Like most good Colorado parents, you have your children's best interests in mind when you make life-changing decisions that will impact their lives. When you decided to divorce, you knew the situation would be one of the most significant experiences in their young lives, so you wanted to make sure you developed a parenting plan that provided a lot of support and laid the groundwork for them to successfully adapt to a new lifestyle.
You also knew that your spouse wasn't going to make it easy for you to have custody. You may even suspect that his or her disagreement has more to do with revenge against you than it does with any well intentions for your children. If you plan to go to court to fight for custody, there are several things to keep in mind that may help you accomplish your goals.
The judge's impression of you matters
While you may believe your children are better off living with you after divorce, it's the judge you must convince, so it's critical that you win the court's favor by giving a good impression. Being on time for court sessions and arriving well-prepared with any and all needed documentation increases your chances for a positive outcome.
Your home environment matters, too
Especially if you know your spouse is going to try to undermine your parental rights and convince the court you're not a fit parent, you want to make sure your house is in good order and that your living arrangement with your children promotes their safety and good health. In fact, inviting a home evaluation, even if the court has not ordered one, shows that you have nothing to hide.
If you have bad habits, kick them before seeking custody
If your spouse is going to be able to produce evidence to suggest that you have a substance abuse problem, you'll want to address such matters beforehand, so you can tell the court that you have things under control. If you have entered a rehab program, go to counseling or have taken other positive steps to beat addiction, it might help your case.
Be active in your kids' lives
The court will definitely be interested in how much time each parent typically spends with the children. If you want to show that you are the best choice for permanent custody, you'll need to have proof that you are consistently active in your children's lives, including their school events, sports, social gatherings and day-to-day living.
Divorce isn't easy, and if you're in for a custody battle, things may get worse before they get better. However, your power to achieve a victory lies in knowing your rights and how to protect them, and also where to seek support to make sure your children's best interests are the highest priority and central focus of custody proceedings.