What are some Tips for getting custody of children? 15 Answers as of July 04, 2013

I am the father of two children and am getting separated. What is some advice or things I should know before the court hearing and meeting with the mediator to be able to get custody of them?

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Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Be a great dad. Be involved in all phases of your children's lives. Know who their dentists and doctors are. Take them to their doctors' and dentists' appointments. Make sure their schools have you as a contact person in case there is any emergency, and invite the school personnel to contact you in the event of any emergency. Meet with their teachers. Be involved in PTA and the childrens' sports and other extracurricular activities.Read to the children. Help them with their homework. Show them your love. Encourage them to have good relationships with both parents. Make them happy. Prepare a reasonable parenting plan that takes into account your schedule, the mother's schedule, the children's needs, and both parents having frequent and continuing contact with the children.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/6/2011
Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
ORS 107.137 governs child custody determinations, and provides, in part: (1) In determining custody of a minor child, the court shall give primary consideration to the best interests and welfare of the child. In determining the best interests and welfare of the child, the court shall consider the following relevant factors: (a) The emotional ties between the child and other family members; (b) The interest of the parties in and attitude toward the child; (c) The desirability of continuing an existing relationship; (d) The abuse of one parent by the other; (e) The preference for the primary caregiver of the child, if the caregiver is deemed fit by the court; and (f) The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child. ORS 137(2) provides, in part: "(1) If a parent has committed abuse, as defined in ORS 107.705, there is a rebuttable presumption that it is not in the best interests and welfare of the child to award sole or joint custody of the child to the parent who committed the abuse."
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 7/5/2011
Pontrello Law
Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
The court and mediator look at the following: (3) For purposes of establishing or modifying parental responsibility and creating, developing, approving, or modifying a parenting plan, including a time-sharing schedule, which governs each parent's relationship with his or her minor child and the relationship between each parent with regard to his or her minor child, the best interest of the child shall be the primary consideration. A determination of parental responsibility, a parenting plan, or a time-sharing schedule may not be modified without a showing of a substantial, material, and unanticipated change in circumstances and a determination that the modification is in the best interests of the child. Determination of the best interests of the child shall be made by evaluating all of the factors affecting the welfare and interests of the particular minor child and the circumstances of that family, including, but not limited to: (a) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing parent-child relationship, to honor the time-sharing schedule, and to be reasonable when changes are required. (b) The anticipated division of parental responsibilities after the litigation, including the extent to which parental responsibilities will be delegated to third parties. (c) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to determine, consider, and act upon the needs of the child as opposed to the needs or desires of the parent. (d) The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity. (e) The geographic viability of the parenting plan, with special attention paid to the needs of school-age children and the amount of time to be spent traveling to effectuate the parenting plan. This factor does not create a presumption for or against relocation of either parent with a child. (f) The moral fitness of the parents. (g) The mental and physical health of the parents. (h) The home, school, and community record of the child. (i) The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient intelligence, understanding, and experience to express a preference. (j) The demonstrated knowledge, capacity, and disposition of each parent to be informed of the circumstances of the minor child, including, but not limited to, the child's friends, teachers, medical care providers, daily activities, and favorite things. (k) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to provide a consistent routine for the child, such as discipline, and daily schedules for homework, meals, and bedtime. (l) The demonstrated capacity of each parent to communicate with and keep the other parent informed of issues and activities regarding the minor child, and the willingness of each parent to adopt a unified front on all major issues when dealing with the child. (m) Evidence of domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, regardless of whether a prior or pending action relating to those issues has been brought. If the court accepts evidence of prior or pending actions regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect, the court must specifically acknowledge in writing that such evidence was considered when evaluating the best interests of the child. (n) Evidence that either parent has knowingly provided false information to the court regarding any prior or pending action regarding domestic violence, sexual violence, child abuse, child abandonment, or child neglect. (o) The particular parenting tasks customarily performed by each parent and the division of parental responsibilities before the institution of litigation and during the pending litigation, including the extent to which parenting responsibilities were undertaken by third parties. (p) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to participate and be involved in the child's school and extracurricular activities. (q) The demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to maintain an environment for the child which is free from substance abuse. (r) The capacity and disposition of each parent to protect the child from the ongoing litigation as demonstrated by not discussing the litigation with the child, not sharing documents or electronic media related to the litigation with the child, and refraining from disparaging comments about the other parent to the child. (s) The developmental stages and needs of the child and the demonstrated capacity and disposition of each parent to meet the child's developmental needs. (t) Any other factor that is relevant to the determination of a specific parenting plan, including the time-sharing schedule
