Divorce and child custody battles can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. To ensure you don’t jeopardize your custody rights, it’s essential to make informed decisions from the very beginning. Here are four key strategies to avoid losing child custody in your divorce or custody case:
Don’t Move Out Without a Plan
One common mistake individuals make in divorce cases is prematurely moving out of the marital home. This often happens when tensions rise, and living together becomes uncomfortable. However, leaving without a plan can lead to significant challenges, especially when children are involved. Without a clear agreement on parenting time, individuals may find it challenging to see their children regularly, losing valuable leverage in the process. It is important to stay put and not move out without careful consideration, and when possible, get an agreement before you leave.
File First to Gain Control
Filing for divorce or child custody first can significantly impact the outcome of your case. By being the first to file, you have the opportunity to secure temporary court orders without a hearing, giving you a certain degree of control over the initial terms of child custody, child support, and parenting time. You want to be proactive in initiating legal proceedings to safeguard your rights.
Filing first in either case also allows you to control the narrative, so that the words in the documents are chosen by you, and not someone looking to complain about you. You can decide what is said in the public record, and what is not said, and that can be critical to how your case is seen by the court.
Filing first also allows you to control the timeline. You decide when the case is filed, and when the other party to the case knows about the filing. You are in control and preparing the lawsuit when you are the one filing. It sounds a bit unusual, but a divorce or child custody case is a lawsuit, and you should prepare accordingly.
Stay Actively Involved in Your Children’s Lives
Actively participating in your children’s lives is crucial to building a strong case for joint child custody, or even sole custody. Don’t waint until a divorce is imminent to be actively involved in your child’s life and activities. Instead, be present in your children’s daily activities, events, and appointments. Being an active and engaged parent not only strengthens your bond with the children but also positions you favorably in a child custody dispute.
A common mistake is to not be very involved with the children’s daily activities, school, doctor’s appointments, and sports or extracurricular activities. Sometimes, the fact that you and the other parent are not getting along can cause you to stay away and not participate. But that works against you when it comes time to create a parenting time schedule and make decisions about child custody. Be involved in their lives and it will be much easier for you to have a schedule that you are happy with after you and the other parent separate.
File a Court Case Right Away
Another common mistake is the failure to file a court case promptly. For unmarried parents, especially fathers, filing a paternity case or a child custody case is essential to establishing legal rights. In the case of divorce, filing the appropriate legal documents promptly is crucial for initiating the legal process and ensuring a fair resolution.
Do not wait until the other parent has moved out to take legal action, at that point it may be too late. Getting advice from family law attorneys specializing in custody in Michigan will benefit you.
Navigating a divorce and child custody case requires careful planning and strategic decision-making. By following the advice in this article you can enhance your chances of securing a favorable outcome in your child custody dispute. Remember, seeking legal advice and guidance early in the process is essential to making informed decisions that protect both your legal rights and the well-being of your children.