Custody battles are undoubtedly one of the worst nightmares a parent can experience. The thought of someone else telling you when you can see your child, and under what circumstances, can be terrifying. As scary and overwhelming as the situation is, it is crucial that you keep your wits about you and make the best, most collected, choices possible in order to ensure the best outcome for your child.
Below are some do's and don'ts of custody battles, that will help to ensure things go smoothly and in the best interest of your child:
DO put your child's needs first.
This is the absolute important thing a parent can do for his or her child in a custody battle. Often, an individual will get so wrapped up in wanting to claim ownership over a child, or in getting some kind of revenge against the child's other parent, that they completely forget what is best for your child.
In most cases where abuse and neglect is not an issue, it is important for the child to have access to both of his or her parents, and to not feel like the pawn in an ugly separation. When deciding what type of custody you want (sole, joint, etc.) it is important to keep this in mind.
One would think that this would be obvious, but when it comes to fighting for your children, you may be tempted to lie about the ability of the other party to parent, and this is only going to hurt you in the long run. Judges and attorneys are great at pointing out any inconsistencies in stories, and its not a matter of if you will be caught - its only a matter of when.
Once you have been caught lying in court, you will damage, if not completely lose, your credibility and this will not look good to the judge when he or she is deciding your child's custody arrangement.
DO hire an attorney.
People try to handle many cases on their own without an attorney, and sometimes, it works. A custody case, however, is not the time to take this gamble. Custody cases are long, complex, and involve what should be the most important thing in your world - your child. You will need to hire a well qualified, highly experienced, and dedicated attorney in order to properly look out for the best interest of your child.
DON'T put the burden on your child.
It goes without saying that a custody case will take some kind of toll on your child, but it is your job to not add to their burden. Avoid trash talking the other party with your child, making the child "choose" whose side they are on, placing guilt on your child's shoulders, etc. Not only will this look bad to the court, it will cause your child emotional trauma that may not be easily healed.
To learn more, contact a company like Shipman, Dixon & Livingston Co., L.P.A. for help.