If you and your spouse are in the midst of a custody battle in California, you may wish to better understand what you can and should not do to increase your odds of obtaining a favorable outcome. It is good that you are asking this question. Too many parents wrongly assume that the courts will simply look at whether or not a person is a good parent. This is not the case. The courts review several factors to make a custody determination. Verywell outlines just a few of them.

One factor the courts weigh heavily is a parent’s ability and/or willingness to work with the other parent. The courts want to know you and your spouse can communicate effectively when necessary and that you and he or she can work together to advance the wellbeing of your child. If you show an unwillingness to cooperate, the courts may award the other parent more custody.

Another factor the courts weigh is the way in which you present yourself. The courts do not know you, so perception is everything. You can combat what others may or may not have said about you by arriving at court on time (ahead of time is better), well-dressed and in good spirits (even if you have to fake it). Verywell also recommends showing up prepared with documentation that details interactions with your ex, with your child, and between your ex and your child.

Do not make it a habit of rescheduling time with your children. One or two instances is understandable, as life happens, but if the judge senses you put all other obligations ahead of your children, he or she may feel your children will be better off in the custody of your ex. Also, do not talk badly about your ex, ever—not to your friends or family, not on social media and certainly not in front of the judge. You should not use drugs or alcohol when your children are with you.

Finally, if the courts ask you to do something, do it, no matter how outrageous you believe the requirement is. It is not uncommon for judges to request parties to undergo drug testing, in-home custody evaluations, anger management, or parenting classes. 

The material in this post is purely information. It should not be construed as legal advice.


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