For a parent, a child custody battle may very well be the most stressful experience imaginable. This is especially true when you are not sure what to expect. Though in the past courts would often automatically grant custody to the mother, today, this decision is determined by what is in the best interest of the child. To make this decision, the courts look at each parent’s ability to care for the child or children. This means that regardless of whether you are the father or mother, you have to be able to prove to the courts that you are the fittest to have primary custody.
At Owens, Mixon, & Gramling, we know the hardship and pain of going through a custody dispute, and we leverage this understanding—along with years of legal experience to help our clients receive the decision they deserve. In today’s blog, we are going to look at some of the things you should do when battling for custody. Following these tips can drastically help present yourself to the courts in the best possible light.
Do show that you are willing to work with your ex
Regardless of how you feel about your ex, you have to demonstrate that you can be mature enough to collaborate with your child’s parent. This gesture will signal that you acknowledge that your ex is a part of your child’s life and that you can set aside your anger and do what’s best for your child.
Do pay attention to the little things
One of the most troubling parts of going through a custody dispute is coming to terms with the realization that, regardless of what is true or not, the court has the final say. The judge’s verdict, which may or may not align with your point of view, is ultimately based on evidence and feelings. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to matters both big and small. This not only means having a good lawyer who specializes in family law but also making sure to give attention to the little things, like dressing appropriately, demonstrating proper courtroom etiquette, and arriving on time. This will help in demonstrating to the court that you are responsible, mature, and fit to care for your child.
Do exercise your parental rights
For both your child’s sake and the sake of your case, take advantage of your parental rights. If you have been granted visitation rights, make sure that you are utilizing all of your time and spending as much time with your child as possible. Also, during these visitations, ensure that your child is fulfilling all of his or her needs and duties—like homework, chores, special events, and functions. Lastly, regardless of whether you are granted primary custody or not, stay involved in your child’s life.
Do document all potential evidence
Keeping meticulous and detailed records is an essential part of building a good case. In situations where you believe that your child is in danger or uncared for, make sure you document these events and all interactions.
Do hire an experienced lawyer
If for a second you think you can represent yourself, don’t do it. This is a surefire way to lose custody. A lawyer who is well-versed in family law and custody disputes will give you an inimitable advantage. Even if you are worried you cannot afford an attorney, find a free consultation, get some advice, and seek out resources like free legal clinics. The American Bar Association and The Legal Aid Society can direct you toward this type of assistance.
If you are in the Jonesboro area and need an experienced attorney, contact OMG Law Firm. We are a full-service law firm specializing in family law and custody disputes. Contact us today to set up your free consultation.
Be on the lookout for part two of this blog—Winning a Child Custody Dispute—Pt. II.