Child custody battles are often hotly contested disputes. Unfortunately for fathers, the courts have traditionally ruled against them in all family law matters, especially when it comes to child custody. Dads are commonly given the noncustodial parent role, which means they can only see their children for certain stretches of each year—if hardly ever—and become responsible for providing child support.
If you are a father who is facing a heated custody battle, you must be the best parent possible to your child and prepare for what lies ahead.
The following are several steps you can take when preparing for a child custody court hearing:
- Hire a lawyer – Having an experienced family law attorney on your side can make a difference. Your lawyer can guide you through the complexities of the legal process, help you understand the state laws, prepare you for court hearings, and protect your rights and best interests from start to finish.
- Become invested in your child’s life – Whether you are seeking sole or joint custody, you must prove to the court that you are engaged and invested in your child’s life. This means being involved and knowing every aspect of your child’s life, from their school schedule and their extracurricular activities to the names of their best friends and their favorite television shows. A judge can tell the difference between a father who is there for his kid and a father who isn’t.
- Take notes – If you have difficulty remembering important dates, certain places, and all the people in your child’s life, keep track of all this information in a journal. Remember, the details can make or break your case. You could also use this journal to write down any negative behaviors from the mother that could help your case.
- Remain civil – Although you and the mother are no longer married, both of you will forever be the parents of your child. Effective communication is necessary to raise your kid. Whenever you speak with the other parent, always remain civil and respectful. Any negative behavior toward the other parent could be used against you in court.
- Avoid parental alienation – Many people going through divorce vent their frustrations with their child. However, putting down the other parent in front of your kid can result in parental alienation, which can be psychologically and emotionally damaging. Furthermore, it could significantly harm your child custody case.
- Avoid social media – In today’s society, we use social media to share our lives and even voice our frustrations. During a child custody battle, it is wise to avoid social media until your case is resolved. Not only can posting details of your case be harmful, but also sharing pictures that make you appear to be an irresponsible parent.