Getting through the divorce process is rarely easy. When children are involved and a custody battle becomes part of that process, getting through a divorce becomes infinitely more difficult. To help you navigate the process, a Murfreesboro child custody lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby offers tips for making it through a child custody battle.
- Ask yourself if the battle can be avoided before it begins. Parents often go into a divorce with strong negative emotions toward the other parent. Those emotions can lead to a knee-jerk “I’m getting full custody of the kids” mindset. Before you launch a full-blown custody battle, ask yourself if it’s really necessary or are you trying to hurt your spouse?
- Remember that what really matters is the best interest of the children. This goes right along with tip number one. Not only should both parents be focusing on what’s best for the children, but the law requires a judge to do that. Absent a very good reason to prevent regular contact with both parents, the result of any custody battle will be a shared parenting time arrangement. Keeping that in mind is in your best interest when custody of the children is disputed.
- Work with an experienced child custody lawyer. If a custody battle appears unavoidable, the advice and guidance of an experienced child custody lawyer is crucial. Ideally, you should consult with an attorney before the divorce process begins to get an idea of what a protracted child custody battle will entail. The right child custody lawyer will do everything possible to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement that avoids litigation; however, if litigation is inevitable, it is essential to have an experienced attorney on your side.
- Be realistic and flexible. Unless there is a very good reason (such as abuse or addiction) to prevent the other parent from spending time with the children, you need to be realistic and understand that the outcome of a custody battle will likely involve shared parenting time. With that in mind, try to be flexible throughout the process and remember that there is no “winner” in a child custody battle. On the contrary, it is often the children who are the losers.
- Be mindful when you communicate with the other parent. Keep your anger and other negative emotions in check when communicating with your spouse. Not only is that best for the children, but negative communications or a refusal to communicate could be used against you if the case ends up in trial.
- Watch your social media posts. This is not the time to air your dirty laundry in public. Do not share your negative feelings about your spouse or comment on the divorce on social media. Once again, anything you post on social media could be used against you in court. Even discussing the divorce publicly is typically frowned on by most judges.
- Be prepared for scrutiny. If all attempts to reach an out of court agreement fail, the court may order a forensic psychologist to evaluate the children and/or order a home study to evaluate you and your spouse. No one welcomes a stranger prying into their life; however, these people report directly to the court and the judge will likely rely heavily on their recommendations so take the scrutiny in stride and make a good impression.
- Document everything. Be prepared to prove that it is in the children’s best interest for you to be the primary residential parent (or to have sole custody if extenuating circumstances warrant). You can help your attorney successfully argue your case by gathering documentation to support your position. This may include things such as school records, medical records, proof that the children are involved in extra-curricular activities, and psychological evaluations. If your spouse has been abusive, has an addiction problem, or suffers from a potentially dangerous mental health condition, providing your attorney will supporting documentation is especially important.
Contact a Murfreesboro Child Custody Lawyer
If you have questions or concerns about how to make it through a child custody battle, contact a Murfreesboro child custody lawyer to discuss your options. Contact the team at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.