What are some things to keep in mind to win a child custody battle in the US?

As with most important things in life, preparation is everything. We talked with legal experts across the nation and they suggested that there are several crucial elements to planning a successful custody case. Surprise – bitter feuding and trash-talking the other parent didn’t make anyone’s list.
Andrew Pickett

Andrew Pickett

Lead Trial Attorney at Andrew Pickett Law.

Your Financial Situation, Criminal Record, and Emotional Stability

When it comes to winning a child custody battle, the most important thing to remember is that the court will always base its decision on what is best for the child. It’s also important to remember that child custody decisions can fluctuate and change over time as conditions or circumstances change. Therefore, it’s essential to remain open and flexible in negotiations.

Here are my top three tips for anyone considering filing a child custody action in the US:

1) Your financial situation. The court will consider the financial resources of each parent in making a custody determination.

2) Your criminal record. If either party has a criminal history, it may be possible to use this as evidence against them in court.

3) Your emotional stability. Both parents must demonstrate that they can provide the child with a safe, secure, and stable home environment.

Finally, it’s important to remember that the court wants an amicable solution between both parents whenever possible. The court may order mediation or other types of counseling if they think it might help resolve issues in a timely manner.

Familiarize Yourself With the Details of Your Child’s Life

Not all custody discussions have to transform into battles. The willingness to collaborate and find a mutually agreeable solution often results in outcomes that are best for the child and more satisfactory for both parents.

In cases where reaching an agreement isn’t possible, it’s necessary to arm yourself with information and resources to present your case compellingly. The court’s primary focus is the well-being of the child, and your efforts should align with that. Preparing meticulously for your case is one step toward this.

Understanding child custody laws in your state, familiarizing yourself with the details of your child’s life, and demonstrating your commitment to providing a stable, nurturing environment are paramount. Living arrangements matter. The court appreciates continuity in the child’s life, so if you can provide a home that’s in the child’s current school district or close to the other parent, it can work in your favor.

Similarly, showing deep familiarity with your child’s life – from their school schedule to their hobbies and health conditions – can be a testament to your involvement and commitment as a parent. In court, your attitude and conduct play a significant role. The judge will be watching for signs of your willingness to cooperate with your spouse, especially in facilitating a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent. Remember, disparaging your spouse or showing resistance to their involvement in the child’s life isn’t viewed favorably.

During the hearing, presenting relevant documentation, demonstrating proper court etiquette, and providing witnesses who can vouch for your parenting skills can be beneficial. It’s not about being the “better” parent per se, but about proving that you prioritize the child’s interests above everything else.

Laura Wasser

Laura Wasser

Family Lawyer and Chief of Divorce Evolution at Divorce.com.
Melissa Fecak

Melissa Fecak

Document Everything In a Journal

In custody matters, I always recommend my clients document everything. Having a journal where all missed parenting times, late pick-ups or drop-offs, children returned unfed or unclean, issues with homework/tardiness, or children coming home saying negative things the other parent said all can be used to support a claim for changes to custody.

Judges are more persuaded by a statement that a parent has missed 14 of his last 23 scheduled parenting times as opposed to they missed “several” days.

As custody cases are mostly based on “he said/she said” reporting, having documentation to support a position can help to tip the scales. A journal can also assist the parent to prepare prior to meeting with an expert or appearing at a hearing, refreshing their memory as to all the issues that support their position.

Engage Ideal Custody Witnesses, Ensure Your Living Situation Is Safe and Comfortable

To win a child custody battle in the US, there are several things to keep in mind:

    1. Show the court that you have a clear understanding of what your child needs and how you can provide for them.

    2. Hire an experienced family law attorney. They can help guide you through the legal process and provide valuable advice and representation in court.

    3. Work together to keep things from getting ugly: Try to avoid conflict with the other parent and focus on finding common ground. Consider mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve disagreements.

    4. Ensure your living situation is safe, comfortable, and appropriate for your child.

    5. Ideal custody witnesses are neutral parties, such as teachers, coaches, and medical providers, who can attest to your parenting abilities and the best interests of your child.

    6. Failure to provide for your child’s basic needs, such as food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and education, can harm your chances of winning custody. Make sure you are fulfilling your responsibilities as a parent and providing for your child’s needs.

Stephanie Edenburgh

Stephanie Edenburgh

CEO at Bizzie Mommy.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.