You may become suspicious that your ex-spouse is dating someone new, squirreling away generous company bonuses into an account you don't know about, or trying to sabotage your relationship with your children.
Unlike the super-wealthy - such as the Murdochs who recently divorced - you never saw the need for prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. You assumed you would remain married until death.
And you assumed you would raise your children together. In fact, you would have divorced sooner if it hadn't been for the kids.
Even though your future financial well-being is uncertain, your main concern now is for your children. You don't want to become a weekend parent; you want to continue to be an integral part of their lives.
6 Steps to Winning a Custody Battle
Maybe you've even decided that you want to have primary custody of your children. And you want the kids' fair share of child support.
If this really is the step you want to take, consider this advice:
- Make sure that you file for custody before your ex does. While legally speaking who files first means nothing, from a practical standpoint it's always best to be on the offense instead of the defense.
- If your children live with your ex, and if you've been ordered to pay child support, make sure you make your payments on a timely basis. Retaliation by withholding support will only serve to weaken your case. Also, legally speaking you can't be denied custody for not paying child support, it is never good to ask the court for something while you are in violation of a court order.
- Continue to visit your children and if possible, curtail all out-of-town trips.
- Be amiable with your ex, especially in front of your children. Denigrating your ex in front of your children will inevitably sabotage your relationship with your children and threaten your petition for full custody.
- Don't do anything to jeopardize your job. You'll need to prove to the court that you are a reliable wage earner.
- When your day in court arrives, dress appropriately. Don't appear in your gym clothes or a dress better suited for an evening out on the town. The saying "dress for success" is a good maxim to follow, especially in a family law court