As a child custody lawyer in California, I’ve heard it all. “Dad is always at least 20 minutes late picking up little Jacob.” Or “Mom calls all the shots and I don’t have any say in what happens to my girls.” Or, “I want 50-50 custody because it’s not fair that she should have the kids all the time.”
If a child custody lawyer tells you that they can solve these problems instantly, run like your hair is on fire. The truth is, if you want 50-50 custody, or if you have a difficult ex who refuses to step up to the plate, there are steps you can take to move the dial in your direction. Here are five secrets the most custody lawyers won’t tell you:
1. The Court Can’t Fix It. A court is not like a surgeon’s scalpel; it is more like a blunt hammer. Courts are good at the big stuff—such as “Mom is a drug addict so I’m awarding custody to dad,” or “Dad has been convicted of domestic abuse, so I’m awarding custody to mom.” Courts are bad at managing ongoing relationships because they lack the effective tools to change the other parent’s behavior.
2. The Parent-Child Relationship is King. The biggest mistake parents make in child custody cases is that they focus their energy on changing the other parent. This is a normal reaction when you think your child is being harmed, but it will not lead to more parenting time. Take your focus off the weird, bad stuff in mom’s or dad’s world, and focus squarely on creating a beautiful place in your world for your child to grow.
3. Child Custody is a Marathon, not a Sprint. Expecting a court to swoop in and correct what’s wrong in the other parent’s world is like expecting snow in summer. For one thing, what if the court sides with your ex? I’m not saying “don’t file,” but before you do, you must lay the groundwork by building a great parent-child relationship for you, and allowing your ex enough rope to hang themselves.
4. Use the Time You Have! Many parents despair because they got a bad result in family court. Their knee jerk reaction is to file yet another Request for Order, hoping that this time the judge will see the truth. A better strategy is to use the time you have to forge that parent-child relationship. You can do this even with supervised visits. Remember, your children love you and want your attention and approval. Give it to them, and the next time you go to court you’ll have a good change of circumstances.
5. All Arguments to the Court Must Be Child-Focused. You’ve made a record of how great your world is. You’ve allowed the other parent to show his/her true colors. Now it’s time to file. Make sure you express all your arguments for custody as child-focused “concerns” rather than attacks on the other parent.
We’d love to give you more information to help you turn the tables in your custody matter. Thomas has not only helped numerous parents solve their custody problems; he has children of his own in parenting plans. He is an expers in playing the custody game, and he can help you become an expert, too.
Click here or call now (760) 990-4752 to schedule your initial consultation.
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 the 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, warrantee or prediction regarding the results of your legal matter.
"I thank you so much for getting us through it.....................I really appreciate the humane but business like approach you both used and I can now move on with my life as a result." -Eric D., Mediation Client, Oceanside, CA
"Thomas & Tammy worked with my ex-husband and I extremely well throughout our divorce process. We went to them after another lawyer proved to be very difficult to work with. They set a baseline of mutual respect and "putting the kids first" for us. This mentality has served us all well for 4 years now. Thanks Thomas & Tammy!"
-Mandy M., Mediation Client, Rancho Santa Fe, CA