Last Updated: June 1, 2022

Fights for child custody (also known as the allocation of parental responsibilities) are never pleasant but as with most disputes, someone emerges victorious. If you know some of the top secrets for winning custody battles that experienced attorneys know, you will be a step ahead of your ex when it comes time to throw down. The ability to speak with an expert child custody attorney today is simple and almost all custody lawyers provide free family case consultations!

Parents who are the most prepared typically win fights for custody over their children. Courts base their decisions primarily on what they determine is in the “best interests of the children”, which is a legal standard that every state applies in slightly different fashion. The winning parents are typically able to supply documentation that proves they are best able to provide a stable, healthy environment for the child. Here, we will teach you the top 3-secrets to winning your child custody battle!

Top 3-Secrets to Winning Child Custody

Numerous factors go into determining who should win a custody case in court. Of the many factors, there are a few main secrets that every client needs to know. These secrets are knowing the specific elements the courts use to determine the legal standard of “the best interests of the child.”

The top three in virtually every state are the following:

  1. Stable Living Environment
  2. Ability of the Parents to Cooperate and Co-parent
  3. Level of Participation in the Child’s Life

Not a single one of these factors is the silver bullet to winning – it is the combination of these that puts you in position to make a positive impact to the judge and win your custody case.

Stable Living Arrangement

Courts have a primary goal of providing stable living environments for children. This is at the center of custody arguments. A parent who cannot maintain a job, provide a stable home, or provide proper care for children is not likely to win custody or be awarded the primary decision maker. A stable living arrangement can take on different forms that all need to be explored as they relate to your particular case. Having held down a steady job and/or be on a positive career path shows the court that you are able to provide financially for your family.

Living in one place for a long time shows that you have roots in your community and will not uproot your child at a moments notice. In some situations, like a divorce, this might not be possible as you may need to move out. But having a history of moving every year or two for a decade is not good and exploring a long-term lease that can be presented to the court can help to eliminate the prior moves from being a negative.

Having a home that has adequate furniture and clothing is essential. In many cases, the court will appoint a child representative to the case to investigate each parents living arrangements. This attorney (the child representative) will then report to the court what he or she sees and give a recommendation to the judge who will, in 90% of cases, follow that recommendation. Make the child rep your best friend. But the child representative needs to see that the child has his/her own bedroom, furniture, clothing, and food in the fridge (an no drugs or alcohol in view). Get your place furnished and clean!

Ability of the Parents to Cooperate and Co-Parent

This is one of those factors that many people – even other attorneys – don’t pa attention to nearly enough. Almost every single state now has their specific laws written with the goal of having parents share joint custody (share the allocation of parental responsibilities) with each other. In the past, courts would oftentimes award 1-parent sole custody, but the goal now is to initially view both parents as being equal until proven otherwise.

Because the courts want people to co-parent, it is essential for a person fighting for custody to show the court that you do all you can to foster a healthy relationship when it comes to parenting. This means changing a written (or unwritten) temporary parenting schedule when something comes up, like a flat tire or your ex going out of town. Make sure it is in writing so that can be shown to the judge when the time comes.

When one parent consistently shows that their concern is for the children and not to hurt the other parent, that parent has effectively proven they are willing to co-parent. This is even more important even if the other parent won’t do so in return. A parent that engages in actions that impede visitation rights and parenting time of the other parent is a huge negative. In some cases, this type of behavior can cause an adult to lose previously awarded custody of children. Show, with written proof, that you are and have been willing and able to co-parent – that you are the parent that makes changes for the other parent when requested, and that you are the parent that drops it all to do what’s best for your kids.

Level of Participation in Child’s Life

This is one of those factors that isn’t necessarily a secret. However, being able to put it into practice quickly without a long-term track record is something you need to learn how to do. If you have a history of being very involved (equally or more), then you have a huge head start. This means being involved in pick-ups and drop-offs at school, being active in extracurricular activities, and being present for doctors appointments. Not every parent, for valid reasons, has a long track record of this though.

