It is widely assumed that the mother will get the children in a custody battle. However, the percentage of fathers gaining child custody is growing. Whether you are currently going through a divorce or are ready to take your children’s mother back to court years after the divorce, there are several tips you can follow to increase your chances of winning that time with your children.
Track Time Spent
Although you may only get your children every other weekend, if you are involved in their school throughout the week, coach their sports teams, show up at their practices and games or spend time helping them build a science project, log it. Showing that you are trying to be as active as possible in your children’s lives will be looked at with favor.
The monthly check that you write to your children’s mother is only a portion of what you spend on them. If you buy them food when they are with you, provide them with clothes, toys and activities, take them on trips, give them lunch money or help them buy their mother a gift for Mother’s Day, log it.
Encourage a Connection with the Mother
Judges want to see parents who are acting in a civil manner. Encourage your children to have a good connection with their mother. Be excited about activities they do with her, and show a genuine interest in their relationship with her.
Log Interference by the Mother
If you are refused visitation for asinine reasons, write it down. For example, you may only see your child every other weekend. His mother works the afternoon shift during the week, getting home after he is in bed. He asks his mother if he can stay with you during those days rather than his grandparent, babysitter or stepfather. She refuses, simply because she does not want him spending time with you. A mother should encourage a strong relationship between the child and father, and refusing to do so will not be favored by a judge.
Log Suspicious Behavior
Watch for any behavior by the mother that may endanger your child or put him at risk. If she is dating someone who is involved in drug activity, leaves him at home alone while she goes out drinking, or drives with him in the vehicle when she has been drinking, the endangering behavior is obvious. But actions such as putting him down, allowing him to repeatedly skip school, or allowing his grades to drop drastically without attempting to help him are also endangering actions that may be more difficult to recognize.
You cannot go into a courtroom, tell the judge that the mother does a certain action poorly, and expect to get custody. You need proof, solid reasoning and an organized presentation. Reasons such as being upset because she has a new love interest and, therefore, not wanting her to have your child as much are not valid. Judges look for the best environment for the child, and they need proof of the living conditions.
Do Not Rely Solely on an Attorney
Attorneys can only do so much. They are not around for every visitation, see every text message and hear every phone conversation. You must do a large amount of work yourself so your attorney has enough evidence to support your cause.
Prepare and Organize
If you have tracked where the mother has gone wrong, where you have done right and how the child was affected, and organized it into an easily read presentation, you increase your chances of getting a good attorney and winning your case.
The old saying “strength in numbers” holds true to this situation. If teachers have witnessed a failure by the mother to help the child with homework, while the father always assists with homework, they may be good witnesses. If your employers can attest to you having good work ethics, morals, values, a positive attitude and properly balancing life, while the mother’s employer will confess that she does not hold the same values, this will serve as statements of character.
Do not try to fight this battle alone. Whether you hire an attorney or represent yourself, do your research. Seek advice from other fathers who have been in your shoes. Contact nonprofit organizations that provide information and guidance. The more prepared you are, the better your chances will be of earning your children.