Keep Your Custody Negotiations Open While You Prepare
How to Win Child Custody)
It appears that you and your spouse are incapable of coming to a basic agreement over your children. A stranger in a black robe is better able to decide where your children should live than their parents.
Hopefully, the opening paragraph does not describe you. Instead, you want to know what the risks are, what the consequences will be should you go to the mat on what you are afraid will be a custody fight. The problem is, a difference between parents at this point extends to a difference with the best interests of their children. At a minimum keep the door open and nurture negotiations while you prepare to present the custody issue to the court. If you have second thoughts at any time, let your spouse know you are willing to reopen discussions. Irreconcilable differences between spouses is one thing, but irreconcilable differences between a parent and the dependent young children he or she brought into the world is quite another.
This chapter will help prepare you for the conflict ahead. Your emotional steady state, your at-rest baseline, may have already ratcheted up a few levels. The extra adrenalin is appropriate; after all, you are getting ready for combat. You may think of yourself as a zealous crusader for a just cause, but this is no holy war. Your objective is to establish that you are the wonderful parent and your spouse is the unfit parent. Your children, of course, are the prizes.
It will help to view the tasks that lie ahead for you, and to do so in the light of what you have accomplished already. The commitment you made to your children is the cornerstone of your entitlement to their custody. The relationship you previously established with your children is the foundation of your claim to them.
In Chapter One we addressed the first level of your case for custody in this proceeding. Continue to follow the suggestions in the sections entitled What Your Children Need, What the Court Wants and Putting Your Best Foot Forward. The discussions of specific custody plans in the prior chapter may also assist you in resisting or urging a particular plan.
This chapter will provide recommendations that will help you win, not merely survive, a custody fight. Sections on child snatching and child abuse allegations appear after the direct custody fight material, where you will also find a section on possible alternatives.
First, begin with a look at how the basic inability to agree leads to custody fights.
Second, learn why it is so important for you to stake your claim early.
Third, use a therapist to help your children, and perhaps yourself, as well.
Fourth, be ready for attacks on your fitness, and that of your spouse, as a parent.
Fifth, find out when and how a judge listens to your child say where he or she wants to live.
Sixth, plan on taking on an extra legal burden on if you’re a father seeking custody.
Seventh, prepare to finish the fight in most cases with an evaluation.
Eighth, consider how to discourage, and deal with if you have to, child snatching.
Ninth, examine how facing a child abuse allegation is like being found guilty until proven innocent.
Finally, avoid a winner-take-all custody fight; but that means you’ll have to give the power to someone other than the judge.
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How to Win Child Custody