Five Ways to Build Your Case for Sole Custody
Child custody battles can be contentious and stressful. A custody fight affects you, your former spouse, and your child. The consequences of a poorly planned child custody case can be far-reaching and long-lasting. Although you want to do what’s best for your child, ensuring you get what you want from the arrangement is also important.
Seeking sole custody is a challenge. Texas courts issue child custody orders based on the child’s best interest. However, the courts also want to ensure both parents share in the duties and rights of raising their children even after separation or divorce. You might think sole custody is the most favorable decision, but the court could disagree.
Building your case for sole custody requires extensive preparations. If you want to file for sole custody, there are five ways to build your case.
Hire a Family Law Attorney
You should think twice about representing yourself in court. You might think the process is simple. Maybe your ex even made a verbal agreement with you to allow you to have sole custody. Unfortunately, a child custody arrangement isn’t legally enforceable until it’s in writing. Your ex could change their mind anytime, go back on their word, and fight you for sole custody.
Hiring an experienced family law attorney could benefit your case. You need someone with the necessary skills and resources to build an effective case for you. Your lawyer can create a legal strategy and gather evidence to prove that your child’s best interests are served by being in your care.
Terminate the Other Parent’s Rights
In some cases, terminating a former spouse’s parental rights is in the child’s best interests. Typically, one parent seeks this type of action if the other parent abandoned, abused, or otherwise endangered the child.
Terminating parental rights isn’t a straightforward process in Texas. If you want to terminate your ex’s parental rights and win sole custody, you must prove they engaged in any of the actions below:
- Endangered your child
- Committed certain criminal offenses
- Abandoned your child
- Participated in certain types of substance abuse
- Neglected your child
- Caused serious injury or death to a child
- Had their parental rights of another child terminated because of endangering them
The court requires clear and convincing evidence of the parent’s actions. You might have to obtain copies of court documents, police reports, protective orders, and other documentation.
Stay in Your Child’s Life
Whether the court granted you or your ex temporary custody, taking an active role in your child’s life during custody negotiations is crucial. You should continue to care for your child and involve yourself in their daily routine, especially if they live with your ex at the moment.
Many divorcing couples allow their emotions to take over. Instead of focusing on what matters, they get wrapped up in fighting and winning. You should never lose sight of your goal. If you believe sole custody benefits your child, show the court you are a fit, reasonable, attentive, and loving parent.
Get Ahead of Potentially Damaging Information
Your ex will likely hire an attorney to gather evidence against you. They will closely inspect every aspect of your life. You will be under a microscope while building your sole custody case. That means anything from your past or present that could negatively affect the outcome of the case could surface.
Inform your family law attorney of everything you can think of that could hurt your petition for sole custody. Discuss your finances, job, family, living situation, and other circumstances.
Maybe you have financial problems or an arrest record from before your child’s birth. Although it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t win your case, hiding this information could come back to bite you later. Chances are, your ex’s lawyer will find evidence of it. If you lie, the court will see you in an unfavorable light.
Document Everything Related to the Case
The court won’t consider your petition for sole custody or allegations against your ex if you don’t have evidence to support your position. The second you or your ex file for divorce, start documenting every detail about their parenting skills. Prepare a list of dates and events so you can present it to the family law judge.
Maybe your ex consistently forgets to pick up your child from school or doesn’t follow the temporary visitation schedule. Keep track of these instances. It could show the court that your ex might not protect your child’s interests if they get custody.
Contact Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. Today
Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. represents Texas clients in various family law matters. We have an impressive reputation and a proven track record of success. Our award-winning San Antonio child custody attorneys provide personalized attention and ongoing support during stressful and complicated child custody cases.
If you want to pursue sole custody of your child, call Higdon, Hardy & Zuflacht, L.L.P. at (210) 349-9933 immediately or contact us online for a confidential consultation. Our legal professionals are available 24/7 to take your call.