Family courts are supposed to be in the business of doing what is right and fair for all members of a family when there is disillusionment at hand. If at all possible, try to settle your disputes through a mediator rather than a lawyer and/or judge. When both parents can agree and behave in a mature manner, the children involved will be better able to handle the divorce as well. Unfortunately that isn’t always the case and our family courts are filled with arguing parents over custody, support, and other marital issues. If you find yourself in this position, there are some things you can do to help your case.
Get A Lawyer
First and foremost, you are going to need representation from an experienced family law lawyer. It will cost you more, but if you want the best chances of winning, you’re going to need an expert. Make sure you tell him/her everything; the good, bad, and the ugly. They can’t represent you to their best abilities if you aren’t upfront and honest. Whether you agree with your lawyer or not, do what he tells you to do or not to do.
Write Everything Down
Journaling has become very popular these days and it’s a good idea to write down everything you do or say. Some parents like to use the children as “spies” to know what the other parent is doing. Keep a diary of sorts of things you do when you are with your children; where you go and money you spend. Your spouse will want to know if you are squandering the marital funds. By writing things down you can prove to the Judge what you’ve done and purchased in defense to lies your spouse may make against you.
Find Good Witnesses
Your spouse is probably going to try and prove you are not a fit parent. Talk with anyone, friends, family, neighbors, school teachers, who can witness your parenting skills, love, and attention and is willing to write an affidavit or appear in court to testify on your behalf.
Be Respectful To Your Spouse
I know if can be extremely hard to think you need to be nice to your spouse as your family is being ripped apart, but you need to for your sake and for the children. Do not ever discuss your personal issues with any of your children. When speaking with your spouse try to be as respectful as you can.
Put It In Writing
Some parents just can not get along. If you find yourself in this position, please put everything in writing. I can not stress this enough. No phone calls, no talking face to face. You must do all communication through email, texting, letters, etc. This will provide you with documented proof of anything your spouse might claim you said or did.
Be The Best Parent You Can Be
Above all else, remember that you are fighting for time with your children. When the children are with you, be the best parent you can be. Do not talk ill of the other parent to any of your children. Enjoy the time you have together and let the “big people” stuff take a backseat while your children are in your care.
Don’t Try To Buy Your Children
Your children love you, you don’t need to try to buy their affection. Besides, Judges don’t find this appealing and it won’t sway things your way regardless.
Going To Court
It is strongly recommended that you show the court respect at all times. Make sure you are there in time, dressed in a professional manner, no wise cracks when others are speaking, and let your lawyer do his/her job.
You will get your turn to take the stand and tell the Judge what you need to. Always tell the truth. Perjury happens in family court as well. Just make sure you aren’t doing it. If the truth is found out later while the Judge is still deciding the case, things can take a drastic down-turn for you. Remain cool, calm, and collected as you answer questions from your spouse’s lawyer. This is not the time to show your contempt or anger toward your spouse.
Once the Judge decides the case, you will have an opportunity to appeal, however chances are slim that the Judge will change their mind. For more information read my article on Family Court: In The Best Interest Of The Mother .