How to Get Custody of Your Child

Getting Child Custody in CourtChanging 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.

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How to Win a Custody Battle as a Mother

​Custody battles are never fun and rarely involve a good outcome.  If the outcome is the child or children loses time with the other parent, then that results is a sad realization.  Many children did not understand why they are not allowed to see the other parent when they want.  Please make sure getting custody of your child or children is something that is worth fighting for and is done in the correct terms.  Being a mother does not entitle you to full custody and in many cases this will not be awarded by a judge.

What are the steps to to win custody of a child you ask?  The first step is to gather as much evidence on the other parent.  Next, you will want a good lawyer by your side and lastly you will need to prove that you are the stable parent.

​Gather evidence

It’s one thing to go into a lawyer’s office and start spewing all the things the other parent is doing wrong, but as they say proof is in the pudding.  You will want to create a system to document all visitations and anything that happens during those visitations.  This something that you should be doing for at least a year to give a more complete picture of vistations.

Securing a Lawyer

This is probably the most expensive thing you will ever do in your lifetime.  You will need a good lawyer and expect to pay big bucks for this representation.  In order to win custody, you will need to be directed by a lawyer who knows the family court system.  Once you pick your lawyer, you will need a retainer.  A retainer is a payment for his or her current and future services.  Most lawyers run on a hourly basis once the retainer has been exhausted.  They will charge for everything from phone calls to emails.  It’s good to keep in mind how many times you really need to contact the lawyer in between regular scheduled meetings.​​

Good parenting

Things could get heated between you and the other parent.  One of the biggest obstacles is egos and some are quite vicious.  You will need to keep a level head and also keep your emotions in check.  It is very important that your child or children have absolutely clue about the proceedings.  Your child or children need as a parent, not as a confidant.​

Winning custody battles is not a guarantee for either the mother or the father.  In fact, most family courts like the idea of joint custody and 50 50 parenting schedules.  Under the best pretenses, please make sure there are reasons to pursue something more than joint custody.  Your child or children needs to spend time with parents as frequently as possible.​​

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Major Points of Custody Agreements

After divorce, nothing hurts more than not being able to see your children.  That is why it imperative to set up a joint custody agreement.  A few things need to be spelled out in detail in the custody agreement. like when and where the visitation takes place, how long the visitation is, and how the child gets from one parents house to the other.  Children need to see both parents as equally as possible, so don’t think about impeding on the other parents rights.

Child custody forms will look like an official court document.  It will be issued in the state you are from and will have both parents name on the document.  The child custody form will be filed separately in a divorce decree.  Each child will be named and it divvies out the custody arrangement for each parent.

Legal custody

This usually has two parts.  One a parent can have sole custody of the children and is responsible for all major decision making relating to the children.  The other part, which is favored by the family court is shared legal custody for both parents.

Physical custody

This pertains to the physical custody of the child or children.  It goes over any visitation stipulations that are given to other the parent.  For example, a parent can have supervised visitation based on certain conditions.

Partial Custody

There is also an option for partial custody for a parent.  For example, a parent is allowed overnight stays that begin on a schedule set by the court.  This, I can only imagine, gives the other parent restrictions based on passed behavior and is probably uncommon in most custody agreements

Shared physical custody

This is the preferred child custody agreement and most start with this as a basis. Of course problems arise in a visitation agreement and that is why none are set in stone.  If you feel your shared custody rights are being violated, then you need to document and act fast.  It could mean a trip to the family court to see your children.

Conditions

There is a section dedicated to child safety and lists things that are important in a given situation.  It can list a person or people that are threat to the child or children and should not be present during a visitation.  Any special classes that are needed in order to maintain contact with the child or children may be mentioned in this section.

Protect yourself and children with a good custody agreement.  Read over every detail of the child custody form before signing.  The custody section can be tricky to navigate through, so have your lawyer handy to go over aspects that may not make sense.

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Prevent Custody Issues

In shared parenting schedules, custody issues in divorce will arise from time to time.  No visitation is perfect and does involve some degree of flexibility.  The number one issue that tends to arise in visitation is holidays and special occasions.  It’s too easy to get emotions involved in front of the child or children needs.  Children want to see both parents on holidays and birthdays and that needs to be kept in your mind.  It’s for your child or children to see the other parent.  Remember divorce is hard on a child or children, but divorce custody issues are very hard for them to understand.  They just want their parents to get along and send time with both of them on special days.

There are certain issues that tend to arise in a visitation schedule and how to best handle them.  The thing to remember it’s for the child or children.  Here are a few child custody issues.

