Stay at home mothers have a vested interest in keeping their children in the unfortunate event of a divorce. Since mothers who stay home to care for children do not bring any income into the home, it is often difficult for them to retain custody based on financials alone. a parent that has chosen the role of bringing up children rather than earning income has a difficult job and this can be compounded when going through a divorce or a break-up. Many mothers who have not been working outside of the home can find themselves in financial distress once a break-up or divorce begins. While this may be an uphill battle by itself, there are some other common mistakes that stay at home mothers make that can make it impossible for them to retain custody. Here are the mistakes you should avoid to win your custody case.
This is a huge no-no. In some cases, mothers have a fear that allowing their spouse to visit with or take the children for a period of time will result in them never being brought back. When this fear is present, mothers will often withhold visitation, which does not portray them in a good light to the court. Instead of taking matters into your own hands, consult with a knowledgeable family law or divorce attorney to follow the correct course of actions. Unless abuse or danger to the children is present, visitation should be allowed. In most cases, when the fear is that the father will not bring the child back after an agreed visitation period, the best course of action is to immediately file an action for custody and child support. This lets the courts know that the mother is the primary custodian and anything that breaks the normal day-to-day routine (such as the father not bringing the kids back) will upset the family court judge. Your first line of defense is a good offense – and this means going to court as quickly as possible. And once a court has begun to hear your case or has issued some type of temporary visitation for the father, you absolutely cannot withhold visitation for almost any reason – in some states, this is even a crime.
One of the most important things that stay at home mothers need to do in order to win custody is to find a job. Remaining unemployed will not show the court that you are prepared to take on the financial responsibilities of caring for the children and are going to be relying on child support, only making your spouse’s/ex’s case stronger. By working to bring income into the home, the court will see how much having custody and care of the children means to you, so make every effort to bring home a paycheck. This does not mean that rushing out and accepting a full-time minimum wage job is the the best course of action either though, unless you have the ability to have someone watch your children during the day at a low price or for free. When children are of school age, this begins to be a much easier proposition, but when children are still babies, relying on family for assistance is essential so you can begin entering the job market. Just because one parent earns more than a stay at home mother, does not mean they should win custody, although in many instances, people argue both sides of this coin.
Not Presenting a Professional Appearance
Family courts are interested in providing the children in a custody case with the best possible upbringing. Courts usually view individuals who are well put together in appearance as being good, responsible providers. It is important to make sure you are conservatively and professionally dressed for any and all appointments and court dates surrounding the divorce or custody case including court appearances, mediation meetings, and even therapy sessions – you want everyone in deciding who retains custody of the children to view you as responsible. This means not wearing low cut tops, shorts, or wrinkled and dirty clothing. Even though one should never judge a book by its cover, do not think for a minute that the judge will not take that into account.
Bringing in a New Significant Other
Many couples separate long before getting divorced and often mothers meet new men in that time. Even if you have met a new guy, it is important to keep him out of the family home and be very cautious about introducing him to the children. Courts do not look fondly upon mothers who introduce new male figures into their children’s lives before the divorce to their father has been finalized. Since the children’s adjustment to the situation is the most important, make sure you take transitions into new relationships slowly when it comes to new significant others spending the night or moving in. The test for introducing children to a new overnight significant other should be this: are you going to be getting engaged to marry this man soon? If the answer is yes, introducing him to the children is acceptable. If the answer is I don’t know or no, keep him away from your children, especially during overnight periods, as this does not make judges, counselors, or child representatives happy and can turn the case against you.
Getting Legal Help to Win Custody
This cannot be stated enough. As wonderful of a parent as you are, and as terrible of a parent as you believe the other parent to be, a well-trained attorney will run circles around you and flp the case against you in a heartbeat. As stated in the first paragraph of this article, the best defense is a good offense. Speaking with a legal professional and getting the amount of legal help that your particular case calls for is necessary to ensure your rights to retaining custody of your children. Not everyone needs an attorney, but the vast majority of cases benefit greatly by having one involved. You can speak with a child custody professional at no charge and with no obligation by contacting one through the form on this page.