Social studies case workers will evaluate your location. Your kids need to have their own room, bed, toothbrush, clothes. If the status quo is you vegetating in front of the TV with your hand down your pants while your kids play with your gun collection, you’re not going to display this attitude to case workers. They know this, and they’re on the lookout for dads putting on a game face for company.
The kids’ stuff shouldn’t be able to fit easily into a backpack, or even into a nice set of luggage. Their room needs to be decorated, pictures on the wall, games and books, stuff to do; it needs to look like a room your kids live in permanently, not just a place they kill some time before returning to their real home, not just four walls with a bed in it.
This is next to impossible to do if you only have a one-bedroom and you or the kids are sleeping on the couch. Not favorable to a one bedroom where the kids or you are sleeping on the couch.
The room as well as the house/apartment need to look like you are the custodial parent and you could function without help from the other side. Make it look like maybe the child is packing up their own stuff when they go visit mom.
So often during temporary orders, mom is packing everything from the clothes to the toothbrush. Expecting the court to grant dad custody under these circumstances is like expecting the inheritance to go to the prodigal son; yes, everyone’s happy and maybe a little surprised the prodigal son made good, but he gets a pat on the back and fatted calf, not the family farm.
This is an excerpt from “Daddy Got Custody” by Fred Campos due out Summer of 2010. Copyright 2010.