Parents that do not have a history of being equally involved in their child’s everyday life need to do something to change the narrative in court. This means overcompensating immediately. Find a sport or extracurricular activity and sign your child up for it and sign up to be a coach/instructor/assistant for the team or activity. Get the doctors information and the next time your child might be sick, you call, you make the appointment, and you bring your child. Whether your child is doing well in school or not, regardless of the grade level, call the teacher or administration and ask if they can schedule you for a meeting so that you can find out what your child needs to work on more at home to excel in school. If and when a child representative then contacts the school to ask about the child, they will say that you were recently there inquiring how to help your child do better.

Additional Factors and Secrets to Know

When making initial custody determinations, courts look at many additional factors including the relationship of each parent with the children and the ability, disposition, and personality of parents as these pertain to child rearing. Mental and physical health of each adult are assessed and courts even go as far as investigating the motive of each parent to win custody of kids. In many instances, the court may order a psychological evaluation of both of the parties to see if there exists psychological issues in one of the parents.

If children are old enough, courts may consider their living preferences. Other considerations include where each parent lives and the quality of the educational system within these areas. Parents can increase their chances of winning a custody battle by preparing a case that positively addresses each of these factors.

It can be difficult to change the initial custody decision that a court makes, but a parent should not be afraid to exercise custody rights if the other parent runs into trouble with drugs, alcohol, or the anything else that is extremely negative. If a custodial parent tries to move far away that impacts the parenting time rights of the other parent, it may be time to reexamine the custody decision as well. Custody arrangements may also be changed if one parent takes a new job that makes childcare more difficult.

Next Steps to Win Custody

Winning a custody battle is an accomplishment that is made easier with the help of an experienced lawyer – that should go without saying. Even before the attorney can begin preparing your case for court, the above secrets should be implemented to position yourself for victory. Get started, evaluate the facts of your personal case, start the work needed applying these secrets to winning your custody case and speak with an attorney for a free consultation.

About The Author

11 thoughts on “3-Secrets for Winning Custody Battles”

  1. My cousin is trying to divorce her husband at the moment. They have two children, and she wants sole custody of her two boys. I liked that you pointed out that the court will look at the personality of each parent before making a decision. My cousin husband is pretty neglectful. Hopefully, she won’t have to worry about not getting her two boys.

  2. Okay so about three years ago I tested positive for thc. So of course they reported it and DHR came and talked to me they explained that they were testing my daughters poop and if it came back positive it would be bad basically well so my boyfriends parents said they would help us by calling lawyers and stuff so we accepted the help. We trusted them, they came back to us and said that if we didn’t sign over custody then DHR would take my babies to foster care where they wouldn’t know anyone I have another daughter 14 months older and a don he’s 7 from my previous marriage. So they claimed that we had to sign over the girls because they were gonna take them, my boyfriend trusted them so I did too and we did it it was the biggest mistake I ever made. The deal was they would have custody til the results came back and they finally did like a month later they were negitive so that’s a great thing but now they won’t give them back and it’s been three years. But they have been keeping them from us for like nine months and I can’t deal with this anymore please help me!

  3. about eleven years ago my two oldest being staying with my adopted parents but as time went on they say they got power attoney over them now since then they are ready to give that to them but herethe thing my sister got cousty and they dontstay wit them i want my kids in my life not just in the same county but in my life as well really how i look at it its void cause it begin a lie the whole time

  4. I have been summons to court again, for custody for my 9 year old daughter, by her father (whom married and now on his 4 child w/ wife of 2 years). I was awarded sole/residential custody 2 years again. My daughter visits with her father every other weekend, Tuesday’s/Thursday’s after school, Secular holidays and also he is to share spring/summer/winter break, which he “just” started exercising this past year. He has not followed the visitation order on many occasions, he is 7k behind in child support, as well. Also, recently payments has discontinued for more than a month. I even accommodate him when he request extra time or extensions of time. Though, we both do not get along I feel I have been more than fair with him. Now I feel he is manipulating my daughters emotions of living her situation with me, she has become more combative and standoffish with me. I am concerned, he also plays this good cop bad cop with me.. (Me be the bad guy). I have raised my daughter physically, mentally, and financially since day 1. I want to continue to retain Sole/Residential custody, I am single full-time working mother. I am not an alcoholic nor a drug user or anything, yes I do have a drink socially here or there but never to where I am endangering my child or life. Please advise on my chances to continuing to keep sole custody. At this point I do not want to award anything to him since he is putting me and my daughter through this for his anger towards me.

