This is Thomas Ferreira, your Carlsbad Child Custody, visitation and divorce attorney, with the third installment on the best strategy to get more parenting time. When the court is involved, it is important to understand the spirit and the letter of child custody law. California family recognizes this in Family Code section 3040:
(a) Custody should be granted in the following order of preference according to the best interest of the child as provided in sections 3011 and 3020:
(1) To both parents jointly … or to either parent. In making an order granting custody to either parent, the court shall consider, among other factors, which parent is more likely to allow the child frequent and continuing contact with the non-custodial parent, … and shall not prefer a parent as a custodian because or that parent’s sex.
“Frequent and continuing contact” is the law’s buzz word for the preference of the law to award custody to the parent who supports the other parent’s parent-child relationship. In practice, most judges recognize the importance of mothers and fathers in the lives of children.
That doesn’t mean that you should try to buy your child off with gifts or taking them on expensive trips every time they’re in your care. It means actually being there as a parent. It means having a relationship with your son or daughter, not just an acquaintance. To build this relationship:
- Be there when the child needs to talk (except if it’s to complain about the other parent).
- Get to know the child’s school teachers and support the teacher with the child.
- Help with homework.
- Get involved in extra-curricular activities.
- Cook meals .
- Read to your kids!!! This one is huge. My kids are 9 and 10 right now, and they still beg for their bedtime story every night.
Your goal in presenting your case to the judge is to show them what a great mother or father you are, not what a no-good SOB your ex is. To do this, you have to lay the ground work by actually having a close, warm and deep relationship to the children. Your kids will thank you for it, whatever their age.
I’ll be along with my final tip, creating anticipation, in my next post. This is likely the most powerful tool in the arsenal, and it works. Until then, I remain…
Very truly yours,
Disclaimer: Thomas D. Ferreira is an attorney licensed only in the State of California. The information set forth in this blog or on our websites are not intended to create an attorney-client relationship, nor are they intended as legal advice on your specific matter. This information is not intended to apply to cases or jurisdictions outside the State of California, and those viewing this information outside of California, or having business before jurisdictions outside of California, should consult a local professional or lawyer. The information in this blog is not a substitute for the advice of competent counsel, and is not intended, nor should it be construed, as a guarantee, warranty or prediction regarding the results of your legal matter.