Parents often fight over their children during a divorce. Knowing how to fight for custody and win child support is essential. The following tips are helpful as the process moves forward.
Receiving Child Custody and Support Papers
When a parent is served with child custody and support papers, they may panic. They don’t know what the future holds, and it is frightening. Each person is already dealing with the dissolution of the marriage, and now they are worried about what will happen with the children.
The first step is to consult an attorney to learn more about getting child support and custody. The attorney will review the paperwork and craft a response to the custody and support petition. This response must be provided within a certain time frame, so the parent must be prepared to act when the papers arrive.
In this response, the parent needs to explain why they are the best person to have custody of the children. Furthermore, they need to state why they need child support and how much. Tennessee uses the income share model when determining child support, but there may be extenuating circumstances that could lead to the court deviating from this model. The lawyer can help the parent outline why additional funds are needed and provide support for this request.
Best Interests of the Child
The court considers the best interests of the child when determining which parent should get primary custody. However, the parents also need to consider the best interests of the child. Now is not the time to get back at the spouse for things that happened during the marriage. This only hurts the child.
When parents fight over their children, the kids are affected in a variety of ways. Even young babies are able to pick up on stress in the household, and kids of all ages may struggle to sleep, feel anxious, and have problems at school and in their personal relationships. A parent should never talk disparagingly about the other parent in front of the children regardless of how tempting it is to do so.
Both parents should be involved in a child’s life. The court recognizes this and will often award custody to the parent most willing to forward this goal. There is one exception to this, however. If one parent is abusive or unfit to care for the child in another way, the court takes this into consideration. It may still encourage a relationship but may require supervised visits to protect the child.
However, a parent should never claim the other parent is unfit simply to get more child support. The court will recognize this tactic, and it may backfire on the parent trying to poison the court. Fight fair while keeping the child’s best interests in mind for the best possible outcome.
Cooperate With the Former Spouse
Courts look favorably on spouses who work together, as this is best for the children. Communication is key to a successful partnership. If there is any doubt about successfully being able to communicate with the spouse, consider working with a mediator or other third-party professional to make improvements in this area.
A counselor may also be helpful to the parents. The counselor will work with the parent to address any unresolved issues stemming from the failed marriage. When a person is able to look favorably on the time they spent with the spouse and have no hard feelings about the divorce, it’s easier to communicate with the former spouse. Every parent going through a divorce should consider this option, as it benefits them, the former partner, and the children.
Presenting the Case
When requesting custody and child support, a parent will need to present their case to the court. To do so successfully, they need to arrive at court organized and ready to share any evidence they have. In addition, they need to be ready to answer questions posed by the court and the other parent’s legal team.
Always remain calm in court, and answer all questions politely. Avoid rehashing old arguments during the process. Parents often find they are most successful when they allow their attorney to do the talking. They should remain quiet and only answer questions posed directly to them.
Avoid Social Media
Many parents turn to social media to complain about their former spouse. Avoid doing so. Keep these conversations to a minimum, and only complain about the spouse to a close friend or family member. Airing complaints about the spouse on social media may be seen as a form of parental alienation, which courts do not like.
In addition, the former spouse may use social media posts to share information about the other parent’s character, spending habits, and more. They may also use these posts as evidence of the parent’s state of mind or income. Any post that shows a parent using poor judgment or puts them in an unfavorable light can harm their case for custody and child support. Keep this in mind and avoid posting on social media. It’s best to err on the side of caution when children are involved.
Know Personal Weaknesses
Many parents focus on the weaknesses of their former spouses when they need to focus on their own weaknesses. A person should be very forthcoming about what could harm them in a child custody and support battle. Once these weaknesses have been identified, it’s easier to work on overcoming them. Doing so will allow the court to look more favorably at the parent when the time comes to decide on matters relating to the child.
Work with an experienced attorney when pursuing child custody and support. The attorney will walk the client through every step of the process and reduce the risk of any mistakes being made. The money spent for legal help is never wasted when a parent walks away from court with custody of their child, child support, and a good relationship with the other parent.