We've all heard the horror stories of marriages crumbling and one spouse threatening to emotional harm or physical violence against children or other parties. Not all divorces go smoothly, and not everybody has the emotional control to be able to withstand the immense pressure and strain that can be involved. What this unfortunately means is that sometimes you'll have no choice: you'll have to go to battle over full custody of your children. While it's certainly advised that you do everything in your power to try to settle out of court, sometimes that won't be enough. If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in one of these situations, here are a few valuable tips for surviving these battles, keeping your stress levels down, and keeping your kids as comfortable as possible.
Keep Your Kids Out of It As Much as Possible
When parents fight, kids feel the pain just as much, if not more. A divorce can have untold detrimental effects on your kids, and this is only magnified if you frequently go at it with your significant other in front of them. A tense home leads to anger, emotional stress, and more, and while some stress is inevitable or unavoidable, constantly fighting with your spouse in front of the kids only amplifies the effect. Likewise, you also don't want to bring your kids to court with you when you and your spouse are fighting over child custody. This not only reflects poor judgement, but often times makes your judge wonder what your motives are for doing so.
Support Your Kids
As a parent, you have an obligation to support your children. Period. It doesn't matter whether or not your spouse has treated you worse than they treat their bags of garbage or your time with your kids has been sabotaged, the fact of the matter is your kids need your support, and you need to provide them with that. Don't stop paying your child support as a method of ensuring you get your time with your kids; this reflects extremely poorly on you and could hurt your case. On the contrary, if you do pay your child support, and can show your responsibility and ability to provide a loving and nurturing home for your children, you actually will be helping your case significantly, particularly when it comes out what your spouse has been doing to sabotage your relationship.
Child custody battles are a time where every waking moment of your life will be scrutinized. Are you constantly late for work? Do you spend your evenings drinking at the bar with your friends? Do you frequently leave your kids at school for hours until you're able to pick them up? Each of these things reflect your ability to adhere to your responsibilities, and failing your responsibilities is not a good way to show you should be given full custody of your children.
However, this goes so much further as well. How do you control your emotions while you're going through a child custody battle? Do you put everything aside when you get home to provide the best possible relationship with your kids? Or do you go home and immediately start bad-mouthing the other parent to your kids to try to sabotage the relationship? Have you decided to move on already and move in with someone new, bringing a potential new parent into your children's lives while you're still technically with their other parent?
There is a time to heal and move on from your divorce, but in the middle of the process is not the time to do it. This is a time to provide as loving and stable an environment as possible for your kids in order to obtain the best possible outcome.
Fight With Your Kids in Mind
Believe it or not, it's actually quite easy to lose track of what you're fighting for in a child custody battle: your children. Many parents lose sight of this and inevitably start fighting as a point of personal pride or simply to stick it to their ex where it will really hurt. A child custody battle is meaningless if it doesn't actually place your kids in the best possible situation or keep their best interests at heart. If you find you're getting too far away from your goals that had your kids in mind, stop, refocus, and reconsider your strategy.
Don't Do It Alone
You shouldn't face a child custody matter without an experienced attorney on your side. This isn't a television special where parents duke it out with their arguments in front of a judge. This is a very real and extremely important time for your family and most importantly your kids. A Murfreesboro family lawyer can help you place their best interests at heart while helping you fight to obtain full custody and protect them from harm if the other spouse presents a threat of it.
Courts try to keep both parents involved in their children's lives as much as possible, which makes requests for full custody difficult to win. In fact, if you try to win this battle on your own, you might actually be inadvertently making your case worse off. Don't leave anything up to chance; let an attorney help with your case and represent you and your best interests throughout your courtroom hearings.