  5. I need help my girlfriend went to jail and she gave our daughter and son to her mother with a agreement paper .. her mom is a bad pill head.. I need my nkids and have a hard time even talking to them cause no one answers …. and don’t no were they live all I now is somewere in gainsville what can I do

    1. Get a hold of us right away so that we can locate her, file a complaint for parentage, and file a petition for temporary and permanent custody. You deserve to get father’s rights now. Also, contact so that they can skip trace and locate your exes mother. Get started immediately, there is no time to waste.

  6. There really is no help for fathers that are in a position like mine where I gave up absolutely everything I had for my ex before I realized she had been lying to me for the last couple years that we were together. The only way to get help is to have a lot of money saved up to get started and that is B.S. considering the fact that the women don’t need to pay for an attorney in some of these cases like the one I am in. THE RIGHTS ARE NOT THE SAME,

    1. Unfortunately, you are correct. Father’s rights are sweeping the nation in most court systems, however, a mother still has the upper hand in many situations. Unfortunately, they get this upper hand by trumping up charges of false abuse and getting a legal aid attorney to represent them in their “domestic violence” matter. The way you fight back to get the fathers rights you deserve is: 1. Work hard, earn as good a living as possible, 2. don’t waste money drinking, doing drugs, or smoking cigarettes; 3. Have enough bedrooms in your home for your child to have their own, 4. plan family activities all the time – you don’t need to spend a lot of money, but fun activities with family is important, and 5. tell your children you love them all the time, because when a guardian ad litem or child representative interviews them on behalf of the judge, they will tell a story of a loving, caring parent that spends quality time with their child. Of course, hiring an attorney is your best bet, but these tips will help either way. Hang in there, good luck.

  7. When my son was a couple months old I went to court to try and get joint custody 50/50 but was only given a couple hours visitation a couple days a week. For the past 3 1/2 years that court order has not been followed I have had my son half the time while paying child support , I buy the majority of clothes and shoes for him which most does not return to me. I have an steady job, a house and no record, I don’t go out do drugs or anything. Anytime my sons mother gets mad she tries to throw that old custody order in play, she’s extremely controlling, if she finds out I’m dating its always an issue and she will try to start an issue purposely. She has always been very unstable and not honest along with anger and anxiety issues and was a foster kid so has had a lot of issues in her child hood.. She won’t get a fulltime job, because she wants to continue to get section 8.. Over the years I have paid her car insurance and given her gas until I stopped about a year ago. Recently things have gotten worse as I hav put my foot down and do not allow her to control me in any way. Most recent she call me @ 1130 I called her back she yelled at me to come get my son cause she was having anxiety so I met her at the hospital, she called me a racial slur and yelled cause it took me 6mins to call her back because she thought I was with a female I left after a 5min argument I got home and got out and she came speeding up she got out and pushed me I stuck my arm out to block her because I was getting my son and moved her to the side she tried to hit me by swinging on me and push me again I restrained her and held her down told her to leave thats not ok she was very irate and kept pushing me I got my son came in my house put my son in bed and called the police, well it turns out she called them right before me and said I had choked her, anyways they came out and took a statement and left and now I want to go file for joint 50/50 , but I’m not sure if I should maybe file for temporary custody until the court date? Also the court here is not pro fathers also being a black father is ridiculously hard in my town and the court here always seems to side with the mom

    1. Family Law Advice

      Only a father’s rights attorney can fight for you in a case like this. Call us and we will give you father’s rights advice so that you can begin preparing for your battle. don’t waste anymore time, get the father’s rights help you deserve and get shared custody of your child!

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