In many cases, child custody battles are just that, battles. Digging in for battle can be a scary thought, but you need to keep your calm and realize this is something that unfortunately happens every day in family court. We have put together some tips to make this difficult time a bit more bearable for you.
Threats are only threats – it is not uncommon for one spouse to threaten to open up that closet and air all of your dirty laundry in court. Realize this, nobody is perfect! No attorney or judge expects you to come into the custody battle with an immaculate background. As long as there is no abuse or a history of putting the children at risk, you should be okay. Also, realize something else, your ex will have his or her own dirty laundry, so it is unlikely he or she will be willing to throw around allegations if they know the strategy could backfire.
Don’t be embarrassed – if there is one thing you can be assured of, it is that everyone in that courtroom has heard it all before, and probably far worse. Don’t withhold information from your attorney because you are embarrassed to tell him or her about. As we have said, this will not be the first time they have heard a story such as yours.
Draw on family and friends experiences – it may feel like you are the only person to have ever gone through this, but that could not be further from the truth. Obviously, people get divorced every day. In all likelihood, you have a friend or family member that has been through a heated custody battle. Sit down with them to discuss what happened and they can help prepare you for your own custody battle.
Support – touching again on the above point, your friends and family will be there for you, so lean on them. If you shy away from people because of the divorce and custody battle, you will bear the brunt of this emotional time on your own, which is not good. Take advantage of your support system to keep yourself balanced and “in the fight.”
Keep the children first – one mistake some parents make in the heat of a custody battle is to literally forget about their kids. You still need to be there for them. Actually, you need to be there for them more than ever now. You are not the only one going through this, as your kids are more than likely struggling with the fact that mom and dad are no longer going to be together and fully accessible to them all the time. In addition, focusing on them will take your mind of the divorce and may even lead to open up better communications and negotiations with your ex.
If you need legal help for your custody battle then please fill out the Free Family Evaluation Form.