Do you get frustrated when Hollywood and the media continually paint fathers in a poor light in movies, sitcoms, on talk shows and in the news? It’s definitely commonplace nowadays for actors playing fathers to appear dumb, foolish or negligent in their familial duties. You know that in real life, many dads are dedicated, hard-working, upstanding people who do their best to love and care for their children and provide for their families.
The “TV-character dad” doesn’t make it easy for real life dads, especially those preparing for custody proceedings in divorce. If that’s you, you’ll want to keep several things in mind that can help you show the court you are not a deadbeat father and that getting divorced doesn’t mean you wish to abdicate your parental obligations. If you believe your children are better off in your custody, you’ll want to build as strong of a case as possible to prove it in court.
Living accommodations are important
The judge overseeing your case is going to want to know about your home, in particular what you have planned regarding living quarters for your children. Will they have their own rooms? Do you live in a safe neighborhood? Your house doesn’t necessarily have to be large or luxurious, but most judges will want to confirm that your children will have their own space if they’re going to live with you.
Show that you are ready to step up to the plate
During child custody proceedings, the court will want to know what you have in mind regarding your children’s education, day care, if needed, financial readiness and more. Think ahead to what types of questions the judge might ask and have a plan in mind for how you will respond.
No co-parent bashing
The court does not want to hear about all the reasons you had for divorcing your spouse or everything your spouse did to hurt you when you were married. In fact, you are likelier to make a good impression if you show respect for your co-parent. Even if there are serious causes for deeming a co-parent unfit, present it to the court in a calm and respectful manner.
Be active in your kids’ lives
A judge may not agree that it is in your children’s best interests to award you custody if you hardly ever participate in your children’s daily lives. It is understandable that you have to earn a living; however, if you hope to win custody, you’ll want to make every effort to attend your children’s school events and to show the court that you play an active role in their everyday life.
Have support at the ready
A judge may want to know if you have babysitting help lined up as well as what types of relationships you have with extended family members, such as cousins, grand-parents, aunts and uncles. It’s also a good idea to know where to seek legal support if you need guidance or advocacy during proceedings.