During child custody disputes, a parent’s character and capabilities are under a microscope. Battling parents often use any mistakes or character flaws against the other person to “win” custody.
If you are worried about your past as a parent or what your ex might accuse you of, there are some ways you can improve your situation.
Be involved with your child
If you work one or more jobs, you may not be as actively involved in your child’s daily routine as the other parent. However, the involvement you do have is still meaningful.
Parents should know what extracurricular activities a child is involved in and who a child’s friends are. They should know what a typical daily schedule looks like and what helps a child feel safe.
Even if you spend less time with your child than the other parent, focus on the quality of time you spend together. Be interested in their lives and show up whenever you can.
Some parents abuse drugs or alcohol; others might gamble too much or overspend. Parents can experience depression, anxiety or mood disorders that can affect their emotional wellbeing and how they parent.
If you struggle with any of these, there are resources and tools that can help you overcome the challenges that these conditions can present. With the help of counseling, support groups and possibly medication, people can address the issues that could be compromising their fitness as a parent.
Disconnect from certain parties
Children need to be safe and comfortable. If being with you puts them in danger, the courts may minimize the time your child spends with you if doing so is in a child’s best interests.
Thus, parents would be wise to disconnect from people who engage in illegal activities or have a history of violence or abuse.
Parents who lie to make themselves look better or make the other parent look worse typically accomplish the opposite.
Honesty is vital in custody and visitation matters. Whether you are under oath or signing a legal document, lying can cost you time with your child, money and possibly your freedom.
The fact is that no parent is perfect. However, parents can address any shortcomings or missteps directly and proactively to improve their case for custody or visitation.