Going through a divorce is one thing, but dealing with child custody proceedings is another. In cases where there is no other alternative, custody battles can be stressful and extremely costly to both parties involved. Under the immense scrutiny of lawyers and judges, things can get very emotional. In such moments, fathers are often especially put under the spotlight.
Let’s face it: as a father, one of your main concerns you will have as a divorcee is how to win the custody battle. It is a daunting task in itself, but many fathers have done it before. A successful custody battle requires a brilliant strategy to protect both yourself and the children during the whole process.
Here are four tips that will help you win custody of your child.
Show Records of Your Involvement
During custody case proceedings, the judge will require evidence of your involvement in your child’s life. It is therefore imperative that you keep your records showing how you are active and present in your children’s lives. These may include parenting plans, visitation schedules, and even short clips showing how you spend time with the kids.
Another way of showing such records is by getting recommendations from third parties, mainly through character letters. These letters may swing the judgment in your favor, especially if the referee knows how to write an effective one. The letter should focus on your outstanding parenting skills, highlighting instances when you embraced the responsibility of parenting.
Foster a Strong Relationship With Your Child
In most cases involving custody battles, the father doesn’t have initial custody of the child. Despite this, building a strong relationship with your child is vital before, during, and after the custody battle proceedings. In fact, the child’s preference can have a massive swing on the outcome of custody cases, often outweighing the lawyers arguments and other influential factors.
Even if you do not have custody of the child, you can maintain and build upon the existing relationship by calling and visiting whenever you can. Try to be a part of their lives as much as possible. Constant communication and presence are essential in the lives of the children, especially when they’re dealing with the effects of divorce and custody battles.
Keep Calm and Respectful
Custody battles are grueling proceedings that may involve extreme emotionally charged moments. In some instances, lawyers may try and trigger such emotions to discredit your eligibility as a parental figure. Keeping your emotions under control is a crucial step in the right direction during all interactions in the process.
Show respect to the judge, the mother of your children, any other co-parents if they are present, and even the opposing attorney – at all times. The judge will take your demeanor into account when making the final decision, so keep all negative feelings in check. Your character in the courtroom is taken as a reflection of your parenting abilities when under stress.
Have a Post-Custody Plan
A critical question you should ask yourself before engaging in custody battles is: how will you provide for the children if you win full custody? Certainly, the court will want to know your plans for the child’s future. Having the foresight to plan for the children’s needs is a plus in the eyes of any judge.
An important piece of advice when planning is to save up. Such court proceedings can be very costly and may leave you without any money to provide for the children’s needs. You should also prepare separate spaces for the children in your home and provide a workable parenting plan that encompasses their education and well-being.
A Father Has the Same Rights as a Mother
As much as it’s challenging to get full child custody as a father, it’s not impossible. Unlike many instances in the past, many judges nowadays treat both the father and mother as having equal rights over the child. In the end, no matter how much talking the attorneys and other adults do, the most important thing is to work together to prepare a plan that supports the children’s well-being now and into the future.