Multiple studies have shown that kids whose parents have separated are better adjusted when their parents are able to put their differences aside and work together for the benefit of their children.
If you are a dad and seeking custody of your child(ren), consider the following tips:
1) Be Respectful
If you are seeking custody of your child, you should always respect your child’s mother. The way you treat the mother of your child may be a factor in determining child custody. If you are disrespectful or rude to your child’s other parent, you are also disrespecting your child and harming your chances of obtaining child custody.
2) Build a Strong Relationship
If you are not familiar with the day care provider, pediatrician, teachers or other people in your child’s life, you should personally reach out and introduce yourself. Ask them to send you copies of any documents they may send out related to your child. You should check on your child’s progress often and ensure your child knows that you there to offer any assistance necessary.
3) Attend School and Social Gatherings
If you are seeking child custody, it is important that you attend your child’s social, educational, religious and other important events. It shows a court that you are continuing to build your relationship with your child, but more importantly, it shows your child that you want to be involved in their lives. Some examples of important events are school plays, baptisms, birthday parties and sporting events.
4) Prepare a Space For Your Child in Your Home
Even if you live in a small space, you should make a special place in your home for your child. If your case goes to court, a judge will inquire about adequate living accommodations for your child during all hearings for child custody. You should be prepared to respond to the judge’s inquiry regarding housing plans.
5) Maintain Accurate Records
If you are going through a contested custody battle, you should maintain a calendar that reflects each day that you spend time with your child. Write down what you did together and any events of particular interest. This can be a very important piece of evidence during your child custody hearing to show your involvement in your child’s life.
6) Have a Plan
A judge will expect you to be prepared for child custody if custody is awarded to you. You should be prepared to explain what your childcare plan will be if you are granted child custody. Where will you and the child live, where will s/he go to school, who will care for the child when you are unavailable, how do you propose your child share time with both parents and how will you encourage a relationship with your child’s other parent?
7) Be Honest With Yourself
If you want custody of your child, you should realistically ask yourself what you can handle. It’s a fact that many dads may have other responsibilities such as other children or multiple jobs. Multiple responsibilities may realistically affect your ability to assume custody of a child, especially full custody.
8) If you don’t know, ask.
You should speak to someone who has been through the child custody process. A dad who has been through the child custody process can offer insight and let a dad who is going through the process know what to expect. However, every situation is different and you should not just rely on a friend or colleague’s experience. It is important to consult an experienced divorce attorney to know your rights and your chances of being awarded child custody.
9) Don’t sabotage yourself.
Avoid mistakes like physical confrontations with your child’s other parent, moving in with a significant other during a divorce, taking the kids unannounced for long periods of time, and disparaging your child’s other parent in front of your child. None of these things will look good to a judge and will come back to haunt you.
10) Consider Mediation
If you are seeking custody of your child, you should consider mediation prior to undergoing an adversarial court hearing. In mediation, you and your child’s other parent are in control of the process. You can craft an arrangement that will best suit the needs of you and your family that may be much more creative than anything a judge may decide. When you go to court, you are leaving the fate of your child’s future in the hands of a judge that is only going to hear a small snippet of your unique situation. Who is better suited to know what is best for your child than you?
For more information of how you can successfully seek custody of your child, please contact Jacobson Family Law at 410-884-4049 or www.jacobsonfamilylaw.com