If you're going through a Massachusetts divorce that involves children, one of the biggest arguments or disagreements you may be having is the topic of child custody. While we want our children to grow up with the happiest life possible, sometimes sharing legal and physical custody does not make sense or would not be in the best interest of the child. But even though you know you deserve full care, you need to be able to convince the court that you deserve it as well. Proving your ex-spouse or the other parent of your children does not deserve any custody can be a difficult thing to manage. But if you're properly prepared and understand the extent of what you need to prove, you can have a better shot at getting the full custody you believe you deserve.
Here are five things you can do to help guarantee you receive full custody of the children.
1. Show the Physical Needs of the Child
When custody is determined, the needs of the child will be the first thing considered. Because the court will not want to disrupt the life of the children any more than necessary, you may be able to prove you deserve full custody of the children if they rely on you to maintain their physical needs and schedule. This can include their eating schedule, sleeping habits, activities, and education. If your spouse has a job that prevents them from picking the children up from school, cooking meals for them, or taking them to their after school activities, you may be able to show the court that they are unable to maintain the child's physical needs.
2. Have a Parenting Plan
Unless you believe that your ex is too dangerous to be around the children, go into your divorce meetings with an sample parenting plan. With this plan, your children and your ex will be able to see each other and know one another without needing to share custody.
Showing a judge that you are keeping the psychological needs of your children in mind throughout the battle will show that you are not just seeking full custody to spite your ex. Having a full plan for the future that everyone is happy with and everyone benefits from will give the judge more support in granting care.
3. Show Your Ex's Downfalls
If you are going to argue that you are the better parent, you need to come prepared with evidence and facts that prove your ex is not qualified to be a parent without you. This may result from them having a problem with drinking, being abusive or overly aggressive, or other unhealthy habits that could compromise the child's wellbeing.
4. Prove Your Children Are Your Priority
If you are fighting for full care of your children, you need to show the court that you have spent the last few years of their lives doing everything you can for them. You may also want to show that your ex-spouse did not make the same sacrifices.
If you have compromised your career to stay home with the children or you have taken a job that allows you to be home when the children are, this is one great way to show that you have made your kids your life priority. This connection shows that you have a strong bond with your children and that their lives will be further disrupted if they do not spend their time fully with you. Talk with your attorney about potential other ways to show that you have made your children your priority.
5. Develop a Compromise
If you are hoping to get sole custody of your children yet you do not have incriminating evidence on your spouse to prove they don't deserve to share care, your best bet may be to come up with a compromise before the judge makes his or her decision. While a compromise may not be the exact situation that you're hoping for, it does allow you to be in control of at least part of the custody decision.
Think about why you want sole custody. If you want to be responsible for making the legal decisions for your children. On the other hand, if you want your children to live with you full time, you may want physical custody. While both of these options allow you to be in control, it does not take away rights or parenting time from the other party. Discussing these options between you and your spouse can allow you to come to an agreement everyone is happy with.
Divorce is a difficult time for all involved, including your children. While they may be confused about what is going on, you need to keep their best interests in mind.
If that means getting sole legal and physical of your kids, you need to do what is necessary to prove you deserve it and your ex-spouse is not responsible or available enough to give the children what they need.
Go into your meetings fully planned and prepared to show why you deserve sole custody of your children. With the right strategy, an abundance of evidence, a level head, and a preparation that beats out anything your ex has come up with, you'll be ready to show the judge why you are the best parent for the children.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.