Divorce is difficult when it only involves a couple. But when you bring children into the equation, it often escalates into a messy custody battle that you need to prepare for.
- Step 1: Be the best parent you can be. Attend school events, interact with teachers, doctors, and dentists, and spend quality time with your child. Also, make sure you have witnesses who will attest to your parenting skills.
- Step 2: Be prepared. Don't get caught off guard while in court. Talk to your attorney frequently, and keep excellent notes. Following these guidelines can greatly increase your chances of winning custody.
- FACT: The Puritans in Massachusetts Bay in 1639 granted the first divorce in the U.S. when Mrs. James Luxford discovered that her husband was already married to someone else.
- Step 3: Document your ex-spouse's character flaws that may limit his or hers ability to take care of the child, such as a busy work schedule; a history of violence; mental illness; or addictions. It's up to you to bring these to your attorney's attention.
- TIP: Keep a journal of all your daily activities with your child. This will help you provide the court with details regarding your involvement level in your child's life.
- Step 4: Know the laws in your state regarding child custody. Although having a good attorney is important, your child's future should not be left solely up to them. It is crucial for you to understand the law.
- TIP: Many state laws concerning custody can be found online at your state's website.
- Step 5: Compile facts and information about you, your spouse, and your child. Your goal in a custody battle is to prove that the child would benefit most from being with you.
- Step 6: Hire an attorney. Research different lawyers and firms, check references, and ask questions. Having a capable lawyer can make the process much easier. You should avoid entering custody cases without one.