and present a report to the hearing judge about his or her findings.  During the litigation, the Guardian ad Litem is likely to meet with you several times to discuss the case.  During these meetings it is your job to make sure you build up yourself as a good parent and not spend the entire time bashing your spouse.  That never works for winning a custody case.  It just shows you are bitter and angry and that takes away from your ability to be a good parent. There are almost always concerns about the other parent’s ability to be a good custodial parent, so bring those up and move on.  Don’t dwell on them.
  4. Help your children.  When you are trying to win a custody case you should be spending quality time with your children.  Too often parents think trips to the park and arcade are all the quality time they need.  On one hand you will probably win the heart of your child if all you do is take them out to do the fun things and buy them nice gifts, but you are probably not doing your custody case chances any favors unless you are also doing the “hard stuff.”  Parenting requires you to punish, help with homework and projects, teach, have fun, cry, and everything in between.  If you’re just doing the fun stuff you’re only part of the way there.
  5. Stabilize your life.  Do you move around a lot?  Do you change jobs often?  What’s your lifestyle like?  When you are involved in a custody dispute you should try to stabilize yourself.  Make sure you have had a stable place to live for a while and that your home has ample room for your children.  If you have teenager and their are opposite sexes they should probably have separate rooms.  Can you hold down a job?  Having a stable job history shows that you can provide for yourself and your children and that you are loyal and consistent.  Good parenting attributes.  Do you party?  Do you stay out all hours of the night?  During a custody dispute don’t be surprised to find out your spouse has had a private investigator following you.  If someone was documenting everything you were doing, would that help or hurt your custody case?  If that PI went on your Facebook or Twitter page would they find that you have been out partying and drinking all night the last week?

Comments

  1. My parents got divorced when I was seven and speaking from experience, I definitely agree on parts of this article. Working together with your ex can be very beneficial to the children. My dad had custody of my brother and me, while my mom had custody of my sister. They worked it out in a way that would allow all three kids to be together every weekend, and we saw each parent every other weekend. Thanks for the great article!

  2. One of my good friends is about to get a divorce, and she’s super worried about what’s going to happen with their kids. She isn’t sure what to do about them. This being said, I really appreciate you giving me some insight about divorce, and letting me know what things she can do to handle this child-custody situation. I’ll be sure to share this with her right away so she can begin working on these. Thanks for the help.

  3. what if I had my daughter before we got married? do I have sole custody, or will we have to determine custody in the divorce?

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