You have accepted the fact that your marriage is ending and divorce is inevitable. But you want to do everything you can to ensure you have as much time with your children as possible. How can you best prepare yourself for a battle over custody?
- Improve Your Communication. You need to do your part to open the lines of communication between you and your spouse regarding your children. Find a way to talk with your spouse about your children’s needs and desires. The communication must be positive and productive. You want to demonstrate that you will foster a relationship between your children and your spouse. You must show that you can co-parent with your spouse. Your emails, instant messages, text messages to your spouse or to others about your spouse must not be riddled with curse words, insults, or other damaging banter. Such malicious, ill-worded messages will only come back to haunt you in litigation. Do your best to avoid excessively bombarding your spouse with questions or demands. Try to put your own anger at bay for the sake of your children, and demonstrate that you are capable of communicating positively with your spouse about your children.
- Gather Evidence. Determine which persons would be willing to come to court to support you. You will need witnesses who can testify about your involvement in the children’s lives. Reach out to those persons in advance and confirm that they would be willing to talk about their observations regarding your interactions with your children. Gather photographs, emails, extracurricular activity programs, social media posts, and other written communications which help to demonstrate the activities and involvement you have had in your children’s lives.
- Identify and Make Necessary Changes. Determine what changes if any you may want to make to ensure that the custodial schedule you’re seeking will work. Do you need to adjust your work schedule? Do you need to arrange for work-related child care? Where will you be living? Do you have adequate housing and sleeping arrangements for your minor children? Be sure to talk with your attorney before making any drastic changes, so that you can first determine how any changes you may make might impact your case.
- Keep the Kids Out of the Case. Lastly, do your best not to involve your children in the litigation. Do not discuss the case with them. Do not grill your children with questions when they return from custodial time with your spouse. Do not use a child as a middle man or facilitator for passing information to your spouse. The communication should be between the parents and/or the parent’s counsel. Do your part to insulate your children as best you can.
To learn more about how to prepare for a custody battle in your particular case, consult with an experienced family law attorney in your jurisdiction. The custody lawyers at Livesay & Myers, P.C. have years of experience with custody cases in courts across Northern Virginia. Contact us to schedule a consultation today.