If you're going through a divorce and a subsequent child custody dispute, then you may know in your heart that your children would be best off with you as their primary caretaker. However, your belief won't be enough; you'll also have to prove this to the courts. Unfortunately, going through a child custody dispute is never easy--which is why having qualified and experienced child custody lawyers on your side is so important. Along the way, however, there are some steps you can take to better your chances of being awarded the custody you want.
DO Schedule a Custody Evaluation
An in-home child custody evaluation essentially consists of having an impartial, third-party evaluator come into your home and assess your children's living conditions along with your parenting. Yes, this might sound like a daunting experience, but as long as you're providing your children with a stable, safe environment in which to live and sound parental guidance, a professional evaluation is only going to help you. Specifically, the results of your evaluation could be used to counteract any negative accusations your ex may have about your living situation or parenting abilities.
DO Keep Children on a Routine
Another important aspect of helping your chances of success during a custody dispute is to be on your best behavior, when you do have your children with you. This means making sure that you do your parental duties. Often during a custody dispute, parents make the mistake of spoiling their children or otherwise trying to "win them over," but the courts will weigh more heavily in your favor if you're doing your part to keep your kids' lives as normal and routine as possible. This means making sure they're doing their homework and chores, even while they're at your house.
DON'T Show Up Late
Finally, avoid showing up late to pick up or drop off your children, and do everything you can to avoid rescheduling your time with them. You need to prove that the kids are your number one priority, and even showing up late or rescheduling once is something that your ex and his or her lawyer will probably try to use against you in court. Keep track of how often you visit or have your children over, along with the specific dates and times when you pick them up and drop them off; this documentation could serve you well in court later on.
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