In the event of a divorce that involves children in an existing family, the ideal situation is an amicable one. In this case, both parents have agreed to a divorce on rational, even friendly terms, and the best interests of the children are taken into account, with both parents discussing new residential and care arrangements for the children. Unfortunately this doesn't always happen in a divorce. Sometimes both parents will want to retain the right to raise the children and neither side is willing to budge.
In these cases, a child custody case will take place in court, where the judge will award custody of the children based on numerous factors. If you find yourself in a position where you have to fight to keep your children, there are a few things you can do to prepare for your case.
Hire A Family Law Lawyer
This should go without saying, but it bears repeated emphasis. Family law is extremely complex and it varies from state to state, so what might be common practice in California doesn't apply here in Pennsylvania. Even without variations in law from one state to the next, family law itself requires a great deal of time, study and experience to quickly, efficiently interpret and execute.
If you are in the middle of a divorce and now have a hostile child custody case to contend with, now is not the time to try to save some money by representing yourself in a custody case. Get an expert that can provide you with experience and guidance in what is one of the most stressful times that a person can experience.
Both partners in a custody case will be striving to make the same argument to the judge; that the child or children are better off with one parent than the other. Evidence is going to be a crucial part of the case, as one person's word versus the other is hardly the right criteria on which to assign child-rearing responsibilities.
Good evidence would be things that directly affect the welfare of your child. If the other spouse is planning to move to another city and/or state, there can be an argument made that this is too disruptive to a child's life, especially if the current state of affairs is quite productive. If, unfortunately, the other spouse is abusive, then any records of child or other abuse also carries a lot of weight in court.
Get Your Finances In Order
One major consideration for a child custody case is financial welfare. If, for example, all things are equal in terms of quality of parenting and the child's overall care, then finances may be a deciding factor. If you or the other parent is able to provide a higher level of quality of life, with access to better schooling, healthcare, and other perks because of better finances, then this may very well sway the decision in a child custody case.
As with any other court case, a child custody case is won not by sentiment, but by convincing arguments and evidence. Make sure you have both before you go to court.