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 7/5/2011
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
The only "tip" that can be give without knowing the specific facts and circumstances of your case is that you should start your thinking strictly in terms of what is best for the child not simply what YOU want; not what is "fair" to you and the other parent. Beyond that, you need to be honest, not acting on emotions, and learn how to separate your disagreements with your spouse from the objective thinking that a third party will use.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 7/5/2011
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
I don't know that there are any "tips" for getting "custody" of your child. The statute lists some of the things that the court, in adopting a parenting plan, is supposed to consider. A few of the criteria include: Who has been more involved in providing for the child's daily needs during the prior twelve months. To whom is the child more bonded. Which arrangement will be least disruptive to the child's live. As you can see, it is going to be hard to manufacture these at the last minute. Also, in answering this I have assumed that neither one of you is an alcoholic or drug addict, that there is no domestic violence, no child abuse, and no sex abuse. If there are any of these things, then, the case changes completely.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/5/2011
    The Collaborative Law Group
    The Collaborative Law Group | Jac E. Knust
    Demonstrate that what you are proposing is in the best interests of the children.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 7/4/2013
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    The number one thing that will make the most difference is to have a lawyer. People without lawyers tend to do very badly in custody matters. That is the single most important step. Going to a hearing or mediation without a lawyer is exactly like going to a gun battle with no bullets. The fact that you do not know that mediators do not decide custody adds another reason that you need a lawyer. Beyond that, judges will look and see if you regularly pay support now (and are generous with it), and they will look at the everyday things. Which one of you takes the kids to the doctor? Who goes to the PTA meetings? Who cooks? Who does the laundry? Who reads the bedtime stories? Who makes time to parent?
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    First, I would recommend that you retain an experienced divorce attorney as soon as possible. Also, you will want to discuss all the facts with your own divorce lawyer, along with potential witnesses concerning your parenting skills and involvement versus your spouse's. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    In Ohio, virtually every court expresses a strong preference for a shared parenting plan. The exceptions are when the child is in danger, one parent is unfit, or if shared parenting is not in the best interest of the child. To strengthen your case, came prepared with facts that make sole parenting with you the residential and custodial parent imperative. Your divorce attorney can assist you in putting together a case that favors you.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law it is not a matter of custody, but of what the schedule will be for the time the children will spend with each parent. Things a court typically looks at in deciding which parent should be the primary residential parent, if there is going to be a primary residential parent, include which parent has been providing the majority of parenting in the past, the bond between the child and each parent, and whether there are reasons the child needs to be protected from either parent.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    You need to hire an attorney to protect your rights as a father. It is important that you understand the laws and what is required of you and what the courts are looking for in what is in the best interest of the child.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    There is a list of factors that courts use to determine which parent should have primary custody, including (I'm paraphrasing) the quality of the relationships between the parent and the child or children, the ability and motivation the parent has to care for the children, including providing physical, emotional and spiritual needs, the responsibility and role the parties have played in the past in caring for the children, and the ability and disposition of the parents to encourage relationships with the other parent, among other factors. It is easier than it used to be for a father to gain at least 50-50 custody, and the "maternal preference" has been mostly abolished in the law, if not in the minds of all of the judges.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/5/2011
    Beresford Booth PLLC
    Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
    To the extent you are able, you should maximize your time with the children, provide for their daily needs, and overall, do what is best for them. Focus less on custody, focus more on doing the right thing.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    You should try to emphasize your performance of parenting functions, the quality of your relationship with the children, and the issues and concerns you have about the Mother's parenting, if any.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/1/2011
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A.
    The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
    This is a complicated thing, and you need more than just a few tips on how to get custody. The first and best tip is: get a really good divorce attorney working for you. The law on custody in New Jersey is supposed to be neutral, with the Judge treating the fathers equally with the mothers. Do not believe it. If you want to see your children more than just every other weekend and maybe one night a week, you will need to fight for it.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/1/2011
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