Last Updated: August 17, 2022
It can be difficult to get custody in a divorce, particularly if the children are living with the other parent. If one parent served as the main caregiver during the marriage and the children are residing with that individual during a marital separation, the other parent will need to prepare a strong custody case. Family law help is available and almost all divorce lawyers offer free initial consultations. Having representation can dramatically increase the chance of getting joint custody in a divorce even if the kids are living primarily with the other parent.
Fill out the Free Evaluation Form to have a Family Law Rights Attorney look at your case!
Don’t Forget About the Kids!
When parents are going through a divorce, they can easily forget about their children. They may become so focused on dividing property and dealing with legal documents that they do not consider who will care for the children once the divorce is finalized. Children may be living with the parent who has been the primary caregiver but that does not mean this must continue.
The court will weigh the pro’s and con’s of the kids spending time with either parent. This involves determining if each parent has a suitable home and is or has been involved in child-rearing activities. Being involved in your kids extracurricular or sports activities is important. Showing up to teacher conferences is important. And going to and scheduling doctors appointments is essential to showcasing your ability to take care of the kids. Even a short history of doing these things (START NOW IF YOU HAVE TO!) will make it more difficult for the other parent to say he or she should continue having the kids the majority of the time.
You Can Get Custody In A Divorce
Getting custody in a divorce is not necessarily entirely focused on becoming the primary parent when it comes to parenting time with the children. In many instances, it is obtaining joint decision-making ability and a good amount of visitation / parenting time. Obtaining an order that grants both parents joint decision making and lots of parenting time should be the primary goal. Anything beyond that is the sugar on top.
Getting joint custody during a divorce requires proving that you are emotionally, physically, and financially able to care for your children. A court considers many things when making a custody decision, the main one being what arrangement is in the best interests of the child – this is the standard in all states.
Best Interests of the Child Standard = Stability
Many things go into determining what is in the best interest of the child – which is the primary standard used to determine child-related issues. The ability to win custody in a divorce often boils down to which parent offers the most stability for the children. Many of the primary factors that the courts use to determine the best interests standard center around stability.
The primary best interests of the child factors include the following:
- Living arrangements of each parent
- A bedroom for the child and food in the fridge and not moving every 12-months
- Proximity to school
- Not moving 30-minutes away
- The child’s adjustment to their home and community
- Friends in their neighborhood and good schools
- The ability of the parents to cooperate when it comes to co-parenting and decision making
- Can the parents put aside fighting to make decisions that are good for their kid
- Level of participation in past child-rearing responsibilities
- Who was the primary care giver or were responsibilities split?
- The willingness of a parent to facilitate a good relationship between the child and the other parent
- Undermining the other parent to the child, bad-talking the other parent – these activities need to be avoided
Stability in Your Life is Key
Every one of those primary factors that a court will use in a custody case centers around stability. Whether it is the stability of the living arrangements for the child, the relationship between child and parent or between the parents themselves – stability is the key factor. Courts know that a divorce is a difficult transition for a child – especially a young child. Knowing this, family law judges want to keep as many things stable for the child as possible. To get custody in a divorce, the parents must be able to apply as many of the above factors to their particular case as possible.
Stability in the Child’s Lifestyle
Stability in the lifestyle of the child is also important. Moving to much or not being able to provide a safe living environment is a big factor. For example, if a father earns a comfortable income and has a nice home in a good school district, he is more likely to win custody than a father who is unemployed and rents a one-bedroom apartment in an undesirable part of town. Children will experience much better lives, provided that this parent is not abusive or working all night. Money isn’t the most important thing, but it certainly helps to be able to provide a better home for the child.
Begin organizing your life – this is a big thing to do. This means taking inventory of things in your life – activities that might take away from time with the kids or possibly changing jobs to get better hours. It also might mean seeking help with a therapist so that you can communicate with your ex and the kids better and in a more positive way. Find ways to get involved in the kids lives even more than in the past – this is good for them and helps build a positive case for you. And obviously, speaking with a lawyer for a free consultation never hurts either – it can only help to have a professional involved. You can win custody in a divorce even if the kids are gone if you focus on what matters the most – your children.
Fill out the Free Evaluation Form to get Child Custody Help Now!