Marriage is tough, and when you have children, things can get even more stressful. That’s why between 40 and 50 percent of married couples end up getting divorced.
No matter what your situation is like, going through a divorce is difficult. However, if you have kids, you and your ex will need to establish a custody agreement.
Unfortunately, getting custody of a child isn’t as simple as you might think. You need to present the best case possible if you want to become your child’s primary caregiver. Here are a few proven tips to help you get custody as quickly as possible.
1. Be Involved in Their Lives
The most important thing you can do when figuring out how to gain custody of a child is to get involved in their lives. If you’re not seeing them frequently, take the time to call or video chat with them as often as you can.
Make sure you know what they’re up to, the things they’re passionate about, and the concerns they have about their current arrangement. If they participate in sports or other events, try to attend as many as you can.
You need to show interest in their lives just like you would if you and your ex were still living in the same house.
2. Speak With a Lawyer Early On
When you’re trying to get custody of a child, you’ll need the help of an experienced attorney. According to clfusa.com, the sooner you can speak with a family law specialist, the better.
They’ll get to know you and can examine the current custody arrangement to determine the best next steps. If they think you have a good case to regain custody of your child, they’ll represent your interests with the court.
3. Try to Work With Your Ex, Not Against Them
Though custody agreements can bring out the worst in people, try to be as patient as you can when dealing with your ex. Remember, you’re trying to get custody because you love your child. They’re doing the same thing.
Instead of working to actively tear your ex down, try to work with them as much as you can. This can go a long way toward encouraging your ex to give you either full or partial custody in the long-run.
It also shows the court that you’re willing to work together to benefit your child.
4. Stay Current on Child Support Payments
If you’re required to make child support payments, do what you can to stay current on those payments every month. That money goes directly into covering your child’s daily expenses.
Withholding payments or cutting them back doesn’t hurt your ex. It hurts your child and shows the court that you’re not a responsible parent.
If you’re in a tight financial spot and don’t have the money, communicate that with your lawyer and your ex. Make a plan to start paying child support again as soon as things improve.
5. Read up on the Laws in Your State
Every state has different rules and laws governing custody arrangements and negotiations. Take the time to read up on those laws as soon as you start looking into how to get custody of your child.
The more you understand the laws and how they work, the easier it will be to make your custody case. Use the laws to your advantage and treat them as guidelines to help you show the court that you’ll be the most responsible parent.
If you have questions about certain laws or rules, ask your attorney for clarification. The more you understand local family laws, the easier it will be to make your case.
6. Put Your Kids First at All Times
When you’re busy and only able to see your kids every once in a while, you can expect conflicts to come up. However, it might be tempting to try and reschedule visits, don’t. Do everything that you can to make those scheduled visits happen.
When you’re trying to gain custody of a child, you need to show the court that they’re the most important thing in your life. This means taking the time to make scheduled visits and moving other appointments around as needed.
The more you can prioritize your children and take the time to make them see how much they matter to you, the easier your custody battle will be.
7. Make Your Home Kid-Friendly
Before you can gain custody, your home will likely need to pass an inspection with a social worker or court-appointed representative. These inspections help make sure your home is kid-friendly and will be a safe place for them to live and grow up.
Take a long, hard look around your home. Are there potential safety hazards that could put your child in danger? Will your child have a dedicated space to sleep?
If not, make sure to address those issues before the inspection. This will increase the likelihood of your request getting approved.
8. Make Sure It Is in Your Child’s Best Interest
You should never use getting custody of a child as a way to get back at your ex. Instead, you should start looking into gaining custody because it’s in your child’s best interest.
If you know that your ex can take better care of them, pushing for custody isn’t a great idea. However, if you know that your child will be safer with you or have access to more opportunities in life with you, pushing for custody is worth the effort.
Getting Custody of a Child Is Never Simple
Getting custody of a child takes time, and a willingness to keep pushing for what you know is best for them. Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll set yourself up for success from the beginning.
Just make sure to work with an experienced attorney throughout the process. They’ll represent you and help present your case in the most positive light.
For more helpful tips about coping with a stressful separation, check out our latest posts.