If You Want Custody of the Children, Behave Yourself

August 20, 2013, by Law Offices of James V. Sansone
By Law Offices of James V. Sansone on August 20, 2013 8:00 AM |

Thumbnail image for Custody.jpgIt's easy, in the midst of a divorce, to suddenly distrust the person you once pledged your life to.

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Continue to visit your children and if possible, curtail all out-of-town trips.
  4. 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.
  5. Don't do anything to jeopardize your job. You'll need to prove to the court that you are a reliable wage earner.
  6. 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
California's child custody laws are constantly shifting to accommodate the needs of families. It is vital to retain the support and counsel of a knowledgeable child custody lawyer that will review your options and help you determine the best course of action to protect your rights and the best interests of your children. Attorney James Sansone will take the time to understand your needs and the potential challenges that may lead to dispute, presenting your options and helping to determine the best approach to ensure a favorable outcome.