Many parents following a separation or divorce often enter into disputes regarding their family matter. Such disputes are often stressful and difficult especially when they concern children from the relationship. We often see parents entering into a battle for child custody. Family solicitors often stress the importance of being well prepared ahead of an application for child custody. Below we consider some ideas and tips which may be useful to any parent who is embroiled in a child custody battle.
Try and reach an agreement out of court
This is probably one of the most helpful tips on winning a child custody battle. Often parents who can amicably discuss and reach an agreement with the other parent can save costs and the time. It is therefore helpful to attempt to speak to the other parent who may be able to agree to custody without commencing a legal custody battle.
Mediation is the most common form of alternative dispute resolution. Where parents are unable to reach an agreement on child custody, they should consider this. Family law specialists are able to assist you in contacting a mediator who is independent and impartial. The mediator will help you listen to each other, discuss issues and encourage you to negotiate and reach an agreement. If the matter proceeds to a family court, you will need to prove you have attended a Mediation Information Assessment Meeting (MIAM) before they deal with any applications.
Get advice and information from family lawyers
Child custody battles can often be expensive, time-consuming and stressful. You should try and speak to family lawyers as early as possible if you feel that you are unable to reach an amicable solution with the other parent. Kabir family law is a renowned specialist in the area of family law issues and offers free initial consultations.
This will allow you the opportunity of considering your prospects of success as well as allowing you to obtain information on the evidence that you will be required to provide to successfully deal with a child custody dispute.
Keep your children away from the legal battle
Quite often parents become so much involved in a battle for their children they forget the impact this can have on their children’s daily life. Children should be kept out of the battle by not taking them to court unnecessarily and also talking about what is going on. Parents should avoid talking bad about each other to the children which could result in a negative impact and affect their case.
Avoid talking negatively about your ex-partner
Try and keep control over your emotions in front of the children. Do not talk negatively about your former partner in front of the children, instead of vent your frustration to a trusted friend or family member. Anything you say or do in front of the children can portray a negative image of you which can hinder your chances of winning a child custody battle.
Prepare evidence of your relationship with the child
Family solicitors often stress the importance of documentary evidence which can be relied upon when undergoing child disputed. Parents are often advised to keep evidence of their relationship with the child as well as other beneficial information such as:
- Details of successful contact you have had with your child
- Information of activities and holidays you have enjoyed with your children and how they have been happy during your time with them
- Evidence of any negative impact or effects on them from the other parent – this can be through school or medical reports and evidence from other professionals which could support your case for custody.
- Evidence of how the children have been treated by the other parent
- Evidence of how you can better support your children.
This evidence should be prepared at the earliest convenience and handed to your family law practice, as quite often such evidence may result in the matter being settled earlier rather than going to a full hearing.
Avoid arguing and responding to provocation
Arguing in front of the children is never a good idea. The children need to feel confident around you and require you to be calm during times of stress. Children’s wishes are taken into consideration when deciding on child custody and by constant arguing children may view you in a negative light. You may be placed in under stress and pressure, however, you should avoid responding to this provocation. Your former partner may involve the police which would then be used against you in the child custody battle.
Avoid any false allegations and false information
Quite often parents make false accusations or provide false information to try and succeed in a case for child custody. It is important that you avoid this as this could result in a court finding evidence against you and destroying your case.
It is therefore important that you be open and honest when dealing with a child custody case. Try and act in the best interest of your children and keep any personal issues between you and the other parent aside.
See the children as often as possible
A key to winning a child custody battle is to evidence as much contact with the children as possible. Ensure that you keep a record of when contact took place and what activities if any were undertaken during contact. You could use photographs, a diary or even receipts of any activities you carried out to use in court proceedings if the matter proceeds to court. The court are more likely to provide you with custody if they are confident that the child will benefit by being with you. Family lawyers will be able to assist you in collating this evidence which could strengthen your chances of winning a child custody battle.
Ensure you pay child maintenance
Maintenance payments should be kept up to date regardless of whether you currently live with the child or not. Your former partner is likely to refer to child maintenance payments and may use it against you should you fail to make these payments. Making child maintenance payments will prove your ability to care for your children which is always beneficial when considering the welfare of the children.
Show a willingness to work with your ex-partner
It may seem difficult to work together with your ex-partner following a bitter separation. You need to remember that your ex-partner is still a part of your children’s lives. By showing the family court that you are willing to work together for the sake of the children can strengthen your case for child custody. Willingness to effectively co-parent could prove that you are willing to take any step to ensure the welfare needs of your children are met.