One of the most difficult things to do during a divorce is to establish child custody and child visitation. If a couple can't agree, then the courts will make a decision for them based on what is in the best interest of the child. The best interest’s standards are determined by the court and are intended to allow the child the least amount of interruption in their daily routine. It is also enforced to protect them from being displaced from their home just because their parents are getting a divorce. If two parents live separately before filing for divorce, the parent the child was living with during this process will most likely be favored, especially if that parent stayed in the family home. When parents have not been living separately prior to the divorce, the one who took care of the child the most during the marriage will potentially be favored.
Factors that can help the court determine what’s in the best interest of the children include:
- Parent's ability to provide food, shelter, clothing and medical care
- Health of the Parent
- Child's age, gender and health
- Lifestyle of the parent and stability of the environment
- Emotional ties between parent and child
- Willingness of parent to allow a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent
- Child's preference if over the age of 12
If you are divorcing and going through the difficult challenges of winning primary custody of your child, resist the temptation to use emails, phone messages or posting on the internet to vent your feelings about your ex. Here are a few tips below that can help you keep from regretting poor communication decisions while litigating in court:
- Don't post anything derogatory about your ex on the internet (i.e., Facebook, Myspace, blogs, etc.)
- Never say anything in an email to your ex that you wouldn't want a judge to see
- Reassure your children that both mom and dad will always love them and that the divorce isn't their fault.
- Try to maintain your child's daily routine as much as possible
- Allow your ex to talk to your children when they are with you
- Never bad mouth your ex in front of the children or try to turn them against him/her.
- Don't use the children to deliver messages, money or anything else to your ex.
- Don't fight in front of the children or drag them into your fights.
If you are going through a divorce and feel strongly that your ex should not have primary custody due to any of the factors listed above or other reasons, contact ICS for a free consultation. We can develop a plan to expose your ex of anything that would not be in the best interest of the child, and get proof that s/he isn't the parent that should have primary custody.