With a divorce rate in the U.S. of approximately 50 percent, there are many reasons why couples end up embroiled in family law battles. Custody issues generally top the list of concerns, as parents want to know who their children will primarily reside with and how substantial decisions will be made regarding the continued upbringing of the children. Here are seven family law tips to help you win difficult custody issues.
1. Be the First to Take Action
If you are the father, the worst thing you can do is wait until the mother of your children takes you to court. Make sure to file first, and it will show that you are sincerely interested in being the primary person in your children’s lives and are committed to taking action. If you are the mother, the same reasons apply. You want to show the family law judge how motivated you are to have primary custody by being the first to file a custody action.
2. Avoid Conflict
During divorce proceedings, emotions are usually volatile. Do your best to take the higher road, remain calm, and try not to argue with the other parent. Conflict will only make matters worse and will show the judge that there’s a problem with your emotional control.
3. Utilize the Police
If conflict happens and the other parent argues with you, walk out immediately and telephone the police. This will ensure that there is a record of the argument and will stop the disagreement from escalating. It’s important to remember not to argue back as that will be recorded in a police report and may be used against you at a later time in court.
4. Be Proactive With Child Support
Even if child support has not yet been ordered, if the other parent spends substantial time with the children, it’s a good idea to give at least some amount to that parent every month. Make sure to give the child support in the form of a check or money order and do not give cash.
5. Keep Records of Everything
Keep a written record of every time you see your kids and when you don’t see your kids. If you have a custody arrangement in place, make sure to record every instance where the other parent is in breach of that agreement. Record items like late pickup, missed attendance at a parent-teacher conference, and when payments to things like tutors don’t get made.
6. Be Consistent With All Your Visits
Always keep your word and make your visits on your agreed upon day. In the event that you’re unable to make a visit, call the other parent and explain. The family law judge will look poorly on not making scheduled visits.
7. Go to All Your Court Dates
Attending all court dates is extremely important. If you don’t show up for a court date, a warrant could be issued for your arrest.