Any seasoned divorce attorney has observed the line between love and hate, passion and rage, and similar contrasts are narrow, contradictory, or even overlapping at times. The very dynamics that drove one person to fall in love with the other and have children can be the source of annoyance or worse upon divorce during custody and parenting time.
Custody and parenting time are always subject to the divorce court’s jurisdiction and making an initial custody decision or modification based on what is in the child’s best interests.1 As such, attorneys are frequently presented with questions on how to make a given parent’s case stronger. Ironically, the very factors that the court considers are what you can do to enhance your child’s life and improve your chances of custody. They are basic and obvious but are often lost in the resentment and difficulties of co-parenting. Here are three tips:
- First, life in an intact family with good income and health is still hard. Life itself is a series of struggles punctuated with exuberant moments. This seems to be more on the struggle end where co-parenting is at issue. This is just because of the dynamics of two (or more if there are significant others) households. For this reason, despite the technical language of the custody order or parenting guidelines, each parent should try to put acrimony behind them and to help meet the child’s best interests, to go the extra mile to facilitate a last minute request in drop off or pick up time, extra time, late or early phone call or Skype. So long as this is not the norm to control the other parent, it will help your child and your custody case because you will be the more reasonable and flexible parent if and when the court faces the custody issue (initially or with a modification petition).
- Second, go above and beyond to share information with the other parent. With some parents, this is as easy as sharing a school website password. With others, it may mean copying the schedule, homework completed, and the like. While this may seem so basic and be a point of contention, the parent who is most willing to facilitate the quality of time the other parent has with the child. In other words, go the extra mile, particularly if you are the physical custodial parent. This is a frequent source of contention in custody case: “I didn’t know anything about the parent-teacher conference.”
- Third, pick your battles. While to some degree all of these tips overlap, batting parents over time with the child they love, can sometimes make simple details, points of endless debate, lawyer letters, and the like. While a pattern may be abusive, controlling or not in the child’s best interests, the fact the child did not brush his or her teeth or go to bed on time is not particularly relevant in the grand scheme. Kids are sometimes more resilient than their parents, except in their ability to feel secure when both parents are bickering.
These simple steps will help you in child custody litigation. This blog is written for general educational purposes only by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. It is not specific legal advice or a solicitation for legal services. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys practice throughout the State and handle simple to complex custody matters matter. We hope you find this blog informational.