Most of the rules you learned in kindergarten apply in child custody cases: for example: 1) be kind to others; 2) if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all; 3) be respectful and 4) share your toys.
Child custody cases are emotionally charged and it is normal to want to show the court you are a great parent and your spouse is a terrible parent if you are trying to win primary physical custody of your children. But, judges are looking for the parent who puts his or her children first and who is not fighting for custody to hurt the other parent, their estranged spouse. Judges are looking for the parent who will be respectful to the other parent and who will encourage a relationship with the other parent. If a parent refuses to send the child’s phone to the other parent’s house because he or she “paid for it,” a judge will assume all decisions they make involving their child will be based on making the other parent’s life more difficult, not making their child’s life better.
Your children are your most precious asset and “winning” a custody case doesn’t mean beating the other parent or tearing them down to make yourself look better in the eyes of the judge, unless the other parent is abusive or neglectful in which case limited time with their children may be appropriate. Judges frown upon a parent who focuses on the negatives of the other parent rather than focusing on what both parents can offer their children, especially when the complaints don’t really relate to the other parent’s ability to care for the child. Focus on your strengths, your ability to co-parent and your willingness to do whatever it takes, including working with your soon to be ex-spouse, to give your child the most stable life possible despite the divorce.
All North Carolina counties including Guilford, Alamance, Forsyth, Mecklenburg, Rockingham and Randolph counties have Parenting Guidelines which set out the “rules” of parenting comparable to those you learned in kindergarten and are a good preview of what judges are looking for in a child custody case.
Visit http://guilfordcountydistrictcourt.com to see Guilford County’s guidelines and give the attorneys at Black, Slaughter & Black a call if you have questions or need assistance with custody or other family law issues.