As you work your way through your divorce, your children and their well-being are probably going to be your top concern. As such, you’re probably worried about how child custody is going to play out in your marriage dissolution. This is understandable given the fact that your child custody arrangement, whether negotiated or litigated, is going to shape your children’s lives and what your relationship with them looks like. That’s why you have to be prepared to aggressively advocate for the child custody order that supports your children’s best interests.
That’s a lot of pressure to contend with as you navigate the other intricacies of your divorce, such as property division and spousal support. Yet, you can’t skimp when it comes to preparing your child custody-related arguments. But where do you even start to prepare your child custody legal strategy?
Tips for building your child custody case
No two child custody cases are the same. Therefore, there’s no one right way to build your case. Instead, you have to analyze the evidence in your unique set of circumstances and find ways to demonstrate that your proposed custody arrangement is best for your kids. Here are some ways to do that:
- Keep a record that demonstrates your bond: Your relationship with your children could come front and center in your custody case. Be prepared to show the court the strong bond between you and your kids. One way to do that is to keep a record of the time you spend with your children and the activities you engage in. You can also describe how your children feel and react when you spend time with them. Photographs of these events can be powerful, too. Also, don’t overlook witnesses who can testify as to your bond with your children.
- Highlight your parental responsibilities: If you were primarily responsible for taking care of your kids during your marriage, show that to the court. You can create a list of all of your responsibilities and how long you carried them out, comparing them against what contributions your spouse made.
- Look for parental weaknesses: If you’re hoping to secure sole physical custody or otherwise restrict the other parent’s access to your children, then you’ll have to demonstrate why doing so is appropriate. You can achieve this by pointing out parental deficiencies. Witness testimony could be helpful here, but so, too, could police reports as well as physical health, mental health, and substance abuse treatment records that demonstrate that your children’s other parent is struggling to properly take care of themselves.
- Consider your child’s needs: Remember, your children’s best interests are the court’s top priority in your child custody dispute. With that in mind, you can highlight your children’s unique needs and how you’re best positioned to provide for them. Educational records and medical records could be of use here, but you should also consider what they need from a mental health standpoint and whether you’re better positioned to support your children’s extracurricular activities.
Be holistic in tackling your child custody dispute
The best interest standard in a child custody dispute is broad. That gives you a lot of room to argue why your proposed child custody arrangement is best. However, it also means that you need to be prepared to counter the other’s parent’s arguments.
Therefore, as you build your child custody case, be comprehensive and take all facets of your child’s life into consideration. By doing so, you’ll hopefully make clear and persuasive arguments that will fully protect your children, their future, and your relationship with them.