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A custody battle is usually a stressful time for all parties involved, including potential guardians and the child over whom custody is sought. Having a good lawyer is only part of the battle. It is also important to take the initiative in making the best case possible for one's custodial rights. Successfully handling a custody battle entails not only working to ensure an optimal outcome, but also working towards coming out of the dispute without causing harm to those whose welfare is at stake.
Having a good lawyer is the first part involved in a custody battle. It is advisable to choose a lawyer with significant experience in custody cases. If the dispute involves court and cannot be settled without a trial, having the best possible lawyer can only be a benefit. Of course, the pedigree of lawyer available is often dependent on financial resources, but it is important to at least have a knowledgeable, trustworthy person available for representation.
Taking personal initiative in a custody battle is possibly even more important than good representation. The facts speak for themselves when they're indisputably recorded. Documentation, then, is key.
Recording how one is involved in the child under dispute's upbringing is of the utmost importance. Involvement in the child's life and devotion to his or her welfare can be documented by recording all the time spent with the child, and with what activities that time is occupied. Being involved at the child's school, helping with extracurricular activities, and even being the child's primary mode of transportation can all aid in showcasing parenting skills in a favorable light during a custody battle. Keeping a list of witnesses who would recognize the integral role one plays in the child's life is also a good idea.
The less pleasant side of documentation is making a record of all the ways in which the other parties seeking custody fail in his or her custodial duties. Any drug use, prison convictions, or other unsavory activity should be documented. Simple lack of involvement or a demanding work schedule can also shine badly on a possible guardian. It is important not to appear vindictive or malicious when presenting these facts, but to approach the situation from an objective point of view unless asked to do otherwise.
When all the facts are in order, all that remains is to see the process through in the justice system. This may be difficult and stressful, but it is important to put the welfare of the child involved above all personal disagreements with the child's possible guardians. Whether one wins or loses the custody battle, it is important that all parties involved continue to consider the interests of the child and continue to perform familial duties as far as the law permits.
I've heard that a father often has a more difficult challenge during a child custody battle, since many courts prefer to grant physical custody to the mother. A father can still fight for liberal visitation or joint custody, but the default setting still seems to favor the mother.
My friends who have been through a divorce and custody battle tell me that it's always better to stay above the fray as much as possible. A family judge should take notice of one party who seems to be unreasonably aggressive or hostile towards the other party. In other words, if a war of words does break out, it may be best to let the other person use up all of his or her ammunition first. Once the personal attacks are over, then the constructive conversations can take place.
I have a friend who is currently in a vicious child custody battle, and his ex-wife appears to be doing everything in her power to make his life miserable. She recently petitioned a court to hold him in contempt until he paid an extraordinary amount of child support she claimed he owed. He produced evidence that proved his wages had been garnished for years, and he was not behind on any payments. The judge sent him to jail anyway, which meant he couldn't earn any additional income as a freelance photographer.
When he was finally released from jail, he took his situation to the court of public opinion. He explained his side of the situation to all of his
friends on social media sites, and many of them have pledged their emotional and even financial support. They don't participate in any sort of hate campaign against the ex-wife, but they do help to spread the word about his plight. I'd say that other people who are fighting a custody battle should also look to their friends for moral support during the process.
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