Learning how to win a child custody case is a situation no one ever wants to encounter. For most parents, the most stressful part of an impending divorce is the possibility of losing custody. Money is one thing, finding a Houston divorce lawyer is another, but the idea of missing out on your child’s life is something you can’t put a price on. Suddenly, you may find yourself asking, “In a custody battle, who wins?” or perhaps negotiating with yourself, wondering, “how do you get joint custody of your child?” Fortunately, there’s good news; if you take the right steps now, you can greatly improve your odds of success for winning custody battles in Texas.
Custody Key #1: Behave Responsibly
This should go without saying, but drinking, using drugs or leaving your children unsupervised can be very damaging in a custody hearing. In Texas, child custody hearings are ultimately based on the child’s best interest. If your spouse can accurately claim that you behave irresponsibly around the children by drinking, using drugs, smoking or engaging in other reckless behaviors, they can gain an advantage in your custody hearing.
A proactive key in how to win a child custody case is behaving beyond reproach. Because even if you never drink around your children, that doesn’t necessarily stop your ex from making up stories to paint you as an unfit parent. That leads to our second point.
Custody Key #2: Request an In-Home Evaluation
One of the biggest problems in a child custody hearing is the “he said, she said” element. An easy and effective way to undermine lies and gain an early advantage is to schedule your own in-home evaluation. During the evaluation, a court-appointed evaluator will visit your home and assess whether or not it is a suitable environment for raising your child.
Mature initiative can be a crucial avenue to winning your child custody. To some extent, scheduling your own evaluation puts you in the driver’s seat—you know what you’re getting into, you’re not caught off guard, and you can prepare yourself and your home for success. If your spouse makes a ridiculous claim in court following a successful evaluation, you now have evidence beyond simply denying their accusations.
Custody Key #3: Be Consistent and Available
Above all else, the easiest way to lose custody is to behave without the best interest of your child in mind. During and after a divorce, one of the most important things you can be is consistent. If you’re constantly rescheduling visitations or canceling your days of custody, your spouse can make it seem like you’re an uncaring parent and use that against you to gain full custody of your children.
Custody Key #4: Be Willing to Relocate
Custody rulings all come down to what’s best for the child, and that includes their schooling and social life. If your child is thriving in Sugar Land but you decided to move to Austin, you are much more likely to lose full custody, especially during the school year. Staying put or agreeing to move to a location near your children’s school can go a long way towards achieving a more favorable custody ruling.
Custody Key #5: Cooperate With Your Ex When Possible
Knowing how to win a child custody case involves some tough steps (we know). Like any court proceeding, your life can be made easier if you accept certain compromises and don’t insist on “all-or-nothing.” Whether you’re dealing with an emotional partner or narcissistic spouse, compromise can open many doors for you and your child. If you and your spouse can come to a mutual agreement regarding whole or joint custody outside of court, it can be far more beneficial for both yourself and your children. You might not get everything you want, but you do decrease the risk of an unfavorable ruling by a judge.
Custody Key #6: Obey the Court
While some custody keys can be complex or tough, this key in how to win custody of your child is pretty straightforward yet extremely important. If the court asks you to do something related to a custody hearing, do it. Whether it takes a drug test or attend a therapy session, failure to follow court orders puts your dedication to your child in question and can completely undermine your case for custody.
Custody Key #7: Work With An Experienced Houston Custody Attorney
Even if you and your ex are willing to compromise, having a proper defense is the only way to ensure a truly fair deal. As a family law attorney in Houston, Taly Thiessen balances compassion and understanding with strong strategies and experience to deliver superior representation along every step of your case. If you need help preserving or regaining custody of your child, contact Taly at the Thiessen Law Firm to schedule your consultation.