Ideally, divorcing parents will work together on a custody plan that suits their family the best — but what if that isn’t possible?
If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse are fighting over child custody, the court will consider several factors and award custody according to your child’s best interests. Here is what you can expect during the process:
Defending your parenting
The court won’t limit a parent’s custody rights unless there’s some danger to the child. Therefore, your co-parent may allege that you’re somehow “unfit” as a parent. You may need to counter their allegations of neglect with evidence that:
- You have been significantly involved in your child’s life, medical care and education
- You can provide them with a stable home and a safe living environment
It will help to have witnesses, such as babysitters and teachers, who can support your claim of being a good parent.
Your behavior being questioned
You should make certain that your behavior during this time is beyond reproach. If you’re worried that your co-parent will goad you into a fight, keep all your meetings in public or in the presence of others. Further, you should dress appropriately for court. Your outfit, hair and makeup should tell the judge you are a responsible parent. While it may sound trivial, judges are human and a conservative appearance shows your respect for the court.
Your child’s preferences being considered
The court may not use a child’s opinions to determine where they will live. But based on their maturity and judgment, the court may consider their preferences. Therefore, you should be ready for the judge to ask your child what they want, especially if they are older.
Being informed is crucial when going into a child custody proceeding. It will also help to get legal guidance to protect your parental rights.