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by Contributor

Image credit: geralt at Pixabay

(Dec. 1, 2019) — Having a realistic goal regarding the outcome is crucial during custody battles. Prepare documentation evidence that says you’re the better parent.

You just came from a meeting at the office of your child support lawyer in Lynnwood. You’re preparing yourself for eventualities. The first three years were nearly perfect as you tried to live up to your wedding vows and raise a family. Things started to happen in the middle of the fourth year. Minor fights became big fights. Then there was couple’s therapy, which was followed by an agreed separation. You moved out. You saw each other with the kids. There weren’t any flare-ups, but the relationship was still strained.

Neither one of you can make it work anymore. You filed for divorce. And now there’s a custody battle for the kids, too. You knew that this might happen. And now that it’s here, you still feel unprepared. Is there a winner in a custody battle? How do you prepare for it?

These ideas might help give you focus during this challenging and stressful time.

An Overview of Custody Battles

One can feel that they are the winner if they belong to the more than 2.54 million parents (2015) who gain full assistance for the custody of their kids.

In 2018, nearly 16.4 million kids lived only with their mothers, while less than 3.26 million lived with their fathers. Whichever side of the equation you are on, the situation is never free from awkwardness or even pain.

Coping with the Stress of the Battles

It’s not going to be easy, and there’s going to be a lot of tension. Here are a few things to note to prepare yourself for custody battles for your kids:

  1. Know your goals. There is a reason why the word “battle” is almost always used with the word “custody.” Know that if you fight hard, the opposite side will fight hard as well, if not harder. Be clear with what you want to achieve and ensure that it is something that can happen within the realms of the possibility. Is it shared custody that you’re aiming for? Or will you leave no room for compromises and aim for full custody? Remember, it’s a battle. Is your goal a total win? Or is it to cut your losses?
  2. Be open to mediation. In many situations, the goal of the legal system is to exhaust every means for parties to come together, discuss, and try to reach an agreement through the help of a mediator. The aim is to avoid altogether going to court. Even if you feel that some mediation or “working it out” already took place before the custody battle, be open to participating in mediation proceedings.
  3. Documents and the laws. Work thoroughly with your legal advisor to come up with the necessary documents required by the court and during the hearings. These documents are proofs, e.g., records of attendance in school activities or vacation trips, that you are the better parent to get custody. Your verbal claims won’t suffice. You do not want to lose on a technicality because you failed to fill in the proper form or submit the necessary documents. Get fully acquainted with the laws in your state.
  4. Keep your wits together and gain context. You might feel that your world is crumbling down, but know that the rest of the people around you have a different perspective of your situation. You’re just one of the many cases that they must attend through the day. Focus and get a grip on your emotions.

None of these pointers can ease your pain, but they can help the rational human being in you to manage your emotions and be better prepared for the battle ahead.

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