For parents, custody battles are often the most emotionally draining aspects of divorce. Not only is your future as an involved parent at stake, but the opposing side can be ruthless in arguing against your rights and abilities to parent. If you’re in a custody dispute, keep reading for tips to help your case!
- Understand What Judges are Looking For. Remember that above all, judges are going to base their decisions on the Best Interests of the Child Standard. Everything you do and say should reflect that your child’s best interest is your priority too!
- Show Your Willingness to Work with Your Ex. No matter how stressed or frustrated you are by your ex, showing your willingness to work with them to develop a co-parenting plan or a visitation schedule will show the judges that you’re capable of creating a healthy atmosphere for your child.
- Stay Civil and Respectful! Anger and frustration towards your ex are inevitable during a divorce, but treating your ex amicably is critical if you want to increase your chances of being awarded child custody. According to VeryWellFamily, the way the child’s parents treat each other is often a determining factor in custody rulings.
- Follow Courtroom Etiquette. The impression you give the judges in court could make or break your chances at custody. Men’sDivorce suggests dressing like you would for a job interview, arriving on time, and treating everyone in the room respectfully. Talk with your attorney about what to expect in court and proper protocols to follow. Remember that perception is everything!
- Make It Clear that You Care. According to Dad’sDivorce, when you are seeking sole custody or joint custody, your investment and engagement in your child’s life are essential. An experienced judge can differentiate between involved and passive parents. Make sure you know important details such as your child’s school schedule and the names of their best friends. Another way to show that you are committed as a parent is to follow court requests with a willing attitude. If judges require you to take parenting classes or seek counseling, do so immediately! View these requirements as opportunities to demonstrate just how committed you are to being an involved parent.
- Take Notes and Have a Plan. Keep a journal of important names, dates, places, and people in the lives of your children, and record an accurate visitation schedule. Prepare a plan regarding living arrangements, education, after-school activities, and finances, so that you’re prepared to answer questions from the judges!
- Show Up for Your Child. Showing your involvement also means making it a priority to attend your child’s social, educational, religious and other important events. A judge may look at attendance to events such as school plays, baptisms, birthday parties, and sporting events as evidence of a meaningful parent-child relationship.
- Don’t Vent to Your Child. No matter how stressed you are, ranting and raving to your child will never produce helpful results. Trash-talking your ex in front of your child can lead to parental alienation and it can also hurt your custody case. If a judge discovers that your stress is creating an unhealthy environment for your child, they might rule that you don’t have your child’s best interests in mind. Remember that children often believe they are at fault for their parents’ divorce. Placing an additional burden on their shoulders by involving them in your anger and frustration could make these feelings of perceived fault even stronger.
- Don’t Abuse Alcohol or Drugs!. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s critical to remember. Even if you feel like you are not using alcohol or drugs at an abusive level, remember that evidence of any level of drug or alcohol use can be used against you in court. Don’t risk losing custody of your child!
- Be Cautious with Your Social Media During Your Case. When you’re in a child custody battle, a social media blackout is usually in your best interests because unexpected things can be used against you in your case. At the very least, you should never post details about your case. Remember that the opposing party is looking for any evidence to use against your parenting abilities. For example, a photo of you having a beer with a few friends could turn into proof that you’re irresponsible.
Custody battles can be agonizing and exhausting, that’s why Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf work tirelessly to make your case as straightforward and stress-free as possible. If you’re a parent in Baton Rouge, LA looking for a custody arrangement that will allow you to spend as much time as possible with your children, we can help. Call 225-343-2205 or send us a message online.
3960 Government St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806