Lately, I have been getting lots of emails from parents, thanking me for the podcast and asking me what is the “First Things I Should Do to Win Custody?” This question has become so common, that I have created a 15-page free document here you can download for free.
Nevertheless, for the rest of you who are not downloading the 15-page brief, here is a summary of the first 10 things to do to win custody of your kids.
1. Can You Delay until the Kids are Grown?
This may sound like a crazy suggestion, but time flies and no matter how you divide up visitation at best you are only going to spend a fraction of your time with your kids compared to before. I’ve written an entire blog post to dig deeper into this discussion here… Delay Divorce Until Kids are Grown”.
2. Deciding It is Worth the Fight to Win Custody.
The fight for custody is a serious decision one you can’t just do half-ass. It requires the utmost dedication to see it out all the way through. More thoughts on this topic can be found here… Deciding It is Worth the Fight! (for Custody).
3. Lose Your Wallet & Reset Your Finances.
The second someone files for divorce or custody, it is probably a great moment to call the bank, call your credit cards and separate your accounts. I recommend that you pretend you have lost your wallet. Then you can stop all transactions, re-issue cards and take a moment to rethink your finances.
4. Find and Hire a Great Attorney to Win Custody.
The very best place to find a good attorney is to go to your family courthouse (the one where your paperwork is filed) and go to the courthouse and observe. For more information consider this post here… Six Tips for Hiring a Child Custody Attorney.
5. Live as Close as Possible to Your Kids & their School.
If at all possible have your Ex move out of the house and stay with your kids. However, that is perfect world, and if you lived in a perfect world, you probably wouldn’t be reading this post.
Stay in the same school district and living as close to your Ex as possible is important enough for your temporary and your final orders. It is especially necessary if you’re considering changing custody later. Most judges do not want children to have to change schools/proximity/ or lose some of their friends. So establish residency first, quick, and nearby. Once done, DON’T move around. More details here… Stay in the Same School District & Live as Close to Your Ex as Possible.
6. Change for the Better to Win Custody.
Life is about daily decisions. You’ve been served papers, now is a time to reflect and change for the better. Would a different career give you more time with your kids? Would giving up smoking or drinking or drugs make you a better parent? Changing friends, cleaning up your act, cussing less, or being more involved with your kids make you a better parent?
7. Ask for More Time with Your Kids
This should go without saying, but it needs saying. If you want to spend more time with your kids, you got to ask for more time with your kids.
- Offer to take them to school or pick them up from school.
- Offer to babysit when your Ex needs you too.
- Offer to keep your kids instead of daycares or afterschool programs.
- Offer to take your kids to dinner.
- Offer to take your kids to their extracurricular activities.
- Offer, offer, offer. Ask, ask, ask.
Then spend time with your kids. Get more involved in their lives than ever. AND…document times that your Ex says no. Depending on the situation, this can be a huge advantage for you in court.
8. Get Involved in Your Kids School.
I was so involved in my kid’s school I became a regular volunteer and fixture. I knew all the teachers, the principal, assistant principal, coaches, libraries, etc. Are you looking for ideas on how to get and stay involved, read… 7 Ways to Get Involved in Your Kids’ School.
9. Prepare Some Photo Albums for Court
In my personal custody case, the trial came to a complete halt when I presented five completely full photo albums I had compiled showing activities with me and my daughter, Caitlyn. Pictures don’t lie and showing rather than telling a makes for a compelling story. It may seem like a little piece, but this is a secret weapon in custody cases. Read… Kid Centric Photos, a Secret Weapon in Custody.
10. Be the Better Parent
Who is better suited to take care of the kids? Who is better at parenting? Who is more involved in the kids school? Who takes the kids to the doctor or dentist? Who helps with homework? Who do others say is the better parent? I worked, and worked, and worked at this. I took about 20 parenting classes. I was so involved in my kids’ school everybody knew my name. If you asked doctors, teachers, counselors, friends, and family members, they all said without a doubt, “the father is the better parent.” My judge and jury, even the opposing council agreed I was the better parent. You got to BE that better parent.
You got to become that better parent. If you want custody, if you get asked why you should have custody, you have to be able to answer that “You are the better parent.”
In closing, if I was going through a divorce today, and I believed I was or could become the better parent for my kids, I would fight like made for custody. This is the tip of the iceberg. For more resources download the above brief, study this blog, listen to our podcast or take our course.
Feature image via DepositPhotos.