Custody battles and your kids – what you need to know

mother with full child custody of her son

Deep down, we all want what is best for our children. But when it comes to child custody disputes, do you know what you should and should not do? Child custody battles can often escalate quickly if they are not handled properly or approached carefully. If you want to prove to the court that you can be the best parent you can be, this is what you need to demonstrate to receive the child custody you deserve.

You can work together with your Ex

To help your case in court, you need to be able to demonstrate that you are willing to work with your ex-partner. Oftentimes, a parent can fail to receive child custody because they are unable to work with their ex. If you can not co-parent together, how will this benefit your children? As parents, you lead by example. This means the way you and your ex-spouse interact with one another will ultimately affect your kids in the long run.

Even though you may not like your ex, the most important thing to remember is that they are still a big part of your children’s lives. You need to show the court that even if your relationship with your ex is not great, you are willing to make it work for the benefit of your children.

You are a present parent for your children.

This one sounds obvious but hear us out. Whatever visiting rights you have been granted, take full advantage of them. Divorces and separations can have a big impact on your kids. Spend as much time with your children as you can and show them that you love them, and you care for them.

Show up on time for visits and pickups and avoid rescheduling visiting times with your children. By forgetting pickups, showing up late, or frequently rescheduling vitiations, it will hinder your case in court. You need to show that you truly want custody of your children and that you are not just battling things out in court just to spite your ex. Not only can your ex also use this as a case against you, but it also hurts your children.

It’s crucial to show your kids that you are their parent, not just a friend. We have seen parents try to win over the love of their children by treating them to constant fun activities. Anything from going out for ice cream to a trip to the movies. But you also need to show you are a responsible parent. Kids do not want to be told to do their homework or finish their chores, but that is part of being a parent. When it comes to child custody disputes, you need to be able to show you are willing to take on the less-fun aspects of parenthood too.

Status Quo

An important consideration is who typically cares for the children. The court often takes the position that if things are going well for children in the present situation, they won’t change it. The longer the status quo, the more likely they will keep it in place. It is important to get as much time with your children as possible immediately after separation so that you can create a status quo that you can live with for the long term.

Be prepared

All-in-all, the most crucial thing to remember when going to court for a child custody dispute is that it does not matter if what is said is true or not. What matters is if the court believes they are true or not. Do everything you can to prove that you are a responsible and caring parent.

Being prepared is key, so it is in your best interest to conduct a thorough research about family law to better prepare yourself. For information on child custody, visit our website for helpful resources.

Keep proper documentation and notes about everything. If you are fighting for sole custody of your children, you will need to be able to prove to the court why you believe it is in the best interests of the children that they reside primarily with you.  The court generally prefers to have some sort of joint custody between the parents unless you can show why joint custody is not in the children’s best interests.

Avoid talking poorly about your ex

As difficult as this may be, trash talk will not get you far. Try to keep any negative thoughts and feelings you have towards your ex to yourself. Always take the high road. If you need to vent, seek professional advice or speak to a close family member or friend you can trust. But do not, under any circumstance, talk negatively about your ex to your children. Even if they ask questions, try to keep things as positive as possible. Again, showing you have at least a working relationship with your ex and that you are willing to make it work for your children’s sake will benefit your case and, frankly, is best for your children too.

Do not abuse drugs or alcohol

Do not give your ex more documentation to have a case against you. Not only in theory but, making poor decisions such as drug or alcohol abuse will only end up hurting your children more. Avoid anything that would imply that you are putting your children at risk. As a parent, you need to make good choices to protect your children and when it comes to child custody, you don’t want to put what you value most, at risk.

Do what the court tells you to do

If you want to receive child custody, you need to show you are willing to do anything and everything you can to get it in a responsible manner. Whatever requests the court asks of you, accept it without hesitation. If they want you to go to parenting classes or receive counselling, do it. This is the court’s way of allowing you to show how much you care for your children and at what lengths you are willing to go for them. Even if you are not asked to take a parenting class, it is a good idea to do so. It shows your commitment to parenting.

Do NOT lie

We want to show the court how far we are willing to for our kids. But lying should never be one of those things. During some child custody disputes, it is common for people to invent stories about their ex to help their case. These lies will come back and be used against you in court. Everything you share in court should be 100% factual. Lying will only impede your case in court. It takes far more effort to come up with a lie than it does to just tell the truth.

Work with an experienced family lawyer

When it comes to your children, you do not want to take chances. This is why we always recommend working with an experienced family lawyer who understands child custody cases. At Galbraith Family Law, we can help you with your child custody dispute. Many of our family lawyers specialize in child custody cases. We are here to help ease you through the process as much as possible and if necessary, we can proudly represent you in court. However, you may not need court to resolve your issue. We have alternative collaborative approaches we can look at as well. To book a consultation, give us a call today at one of our three locations. For our Toronto offices call 647-370-8965, for our Newmarket office call 289-210-4692 or you can reach us at our Barrie office at 705-230-2734. When it comes to your family and your children, do not leave anything to chance. Let us help you with your child custody case today!

Brian Galbraith

Brian Galbraith is the owner and founder of Galbraith Family Law Professional Corporation. Brian is known in the legal community for his commitment to efficiently practicing family law using technology and streamlining the divorce processes.

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