Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How to prepare for a Custody Dispute

If you are being confronted with an issue regarding custody of your child,  you should be prepared for a close look at your character and your abilities as a parent.  As such, you should do the following:

1)   Be Fair:

The judge's sole duty in any child custody case is to take care of the "best interests of the child".  Distilled down, this is Georgia law on custody.   What does "best interests of the child" mean?  The answer is whatever the judge thinks is in the best interests of the child.   Your duty is to present a picture of your child's life with you as the primary custodial parent versus life with the other parent as primary caregiver.  What does the judge care about?  First of all, the judge looks to who has been the primary caregiver historically.  If the father has not expressed much of an interest in being a father, then he has little chance of getting custody.  On the other hand, if the Mother is refusing to allow visitation, a Judge may see that the child's future may be brighter with Dad because he is willing to work with Mom.

Be Fair.  Sometimes Fathers don't see their child because of conflict with the child's Mother.  As a Father trying to be in your child's life, you need to see your child at every opportunity even if the Mother puts unreasonable obstacles in your path.  Don't let your pride prevent you from being a parent.  As a Mother, you need to allow the Father to see the child (reasonably)  as preventing him from seeing  your child could seem unreasonable to the Court.

KEEP RECORDS!!!  If you are a Father trying to see your child, keep all texts and e-mails of your efforts.  By the time you get to Court if you can show your efforts to be a part of your child's life this will greatly increase the odds of success.  Mom-keep track of your efforts to keep him involved, such as e-mails and texts regarding doctor appointments and school events.

2)   Keep Your Life Clean

Don't post a blow by blow on Facebook, Instagram or any other social media site regarding the great party you had and how drunk you got.  Don't hang out or date criminals or lowlifes.  Keep bad people from your child.  The judge tries to look into the future  to determine which parent would provide a better life for the child.   It's hard to explain why your new boyfriend with an extensive criminal history is providing daycare.  "He's changed Your Honor" is not a good fact.

3)   Be Stable

Now is not a good time to quit your job to be an artist.   Moving three (3) times in a year is not a good idea.  Again, the Judge is trying to look into the future for your child.  A person with a stable work and home life more likely will provide a stable home for the child in the future.