How to Get Custody of Your Child

In divorce cases where children are involved, the subject of custody will come up at some point. In order to get custody- or at the very least, visitation- of your child, you are going to need to file a petition with the court and have custody/visitation determined by a judge. The judge will listen to your case and any arguments from the child’s other parent/guardian and then make a decision based upon what she believes is in the best interests of the child.

If you want to get custody of your child and are going to mediation sessions, you should bring up the issue of custody with the mediator. He/She will be able to help you to come to an agreement with the other parent without having to argue your case in court. This is always the easiest and best way to go if possible. However, both parties must be willing to work together to agree.

File a petition for custody according to the requirements of the jurisdiction you’re located in. Before you create your child custody petition, ask the court clerk in your state if they can provide you with a sample so that you can be sure that you are in compliance with the laws in your state. You can also have child custody provisions written into your divorce petition.

Make sure that you have sufficient evidence to support your child custody petition. You will need to have evidence as to why you would be the best choice for custody of your child. The judge will review the facts and then make a ruling for custody based upon what is in the child’s best interests. You should think about your personal relationship with the child, the relationship he/she has with his/her other parent/guardian, and in what ways you will be able to better meet the needs of your child.

Once you have officially filed your petition for child custody, you will be given a date for the hearing. That is when you will go in front of the judge and state your arguments. The other parent/guardian of the child will be given the opportunity to offer their rebuttal of your claims. Make sure that you have a strong enough case that they will not be able to tear it down- but make sure it is all based on facts. You do not want to do anything dishonest or illegal. If the child is old enough to have his/her own opinions and voice them, the judge may ask him/her what they would prefer.

No matter how tempting it is, you must be sure that you never say anything bad about the other parent/guardian where your child can hear it. You always want to be positive and encouraging of your child- it is not their fault that things went sour between you and their other parent.

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