You Hold The Keys In Your Hand: Five Ways To Improve Your Standing In A Child Custody Case

Child custody and visitation make up the most emotional aspects of a separation or divorce, in most cases. Logistics are also challenging for many parents, as children must be transported between parents' homes and new routines must be established. The amount of time you spend with your child will also affect how much child support you pay or receive, in many cases.

For all these reasons, you likely have specific goals as you enter into the process of negotiating parenting plans. Your ideas may conflict with the goals of your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If the two of you do not agree on a plan, you will need to go to court and a judge will determine the plan.

How can you improve your chances of obtaining the outcome you hope for? I am Marianne Howland of The Howland Law Firm, PLLC, in Dallas. My extensive experience in family law means I am a strong candidate to advise and represent you in your Texas child custody case. For starters, I offer these suggestions: five ways to improve your child custody case outcome.

1. Put your child's interests first. The family law court focuses solely on a child's best interests in a custody case. Translating this to particulars may be up for discussion but a child's right to stability and security is not debatable. Orient your thinking in this direction. It may help you overcome psychological barriers and motivate you to compromise to bring about a workable parenting plan.

2. Demonstrate and document your parental involvement. This should ideally begin as early as possible — well before you or your spouse files for divorce. Keep a log detailing your interactions with your child. Save his or her artwork. Attend parent-teacher conferences. Take him or her to the doctor or dentist. Show up for extracurricular activities such as sports practices and musical performances at school. Save receipts and programs from recreational outings. Your records can boost your chances of a favorable child custody arrangement.

3. For your child's sake, aim for an amicable resolution. This may mean you and the other parent will negotiate with open minds. It may mean you will take your case to mediation. Try to avoid going to trial. The less adversarial the processes, the better, since you and the other parent will need to cooperate as you raise your child in two households.

4. Understand your child's need to adjust to the new situation. Do not talk about the other parent's failings in front of your child. Take your child to play therapy. Ask your pediatrician, your pastor and/or your family law attorney for suggestions on how to help your child through this difficult time of adjustment.

5. Work with a custody lawyer who is both empathetic and skilled. Your attorney can file a petition with a standing order immediately, to keep your child in the same school and home. Next, your attorney will seek a temporary order that protects your child's best interests and your parental rights until the divorce is complete. Ultimately, a final custody and visitation court order will be the outcome. (It may be subject to modification later but the standard for altering it will be high). Be sure to inform your attorney if the other parent has inflicted domestic abuse on you or your children. This information can make a large difference in the outcome of the custody order.

Schedule an initial $150 consultation with me, attorney Marianne Howland, by calling 469-616-0521 or sending an email message through this website.