Achieving your child custody goals, in some cases, is not a process that ends at your first scheduled Custody Conference or Hearing. Many times, it is a process. Persistence, good behavior and compliance oftentimes are the keys to a party enjoying fulfilling Custody time with their children or grandchildren. Unfortunately, the process can be lengthily and frustrating. Keeping your eye on the prize is critical. Here are five suggestions which may assist in helping you doing so:
- BE COMPLIANT: If you have a Custody Order, follow the Custody Order. Be compliant with the terms. Be on time for Custody Exchanges. In the event your first Order has you in Supervised Custodial Time, comply and attend each visit. Showing the Court that you were consistent in attendance at Supervised Custody leads to unsupervised Custody in many cases. We all know Supervised Physical Custody visits stink. However, keep your eye on the prize. Endure the short-term pain for the long-term goal.
- THERE IS NO “TIT FOR TAT”: You need to do what you need to do to achieve your goals. Whether the other parent is following the Order, is on time for exchanges, uses bad language in their texts, emails or phone messages to you, is irrelevant to you achieving your goal. Your bad behavior is not “ok” because the other party exhibits bad behavior. In fact, your good behavior will likely be recognized by the Judge, in contrast to the other party’s bad behavior. Everything in writing by you is evidence in Court.
- KEEP GOOD RECORDS: If you don’t already have one, get a large calendar today. Begin recording when the other party is late for exchanges, when you and the child have attended a school function, extra-curricular activity, doctor/therapist/medical appointment and whether the other parent was there. Print out emails/texts, etc. showing your compliance with the Order and conversely, the other party’s noncompliance. Update the records every time an event occurs. Make it your business to be prepared when you go to Court.
- KEEP YOUR CHILDREN OUTSIDE OF YOUR DISPUTE: Do not tell your children details of your Custody fight with the other parent. Remember, deep in your children’s heart, all they want is for you and their other parent to either get back together, or, at the very least, be civil to each other. It breaks their hearts to see you and their other parent in conflict. You are not educating or impressing your child with the details of your custody dispute. You are hurting your children by including them in the dispute.
- SETTLE IF YOU CAN: Look for ways to resolve your dispute. I am the first one to know that all Custody disagreements cannot be resolved by agreement. I can tell you that in Court, settlement is always better than litigation. Be creative. See if you can resolve this matter, before a person (the Judge) who doesn’t have great familiarity with your family, is forced to make the decision for you and your family.
Let us know if we can help.