Holidays

Let’s face it holidays are tough on a child.  They just want to spend time with both parents, but with a few comprises the child can see both parents.  Some parents spilt holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, since those tend to be focused on family gathering.  Part of the holiday is spent with one parent that has an early morning festivities and then other parent spends time with the child in the afternoon.  This only works when the parents’ relationship is in good standing and can put the child or children first.

Birthdays

Birthdays are no picnic, because the parents want to celebrate the child’s or children’s birthday.  It’s very hard in a typical visitation schedule where the birthday is rotated much like the holidays.  But, if the parents can work out a time for the child to spend time with both parents on that day, then the child benefits from the uniform relationship the parents displayed.

Special Occasions

Special occasions tend to come up sometimes without a moment’s notice, so it is very important to have the flexibility in a visitation schedule.  Please don’t hold your child or children back from doing some special, because they eill cherish that time for a long time.  A special occasion can be a club trip or a funeral service on the other parent’s side.

School Activities

Sometimes the child or children has a school activity to attend, like graduation or a sporting event.  These are very important for child or children and it means the world if they can attend no matter what the visitation puts in writing.  This doesn’t mean one parent attends the activity, but many times it will go over allotted time for that day.  Make sure there is alternate day in place for your visitation.

Visitation schedules or shared parenting schedules tend to be in the gray area to prevent divorce custody issues.  No matter how good the visitation schedule is or how good the relationship is between the divorced parents, there will be custody issues.  But, if there is a good amount of communication and flexibility the issues are usually manageable.

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How to Win Custody as a Mother

Undergoing custody battles is the one thing most parents fear, because of all the unknown issues that are involved.  The worry and regret can take its toll if you are unprepared for the long battle ahead.  Trying to get custody of a child is something that is manageable when you have a good lawyer that can prepare you for the emotional trial.

In order to prepare yourself you will need to know a few things before getting custody for a child.  You will need a good lawyer, determine if you are going for joint or full custody, and evidence the other parent’s wrongdoings.  A good case will help cement your case in front of the judge.

Hiring a good lawyer goes a long way.  Under any circumstances, please don’t be tempted to represent yourself in court, no matter if you think you have a good case.  Lawyers get paid to prepare their clients in the nuisances of family court.  You will have nerves when going to court, but having a good lawyer will help ease your stress.  This will cost you lots of money, but is worth when regards to your child or children.  You must be thinking of the child or children and money should be no issue at this point.

Deciding on joint or full custody is a big decision not to be taken lightly.  For the sake of the child or children, you will not want to take a good father out of the picture.  Every child deserves to be around and interact with parents as equally as possible.  Lacking one parents input can have irreversible damage that can last the child’s entire life.  Furthermore, judges like it when parents get along enough to figure out a joint custody agreement and very rarely issue full custody to a parent without a good reason

Gaining full custody of a child will take sufficient evidence that has been collected over an undetermined amount of time.  Sometimes getting a year of evidence is sufficient enough to present it to a lawyer.  Make sure you keep a visitation log of some sort either by hand or computer of each visitation.  You will want to keep track of pick up and drop times, any events, and behaviors or either child or the other parent.  You will want to keep abreast of any findings of the other parent like arrests and jail time.

Getting custody of a child won’t be a guarantee, but if you do your homework and hire a good lawyer most of the work is done.  You will want to keep your child or children out of the case.  In fact, if they have no clue what is going, then you did you job as a parent.

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Examples of Shared Parenting Schedules

Setting up a visitation schedule is very important to get set up right away.  Not doing this step can lead to disagreements and even arguments.  There are a few things to consider before creating a joint custody schedule, like schedules of both the child and the parents, any activities that the child is participating in for school and driving distance between the parent’s homes.

2/2/3 schedule

This 50 50 custody schedule provides both parents with a long three weekend and two day visits.  The week rotates to give both parents the opportunity to have a long with weekend with the child or children.  In this joint custody schedule, the children benefit as they get to see both parents 50 percent of the time.

3/3/4/4 schedule

This visitation schedule seems a bit more complicated.  The child or children spends 3 days with one parent and then 3 days with the other parent.   Once the 3 day schedule has been rotated, the schedule rotates to a 4 day schedule.  This schedule may not work for everyone and does require a great deal of compromise.

Rotating weeks with overnight stay

By far the most popular joint custody schedule is rotating the weeks with an overnight stay.  It is far the easiest to keep track.  This does require constant communication if you have school ages children that participate in school activities or belongs to a club outside of school.  The children benefit from both parents equally, but the only thing that could be a concern is length of time away from the other parent.  You may need to evaluate this visitation schedule for young children as they tend to need both parents frequently.

