Divorces can turn ugly without warning. What may start as an amicable separation can end in an all-out war as spouses battle over everything from wedding rings to furniture. It is unfortunate, but this acrimony can spill into the process of reaching a child custody agreement. When the winds start to rise, and the storm clouds gather on the horizon, you have to prepare for a battle that can have long-lasting ramifications for you and your children.
Take Care of The Little Things That Matter Most
The first thing to remember is that staying civil is your best strategy. Don’t respond no matter how many digs, jabs, or outright insults get tossed your way. Remaining courteous and respectful will put you in control over the conversation. You should carefully monitor your conversations, social media activity, and any interactions with your spouse. Always think through every word you say, sentence you write, or facial expression you flash. Adopting a “ten-second” rule before responding can help avoid potentially dangerous mistakes. Remember, would you want the Judge to hear or see this voicemail, text message or email.
As the process moves forward, keep your children out of the battle. Stay mindful of everything you say and do in their presence. Make sure not to say anything negative about your spouse or their extended family. Remember, those individuals are still your child’s family, and it can negatively impact the child’s mental health, physical health, and school performance.
These “little” things are more significant than they seem. Taking care of them and avoiding alienating behaviors will help you successfully navigate a contentious custody battle. Remember, focus on the fact that your goal is to protect your children and spend quality time with them as they grow into adulthood.
Focus on the Details & Stick to the Facts
You must understand the custody laws and applicable statutes in Arizona. This information can help guide your legal strategy. It can also show you where problems may arise and where you may be able to find common ground to negotiate from.
Similarly, stay engaged in your child’s lives. Make sure to attend school functions. Take them to doctor’s appointments. Be present when you have time with them, and don’t make every visit about the divorce. Arizona courts can and will consider your engagement when reviewing the final custody agreement.
Similarly, you will want to keep thorough and accurate records of your activities. Records should include the dates/times/locations of visits with the children and your ex-spouse. You should record information about visits to the doctor, parent/teacher conferences, and counseling appointments. You should also keep records of your ex-spouse’s behaviors and interactions. Negative comments, broken commitments to you or the child, etc., can be introduced and considered when pursuing a custody agreement.
Change the Game Plan
You can expect the gloves to come off in a contentious custody battle. Your ex-spouse may throw everything from alcohol addiction to poor hygiene habits into the mix. They may bring up your living arrangements, friendships, work schedule, etc. Work with your attorney to identify any potential weak points that your ex may target. Once identified, make changes and remove any possibility that your ex can present those factors as reasons to reduce the time you can spend with your children.
Contact Simon Law Group, PLLC at (480) 210-4981 to discuss the steps we take to prepare our clients for court. We understand how important your children are to you and strive to help you secure the custody agreement that’s in their best interests.