When most people hear the term "custody battle," they picture a bitter, drawn-out fight between parents. While custody issues can be challenging to navigate, they don’t always have to be stressful affairs.
Understanding how courts handle custody issues can help you form an efficient strategy for pursuing an arrangement that allows your child to thrive, and enables you to play an active role in their life. Today, we’re giving out some tips for how you can handle your custody matter.
The Court’s Perception Is King
One of the hardest things for many parents to acclimate to in custody battles is how the court’s perception plays into the case.
The judge presiding over the case hasn’t been there to watch you raise your children. They only see what you present in court as evidence and how you conduct yourself during courtroom appearances. If you can’t come to an agreement with your co-parent on how to handle custody, the judge’s impression of your parenting abilities will play a role in the outcome of your case.
To that end, the more you can improve your standing in the eyes of the court, the better off you’ll be in the long run.
Throughout the custody dispute, keep in mind how the judge may receive your actions. Ask your attorney about any biases they think the judge may have. Being mindful of how the court will perceive your actions can be invaluable in securing a positive outcome.
Try to Compromise with Your Ex (if Possible)
If you’re estranged from your co-parent, you may have to fight out your custody dispute in court. But, if you can, you should try and work with them to compromise on a mutually beneficial custody arrangement instead.
Keeping in mind our first tip, you know your best interests more accurately than the court. Avoiding a court-ordered judgment by compromising with your ex may increase your chances of getting what you want from the custody arrangement.
Even if you can’t agree with your ex, you should still be as gracious as you can towards them. The court will always favor whichever parent acts magnanimous and tries to focus on pursuing the child’s best interests, instead of getting dragged down into personal arguments with their co-parent.
Keep the Children Out of It if You Can
If you can, keep the children out of the custody dispute entirely.
Depending on your child’s age, the court may ask them for their opinion on the custody case. The older your child is, the more the court will weigh their opinion.
When courts evaluate children, they often bring in a professional like a child developmental psychologist, who can assess whether either parent is trying to manipulate the child. Courts take parental meddling in custody cases seriously, so the more impartial you are, the better.
Ask for a Custody Evaluation (if You Need it)
If you fear the other parent is trying to alienate you from your children or manipulate them, it may be wise to conduct an in-home custody evaluation.
During a custody evaluation, a neutral third party will come and observe your parenting while you’re with your child(ren). They’ll then report their findings to the court.
Requesting a custody evaluation can be an effective way to combat false allegations from a co-parent about your capabilities as a caregiver, or dissuade them from engaging in parental alienation.
Discuss your options with a lawyer so you can do what’s best for your child. At Alternative Divorce Solutions, our experienced lawyers are ready to help you protect your parental rights and work towards a custody arrangement that enables your child to thrive.
To schedule a consultation with our team or learn more about how we can help you with your case, contact us online or via phone at 949-368-2121.