There are a lot of complex matters that you’ll have to address in your divorce. These issues can make the entire process stressful, leaving you struggling emotionally to get through your marriage dissolution.
But while you might be worried about property division, your child custody issue might be the most difficult to confront. After all, the outcome of this one matter can dictate how much time you get to spend with your child and what your relationship with them will look like.
Don’t let your fear of the outcome or your hesitancy to approach conflict paralyze you into inaction. You need to be prepared to fight for the outcome that’s best for your child. That means understanding how the court is going to assess your case so that you can present compelling legal arguments.
What’s taken into account in determining your child custody dispute?
If you and your spouse can’t reach a resolution on your child custody dispute, then the matter will have to be addressed in court. If this happens, then the judge will make their decision based on what they believe is in the child’s best interests.
This is a holistic determination that requires the court to look at a number of statutorily identified factors, as well as anything else that it deems relevant to the issue before it. This includes:
- Each individual’s parenting abilities
- The stability of each parent’s home
- The child’s wishes
- Any existing issues that impact a healthy parent-child relationship
- The child’s physical and mental needs
- The existence of parental substance abuse
- Any history of domestic violence
- Any history of abuse or neglect
- Each parent’s ability to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent
- The educational advantages to each parent’s location
Although this seems like a lot, remember that the court can consider any facts that it deems relevant to the child custody determination. So, as you’re preparing your arguments, you’ll want to make sure that you’re being diligent at looking at the big picture of your child’s life and their relationship with each parent.
Where can you find evidence?
If you want to put forth the best legal arguments possible, then you need to have evidence to back it up. But where can find that evidence? You might want to consider analyzing each of the following:
- School records
- Therapist reports
- Statements from witnesses like family members, friends, and school personnel
- Police reports
- Criminal records
- Child welfare agency reports
- Substance abuse records
If you can’t access these records or think that some sort of evaluation is needed in order for the court to have a clear picture of the family’s dynamics, then you’ll probably need to file a motion with the court. Then you’ll need to be prepared to argue the relevancy of that request in front of a judge. Although that may seem onerous, it can be a good way to get the information you need to win your case.
Know how to make the necessary legal arguments
If your divorce is contentious, then you need to be ready to fight for your child and their best interests. That can be a daunting thought, but you don’t have to be afraid of making your case in court.
Instead, you can have a skilled legal advocate help you develop a strategy that best positions you to obtain the custody order that you hope to obtain. But you have to be proactive in reaching out for that help. That’s why now is the time to consider seeking out an advocate that you feel will give you the representation that you need and your kid deserves.