5 Tips to Get Back Custody of Your Children

When children are involved, expect judges to act in the best interests of the children. Here are 10 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 The 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.

6. Prepare a Care Plan

To award custody, a judge wants to make sure that a parent is ready to take care of the child. Preparing a care plan is one winning strategy to show that you can handle parental responsibilities.

Learn about your child’s routine. If your spouse handled the daily care of your children, you may have some homework to do. Gather information by showing an interest in your children’s daily activities. What grade are they in? When does school start and end? What extracurricular activities are they involved in? How often do they go to the doctor or the dentist? Sharing this information with your lawyer can help your lawyer prepare arguments to show you understand the needs of your children.

Then consider how you can best meet your children’s needs. Who will pick your kids up from school? Do you have place for your child to sleep? Are you prepared to handle emergency situations? You want to show that you have carefully considered the logistics of parenting.

7. Offer to Spend Time with Your Children

The more time you spend with your kids, the more you strengthen your case for custody. If you do not have custody of your children, ask the parent with sole custody if there is something you can do to help out. Any parenting activity from preparing meals to picking the kids up is a factor in your favour when arguing for custody. For example, you may be able to look after your children while your spouse is attending a business trip or family emergency. Being a reliable and available parent will help you argue you should have custody of your kids.

8. Be Reasonable

Make sure you come across as a reasonable parent. Avoid fighting with your ex-spouse, especially in front of your children. Do not turn teachers, doctors and other professionals against you by making it difficult for them to do their job. If they are not allowed to give you information about your child, do not harass them. Act as if your ex-spouse is recording your behavior to find anything that could be used against you. Don’t give the other side ammunition to complain about your parenting.

9. Record Violations of Your Rights

If your spouse is interfering with your ability to parent your children, consult your lawyer to confirm you are acting within your current authority. If you have been granted visitation but your spouse will not let you see your kids, you need to talk to your lawyer ASAP to protect your rights.

If your ex-spouse is not letting you see your kids, this shows that they are not acting in the best interests of the children and this could be used in your favor. On the other hand, if you don’t use the visitation you are entitled to, your spouse could argue you are not interested in being a parent and you could lose your rights. A skilled and experienced family lawyer is your best ally at dealing with violations of your rights.

10. Act Like A Parent

Make an effort to do parenting activities during your time with your children. To be awarded custody, you want to show the court that you can handle parental duties. Many parents will spend their visitation time doing just fun activities. This is fine, but a court will be more impressed if you are taking on more parental responsibilities such as taking kids to the doctor or doing homework with your kids. Try to adhere to your child’s schedule as much as possible. For example, if you child would otherwise attend soccer practice during your visitation, make an effort to take your kid to that practice instead of doing something you want to do. This shows you attuned to the needs of your kids and ready to be a good parent.

Hire Our NYC Divorce Attorneys

Our team at Brian D. Perskin & Associates in Brooklyn are here to ensure you obtain your rights to your children, before and after your case has been determined.

Fill out our form or call us at 866-352-6844 to get started.

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