When you made up your mind to start afresh in life without your spouse, you no doubt understood that your decision would have numerous implications in your children’s lives. In fact, your children’s well-being may have been a key factor to your decision from the start. Perhaps part of your decision to divorce your spouse is based on evidence that he or she places your kids at risk.
If you plan to request sole child custody, you must be ready to present evidence to convince the court that your children are better off living with you 100% of the time than they would be in a shared custody arrangement. There are several things to keep in mind that may help build a strong case. There are also a few things you’ll want to avoid at all cost.
Dress, speak and act professionally in court
Three of the most important factors to remember when petitioning the court for sole custody in a divorce include the way you dress, the things you say and how you act in the courtroom. All of these issues make an impression on the judge who is overseeing your case and may influence his or her child custody decisions.
If you walk into court in looking sloppy or dirty, etc., the court is not likely going to think that you will set a good example for your kids or help them maintain good hygiene. The way you speak and act should demonstrate confidence, respect for the court and also for your children’s other parent. Try to imagine yourself in the judge’s seat and consider whether you would grant sole custody of children to a parent like yourself.
Avoid angry outbursts and false accusations
It’s always best to remain calm and respectful during child custody proceedings. No matter how much your ex might make you angry, if winning sole custody of your kids is your primary goal, you’ll want to avoid emotional outbursts or acting aggressively toward your ex in front of the judge.
It’s also important to be prepared to substantiate any claims you make against your ex if you’re claiming that he or she is an unfit parent. You must be able to show evidence to prove what you say, such as if you have informed the court that your ex has a substance abuse problem or is guilty of child neglect or abuse.
Know the law, know your rights and know how to enlist support as needed
Things can get heated in court during child custody proceedings, especially if your relationship with your ex is contentious. By keeping in mind that your children’s safety and well-being is most important, you can gather evidence to convince the court that granting you sole custody of your kids is what’s best for them.
Never hesitate to reach out for additional support, as needed, to help you build a case to prove that your ex is an unfit parent. Such resources might include character witnesses as well as legal support.