Negotiating a child custody arrangement before a divorce is the best way to minimize emotional trauma and preserve healthy relationships. Unfortunately, peaceful resolutions aren’t always possible, in which case you’ll have to let a family judge settle these crucial matters for you. Child custody cases are often stressful, but the tips below will help ensure you’re as prepared as possible.
5 Tips for Preparing for a Child Custody Battle
1. Understand the “Best Interests” Standard
Courts in every state, including Alaska, make custody decisions based solely on the best interests of the child. To determine what would be best for the children, the judge may weigh a variety of factors, ranging from the strength of existing relationships, each parents’ living arrangements and criminal history, and any allegations of abuse or neglect.
2. Set Realistic Expectations
In general, family courts presume that developing stable, lasting relationships with both parents is in every child’s best interests, so they’re more likely to order shared custody. If you plan on pursuing sole custody, you must be able to prove the other parent is unfit in some way.
3. Collect Your Documentation
The outcome of your child custody case may depend on the evidence you can offer the court. Depending on the specifics of your case, you may need to gather phone records showing regular contact with your children, records of child support payments, and any relevant police reports.
4. Learn What to Do in Court
Your behavior in court is an opportunity to create a favorable impression with the judge, which may influence the outcome of your case. Your attorney can give you tips on proper courtroom etiquette and give you a chance to practice.
5. Try Alternative Dispute Resolution
Child custody cases can be stressful and difficult, so it’s best to avoid courtroom hearings whenever possible. Mediation with the help of a skilled attorney can help you reach an acceptable resolution without the time, expense, or pressure of going to court.
If you’re involved in a child custody case anywhere in Fairbanks or Anchorage, the legal team at Gazewood & Weiner PC is the right choice for you. They have over 50 years of experience serving clients throughout the state, delivering exceptional guidance based on the unique nuances of your case. Visit their website for an overview of their family law services or call (907) 375-7905 for a consultation at their Anchorage office. To speak to someone at their Fairbanks location, call (907) 452-5196.