Ending a relationship or a marriage is never easy and it gets even harder when both parties fight a battle for the custody of their child. Child custody battles are one of the worst kind of litigation. Custody court hearings are emotional and highly stressful. However, it is not surprising because no one wants to lose their kids. Before you decide to take your ex-spouse to court over the custody arrangement for your child, be prepared and know what to expect. Below are three tips that will help you to be well prepared for the court, as well as help you to keep your child’s interests as your first and main priority.
1. Do not see your partner as an enemy and do not fight with him over the custody of your children. Always think about your kids and their interests first. Your child/children need both parents and their love. Divorce is a very stressful process for any kid. It is hard for them to understand that their parents do not love each other the way they did before. Often, children of divorced parents feel abandoned and might even blame themselves for their parents’ divorce. In order to help your children adjust easier to the new relationship between their parents, try your best to cooperate with your ex-spouse or partner in a civilized manner. Do not make derogatory or offensive comments about your ex-spouse and never argue with your ex-spouse or partner in front of your children. If a joint custody arrangement is possible, consider this option as the priority choice for your kids. It will allow your kids to see both parents often and get the love and support of both parents.
2. The primary goal of a court is to provide a stable environment for your child. Make sure that your child’s interest is the biggest factor for you, as well. It is not the time to be selfish. Consider what custody arrangements will be the best for your child in terms of his/her education, health, happiness and safety.
The court takes in consideration parents’ personality, the parents’ relationship with a child, the ability to raise a child and the parents’ employment status when deciding which parent to award with the custody of a child. The court also considers a child’s preference on the custody arrangements. Furthermore, it is important to convince the court that you are able to raise a child and a child would be better taken care of with you. Thus, your ability to provide records indicating the amount of financial support for your child and the percentage of your involvement in the child’s life, school or sports activities are all going to help to show the court that it is in the best interests of the child to stay with you.
It is also important not to assume that you are going to be awarded custody just because of your financial status, gender or by making the other parent look bad. The days when the court would automatically award custody of children to their mother are gone. Nowadays, the court awards the custody of a child to a parent who can provide the best home environment for the child.
3. And finally, when the court made the decision about custody arrangements for your child, make sure to follow and respect the court's arrangements. The court has made its decision based on the evidence from both parties and after careful consideration of many factors mentioned above. If you have been awarded the custody, remember that most of the time it is in the child’s best interest to have a contact with both parents. However, if you have not been awarded custody of your child, make sure there is ample provision for visitation and that you exercise your visitation rights.