Almost no one wants their child custody agreement to have to be decided by a judge. However, when co-parents can’t agree on custody and visitation, they have to turn the matter over to the court. That means that you’ll need to convince a judge that you deserve the parental rights you’re seeking – and, more importantly, that what you want is in your children’s best interests.
Unfortunately, divorce often brings out the worst in people. Your worst instincts might come out just when you’re trying to demonstrate that you’re a good parent. You might be angry at your co-parent and even the judge.
However, remember that perception is everything. No matter how you’re feeling about the fact that you have to fight for more custody, you need to demonstrate that you’re a responsible, reasonable person.
Behaviors to avoid during a custody battle
Let’s look at a few things you need to avoid:
- Being late when picking up or returning your children
- Canceling or trying to reschedule custody or visitation time
- Speaking negatively about your co-parent to or around your kids
- Using alcohol or drugs around your children
You want to show the court (and your co-parent) that your time with your kids is your priority.
Things to remember when dealing with the court
You also want to assure the judge that you respect the process and orders of the court. That’s why it’s important to remember to do the following:
- Always be on time and properly dressed for court hearings as well as any mandated meetings with parenting coordinators or others involved in the custody decision.
- Always follow the judge’s orders (even if you disagree with them).
- Don’t make unfounded or unsubstantiated accusations about your co-parent in court.
This is a highly stressful period. It’s one where people need to be able to make good decisions. However, their decision-making ability is often clouded by their emotions. By relying on your attorney’s guidance, you can improve your chances of getting the custody rights you’re seeking.