The ideal outcome of most child custody cases is for both parents to agree upon a fairly equal sharing of time with the children and to cooperate with the division of responsibility for their needs. However, this is not always possible, and your situation may be one case in which you could never see this happening. Unfortunately, the alternative is often fighting it out in court.
If you are facing a court battle over the custody of your children, you probably already know this is one of the most important challenges you will ever face. The outcome may impact your relationship with your children forever, so you want to have every possible advantage when you step into the California courtroom.
Making a good case for yourself
It may help to understand that the court is interested only in the wellbeing of the children. Therefore, your goal will be to prove to the court that you can provide a home and environment that will best meet their needs. Ironically, this may include your willingness to cooperate with your ex on matters related to the children. You will present a positive image to the court if you demonstrate that you are open to working with your ex on creating a stable and loving parenting plan.
However, you will still want to show the court that you are the parent who is most fit to have custody of the children. Some ways you can do that include the following:
- Remember that your ex may use every opportunity to present you to the court in a negative light, such as showing incriminating social media posts, threatening text messages or unflattering pictures, so be aware of the image you present, even in your private life.
- Comply with any orders or suggestions the court makes, such as attending a parenting class or seeking counseling.
- Follow any existing custody orders exactly, including being prompt for pickup and drop off and not making a routine of cancelling or rescheduling your time with the children.
- Keep your negative opinions about your ex to yourself by not sharing them on Facebook or with your children.
- Document any evidence that your ex is unfit as a parent, but never invent or exaggerate negative details about your ex to make yourself look like the better parent.
- Consider seeking an in-home custody evaluation if your attorney thinks it will help your case.
Having a skilled attorney is another way to improve your chances of a positive outcome. Your attorney can help you understand the nuances of California family law and guide you through each step of your custody hearing.