Marriage is never an easy thing at which to succeed. The institution takes a lot of hard work, patience, devotion, and care. Unfortunately, things happen in life that end up putting unbearable stress on marriages. In the end, more than 55% of marriages break under the stress.
When marriages break and children are part of the picture, the breaking up process often becomes very complicated. The fact is children cannot be in two places at the same time. If both parents want control of the children and neither one is willing to compromise, it becomes incumbent on the judicial system to intervene and decide what’s right.
The words “what’s right” refer to the courts deciding what’s right for the kids. They have to be everyone’s primary focus during divorce proceedings. With that in mind, you have to decide how you are going to approach your child custody case to ensure you get the results you want or need. To that end, here are six tips to help you prepare for your child custody case.
1. Research Your State’s Child Custody Law
You can’t afford to make any mistakes when it comes to fighting for the right to have at least joint custody over your kids. Before you start the child custody process, do yourself a favor, and research your state’s laws regarding custody. By doing so, you can then set appropriate expectations and gain an understanding of what lies before you.
2. Gain an understanding of the Better Parent Standard
As stated above, the courts have an obligation to rule on what they believe is best for the child in question. To do that, they will be trying to assess which of the two parents are best suited to be the child’s primary caregiver.
Each parent will get an opportunity to make a positive impression on the judge who is overseeing the applicable case. That means you will get an opportunity to stake your claim. With that in mind, you have to be ready to put yourself forth in the best light possible.
3. Go Into Court Prepared
Child custody is a serious issue. There is very little in the world that is more important. It’s incumbent on you to be well prepared to present yourself and defend your rights to your child or children.
Working with your attorney, you need to gather all possible documentation. That should include anything a judge might want to see as proof of your devotion to the child and your ability to provide proper moral and financial support.
4. Dress for Success
It might seem insignificant, but how you present yourself physically in front of the judge will matter. Judges tend to favor parents who are well-groomed and appropriately dressed. Remember that “first impression” concept? It’s fully applicable here.
5. Learn Courtroom Etiquette
Any attorney with their salt will school you on basic courtroom procedures. They will school you on behavioral expectations within the courtroom. What they can’t do is control your behavior.
For the judge, you need to paint a picture of a person who is confident and in control of their emotions. You need to understand what and what not to say and how to express yourself without being demeaning to your estranged spouse.
6. Show Willingness and Ability to Communicate With Your Estranged Spouse
Ultimately, judges know kids need participation from both parents. The judge will be looking at both parties in your case to determine if one parent is more willing than the other to compromise, communicate, and cooperate. Translation: The courtroom is the right place for you to rise above any animosity that might exist if you want your child.