Rotating weeks with an evening visit

This visitation schedule tends to be preferred and adaptable for the child or children.  During the weeks that rotated, the other parent gets a day or two day visitation with the child or children during the week and then it rotate starting on Friday.  With this joint custody schedule the child spends time with both parents equally.

Shared parenting schedules can be daunting, but the key is to pick a visitation schedule that works for both parents and the children.  Remember there needs to a certain amount of flexibility for sporting events, birthdays and special days that are designed for either a mother or father.  Putting the child or children first should be your upmost concern.

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The Importance of Good Shared Parenting Schedules

Having good shared parenting schedules will ensure the child or children have a natural relationship with both parents.  A shared parenting schedule ensures that a child or children do not go longer than a week without seeing the other parent.  This is especially important for young children when development milestones are being achieved.  The shared parenting schedule should be drawn up with the idea of nurturing the relationship between parent and child.

Usually, for shared parenting schedules, to have validity, are written up by a lawyer and presented to the both parents.  It is sometimes hard to follow a shared parenting schedule when one parent isn’t following the agreement.  There are a few key reasons to follow shared parenting schedules.

Keeps the peace

When things are smooth with shared parenting schedules it takes stress off of everyone involved.  Both parents know where the child or children should go, what days each parent gets with the child or children, and where the child or children lives majority of the time.  When parents follow a shared parenting agreement it provides structure that all children need.

Child or children benefit

A child benefits tremendously from being in the presence of their biological parent.  The general rule is never go longer than a week without seeing your child or children.  A shared parenting schedule should be structured around the child or children having a relationship with both parents.  If you put your child or children first, then it should be no problem realizing how important each parent is to the child or children.

Important days are spelled out

The holiday visitation schedule has got to be the number one sore spot in shared parenting schedules.  It is imperative that holidays and birthdays are spelled out and in most cases rotate each year.  The first couple of years are the most difficult to get through in a new shared parenting schedule.  There will be times like Christmas and your child’s or children’s birthday that will make you sad that you can’t be there to share it with them.  With time this will get better and you will learn to make the best of the time you get with your child or children.

When shared parenting schedules are set up right it can ease the difficult times.  The important thing is control your emotions when it comes to any slight conflict.  It takes time to adjust to a shared parenting schedule for both parent and child, but it will get easier.

 

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How To Get Full Custody For Mothers

Engaging in a full custody lawsuit is a tough road to travel.  While there are many reasons to gain full custody of your child there is also many reasons to take a careful consideration.  Any change in the child’s environment is detrimental to the child, so make sure the intentions of putting the child first and out of harms way is your number one goal.  Never take time away from a good father, because they are hard to find and the child will always benefit from biological parents.  Once the reasons for full custody have been established, then forge ahead, but tread lightly for the sake of the child or children.  Judges don’t always decide on child custody for mothers, if you have behaved badly child custody for fathers is sometimes awarded.  If your behavior has been bad enough, full custody for fathers can even be given.

Some of you mothers may wonder how to get custody of your child.  Here are a few things to keep in mind.  The points cover only a small amount of what you may come across in your journey.

Hire a lawyer

First, hire a lawyer.  Most lawyers need a retainer in order to retain them for their current and future services.  Expect to pay in the thousands for a retainer for a good lawyer.  A good lawyer is crucial and will help you navigate uncharted waters.  They will help you with paperwork, counselors, and court.   It is never a good idea to represent yourself even if you have a good case.  This is the time to expect the best and get the best in your lawyer of choice.

Track all visitations

This is an unknown avenue and very few parents understand how important it is to track all visitations.  It determines how much time is spent with both parents and how important dates are handled.  Once you present this piece of information to the lawyer, they will know you mean business.  Try to track visitations for at least a year, because this will give more of accurate picture than a few months.  Extreme situations need quick action, in which this can be altered or left out.

Observe behavior

It’s important to also track and observe behavior of both the other parent and the child or children.  Be careful not to prod the child for information, because it does not do any good.  The child or children should be the one talking and the exchange should be natural and almost surprising.

Prepare yourself mentally for court

The evitable will eventually happen and going to court is the most nerve wracking this you will ever do.  If you do your job right, your child or children will not and should not what is going on.  You will need to depend on other adults that know your situation.  Lean on those people as much as possible and make sure you do nice things for yourself in the process.

Hopefully, this sheds some light on how to get full custody of your child.  The most important aspect is to make sure the child or children are safe and entering a stable environment.  A safe and happy child is a healthy child.

