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Winning primary child custody isn’t easy. For this reason, you should equip yourself with information on the dos to follow and don’ts to avoid. You must have an action plan that you can only do if you have enough knowledge about what to expect. To get started, check out the following for useful dos and don’ts to win the child custody battle.
Do show a willingness to work with your ex.
Be willing to work with your ex. Do not be as others who lost the child custody battle case because they did not cooperate with their ex-partner. So no matter how much you hate your ex, show the family court that you’re willing to collaborate and work with him/her. Be cooperative with each other.
Do request an in-home custody evaluation.
A parenting evaluation or custody evaluation is a legal process in which a court-appointed expert, such as a mental health professional, will evaluate your family. He/she will make a recommendation to the court for the child custody matters, including a parenting plan and residential custody.
You can request for an in-home custody evaluation, which is valuable particularly if you worry that your ex will attempt to present your home life in a negative way.
Do exercise your parental rights.
If you want to increase your chances of winning child custody, you should practice your parental rights with help from a guardianship attorney. You can ask advice from him or her about your parental rights.
For example, the lawyer will advise you to take advantage of visitation rights if you’re granted with it. He/she will recommend that you stay active with your child’s education, attend to parent and teacher conferences, and be proactive to address any issues you kid/s has in school.
Seek help from your guardianship lawyer about your parental rights so that you can practice them to the fullest.
Do know that perception is everything.
Remember that during a child custody battle, what matters more is how you present yourself in court. You must do it in an ethical and competent manner.
For example, you should dress for court, arrive on time during schedule and demonstrate proper courtroom etiquette.
In short, appearances matter in court.
As if the court will believe on what your ex is trying to portray you, you might have another problem. That is why you should always be at your best self.
Do teach yourself about family law.
Child custody is a part of family law. You must be ready for this battle. One of the best ways to do that is to teach yourself about family laws in your state so that you can better prepare yourself about what to expect from a child custody case.
Do prepare documentation.
Do not expect the family law court to take every word you say. They need proof just like in hearing any family law case for that matter.
For example, be able to save communications, including text messages and emails, with your ex. You should also document your children’s photos and videos that might be useful in court.
Do work with an experienced child custody lawyer.
Improve your chances of winning the child custody case. Don’t just go for any lawyer but with one specializing in family law and guardianship. One can help you identify and address issues before they become real ones.
Don't arrive late for pickups or visits.
Arriving late for pickups and visits is a no-no. While it seems like a little thing that you should not bother about, showing up late during scheduled visits, for instance, can be used against you.
Without you knowing, your ex might have been documenting that you’re showing late for pickups or skipping a scheduled parenting time.
Remember, a custody case is a facts-only process. You can get yourself into trouble if you do arrive late for visits and your ex has documented even the smallest details.
Don't make a habit of rescheduling time with your child.
Increase your chances of winning a custody battle over your ex by avoiding this bad habit of rescheduling parenting time.
As said, your ex can use it against you. He/she can portray you negatively in front of the court, which can assume that you’re not serious about the custody.
Don't negatively portray your ex to your kids.
Don’t say negative things about your ex to your children. Do not engage in using foul language about him/her in front of your children who are already having a difficult time, too.
Do not put them on the front line of your war or badmouth your ex in front of them.
As for them, your ex can be one of the coolest people on earth no matter how you think he/she is the worst person alive.
Don't refuse to do anything the court is asking of you.
Never disobey the court and its orders. Follow custody orders in place while there is a pending evaluation. You should also follow any temporary orders for holiday visits and visitation. Or else, you could be held in contempt of court, something that won’t help you in any way to win the custody battle.
Don't invent negative stories in an attempt to win custody.
Do not exaggerate your ex’s shortcomings or make up stories. Never try to make unfounded abuse allegations just to win the case. Otherwise, all the lies you make can backfire that anything you say can be used against you later.
Don't involve your children in the court case.
Your kids are already going through a lot, so do not make them suffer even more. Never share details with or involve them in the court case. They’re kids, remember? Let them be. Do not burden them with issues between you and your ex.
There you have the dos and don’ts to remember for winning the child custody case. Be prepared in this battle by equipping yourself with knowledge about family law and things to expect from a child custody case.