In a child custody case, a mother is more likely to win custody than the father. In almost 90% of all the cases in the United States, women are awarded custody and that has prevailed since time immemorial. Mothers have always been viewed as the primary caregivers according to societal beliefs and stereotypes that they are better at parenting than fathers.
This fact, however, is not cast in stone.
You can still lose custody as a mother if you are not prepared to handle your case properly. If you want to utilize your favorable chances to win, it is important to have a good grasp of all the winning strategies that we have compiled in this article.
What does it mean to win a child custody battle?
Winning does not mean getting sole custody or legal orders restraining the other parent from spending time with the kids. It means getting the final orders that you are seeking to promote the best interests of the child or children.
This may come with or without the court. You can choose to settle your case outside the court through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) such as mediation, and still win to have a better share of custody over your child or children.
As a mother, you may opt to negotiate for a settlement outside the court with the father of the child and have your agreements approved by the court. This will enable you and the other parent to develop an agreed-upon parenting plan for the benefit of your child or children.
However, if the father is hostile to these kinds of settlements, you should prepare for a court battle and have the interests of the child or children before your interests.
Therefore, if all the options have not worked and you have chosen to settle in the court, the court will want to ensure that you are not just a mother by name, but by actions that serve to promote the interests of the child or children if you are to win. Remember, the father is also preparing for a win.
Therefore, these tips will help you as a mother to have an upper hand over the other parent:
Stabilizing yourself means putting your house in order. You need to portray to the court that you have the ability to care for the child or children, even without the help of the other parent, if that is the case. That means you need to ensure that you have a stable job or work to do to supplement the needs of your child.
If you are not employed, you should at least look for a source of income to help you in raising and meeting the needs of your child. Remember, the court will not gamble with the life of the child or children but rather rule on what will favor their interests.
Communicate with your ex-spouse
Sometimes it would be better to compromise for the sake of a better outcome. It also serves the best interests of the child or children if you and your ex would come together and cooperate.
Apart from being a good settlement to satisfy both of you as parents, it also helps in reducing the stress that the child or children would have undergone.
When you communicate or settle some issues with your ex, unless he is not showing the willingness to cooperate, you will better your chances of being granted custody even if you cannot agree on some terms together.
Therefore, always try to settle issues with your ex wherever possible. Your ex may also be willing to agree on your terms given that he gets access to the children.
Understand your kids
When battling a custody case, it is important as a mother to understand your kids well. You may be asked to explain something that touches on your kids and to answer every question perfectly, you should always know your kids.
Know their progress in school, their medical records, and everything that you think is important in the custody case process.
In addition to that, know what your kids want, and not necessarily their likes and dislikes but anything that touches on their welfare, growth, and development. To understand your kids well, you need to bond and have time together.
You may want to design a working schedule that will allow you to be at home when the child is not in school.
Understand your court and its considerations
Courts in different States may operate differently. However, the considerations for most of the courts in regards to child custody are similar and includes the following:
- Parents’ ability to provide for the kids
The ability to provide for the basic needs and wants is a priority consideration for any court. As a mother, you should have the ability to cater to all the needs of the child or children whether educational, health, entertainment, food, clothing, shelter, or other needs.
- Parents’ employment status
The court will also consider the employment status. If you are on a tight work schedule or far away from your home, you should prove to the court the arrangements that you have made on how you will spend time with your child or children. In addition to that, if you aren’t employed as a parent, the judge will also want to know how you will take care of the needs of the child.
- Living arrangements of the parents
If you are going to relocate, it is important to explain to the court how your relocation and new living arrangements will not interfere with the life of the child or children.
- Mental and physical health for both parents
The court will also consider the mental health of the parents. As the mother, you should know the physical and mental health of the other parent. If the father is not fit, you should prove to the court for a better chance to win your case. When doing this, it is important to have expert evidence and not just based on speculations.
- Relationship of the kids and the parents
Relate well with the child or children. At some point, the child or children might get a chance to explain to the court about your relationship with them, and that of the father. Also, maintain a good relationship with the other parent.
