HOW TO AVOID A CHILD CUSTODY BATTLE
Learn how to get informed, take reasonable positions and avoid litigation
How to avoid a custody battle?
Nobody in their right mind wishes for a child custody battle with the parent of their child or children. High conflict, child custody litigation usually happens for one of three reasons:
1. One parent is being unreasonable in the positions he or she is taking,
2. Both parents are being unreasonable in the positions they are taking, or
3. One or both parents are uninformed regarding what reasonable positions they should take.
What the above should teach you is that parents who are informed and reasonable should not end up in high conflict, contested child custody cases.
Let's go through the steps that good people who want to be reasonable and want to be informed can take to avoid a child custody battle with the other parent.
Read and become informed about California child custody laws
Most people know that courts make child custody decisions based on a child's best interest. Most people have no idea what a child's best interest actually means. We wrote a comprehensive and informative e-book on California child custody. We encourage you to read it to learn more about this very important topic. There is no substitute for knowledge and that knowledge can give you a head start toward making smart choices.
Consult with an experienced, knowledgeable and ethical child custody attorney
I do not know any family law attorneys who do not handle child custody cases. Child custody is an integral part of any divorce or parentage case that involves children. I know of too many family law attorneys who poorly handle child custody cases and fail to tell their clients what they need to know about the law and how the facts of their specific situation applies to the law.
We represent parents who go through child custody cases both within a divorce or a parentage case. Given our successful record in representing such parents, we hear and see how unprepared and uninformed the other parent often is, even when the other parent is represented by an attorney.
If lawyers took more time and were more patient with their clients by explaining to their clients how a court looks at a custody case and what the likely outcome will be, so much child custody litigation may be avoided.
We use ourselves as an example
Court orders on child custody cases we handle are the great majority of the time consistent with settlement offers we made or positions our clients, through us, advocated as the reasonable position and consistent with the child’s best interest.
It is also not coincidence the other parent and the other parent's lawyer are too often unprepared or uninformed when they walk into court against us and our client on these custody cases. Had the other parent's lawyer proactively discussed with his or her client the facts and the law well before they stepped into a courtroom, there would have been a much better dialogue about custody issues and the case may have never seen the inside of a courtroom.
Ask many questions and do not accept vague answers
You pay a family law attorney money to represent you. This process can be stressful. Your children mean the world to you and you do not want to make decisions contrary to their best interest. You also do not want to waste time and money litigating issues if you can reasonably avoid litigation. At the same time, you want to know what issues are worth litigating.
All of these should result in you asking many questions of your family law attorney and getting straightforward answers.
Experienced child custody litigators like those at our firm do not speak in generalities and do not give vague advice. We draw on our significant experience both inside and outside the courtroom, and our in-depth knowledge of family law and procedure to help our clients understand what options they have available to them.
We inform our clients what the reasonable likelihood is at a formal hearing. While these issues are not inflexible or certain (we do not have that elusive crystal ball yet), there are reasonable limits to what a court may order given a set of facts. We can teach our clients what the more likely outcomes may be and what factors the court may consider most important before the court makes its orders. That is what strategic planning is all about.
You can make smart choices
Make smart choices and be the change...
Smart, informed choices and great representation can keep you out of a custody battle.
There is so much more we can discuss about how to avoid child custody litigation.
Our hope is this article provided you with enough of a foundation on the importance of being reasonable, informed and wisely choosing your advocate.
If you can avoid child custody litigation while, at the same time, reach custody decisions consistent with the children's best interest, you have not only benefited yourself but have also paved the road to build trust between you and the other parent.
Ready to read more? See the links below.