Changing custody from one parent to another is not an easy thing to do. The court system isn’t going to simply hand them over because you ask them to. No – they are going to make you prove that there is a very viable reason why the child should live primarily with you over the other parent. And, if the other parent hasn’t been doing anything that would jeopardize the physical or emotional well-being of the child, then there is very slim chance that a change of custody will happen.
There are, however, quite a few things that the courts regard as being detrimental to the development of a child. These things include:
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Constant changing of the child’s living situation
- Ever-changing relationships on the part of the parent
- Any type of abusive behavior
- Failure to provide basic needs
- And many more
That is by no means an all inclusive list. But, if the child’s other parent has exhibited any of those behaviors, or any other that may make you question if they are thinking of the child first, it might be time to figure out how to get custody of your child.
Now, getting custody of your child is not for the faint of heart. It is going to take many financial and emotional resources to even attempt to accomplish this task. It can be done, and it happens all of the time, but it is not easy. If you are a parent in this situation you are going to especially need the support of family and friends to see you through this. They are going to need to be willing to listen to all of the horror stories and ranting that you will inevitably bestow upon them. They will need to be your source of strength when you feel like there is no hope – and you will feel this way from time to time, even with the strongest case.
After all of that, if you are still determined to figure out how to get child custody, then read on.
How to Get Custody of a Child: The Essential Ingredients
There are quite a few things you can do that will increase your odds of getting custody. Not the least of which is being a genuine, caring, and nurturing parent. You must be going ahead with your plan, not out of spite or hatred of the other parent, but for a real concern for the child. You will be coming up against lawyers, custody evaluators, and judges – if you are not truly genuine, they will see right through you and you will not have a chance at winning.
But, how can you prove that you are a caring person? You must know what motivates your child; what scares them; who their friends are; what their favorite food is; what they like to do for fun; and who their doctor is. If you cannot name these basic elements of parental knowledge of your child, then modifying custody is going to be difficult, but not impossible.
You are going to need documentation. The documentation should include basic things like what time you picked up and dropped off the child for visitation. You should also include anything that happens while you are in the presence of the other parent – if they lash out at you or the child, or if they are using drugs or alcohol when you show up, or any number of instances. A good rule of thumb is that if it is either out of the ordinary or just plain wrong, then you should record it in your documentation.
Child custody laws vary from state to state, but the basic elements of making sure the child’s needs are met is present in every court room. Your job in court is to prove that you can meet those needs better than the other parent. You are going to have to make them look bad, or better yet let them make themselves look bad. Don’t ever start an argument or yell at the other parent – especially in the presence of the child. Keep yourself calm and collected, even when it seems almost impossible. By doing this, it is going to show the judge that you are stable and in control of your reactions.
Figuring out how to get custody of a child is a lot of work. You would be best served if you started documenting events as soon as possible – like now. And, don’t tell anyone you are doing it. If word gets back to the other parent that you are tracking their behaviors, they will likely cease to exhibit them in front of you and your case will get much more difficult.
You should also make sure you get the best lawyer that you can afford. A good lawyer is going to be able to advise you of actions you should take when you simply can’t figure out what to do. But just remember, even the best lawyer isn’t going to devote too much time to your case – it is still your job to provide them with the ammunition they need to be able to help you win custody. It’s your job to explain to your attorney the events and how they are affecting your child. The more you can prepare, the easier time your attorney will have, and thus saving you a little bit of money.