No one wants to be in a custody battle. People frown when they hear the phrase. And yet, so many parents are unfortunately in one.
When it comes to child custody battles, there are a few different scenarios:
- there is no set parenting plan yet as you are newly separated and not sure how you will both agree on a plan
- there is no set parenting plan and the co-parents fight over who gets more custody
- you have a set parenting plan but one parent is withholding, or attempting to withhold, parenting time
- there is a set parenting plan and custody order in place but one parent wants to move away (likely with the children)
Whichever scenario you fit into, and whichever side you are on, it's important to remember that the focus should always be on the best interest of the child.
Now, the definition of 'best interest' varies. It can vary by jurisdiction, and it can vary in how each parent defines it.
Write down what the best interest of your child means to you. Get specific. Hone in on the whys, and with each response that you write down, go deeper and ask yourself 'why is that specific thing in their best interest.' This will help you get to the bottom of what and why you truly find is in their best interest. You may find some surprises when doing this process.
One parent may be concerned of physical abuse or neglect, and one parent may be concerned that the other parent is accusing them of such things, and therefore being abusive (psychologically) themselves.
If you are struggling with false allegations, whether minor or small, there are a few things you can do to go through this as smoothly as possible. However, the number one important rule is to understand that you will not resolve a high-conflict custody dispute with little effort; with the intention of wanting a quick fix or a win, or by working with someone who doesn't authentically understand your case. These will only hinder the progress and may worsen it. If your intention is to proceed with preparation, dedication, determination, and preparedness, here is what you need to do:
- Hire a Lawyer: If you're concerned about losing custody of your child, it's important to hire an experienced family law attorney. A lawyer can help you navigate the legal system and ensure that your rights are protected. Check out this post here for support in hiring the right attorney. There is such a thing.
- Keep Records: Document everything related to your child, including visitation schedules, communication with your co-parent, and any incidents that occur. Prepare evidence to support against the accusations. Do anything and everything necessary to prove your innocence. For example, if you are being accused of being an avid drinker or drug user, get consistent testing. Just do it!
- Attend All Court Appearances: Make sure to attend all court appearances related to your case. This shows the judge that you are invested in your child's well-being and can help strengthen your case. Do anything you can to support you are only interested in the best interest of your child. Courses, coaching, guidance, etc.
- Get Your Emotions in Check: Remember that getting yourself prepared to showcase your case is just as important to being prepared for your case. Stay calm and respectful during the hearing and focus on what's in the best interest of your child. Do not go in with a retaliatory, win/lose mindset. With preparation and a clear head, you can increase your chances of a positive outcome.
- Communicate Effectively: Learn how to be in relationship with a high-conflict co-parent. There are precise strategies, techniques, and skills that will allow you to better manage the dynamic.
- Focus on Your Child's Needs: Remember that the ultimate goal is to do what's best for your child. Keep their needs and well-being at the forefront of your mind throughout the custody battle. Remind yourself at times when it gets tough.
Remember, you are never alone. There are so many parents out there in a complex custody battle, too. If you are tired of the conflict weighing you down, and want to ensure you prevent a lengthy custody battle, we just launched a brand new course, Child Custody Solutions. It is a robust, comprehensive course that guides you through exactly what you need to get prepared for court with a solutions-focused mindset. Get started today right upon enrollment. Help is on the way.