It would be great if every Texas divorce were amicably settled and co-parents could peacefully achieve an agreement that keeps their children’s best interests in mind. In reality, you would not be alone in your struggle if you were to say that this is far from an accurate description of your child custody case. If you’re planning on requesting sole custody of your kids, you’ll want to be well-prepared.
Not only will you need to inform the court as to why you believe it is in your children’s best interests not to be in a shared custody arrangement, but you’ll also need to convince the judge overseeing your case that you’re the better parent. Keeping several things in mind will help you accomplish your goals.
Show up in court prepared to explain yourself
The court typically believes that children fare best in divorce in shared custody arrangements. If you’re tempted to seek sole custody just to get back at your ex because of lingering hurt from past marital problems, think twice before taking action. When petitioning the court for sole custody, the judge expects you to have a legitimate reason for doing so.
Such reasons might include evidence that your ex has a substance abuse problem, gambling addiction or would, in some way, be a detriment to your children’s safety or well-being.
Be mindful of the way you dress in court
If your goal is to win sole custody of your children in a divorce, you want to look the part of a confident, capable parent. In short, if you enter a courtroom wearing ripped jeans or looking unshaven or disheveled, it isn’t likely going to make a good impression on the judge. It’s best to wear clothing that would be acceptable at an important business meeting.
You want to convince the judge that your children are best living with you full-time and that you’re prepared and willing to fulfill all responsibilities that sole custody entails.
Avoid confrontation with your ex during proceedings
Especially if you and your ex don’t get along, you’ll want to have full control over your emotions in court. If your ex isn’t happy about you seeking sole custody, he or she may try to say things that paint you in a poor light in order to influence the judge’s decision. While you might be tempted to speak out or to confront your ex if he or she isn’t telling the truth, it’s best to remain calm and speak in a respectful tone to the judge only.
Many Texas parents ask experienced family law attorneys to speak and act for them during child custody litigation. This helps minimize stress and reduces the chance of parent-to-parent conflict arising in court.