One of the most stressful and emotional parts of a divorce may involve the children and the possible battle over custody of the children. Not only does the custody battle decide how you will spend your time with your children, but it can also have a major effect on your finances – especially if child support is involved. If children are involved in your divorce, you need to have an experienced lawyer, who is skilled in custody litigation, by your side to guide you through the process.
In addition to having the right representation, there are things you can do that may help you achieve the outcome most important to you. Take the following into consideration to help you prepare for your custody battle:
- Research Child Custody Laws – Each state has its own laws. Because of this, it is important that you are aware of the child custody laws applicable to where you live. For example, in PA, custody is based upon an analysis of the statutory custody factors examined under the guise of the best interests of the children standard.
- Understand the Court’s Goal – The court’s primary goal is to provide a custody arrangement that promotes the best interests of the children. To make sure of this, they will take many factors into consideration when deciding the custody schedule, including but not limited to the parents’ role with the children during the marriage, the ability to provide for the children’s needs in the future, the existence of any physical or emotional abuse, the parties’ mental health, the ability to raise a child, the motive for seeking custody, etc. Always keep this in mind as it is important to stay focused on your children and what’s best for them instead of getting distracted by all the noise involved in a divorce.
- Remember that Presentation is Important – One of the most important factors of a custody battle is presentation. While it may seem impossible at times, you need to be cooperative, caring, and considerate during your divorce. Everything you do can be used against you in the custody battle. For example, being late to pick up your child or sending an angry text to your ex. Stay calm and do your best to present yourself properly since it can make or break your case. Also, keep detailed records of the custody periods, exchanges, and events for the children.
- Don’t Involve Your Children – A divorce is hard enough for the children involved without being put in the middle of a custody dispute. Parents should take all necessary steps to avoid putting the children in the middle of a custody battle. For example, avoid telling them negative stories about the other parent or sharing details of the custody battle with them. Your children’s best interests need to be at the heart of everything you and your ex do, and you may need to remind yourself of this throughout the custody battle and divorce.
A custody battle is a difficult topic for many parents going through a separation or divorce. The topic does not have to be one of negative feelings, though, and can be resolved by agreement without extensive litigation.
Meet with our lawyers at Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby to discuss your situation thoroughly and assess your options for child support and child custody that is best suited to you and your children. To learn more, contact us online or call our law firm at 412-261-4040.