Child Custody Tips

If you find yourself in a situation in which you share custody of your children with their other parent, the following is a list of strategic “Do’s” that, if followed, will increase the likelihood that a family law judge will maximize the custody time and authority granted to you. These are tips based on years of experience of a skilled family law attorney. While these tips may sound simple, they are powerful. Any parent who applied all of these, would most certainly maximize their child custody time.

Child Custody Do’s

1. Be Reasonable
2. Get Along with the other Parent.
3. Speak positively of the other parent when talking to your child.
4. Live within as close of geographic proximity, to the other parent, as possible.
5. Be involved in your child’s life.
6. Be flexible and cooperative when working on arrangements with the other parent
7. Put your child’s needs first, even when this provides a benefit to the other parent.

In compiling this list, we realize that all of these points are, of course, easier said than done. For example, we know it is not easy to avoid fighting with the other party in a family law case, and likewise we know that sometimes families have to move away. These lists are simply intended to provide ways to maximize the time a family law judge is likely to give you with your children. Follow as many of these as you can, and it will surely help.

1. Be Reasonable
Family law judges deal with a lot of cases and a lot of families. In doing so, they develop strategies that allow them to quickly make decisions such as which parent to grant custody to. In our experience, one of the key factors family law judges look for is which parent is being most reasonable. Judges know that neither parent is perfect. But they also know that there is often one parent who is more reasonable than the other. In our experience, family law judges favor the parent who is most reasonable. So make the determination to be a reasonable parent and the family law judge will likely reward you for it.

2. Ge along with the other parent.
If custody of your child is your most important goal, then you should make it your goal to get along with the other parent. Bite your tongue, if you have to. Swallow your pride, and muster up all of the kindness you can. Family law judges are on the look out for a parent who chronically fights with the other party. If the judge believes you are guilty of this, your custody rights are likely to be negatively impacted. Find a way to get along with the other party, and you will likely get more time with your child.

3. Speak positively of the other parent when talking to your child.
Family law judges are masters at picking out a parent who alienates their child from the other parent, or who tries to taint their child’s perception of the other parent. If you chose to do this, you run the high risk of being detected by the family court judge and losing substantial custody rights as a result. Don’t make this mistake. Be the parent who encourages your child to develop a relationship with their other parent and the family law judge will likely trust you with more custody time.

4. Live close to the other parent.
While there are times when families must move-away, for employment or other reasons, it should be a last resort. Judges do not like to spit up families, if they can help it. If you live close to the other party, you are much more likely to see your child more often. Do all you can to stay within close geographic proximity to the other parent in order to maximize your custody time. In the even that you do need to move away, and you want your child to come with you, contact us immediately. Our experienced family law attorneys know how to handle difficult move-away cases.

5. Be involved in your child’s life.
Judges get many parents who come into the family law court requesting time with their children. One of the key factors judges look for in determining which parent should have custody of the children is which parent makes effort to be involved in their child’s life. Get involved. Attend your child’s school and athletic events. Be around and be supportive as much as you can be. Do not wait for the family court to tell you to get involved, demonstrate that you want to be involved and the family law judge will likely reward you for it.

6. Be flexible and cooperative when working with the other parent.
Again, our experience is that the parent who fights the least and cooperates the most, will ultimately get the most time with their child. The judges are watching very carefully for these patterns. If they believe one parent is the “peace-maker” of the family, the judge will often reward them with more custody time.

7. Put your child’s needs first, even when it is a benefit to the other parent.
Rememer, that the legal standard upon which judges are supposed to determine child custody is the “best interest of the child” standard. The judges try to adhere to this standard and you should too. There are times in every custody situation where you are faced with a choice of what to do for you child and you know that it is what the other party wants. Many parents make the short-sided decision to act out of spite, and take the path that is contrary to what the other party wants. That is a mistake. Let the best interest of your child guide all of your decisions, even when it gives the other party exactly what they want. The judge will recognize this pattern and will treat you favorably when he makes or modifies your custody orders.

Child custody is a complex matter legally, emotionally, and logistically. One of the best decisions you can make is to hire a wise family law attorney who can guide you as you navigate the maze of child custody. We are here to help. If you have need of great child custody representation in California you should call us immediately.

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