Keep a custody journal
A child custody journal is an important document in any court. As a mother, you should make a habit of keeping records daily of everything that happens between you and your child or children, and with the other parent as well.
During a court process, these details will help keep you organized and to remember every detail without blowing your mind. A child custody journal will also be helpful to your lawyer and the court as well. While doing this, you should never be biased in your records.
Always keep an honest account of daily happenings such as the child’s mood, medical appointments, extracurricular activities, pick-up times, and comments by your child among other details.
Hire a good lawyer
Hiring a good lawyer will help you understand which custody agreement is best suited for your case. Whether it is legal or physical custody.
For legal custody, you may only have the right to make important decisions affecting the child or children. Physical or sole custody is possible in some states and with a good lawyer or attorney, you will be guided on which side to take and what to compromise.
There are several issues to tackle when battling a child custody case and you don’t want to make costly mistakes. Hiring a good lawyer with vast knowledge of family law and experience will help solve some of the legal complexities that you may not be able to handle by yourself.
Be practical in your approach
Even with a good attorney or lawyer, you also need to be practical and to advocate for the best interests of the child or children. It should not be a win-lose situation between you and the father but it should be a win for the child or children.
If you are seeking sole physical custody for the sake of punishing the other parent, you may end up losing your case since the other parent is also equipped to defend himself and to prove you otherwise.
You may be seen by the court as a mean parent and not focused on promoting the interests of the child.
When you become practical in your approach, you will understand that the children also need to spend time with the other parent, and therefore, you should compromise to even allow for joint physical custody where you can spend half of the time with your child or children.
Avoid emotions and vengeance
Divorce can be stressful and so too, a child custody battle. Regardless of the amount of evidence you may have against the father, you should always tread with caution. You don’t want to be emotional in your approach or vengeful in your approach like the case of Emma as reported by Forbes on Why Women Lose Custody.
She lost custody by alienating the children from the father. It is a perfect case of vengeance that she maliciously did without the knowledge that it may end up working against her.
Be flexible on visitation time
If you are flexible on visitation time, there is a likelihood that the other parent may compromise and settlement of the case outside the court is even possible.
It is when you are rigid and seeking sole custody of the child when the father may contest. Therefore, as a mother, it is important to compromise and be fair to the father on the time that he wants to spend with the kids.
The judge with the entire experience in dealing with family matters will understand a mean parent and one that wants to promote the interests of the child. In that case, you should be reasonable enough to the needs of the children, and that of the other parent.
Acquaint yourself on family law matters
Before advocating for any custody agreement, it is important to acquaint yourself with matters of family law in your State. You should note that 40% of US states aim to give parents equal parenting time.
There has been more emphasis on joint custody by most States such as Arizona, Alaska, Maine, Delaware, Kentucky, and Florida among other states.
Support your children’s welfare and development needs
Your child or children should be a priority concern for you as a mother. Always ensure that the child’s welfare needs are catered for at all times.
Pay for her school fees on time, attend to his or her medical and healthcare needs, and also for extracurricular activities. In addition to that, make sure that the child spends time in a clean environment, has better clothing, and good food.
Bond well with your child/children
The court will also consider the bond that exists between the parent and the child. As a mother, you may have an advantage when the child is in his or her tender age since, at that age, the child is more emotionally connected to you than to the father.
Use that time to relate well and bond for the benefit of your case. If your child or children are grown-ups, relate with them and show some love to each one of them.
In addition to that, don’t talk ill of the father in their presence since they may take you in a negative way.
Prove where the father is not suitable to take custody of the child
The court will want to have children raised in a safe and sound environment that favors their interests. If the father has been abusive or violent, you should prove that to the court. Other things that you may want to prove to the court may include cases of:
- Child abuse or neglect by the father.
- Cases of child abduction.
- Domestic violence and substance abuse.
- Cases of parental alienation by the father.
Winning child custody is not an easy process when it happens within the courts’ premises. When settled outside the court, you and the father may agree and compromise over issues for the sake of the child or children but when the father contests, it becomes a tough case to deal with.
However, with the above winning best practices, you as a mother will stand a better chance to win your case if you approach with the right mindset of promoting the interests of the child or children.