For parents, one of the biggest concerns during a divorce is child custody arrangements. You may be worried that the other parent will get full custody, that your access to your child will be jeopardized or, at the very least, that you simply will not get enough time with your child.
Here are 7 simple things you can do to influence a positive outcome in your child custody case:
1. Spend Time Now To Ensure Time Later
The law favors continuation of current parent-child relationships. The parent who takes the child to school, who attends afterschool sports and other activities, who plays outside with the child and who spends time with the child may continue to do so. A parent who is not actively involved in the child’s life now may have a difficult time arguing that they would like to be actively involved in the child’s life after the divorce.
2. Watch What You Say About Your Spouse
Parental alienation is a serious issue in divorce. This is when one parent says disparaging things about the other to the child in an attempt to win the child’s favor and alienate the other parent. This can be very subtle, such as accusing the other parent of wrongdoing. Even if the other parent did something wrong, that is likely not a discussion you should have with your child. If it comes to light that you spoke negatively of your spouse, it could hurt your case.
3. Avoid Stressful Transitions
Courts want children to have stability. The divorce itself is a difficult enough transition for a child. Take care when considering additional transitions such as moving, beginning a new relationship or shifting jobs. Your spouse could use these changes to argue a lack of stability. Keep in mind that, in some cases, changes may be seen as a good thing, such as getting a new job with higher pay or a more regular schedule. The key is to use care when making major life changes while a child custody case is in progress.
4. Do Not Fight With Your Spouse
Divorce can be very emotional. You may have serious and legitimate issues with your spouse’s actions. However, the reality of the situation is that arguing in front of your child can cause major emotional harm. Courts do not look favorably on such behavior. Furthermore, the expectation is that you and your spouse are going to be able to work together after you are divorced to raise your child. If possible, you should look for opportunities for positive communication with your spouse and do everything you can to avoid fighting, particularly when your child is present.
5. Marshal Your Support Network
Raising a child is not easy. Often, it requires help from the extended family. Now is the time to get the child’s grandparents involved. Are there nieces and nephews that can be friends with your child? Do you have someone to turn to for help with childcare? Be able to show that you have a support network on your side that will benefit your child.
6. Consider Mediation
The nature of a trial is that the decision is out of your hands. You are putting the decision into the hands of a judge, and all you can do is choose a lawyer who can effectively influence that decision. If possible, it may be better to hold onto the decision-making power. Negotiation and mediation allow you to work with your spouse to reach agreements on your own. You may want to try these options first, while making certain you have a lawyer on your side with trial experience if a courtroom battle is necessary.
7. Choose Your Attorney With Care
At Scardina Family Law, we have the courtroom strength and negotiation skill to help you through your divorce and child custody case. We are passionate about helping parents protect their relationships with their children.