If you find yourself in the middle of a child custody battle, then you know just how challenging these times can be. The raw emotions of the situation are enough to make you want to dig a hole that you can hide in. But a strong, determined approach will serve you well.
How to Increase Your Chances of ‘Winning’
A child custody battle might be the most difficult yet important thing you ever go through in your entire life. Not only does it directly affect your relationship with your kids, but it’s going to shape how they see the world. Sometimes the best outcome is for you to have full custody, while other times partial custody as part of an amicable split is the right option for all.
What it means to “win” your child custody battle will differ depending on various situational factors. With that being said, here are some simple ways to increase your chances of success.
1. Focus on the Child’s Best Interests
It’s easy to get so wrapped up in obtaining a favorable outcome – or so consumed by one-upping your ex-spouse – that you forget to truly prioritize the needs of your child.
As difficult as it is to do, you have to push your personal preferences to the side and consider what’s best for your child. And unless your ex is abusive or a danger to the health and well-being of your child, it makes the most sense for both of you to be involved in some capacity.
Some would disagree with this statement, but it’s rare that full custody is the best option for a child. Whether it’s you or the other parent, full custody makes it difficult for a child to fully bond with both mom and dad. Each parent plays a role in the child’s development and you have to look at things from their perspective.
2. Work Together With Your Spouse
Put your differences aside and work with your spouse to try and find the best possible outcome for the kids. This doesn’t mean reaching a bunch of verbal agreements on your own without the help of your attorneys. (That makes things very difficult.) It does, however, mean you should have open dialogue on the issue. There has to be some give and take here. Be smart and don’t let your own pride get in the way.
3. Hire an Experienced Family Law Attorney
While you’re encouraged to work together with your spouse and to maintain healthy and open lines of communication, you need to hire a lawyer. More specifically, you need to hire your own lawyer. (Sharing one with your spouse is not smart.)
“I’ve seen a lot of parents make huge mistakes in child custody battles – ones that haunt them for years to come – all because they try to handle things on their own,” attorney Rowdy G. Williams says. “It’s unfortunate, because a good attorney can typically help you avoid these scenarios. You can’t be too cheap or prideful to hire an attorney. The consequences are too harsh.”
When hiring an attorney, look for an experienced sole child custody attorney who has spent a lot of time working on child custody cases. You need someone who is willing to fight for you, even if the situation becomes heated.
4. Proactively Address Potential Issues
If there’s an issue that you believe could potentially undercut you and/or hurt your chances of winning a favorable outcome in your child custody case, be proactive about it. Don’t sit back and hope that it won’t come up. Definitely don’t hide it from your lawyer.
Your ex-spouse’s legal team is going to uncover absolutely everything. If there’s something you said or did in the past that could be used against you, it will be. That’s why it’s better to get ahead of these things and proactively address potential tripping hazards.
5. Use Caution With Social Media
Social media should be avoided as much as possible under any circumstances (for your mental health). This is even more true when you’re in the middle of a child custody battle and divorce. Social media will do nothing but get you in trouble. Avoid posting (or checking your spouse’s profiles). Instead, spend your time taking care of yourself and being the best dad you can be.
Make Sure You Have a Plan
Every child custody situation is unique. You’ll never find any two cases that have identical circumstances or outcomes. However, if you want to increase your chances of obtaining a successful outcome for you and your children, it’s wise to plan ahead and follow the aforementioned principles.