Nothing can prepare any parent for the emotional toll a custody battle can take. Whether your separation from your partner has been a long time coming or not, there’s no way to prepare yourself for the stress that can arise when you just can’t agree on what’s best and right for your child or children.
This is a collaborative post
There are, of course, never any guarantees, and every case needs to be considered for what it is: unique and delicate. But, even so, there are some things you can do to give yourself a better chance of winning your custody battle.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Speak with a solicitor as soon as possible
Custody is represented by a highly complex area of family law. In fact, there are few things more complex than the process of ensuring the best possible outcome for the children in question, particularly when there are so many emotions involved from all sides.
This isn’t something you should attempt to navigate yourself. Even if you have friends or relatives who have gone through a similar situation and are weighing in with their advice, you can’t hope to find the answers and guidance you need from anyone but a professional.
This isn’t a case of ‘wait and see’. Every moment of preparation matters a great deal when it comes to winning custody, so make sure you get your information from the right person. You’ll want to make sure you turn to a reputable firm like https://www.willans.co.uk/ with plenty of experience in divorce or separation.
2. Let your feud take a backseat in a custody battle
It’s understandable that the line between your personal problems as a couple and your need to remain with your children as much as possible overlaps. If you’re in the habit of arguing over differences, then it’s only natural that your children will become a part of those arguments.
But remember that it doesn’t have to be that way. Custody arrangements are always made with the children’s best interests in mind, and it isn’t in their best interests to be caught between two feuding parents.
While you have irreconcilable differences and disagreements that will likely never be resolved, remember that your children needn’t fall under that shadow. There will of course be cases where two parents cannot be expected to collaborate or co-parent effectively. Many parents will find it is ultimately easier, and more pleasant for the child involved.
3. Don’t fall behind on maintenance payments
When it comes to determining custody, the court wants to make sure that the parents involved are genuinely invested in ensuring the best for the child and that they are truly committed to obtaining custody. Many people use child maintenance payments as a way of exerting control over an ex-partner, often because they feel frustrated about dealing with a significant financial burden as they try to get back on their feet themselves. However you feel about sending money to your ex, you stand a much higher chance of a favourable outcome in the courts if you make the payments without any delays or arguments.
4. Don’t get complacent about parenting
While it may sound obvious, it happens all too often. Parents who feel emotionally depleted following what may have been a contentious separation – and in the face of a more precarious financial footing, a new routine, and loneliness – can easily go into ‘autopilot’ mode when it comes to parenting and maintaining relationships with their children.
But try to focus on the longer term. If you want custody, demonstrating a keen interest in remaining as close to your child as possible during this time is key. Make sure you turn up to important events like school shows and parents’ evenings and structure your time with your child around activities that will strengthen your relationship.
5. Keep records of everything during a custody battle
From payments made to your ex to days spent with your child – and any messages or phone calls sent between you and your ex that may be relevant to the courts – make sure you’re maintaining a diary of any and all salient points.
It can feel like overkill, particularly if you and your ex have a relatively strong relationship, but it’s much better than leaving things to memory.
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