It's not uncommon for parents in the midst of a custody battle to simply not know what to do. Whether your custody is being interfered with, taken away altogether, your relationship with your child is suffering, and/or the like - here's what to do when you don't know what to do.
1. Surround yourself with support
There are [unfortunately] SO many parents in your shoes. Slight similarities or striking similarities, you can learn from others (and help others) who are also struggling. We have a private Facebook group, home to nearly 20,000 parents suffering from an emotional/physical parent-child cutoff. We also have the Chosen Parent Collective monthly support group membership, led by reunification expert, Dorcy Pruter. With the internet, you are never alone in finding others who are in similar shoes as yours to be there for support. Make sure you keep your support network close. It is crucial to not distance yourself from others. Know who your true friends are, who supports you and who doesn't. Make sure to make fun plans now-and-then with friends.
2. Document, document, document
We cannot stress this enough. No matter what the accusation is for getting your custody interfered with or taken away, document everything. Human behave in patterns, and documented patterns are critical to showcasing why and how you are in the midst of a custody battle. Keep a detailed journal, personal recordings, recordings of conversations (*if legal in your state*), email/text threads, etc. Creating an organized, documented record will be key, and will be helpful for your attorney, court case, CPS involvement, etc.
3. Invest in what you need
Now is not the time to live by 'trial by fire.' Yes, you will make mistakes along the way. We are human! But why not limit as many mistakes as possible? Investing in the right support will save you time and money in the long run, not to mention your energy and emotional capacity. Work with those who understand and support you, and have the knowledge and skills you need to get through this challenging time. Hire an attorney who not only is a good lawyer, but who genuinely cares about helping your case. Not investing in support now will cost you more than just finances in the long run.
4. How you present your case is key
Parents who are being cutoff from their child often immediately go down the 'parental alienation' rabbit hole. You will want to avoid this in court and with the professionals involved in your case. Understand what is really happening to you, and go from there. For example, if you were abruptly, or slowly-but-surely, being cutoff from the once-loving relationship you had with your child, by your other parent then you may be dealing with child psychological abuse. This would be your argument, rather than a controversial topic such as alienation. Explaining and showcasing that this is an issue with an unnecessary interference between you and your child, let them see for themselves and understand on their own- by how you showcase your data. We have an online course to help assist you with this tedious process. Get ~$100 off to help you get started (code BLOGCCS).
5. Work on your mindset
You will only be as successful and productive as your mindset allows. You will only make choices based off the state of your mindset. If you are constantly in a negative state of mind (e.g., 'just my luck that this happens to me,' or 'i'm going to make sure my ex loses everything they cared about because of what they've done to me,' or 'I will never be able to reunite with my child or regain custody, the court system sucks') then that is all that you will ever allow to manifest in your life. What we focus on, becomes our reality. Instead, learn to manage stress, learn to understand why your co-parent is behaving this way (no matter how hard it may be to be empathetic), and learn to focus on what is most important: the best interests your child.
6. Stay the course
It is so easy to simply decide one day to stop 'fighting.' To give up-- whether it is emotional strain or financial strain, many parents unfortunately decide that enough is enough and end up letting the pathogenic parent win. You ultimately have to decide what you want for your future self, and the future of your child.
Whether you are noticing signs of conflict from your other parent, your child distancing, or you have been in the midst of a court battle for months to years, we have support for every stage separating/divorcing parents are at.