When children are involved, the trickiest and most challenging factor in a divorce is child custody. As both parents are equally entitled to get custody of their children, the battle to win full or sole custody often drags on for years.
If your spouse is unwilling to compromise or wants to harass you, they will block your every attempt to win full custody of your kids. As professional divorce attorneys in Buffalo, we have come across more than a few such cases. However, the court will always take the children’s best interest into consideration when making child custody decisions.
A. Becoming the Custodial Parent
In Minnesota, the court awards two types of child custody: physical and legal custody.
Physical custody determines where the children will live after the divorce, and the parent awarded this custody raises the children. Like most states, physical custody is often awarded to one parent in Minnesota as well. The other parent gets visitation rights.
Legal custody involves the right to make important decisions about the children, such as religious upbringing, medical and healthcare, and education. Usually, the court will award legal custody to both parents.
Most parents want to win primary physical custody and become a custodial parent. As the court has the final say in this matter, you need to hire a lawyer who knows the divorce law in Buffalo inside-out. Only an experienced, professional, and skilled lawyer can help you become a custodial parent.
B. Tips to Win Full Custody
As mentioned, the court considers the best interest of the children when making the custody decision. There are a few ways to prove to the court that you are worthy of raising your child. If you can prove this, the court may award you full custody.
1. UnderstandFamily Law
The first step is to understand the family law in your jurisdiction. While you can find a lot of information online, it is better to consult an attorney practicing family law in Buffalo. They can help you understand the factors that courts usually consider when determining child custody.
Furthermore, each child custody case is unique. So, consulting a divorce attorney in Buffalo will help you know exactly where you stand. For example, in most cases, the court will award joint legal custody while awarding physical custody to only one parent. In some cases, however, one parent can get both legal and physical custody. Talk to your lawyer to know the most likely outcome in your case and how to proceed.
2. Try to Be a Better Parent
When seeking sole custody, you should focus on being a better parent. In other words, you will need to ensure your children’s physical as well as mental well-being. Make sure you are aware of their routine. Keep track of all their school activities, medical appointments, sleeping and eating habits, and social interactions.
You will also need to look after the mental well-being of your kids. You need to help your children adjust to their new lifestyle. Divorce can be hard on many children. So, you will need to be extra careful during this time. As a better parent, the court will expect you to provide your kids with an overall healthy lifestyle. Be sure to provide them with it.
3. Be Practical and Honest
Although family law in Buffalo allows you to get full custody, you need to be practical. You need to consider your work schedule, location, and income, among other things, before you decide to fight for sole custody.
For example, if you are working two jobs, you are less likely to spend time with your kids. Would you rather your kids spent time with your ex or a nanny? It is usually in the best interest of children to be with their parents.
If your current work location is in a different city, state, or country, you will need to consider if your children can adapt to this change. As your kids are going through considerable emotional stress already, the last thing you would want is to take them away from their friends.
That’s why you should always be practical and honest when making custody-related requests in court. Being unreasonable will only turn the odds against you. You can talk to your lawyer and even your ex to work out a solution suitable for everyone.
4. Document Your Actions
As per the family law in Buffalo, the burden of proof lies on the parents. You may already be a better parent than your ex or soon-to-be-ex. However, you will need to prove it in court. You will need to gather evidence to prove your active involvement in your children’s lives.
So, you need to maintain your own records of everything, including parenting schedule, school activities, and visitation schedule, among other things. You can talk to your lawyer to know what needs to be documented and for how long.
In most cases, more than anything, divorcing parents want full custody of their kids. However, custody battles are often challenging. Hopefully, these tips will help you prepare for yours. Remember though, as each child custody case is unique, be sure to talk to a competent attorney before making any decisions. Good luck!
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As a leading divorce attorney in Buffalo, Carlson & Jones, P.A. can provide you with all services related to divorce and child custody. No matter how complicated your case is, our experts will help you find a suitable solution. Call us on (855) 976-2444 or contact us online to know more about our legal services.