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Getting Custody of your Child will Take Perseverance

Once the decision has been made that you are going full steam ahead with getting custody of your child, you must know that it is going to take an emotional toll on you.  Most people will tell you that it has got to be one of the most mentally taxing experiences they’ve ever been through.  There is no possible way to know exactly how to get custody of your child – all child custody cases are different – and for this reason your experience will be different from everyone else’s.  But, aside from the overall gravity of the situation, here are some of what you might expect to encounter during the entire event.

Appointments, Evaluations, and Hearings

If you aren’t self-employed, you are going to need to have a bank of time off built up because there are going to be quite a few different things that will likely happen during a normal work day.  An understanding and sympathetic boss will definitely help as well.

Most attorney’s only take appointments during the day, so you will need plenty of time to meet with them.  How much you need will depend on your particular case and how much child custody advice you need, but you can expect to be in there office a minimum of 4 or 5 times and many more times on the telephone.  There will also be quite a few child custody forms to create, and your attorney will likely need your input on them.

As well, most judges are going to order a home study be conducted by a third party.  They do this because they can’t go to the home and meet all the parties involved personally.  But, they want to know all the details they can about home life for each parent, who the child is around at home, the condition of the home, and the child’s demeanor in their natural environment.

Of course, the court hearings themselves will absolutely only happen during normal business hours.

The Financial Burden

Your attorney will be able to give you a rough estimate of what their bill will be for their services.  Granted, this is a very rough estimate, and if things get ugly in your case it will likely rise very quickly, but it will at least give you a starting point.  In most cases it is going to cost many thousand dollars.  And don’t forget to add in the cost of the in-home study which could very well cost a few thousand dollars on its own.

The Emotional Toll

It won’t be easy to get all the way through getting custody of your child.  But, if you take it day by day and handle each adversity as it arises, you will make it through.  It doesn’t hurt to find a counselor that you can talk to in an effort to learn how to handle the stress that you will likely be under.  And, friends and family can be a great resource for venting to about the issues.  Friends that have been through this situation before can be a great source of information on how to win child custody.  They can tell you what did or did not work for them.  Plus, they know what you are going through and can help you steer through the stress of it all.

Try to strike a balance between life/work/court.  You need to be able to unwind or it will be unbearable at times.  Go see a movie with a friend, or do anything that you really enjoy.  Just try to maintain some level of normalcy in your daily routine.  And remind yourself daily that you are another day closer to being through it.

What you don’t want to do is take your stress out on your child – when they are around, you need to be as normal as you possibly can.

Taken in small steps, anything can be accomplished.  Getting custody of your child is no different.  You’ll make it through – there will be road bumps along the way – but, in the end you’ll be a stronger person for it.  Especially knowing that you are doing everything you can to ensure your child has the best upbringing possible.

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Know Your Child Custody Laws

The last thing you want to do when you are figuring out how to get custody of your child is to do anything against the rules. You must know that your every move is going to be watched – not only by the judge, but by your ex and their attorney, custody evaluators, and/or mediators. You can’t afford to mess up once you have the ball rolling, or even before.

The laws vary in every state – but, most of it is simply common sense stuff.  Think with your child in mind when you make any decisions.  This is a fairly easy task to accomplish.  For instance, when you’re having a spat with the child’s other parent, take into account what the child is seeing or hearing – you want to be able to let the other person be used against themselves, so let them make the mistakes.  This will take you a lot farther with all of the people that will be watching.

By following what is right for the child and not what you think is right, chances are that you are staying within the bounds of the child custody laws.

The Gray Area

Of course, there are times that you know that the best interests of the child is to not be with the other parent, that’s why you’re going for custody – but, you can’t do things like deny visits with the other parent, and don’t even think about running away with the child – that would likely constitute parental kidnapping and will definitely not help your case.  So, while there is a gray area while thinking of the child’s best interests, you have to play by the rules.  If you currently do not have custody, you absolutely must follow the schedule that’s already laid out for you.

The things that you do have control over are the way you act around your child:

  • Don’t ever say anything bad about their other parent, and don’t say anything bad to the other parent around the child.  It is highly likely that your friends and family will be receptive to hearing you vent.  Save it for them and not the child.  Not only does it hurt your case to be negative in front of the child - it is bad for your child’s emotional health.
  • Keep it friendly when the child is in earshot of any conversations.
  • Obey the laws and don’t get in any trouble that is unrelated to custody.

As stated before, most child custody laws are put out to protect the children.  Don’t do anything that puts your child in physical or emotional danger, follow the rules that you already have laid out before you, and use common sense and you will likely be following the laws that you need to.

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