Preparing to go to court for child custody can feel like you’re about to go over the side of a cliff. You don’t know what’ll happen when you reach the end, and the outcome is entirely out of your control. All you know is that your family will never be the same again.
At Poppe & Associates, we understand how emotionally taxing custody litigation is for parents. And we strive to make this often dreadful process less so. In this spirit, we’ve compiled tips and information to help make child custody easier to navigate.
Your child’s best interests come first
A shift in mindset can make all the difference in how you feel while going through custody litigation. Instead of viewing it as a battle between yourself and your co-parent, try picturing it more like a collaboration. You may have opposing ideas about what your custody arrangement should look like, but you both want what’s best for them. The courts also place children’s best interests above all else. It’s an effective way to cut through conflict and get to the heart of the matter.
Preparation is everything
Properly preparing for your custody hearing is beneficial both practically and emotionally. Practically, you’ll be set up to present your case the best you can. Emotionally, you’ll feel more ready to appear in court and more in control of your situation.
Keep children on the sidelines
While kids are the subject of custody litigation, they should be as far removed from the process as possible. While children should be aware of what’s happening, keep conversations neutral in tone and developmentally appropriate. Disparaging your co-parent might pay off in court, but it can be incredibly damaging to your children.
Our clients sometimes worry their co-parents will try to turn their kids against them, but this is of little material concern in the courtroom. Children’s wishes don’t carry much weight on their own when they are involved in making custody decisions. They are considered alongside many other factors. The courts also don’t generally call on children to testify unless necessary. If your ex-spouse tries to manipulate your children, be the bigger person. It will only reflect negatively on them in the end.
Both parents are on a level playing field
While it may seem that mothers get preferential treatment in child custody litigation, this isn’t the case. The courts never have preconceived ideas about which parent they favor. It is a judge’s duty to evaluate each parent neutrally to determine their ability to foster their child’s well-being and development.
Many people could be involved in making the final decision
While the judge has the final say in custody cases, several other people could help them arrive at a decision. These may include:
- Social workers
- A lawyer appointed for the child
- A guardian ad litem for the child
Together, these individuals work to create a child custody arrangement that supports children’s healthy functioning and furthers their growth.
At The Law Firm of Poppe & Associates, PLLC, our focus is relentless advocacy for our clients. If you or someone you know is considering custody litigation, reach out to schedule a consultation at 646-665-3903 or by contacting us online.
Let Me Be Your Brave Support
Mia Poppe, Esq.