Staking Your Claim to Custody
(Provided by How to Win Child Custody)

If you canít avoid a custody battle, take a firm and directed approach from the beginning. If your spouse refuses to agree to a reasonable custody arrangement on a temporary basis, get right to court with as much evidence as possible showing your proposal is the more sensible one.

Your claim to custody will never get off the ground if you let a situation develop that gives you less time than youíre seeking with your children. The longer the children become accustomed to one arrangement, the more inclined the court will be to continue it. Your failure to act at the outset will place a double burden on you to prove the existing arrangement is bad and that it is in your childrenís best interests to make another change. Itís much easier to convince the court at separation your plan is the more reasonable one. Some change has to be made then anyway, because the two of you are separating, so the court is simply being asked to choose the better plan.

Generally, move your matter along as quickly as possible to a favorable result. The longer the dispute rages, the greater will be the total rung up in attorneysí and expertsí fees.

Youíre not in any rush to get back to court, however, when you have a favorable order. Let time pass while you entrench yourself as the primary parent. Your spouse is anxious to get, somehow, a favorable child custody evaluation and get back to court for the permanent order, which he or she hopes will provide more time with the children. You have all the time in the world while establishing a favorable status quo with the children. You become the preferred parent in the courtís eyes, a status not likely to be changed by the court except for good reason.

Information provided by:
How to Win Child Custody