When there is a disagreement between two parents on who should have custody of their child, it is very hard on everyone involved. Although you may be the best parent to have custody, unless the other parent agrees with you, the final custody decision will likely have to be made by a judge.
While this final decision may be out of your control, you can do a few things to better position yourself to be the custodial parent.
1. Keep Your Child's Best Interests First
When you are in the midst of a divorce, or a custody case, you and your spouse may be so busy going back and forth at each other that the child's best interest gets lost in the process. You have to find a way to separate your interest from your child's interest.
Understand that as long as your child is safe with your spouse, your child really does need both parents in their lives. If they are mature enough, you want your child to have an opinion in the matter, but they should never be forced to make the final decision on who they will live with.
2. Provide All Required Information
The court will consider many factors before deciding who should have custody of your child. Some of these include the following for both parents:
- Ability to provide for your child's physical and financial needs
- Work hours and work demands
- Social habits
- Prior criminal records, police reports, and false or malicious allegations
- Current location
- Relationship with each other
In addition to these, the court will want to know your wishes, as well as the wishes of your child.
This information may be gathered by a Guardian ad Litem, who is a court-appointed advocate, another representative of the court, or a mental health professional you may be required to see.
3. Gather All Required Documentation
The court may also require documentation to prove some of the information you are asked to provide. In addition to some the information above, you may also want to collect character reference letters to submit to the court.
These are letters written by people who know you and your child. They need to speak to what they know of your relationship and why you would be the best parent to have custody. These can be written by:
- Family members
Collect these letters along with any other requested information so that your attorney will be able to submit it to the court. Failure to do so may result in the court having to make a decision without crucial information.
4. Obey Court Orders
Unfortunately, a child custody hearing is usually not a single affair. You may also have to attend hearings that decide temporary custody, visitation, or other family issues along the way.
Make sure that you comply with all of the orders of the court. You will not only show the court you are willing to obey what is ordered but also avoid arrest.
Failure to follow an existing order can quickly result in you losing custody and or visitation. If you disagree with the court's order or you feel that your child is in danger, have your attorney put your case back in front of the judge as quickly as possible. Just remember that the burden of proof to prove your point will fall on you, and you need to have solid evidence to back up your opinion.
5. Hire an Attorney
Child custody can be a very complicated process and is not one that you want to go through alone. Fortunately, at A Gonzalez Law Firm, P.L.L.C., we have experienced and knowledgeable attorneys who understand child custody hearings. Call us today so that we can get started winning you custody.