Being the Best Parent During a Custody Dispute
(Provided by How to Win Child Custody)

Your fitness as a parent is going to be questioned in any custody dispute. Donít give your spouse any facts on which to argue youíre doing something harmful to your children. Remember that youíre living in a glass house during this entire period. Avoid impulsive, rash or in fact any unconsidered act that might give your spouse even a toehold for an argument youíre an unfit parent.

Donít live with a new sexual partner. Try not to even have your friend over during the time the children are with you, while going through this war zone. Be a model parent in caring for your children and youíll be invulnerable in court. Discuss any changes that youíre thinking about with your attorney in advance if thereís the slightest chance it might affect your children or your case.

Your spouseís fitness as a parent is also on the line. If you fail to question it, your spouseís attorney will surely argue that his or her fitness is unquestioned and therefore your spouse is an outstanding parent. Present evidence of the ways your spouseís lifestyle is detrimental to your children, if you have the evidence, in a way that keeps the focus of your case on whatís good for your children. Donít try the courtís patience with more whining anecdotes about why your marriage didnít work. Remember: Bringing in weak points dilutes the impact of your strong ones.

When you have the evidence, use third parties, such as neighbors, co-workers and new or old friends, to testify about your spouseís poor treatment of the children or lack of ethical or emotional guidance for them. This testimony should always come in from neutral third parties, rather asking the court to listen to you harping about what a jerk your spouse is.

Wonderful sources of testimony are the professionals naturally in your childrenís lives, such as teachers and day care center operators. Bonus sources are your spouseís friends or family, if willing to state facts showing your spouseís treatment of your children is substandard. Such witnesses are too good to hope for, but still worth checking for. It has happened before, because of a personís greater concern for the children than for their own kin or friend.

Donít be surprised if your spouseís attorney accuses you of wanting custody only to get, or avoid paying, child support. If you havenít done anything to show this is true, youíve nothing to worry about. Your spouseís attorney may claim many things, which your attorney can object to since there is no evidence to support the claim. Your position is enhanced if your spouseís attorney has only speculation to work with, and raises only questions that should have been asked long before the hearing.

Information provided by:
How to Win Child Custody