When parents get divorced, there are many issues regarding children that are up for discussion. One of the most important is that of child custody, and although most Missouri family court judges believe a joint custody situation is usually the best, there may be times when one parent, for whatever reasons, will want to fight for sole custody. In these instances, it is wise to know something about what one should and should not do when aiming to win a child custody case.
The to-do list
There are a number of things to take into consideration to up the odds of winning a custody suit. Here are some of them:
- Work positively and respectfully with a former spouse: Collaborating with the other parent is beneficial and shows the court the best interests of the children are being put first.
- Use parental rights: Spend as much time with the children as possible. A parent who has visitation rights should exercise them. Do regular things with the kids like helping with homework, giving them chores as well as special things like going to the movies, amusement parks, sporting events, etc.
- Show competence, involvement and caring: A family court judge will not only listen to what is being said but will evaluate whether or not he or she believes what is said to be true.
- Talk to a family law attorney: Learn everything possible about the laws affecting child custody. A lawyer can also provide advice regarding how to present oneself in court.
- Document things: Take notes about interactions with the other parent, especially if abuse has been present, or whatever negatives pertain to the children and the other parent.
Thing to avoid
There are also certain actions that could negatively affect the ultimate outcome of a child custody battle, including the following:
- Don’t speak disparagingly about a former spouse: Keep negative feelings to a minimum, especially in front of the children.
- Don’t arrive late for visits or when picking up the kids
- Keep visitation times and refrain from rescheduling
- Don’t abuse drugs or alcohol
- Don’t refuse to follow court orders
- Don’t share personal details with the children: Children don’t need to shoulder the burdens adults should be taking on.
- Don’t make up stories: Always tell the truth in court, especially when speaking about a former spouse. Lies make backfire and hinder custody chances.
Child custody issues can be very complex and confusing. Missouri residents seeking sole custody should strongly consider acquainting themselves with all legalities that could pertain to their unique situations. An experienced attorney can help answer all questions and concerns while also working diligently toward the best possible outcome for one’s case.