WHAT NOT TO SAY IN A CUSTODY BATTLE

If you are currently going through a custody battle, the following blog will identify what NOT to say.

DO NOT FOCUS ON THE OTHER SIDES WEAKNESSES

I often encounter clients who think they can win a custody battle, by slinging mud on the other side.  They want me to write declarations that focus on the other sides’ drug use, alcoholism, adultery, or mental health issues.  This is the wrong approach.

I ask my clients to focus on what they are doing right: attending parent-teacher conferences, participating in the children’s extra-curricular activities, making the children’s medical appointments, etc.  I have the client purchase an inexpensive calendar that they can keep with them at all times.  I ask them to make a note of the children’s activities: when they get up, when they take a nap, when they go to bed, doctor’s appointments, etc.

It is important to think of your case from the Judge’s point of view.  The judge needs to come up with a parenting plan for the children so the judge needs to have as much information about the children.  By providing the needed information, you demonstrate that you are the primary caretaker for the children.

REMEMBER THAT ONE POINT YOU AND YOUR SPOUSE WERE A COUPLE

Another reason that slinging mud on the other side is not productive is that it makes YOU look bad.  Remember at one point you decided to have children with this person.  You decided to marry this person.  So any negative comments about your significant other reflect badly on you.  If your significant other is a drug user, bi-polar, or a sociopath, it makes no sense telling the court about it.

I heard one judge put it this way:  Cinderella doesn’t marry the Big Bad Wolf.  Judges tend to think that the truth is somewhere in the middle.  Both sides have a version of what happened and the truth is likely somewhere in the middle.

VOICE YOUR CONCERNS FOR THE CHILDREN

Every concern voiced to the court should be articulated in the best interests of the children.  If you are worried that your spouse is a gang member you should say “I am concerned because dad is gang affiliated and it is not in the best interests of the children to be exposed to that lifestyle.”  If your spouse is working at a strip club you should say “I am concerned that mother is working nights and the children are not properly supervised when she is not home.”  Every criticism should be toned down, making you appear less hostile and focused on the children.   You want to convey that you are thinking of the children instead of on a campaign to ruin your soon to be ex-spouse.
Remember that even after the custody battle is over, this person will be in your life forever or at least until the children are eighteen.  Please feel free to contact me for a free consultation at (626) 446-6442 or via email at n.nogueda@vincentwdavis.com.

By Norma Nogueda, Esq.

The Law Offices Of Vincet W Davis And Associates

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