A separation is sometimes better than being in a bitter relationship. But, a separation affects the child most. He has to choose between his parents and, most often the choice is not his. When a child in his formative years has to see his parents separated, it becomes tough for him. The worst is when the two parents have a bad split and cannot come to a mutual consent over the custody of the child. When this happens, a court battle over the custody occurs which causes a bitter turmoil in everyone’s life. You also fear an unreasonable verdict, which may or may not be in your favor. The judge knows little or next to nothing about you and, he is the one to make the verdict. At such times it is best to stay calm and, prepare for the custody battle as well as possible.
1. Avoid Ignoring the Reality
If you react by ignoring the mails, it is not going to solve the problem at hand. By ignoring the court papers, the papers for custody battle sent by your ex or your lawyer’s papers, you are not doing justice to your child. If you really feel that you should be taking care of your child, you should face the situation bravely. Yes, it is difficult as the waters are really sour. But, avoiding is just going to make matters easier for your ex to get his demands and rights fulfilled.
2. Know the Law
If you are going to fight your child’s custody in the court, you should ideally have certain amount of knowledge about the state laws and custody battles. A thorough knowledge of how a court works, what are the various laws for acquiring a custody, what norms are set for the custody battle etc. helps you put up a better fight in the court. Remember, this is not a battle for glory; it is a battle put up in the best interests of your child. So, when you are actually deciding on the various factors, look at it from your child’s point of view. What would really help your child? What are the factors that you feel needs to be avoided for the sake of your child? Of course, your advocate is going to help you through everything as far as law is concerned. But, if you know the basics, you can save yourself from being cheated or outsmarted by the other lawyer.
3. Fight Based on Truth
It is important that you put up a true face in the court of law. Do not manipulate your facts in order to get more compensation or the custody of your child. Your financial statements must carry the complete amount that you make in a year. Remember, hiding an income in the court of law can prove to be bad for your future.
Custody battles are common in the court of law. A thorough understanding of what exactly happens and, how the judge presents his/her verdict would help you make your case stronger. Try and research on the various custody battles that fall in your category. You would be able to gather enough knowledge to place your facts across. It is really necessary that you understand what exactly you need to be prepared with in such battles.
5. Evaluation of the Self & Ex
At this point, in the battle it is very important that you try and evaluate the kind of person you are. It takes very little time for such custody battles to get dirty. Your ex’s lawyer may open wounds which would hurt you and your dignity in the open. You need to be prepared for such humiliation and, the only way is by evaluating the self. Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Try and figure out issues that need to be dealt with. Try to identify the skills related to parenting that are best in you. You should be aware of your strong as well as weak points as a parent. Similarly, try and evaluate the strengths and weakness of your ex as an outsider would. Your ex might not be a good partner but could be a good parent. So do not judge as a spouse. Rather look at it from your child’s perspective. You can present your case better only when you can talk of yourself with complete knowledge. The judge does not know you and your lawyer won’t be able to talk about you. You should also understand the person you are battling with. So, evaluation is very necessary during the presentation stage.
6. Collect Enough Evidence
The court of law works on the basis of evidence. You should have enough evidence to prove the point you are making. Suppose you feel your ex is not financially well off to support the child, you should provide your ex’s documents and financial statements. You can always gather documents showing your interest levels as a parent. Suppose you feel your ex never made it to the PTA and, you were always there, you could document that too. Whatever point you are trying to make, provide evidence supporting the point.
7. A Known Lawyer
Choose a known lawyer. Don’t go for someone unknown. Better yet is a lawyer who is referred to you by someone. When you present your case before the lawyer, make sure you know enough about him. The more questions you ask, the more you would know about the lawyer. Ask the lawyer to provide you with references. It is your battle of a lifetime and, you have all the right to question the person who is representing your case. Talk to him about the strategy and enquire about his plan of action. You should always ask your representative as to how he prefers to contact his clients. The mode of contact is always different for different lawyers.
Remember, your child is your life. So, if it is about your child, preparation always helps solve the problems.