When children are involved, expect judges to act in the best interests of the children. Here are 5 tips if you have been denied custody of your children by the legal system.
#1 Talk to Your Lawyer
If you want custody of your children, you need to understand why the court did not want to award you custody. Your lawyer should explain the judge's reasons in plain English and answer any questions you may have. If you want custody of your child it is important your lawyer tells you what you need to know and not what you want to hear.
#2 Address Issues
If there is anything the court could use against you, address the issue to the best of your abilities. For example, if your spouse could accuse you of having a drinking problem, have you sought out counselling or treatment? If you smoke, have you tried to quit smoking or do you make an effort not to smoke around your kids? If the child has asthma and one parent smokes, the other parent may have an edge in getting custody. In some cases, you make need to make significant sacrifices to show that you deserve custody. Talking about your case with your lawyer can help identify issues. Your lawyer can also give you advice on things you can do to improve your chances of being awarded custody.
#3 Obey the Law
The legal system favors parties who work within the legal system. If you don't respect and adhere to the court order regarding custody, the court will be less likely to award you custody in the future. For example, if you don't return your children after your visitation to the parent who has custody, the court could interpret this as kidnapping and send you to jail. If you have any questions about what you are allowed and not allowed to do, consult your lawyer.
#4 If You Have Visitation, Use It
If you have been granted visitation rights but don't visit your children, it looks like you are not interested in being a parent. Not only will this weaken your position for future cases, but also the parent with sole custody may argue that you don't deserve the amount of visitation you currently have.
#5 Learn About Your Kids
A parent with legal custody makes major decisions for that child such as consenting to surgery. If you want custody, you need to show you sufficiently informed to make those decisions. Within the limits of your court order, do everything you can do to learn about your child's medical history and school performance. If parent with sole custody is unlikely to assist you, ask your lawyer about preparing letters to request this information.