Most people do not intentionally have a child with someone thinking that one day they will be in a custody battle. The goal is to raise the child together in a loving environment. But, unfortunately, that doesn’t always work out. Both parents love the child and believe they’re best suited to raise them. However, sometimes a custody battle is the only way to determine which parent is the best fit. Entering into a custody battle takes research, time, and patience, so knowing what can be used against you is a good place to start.
Nearly anything you say can be used against you in a custody battle, so it’s important to remember to always be on your best behavior, whether you’re in the courtroom or not. When it comes to what can be used against you in a custody battle, you’ll want to make sure you do your research and follow your lawyer’s advice so you have the best chance of a successful outcome.
What Should You Not Do in a Custody Battle?
Child custody attorneys are skilled negotiators. You’ll want to be as prepared as possible, and that starts with knowing what you should not do in a custody battle. Sometimes, not doing something will lead you to a better outcome.
Things to avoid in a child custody battle:
- Verbal altercations
- Venting to your child
- Physical altercations
- Showing up late or frequently rescheduling
- Badmouthing your ex to anyone
- Misusing drugs and alcohol
- Not complying with requests from the court
- Making it hard for the child and your ex to communicate
- Picking the child up from school or daycare without notifying the other parent
What Can Affect a Custody Battle?
A judge will consider anything that can make an impact on the child’s best interest. Some significant factors a judge will consider that can be used against you in a custody battle include:
- A history of domestic violence/abuse
- Whether or not you have a stable home
- Whether you can provide for the child
- Which parent the child prefers to live with
History of Domestic Violence
If there is a verified history of domestic violence or abuse, a judge will likely grant sole custody to the victim’s party. Depending on the circumstances, a judge may grant supervised or restricted visitations.
A divorce can leave a child feeling fearful or anxious, which makes stability extremely important during this transitional period. A judge will look for things such as whether the child has a solidified routine, a stable home environment and is safe. A judge may also consider whether the child will have to move schools and whether a move would disrupt things like their social life and extracurricular activities.
Providing for the Child
A judge will want to know if the parent can give the child a clean and safe home. The parent should understand the child’s needs and be willing and able to meet or exceed them. This can be as simple as making sure the child goes to school, gets good grades, develops good habits and practices good hygiene.
A judge will consider the child’s preference; however, they may be weary of a parent manipulating the child into wanting to live with them by promising them things or alienating the child from the other parent. The judge may consider the child’s request depending on their age and maturity level.
How Do you Prove the Best Interest of the Child?
There are a few things you can do to prove that living with you is in the best interest of the child. Here are some things to consider:
- Prepare a parenting plan to show that you’re invested, willing and able to provide the best possible care.
- Keep track of everything in a parenting journal to show that you are, in fact, doing everything in the best interest of your child.
- Keep track of child-related expenses so you can show that you can financially support your child.
- Lockdown reliable child care so you and the court can feel confident that your child is always in safe hands.
- Round up about five or more people to testify on your behalf.
- Show that you’re willing to work with your child’s other parent.
How a Family Lawyer Can Help with your Custody Battle
If you’re heading into a custody battle or you’re looking for information to be proactive, you’ll want to work with a trusted family lawyer who has a proven track record of success. If you need help with your custody battle or you’re looking for some more information about what can be used against you in a custody battle, contact the Law Office of Joseph Cerino today.