How to Win a Child Custody Case in California
Child custody is often a major point of contention during a divorce. While deciding to end a marriage can be difficult for any person, it can be especially nerve-racking for parents who share children.
While some parents are fortunate enough to end their marriage on good terms, maintaining civil relations can be challenging for some couples, as every family is unique. It’s common for parents to disagree about what is best for their child, which is where the court comes into play. Child custody can be tricky to understand, as laws vary from state to state.
How can parents prepare for a child custody case in Orange County? Keep reading to learn more.
5 Tips for Parents to Win a Child Custody Case in California
Rest assured that California family courts are on the same mission as the majority of parents: to determine what is in the best interests of the child.
The judge can consider a range of factors when determining child custody decisions, making it difficult for parents to know how to prepare for court. Fortunately, there are steps parents can take to set themselves up for success in a child custody case.
Consider the following 5 tips for parents to win a child custody case in California:
#1. Hire the right attorney early in the process.
Parents aren’t legally required to hire an attorney for a divorce or child custody dispute in California. The majority of the time, however, it’s very unwise to forgo your right to legal representation in family court.
Family law is one of the most complex areas of our legal system. Without an in-depth knowledge of state-specific laws and legal processes in family court, it can be extremely challenging to navigate the legal proceedings of a divorce or child custody case.
Child custody litigation can be tense, emotional, and overwhelming. That's why it's important to lean on a qualified family law attorney for support. Your lawyer will be your advocate throughout the court proceedings and can assist you with:
- Determining the most effective legal strategy to employ on your behalf.
- Help gather and collect relevant evidence for your case.
- Clarify and explain legal statutes and processes.
- Keep you on track to meet deadlines and prepare for court.
#2. Continue to be involved in your child’s life.
A major deciding factor in child custody cases is each parent’s personal relationship with the child. How involved are they in the child’s life? Can they communicate effectively with the child to discern and meet the child’s needs in an appropriate manner? Such details tend to paint a larger and more cohesive picture for the court to consider when determining child custody.
Because the judge will always rule in favor of the child's best interests, proactive participation in your child’s life can demonstrate to the court that your parent-child relationship is genuine and fulfilling. Most importantly, it can show the judge that the continuation of your relationship is in your child’s best interests.
#3. Collaborate with your coparent when possible.
After a divorce, amicable relations are never a guarantee. While many divorcees without children can choose to steer clear of their ex after the divorce, this luxury doesn’t always extend to divorced or separated parents, as they are forever united by the child they share.
While getting along with an ex is often easier said than done, rest assured that the court will pay close attention to the relationship between coparents in a child custody case, as this can have a definite impact on the final ruling. It’s crucial for parents to behave respectfully and collaborate with their coparent when able.
If your coparent refuses to act with the same maturity, try not to worry—as long as you continue to act civilly, the court will likely notice the poor image that your coparent is reflecting and take that into account when making a final decision.
#4. Support your coparent’s relationship with the child.
Regardless of how much you may disagree with your coparent’s behavior or parenting style, it’s essential to respect their relationship and visitation time with your child (unless, of course, you or another adult you trust suspect child abuse, neglect, or other inappropriate behavior).
Even if you hate your coparent’s guts, it’s important to respect and support their parent-child relationship—if not for the other parent’s sake, then for the sake of your child. As long as the other coparent isn’t jeopardizing your child’s health or safety, your child will likely benefit from maintaining genuine and consistent relationships with both parents.
#5. Document instances of misconduct when needed.
If you know or suspect that your coparent has violated the terms of an existing court order, it’s crucial to document these violations. Even if there is no parenting plan or custody order in effect, documenting instances of misconduct on part of your coparent can be useful evidence in court.
When reporting acts of misconduct, take care to express yourself as professionally, clearly, and calmly as possible. Consider these best practices when logging inappropriate behavior:
- Stick to the facts
- Include specific details when able (such as location, timestamps, and dates)
- Avoid offensive language
Choose a Firm with an Exclusive Focus on Family Law
At Burch Shepard Family Law Group, we understand how stressful and emotional family matters can be. It’s normal for parents to feel nervous about an upcoming child custody case. Child custody laws can be complex and difficult to navigate, but with the help of a knowledgeable child custody attorney, you can maximize your chance of being successful in court.
Our compassionate family lawyers will work tirelessly on your behalf to help you get the outcome you deserve. We take pride in implementing customized legal solutions and providing strong representation tailored to your family’s unique needs. When you partner with our firm, we make it a point to align ourselves with your personal goals from start to finish.
With over 100 years of collective experience, our firm is well-equipped to represent families in a wide range of family disputes. Call (949) 565-4158 or contact us online to discuss your case with an Orange County family lawyer.