How to Win Your Child Custody Case

Strategies to Win Custody and Protect Your Kids in the Process


Don't rush to settle. For some people, dealing with the difficult issues of divorce and custody is so painful and overwhelming that they accept substandard terms just to be done with it. Don't agree to less than you're entitled to get just to escape temporary discomfort. Remember that your children's future is at stake.

Child custody easily qualifies as the most difficult and emotionally trying aspect of any divorce case. In no other discussions are tensions higher than with issues involving children, nor is there any other area as prone to bad decisions and mistakes. Unfortunately, these errors can have lifetime consequences. It's in your children's and your best interests to tread the custody landscape with caution and care. You'll find a series of time-tested, proven strategies in this report for achieving the best possible outcome.

At times court battles are unavoidable, and there's a detailed discussion here of what it takes to prevail during litigation. However, the idea of "winning" a custody case has to be understood in context. Truly winning ultimately means obtaining an outcome that is beneficial to all parties, including your children, you and your spouse. If you alienate your spouse in the course of handling the child custody aspect of your divorce, you set off a whole string of undesirable consequences.

The most critical of these is the undue stress your kids are exposed to. In order for your children to adjust well to the new living circumstances divorce imposes, they need to have parents who cooperate with one another. This is fundamental to their emotional stability, both now and in the future. Nothing is so damaging to a child as continual backbiting, venom and hostility between parents.

Secondly, if you are unable to work out a custody arrangement that your spouse considers fair, you can forget about getting any financial assistance other than what your divorce decree specifically requires. In contrast, by maintaining an amicable relationship, your spouse might be amenable to chipping in for financial needs beyond the stipulated minimum. Unexpected financial needs will always arise with children, which you may not be able to handle alone. It's better to have a former spouse who will help out, even though he or she doesn't have to as a legal requirement.

Finally and worst of all, your spouse may decide to forgo being a part of your children's lives. While you may think this a relief, the reality is that the harmonious involvement of both parents builds the strongest foundation for children to grow into healthy, well-functioning adults.

Considering these elements, if you are able to negotiate a workable custody arrangement out of Court, then you really have come out ahead. What you've gained is a balanced, life-affirming structure that provides stable support for your children, and affords you the opportunity to build a new and happier future. In every meaningful and worthwhile sense, this is winning.

If you have to fight, be clear that only the strong survive in the custody litigation arena. Aside from the emotional overtones that complicate all lawsuits involving children, many divorce lawyers turn resolvable disagreements into full-blown warfare. The cost of litigation then escalates, depleting clients financially. This is the reason why McAdams Law approaches each case strategically: negotiate if you can, fight if you have to. In this way, client resources are protected and preserved, and desired results can be obtained as quickly as possible.

The principles that follow are not legal advice. Child custody issues by their very nature are exceedingly complex. The legal dimension is just one of many aspects to be evaluated, and balanced against others for the most beneficial result. You will do your children and yourself a great service by assembling the best team of advisors you can. That being said, the following suggestions will help guide you through the maze of issues you're likely to deal with in the months and years ahead.

Here's what you need to know:

Be Clear on What You Need

Level the Playing Field

Try to Reach an Agreement with Your Spouse

Respect Your Spouse's Right to be a Parent

Don't Start a Fight You Can't Win

Beware of Sole Custody

Be Cautious About Joint Custody

Don't Blame, Bash or Rehash.

Match the Schedule to Your Kid

Hire a Psychologist Respected by the Court

Depose Your Spouse First

If You Think Your Spouse May Steal Your Kids

Avoid the Change-of-Custody Risk Factors

Divorce often draws out people's lowest tendencies. Nevertheless, you need to be as clear-headed as possible. Let Jeffrey McAdams address problems when things become unbearable, and buy you some time to think and regain your composure.

Remember this: blood is blood. The relationship your children have with your spouse will continue to be significant, no matter what. He is still their father. She is still their mother. The question is what kind of a relationship will it be?

If you need assistance with your child custody case, or would like a second opinion, please call McAdams Law at 212-257-9425. Matrimonial law is one of the firm's primary practice areas.