When it comes to child custody, all bets are off. Most parents will do almost anything to preserve their rights.
A judge decides parental rights during a divorce. Judges first and foremost look out for the interests of the children. They must follow federal and state laws. However, you do have some power over what happens.
What you can control
A judge will take your wishes into account when determining child custody. You can influence the judge’s decision. Prove your interests align with the interests of your children.
Maintain a positive relationship with your children and other members of the household. Avoid voicing negative opinions. A judge wants children to live in a positive environment.
Put your children first, regardless of your feelings about your spouse. Show you are willing to work with your spouse to provide a good situation for your children.
Prove you are worthy of the court’s trust. Be on time for court appointments. Avoid being argumentative. Emphasize your positive contributions to your children’s upbringing.
What you cannot control
Some factors are beyond your reach. It is important to recognize and do your utmost to work around them.
Children who are mature enough to decide about their future can express their wishes to the court. Respect what they say.
A judge considers changes in your children’s home, school and community. Show your commitment by continuing to live nearby, preferably in the same school district.
Nothing is more important than your children’s mental and physical health. Show through words and actions that you will support them in every way, no matter who wins custody.
You always want to set a good example for your children. Fighting for their custody is no different. Judges are bound by the law, but they also will be looking at you. You must work to prove to the court that your child belongs with you.