Custody is the most contested issue during a divorcing couple, even more so than issues dealing with division of property, alimony, or what to do with the family home. In many cases, the parents have already decided where the children will go once the divorce has been finalized. However, there are plenty of cases where the custody fight during divorce is the point that the couple cannot agree upon in any way, shape, or form. If you want to win custody in divorce, these are some of the major factors the court will consider:
Important Factors to Win Custody During Divorce
- Mental and Physical Health of the Parent – divorce can take a serious toll on anyone, so it is important to literally keep your wits about you and take care of yourself during this very difficult time. How you act and look is a factor in winning custody.
- Lifestyle of Parent – what household is better for the child? If one parent works nights, drinks, and smokes while the other parent only works eight hours a day, is physically fit, and does not drink or smoke, which parent do you think has the upper hand?
- Ability for Parent to Provide Basic Necessities – are you able to pay for clothing, schooling, medical care, etc… While child support is generally a condition of divorce, you still need to be able to provide for the child for what would be deemed “your” parental responsibility. In other words, the child support payments cannot be the only source of income you have if you expect to win custody of your children.
- Parent/Child Bond – which parent does the child go to for advice and guidance? Which parent does the child prefer to spend time with?
- Changing the Status Quo – how much of an interruption to the child’s life will occur if the court decides to award custody to the parent the child is not living with during the divorce? Remember, as far as the court is concerned, the child must come first and walk out of the divorce with as little disruption as possible to his or her life. While you may not want to live around the corner from your ex, if you want the kids, that may be exactly what you have to do.
- Child’s Preference – once the child reaches a certain age, the court will ask the child which parent he or she would prefer to live with. Generally speaking, this age is about 16 or older. If your child or children are of this age, you may want to discuss the matter prior to embarking on a custody battle in divorce. It may sound harsh, but your children simply may not want to leave the parent they are living with at the time of the divorce.
What Do You Do Now?
Simple. Contact an experienced family law attorney who has the knowledge, experience, and strength to fight for your rights! You can win custody during your divorce if you follow the steps listed above along with the advice of an expert attorney which can be found by speaking to one of the members on our team!