The Do’s and Don’ts When Going Through a Custody Battle
In Australia, child custody laws require judges to consider the best interests of the children when determining custody and in most states, the court prefers some form of shared or joint custody. As a result, if you are trying to win full custody, you need to make sure that the information you present in court demonstrates that awarding you custody would be the best outcome for the children. At Robert Wood and Associates we are experienced child custody lawyers in Melbourne. We know that winning the battle can be a difficult task for parents as they can often let the stress and emotion of the situation get the better of them and sabotage their chances. Here is a short overview of things you should and shouldn’t do if you are trying to win custody of your children.
DON’T Talk Negatively About Your Ex Partner
As hard as it might be, don’t talk negatively about your ex, especially to your children. Don’t vent your frustrations to your children, and definitely avoid coming up with unfounded allegations of abuse or exaggerating your ex’s shortcomings in order to win. Don’t fight at encounters or exchanges. You are there to drop off or pick up your children, not to engage in battle with the other parent. Keep your opinions and feelings about your ex to yourself and try to show a willingness to actually work with them. While you may not like your ex, you need to show the family court that you’re willing to work with them for the benefit of your children.
DO Focus On Your children
Spend as much time with your children as you can, and make sure that you’re doing regular, everyday things including homework and chores, and not just the fun and glamorous activities such as movies, bowling, and dinners out. Don’t spend quality time with your children making sarcastic comments about your ex to them, or to others in front of them. Children are the ones with the least control in these situations, so don’t add to their stress by making them feel like they are part of an angry game of tug-of-war. Be on time when you have to pick up the children or have a visit with them as this communicates to your children that they are a priority. Don’t make a habit of rescheduling time with them, as this could make it appear to the court that you’re just filing for custody out of spite, not because you really want it.
DON’T Misuse Alcohol or Drugs
If you are serious about winning custody, don’t misuse alcohol or drugs, especially when you’re with your children. Being a good parent involves making good choices that protect your children overall well-being so make sure there’s not even the suggestion that you would do something that would put your children at risk. Making poor choices will end up hurting your children, yourself and provide more ammunition for your ex to be awarded custody.
DO Understand Perception Is Everything
You must do everything you can to present yourself to the court as a competent, involved and loving parent. Regardless of what is being said about you is true or not, what matters is whether the court believes these things are true. Ensure you arrive on time, dress appropriately for court, demonstrate proper courtroom etiquette in front of the judge and honour every request the court makes of you. If you are requested to take parenting classes or seek counselling, do so immediately as this is an opportunity to show just how far you’re willing to go for your children.
DON’T Bring a New Significant Other into the Situation
It is recommended that you don’t introduce a new love interest to your children during a custody battle. Now is not the time to focus on a new relationship, you need to focus on your children because it shows the court that you are placing the children’s needs ahead of your own. Having multiple new people in and out of the children’s lives is not going to be viewed as appropriate by your judge. If you do have a new significant other and they are important to you and will remain in your life after the case, then they will understand that there will be a more appropriate time in the future to be introduced to your children.
Custody battles are never easy. Remember, take your children best interests into consideration before you say or do anything during a child custody case. Judges make custody determinations specifically on whom they believe is really going to look out for the best interests of the children.
The custody process can be emotionally draining. It’s understandable that you might not always be thinking clearly so it is essential to have a trusted child custody lawyer by your side. If you are looking for a Melbourne solicitor with expertise in custody battles, get in touch with the team at Robert Wood today on (03) 9762 3877 or make an appointment online now.
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