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How to prepare for a child custody battle

The end of a marriage is difficult on everyone involved, and it becomes even more complicated when both parties are fighting for custody of their children. Child custody battles can be some of the worst kinds of litigation because they are both stressful and emotional.

Before you decide to wage war against your soon-to-be ex-spouse, take some time to consider what is ahead and the potential consequences. Here are several tips that will help prepare you for these court proceedings and hopefully help keep your child's best interests in the forefront.

The standard for most courts today is to do whatever is in the child's best interests. It is no longer a rule-of-thumb that children end up with their mother. Once these discussions begin, you'll need to be able to show that you're the parent who is in the child's best interests.

You can do this by demonstrating your responsibility and caring in several ways:

Pay your share. If your children aren't living with you right now, and there isn't a child support arrangement, pay your share anyway. This is the right thing to do. Document the amount that you pay each month and pay by check so that there is a traceable record of your payments.

Take pictures. You'll want to be able to show that you spend family time with your children, both at home and doing activities in the community. The best way to document this is to start taking a lot of pictures if you didn't do this already. Document the dates and times that pictures are taken and the activities that you do together.

Be involved. The parent that is awarded custody is going to be the one that is involved in the daily lives of their children. This means that you need to attend school events, sports games, doctor's appointments, music lessons, and parent/teacher conferences. The court needs to know that you can be trusted with the welfare and future of your children.

If you wish to seek custody of your children, this isn't something that you can do on your own. Child custody battles are complicated, and the emotions involved dictate that a third-party represent you in this process. Contact an experienced family law attorney who can assess your case and help you in the days and months ahead.

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