Authored by Heaven Stubblefield in Divorce
Published on 08-27-2009
Parents have a lot of anxiety when the rights to custody of their children are to be decided through the court system. The term custody battle begins to ring all too true as the battle can turn into an all out war. Going into a court child custody case filled with fear and anxiety can make the process more stressful than it has to be. Here are a few simple guidelines to keep in mind while going through a child custody battle.
1. Availability. This is one of the most important aspects in a custody case to a judge. Not only does the judge want you to be available for custody court hearings but a judge wants to know that the custodial parent is available to bolster the child’s development. The judge will look at the potential custodial parent’s career to decide how their work will coincide with the child’s life. Things like hours worked and length of business travel will be factors.
2. Previous Relationship. How much a potential custodial parent was previously involved with the child’s life before the custody battle is important factor to a judge and it will be scrutinized. This includes consistent involvement in school, social, and extracurricular activities, such as sports, dance classes, homework, and school plays.
3. Positive Environment. A judge will carefully consider the type of environment that will be provided by the potential custodial parent in a child custody battle. Will the child be in a healthy well-balanced positive environment? Factors like, being supportive of the other parent’s decisions, not being distracted by work and other outside factors and being able to eliminate those distractions, and supporting the best interests of the child. It is important to the judge that the potential custodial parent be able to provide a stress free environment void of negative influences.
4. Strong Character. A judge will closely analyze the character of each parent involved in a child custody battle. The ideal goal of a judge in a custody case is to place the child with the most stable and responsible parent and do what is best for the child. A prior history of substance abuse, infidelity, and unemployment can be damaging to a custody appeal.
5. Focus only on what you can control. This is possibly the hardest advice to take. It is important to remember that this custody case is about the child and not about the other parent. Keep records of discrepancies with visitation and discipline. Don’t be roped into petty behavior by other parties in the child custody case. Focus on the times you get to spend with the child when you have it and don’t waste it bad mouthing or trying to squeeze information out of the child about the other parties in the custody case.
6. Be prepared with your case. Take time creating more than one custody agreement that you can be flexible with. Be flexible about the time spent with the child. Be mindful of provisions in any child custody agreement, like taking the child across state lines or getting the child a passport. Document your plans and stipulations and have them ready to present to the judge and the other parties in the child custody case.
These are just a few important things to keep in mind will going through a child custody battle. Remember to work with a lawyer that you can trust. Other factors such as finances and safety will play heavily in a child custody case. Some of the most important factors to a judge in a child custody case are always, a positive environment and being a strong role model for the child. Concentrate on what you can control and focus on the best needs of the child and not your own.