Be rational. It’s the most counterintuitive thing to suggest to a parent going through a custody dispute, and also probably the furthest thing from that parent’s mind. How could a parent possibly detach emotionally from a custody battle? Nothing matters more to a parent than their child’s wellbeing.
Consider for a second that your child’s wellbeing is exactly why you need to remain calm and rational during such a chaotic and confusing time.
Your child’s wellbeing is exactly why we pose this suggestion to you, the parent. Choosing sensibility over emotional reactions not only helps in custody proceedings or divorce battles, it’s also a better way to handle anything difficult life might throw your way. This practice will help you to see with total clarity not only what situation or custody arrangement is objectively best for your child, but also to figure out all of the steps you need to take to get there.
Here are some easy ways that you can use your rationale over your emotions while proceeding in your custody battle.
1. Don’t rush the selection of an attorney.
When you realize you need an attorney for a custody battle or family law issue, you might be tempted towards a knee-jerk reaction; to hire whatever family lawyer you see first just to get the first step overwith. This is usually not the best method of selecting representation. Unless you have an upcoming deadline or something more urgent, the process of choosing an attorney should not be haphazard or hasty if you can help it.
When you have a consultation with an attorney, you are not only gleaning precious and valuable information from them. In essence, you’re interviewing that attorney to see if his or her values align with your own.
Ideally, your argument for what you want out of your custody arrangement should be logical, well-built, well-informed, and solidly rooted in the law. It only makes sense that, if you want your claim to be legitimate, rational, and logical, that you should probably look for those qualities in your attorney.
Most of us know the cliché of the over-the-top, super-aggressive “pit bull” attorney. That kind of posturing is oftentimes detrimental to a case. That attitude in an attorney, especially without experience or education, isn’t what wins cases. Good arguments and sound logic are what is needed for a solid case. This is why it’s best to choose your attorney with your brain instead of your feelings.
2. Itemize what matters for you and your child.
This is an important step. When you are in a calm space, without distractions, make two lists: one of what you hope to see out of your custody proceedings, and one for what you rationally believe would be best for your child. Be specific. Under your list, you might write that you want your child to be taken care of by a family member after school, or that you get a certain amount in child support payments. It’s important to not only identify what you want for yourself at the end of your custody proceeding, but also to think about what’s best for your children.
When you meet with an attorney, bring your list with you. Stick to the facts about why you think these results are the ones you think would be best. Have legitimate reasons at the ready. This is a practice that can help streamline the consultation and retainment process for any attorney and client; your attorney can clearly understand what you want, and can clearly tell you how he plans on getting there.
3. Once you select an attorney, listen.
You’ve gone through the process of screening attorneys, you’ve been to a consultation or two, and now you’ve settled on a lawyer who properly aligns with the kind of representation you’re looking for. Now, it’s time to get the help that you selected.
Sometimes that means hearing some things you may not necessarily be itching to hear, but this is a good sign. A good attorney will let his client know when their requests may not hold up in court. You might be seeking to get full custody of your children, but if you don’t have a set of circumstances that demands that full custody, your attorney may have to tell you that it’s an unreasonable request. Be willing to discuss and listen to what’s likely so that your attorney can get you the best possible outcome. Remember, if you’ve hired an experienced one, they’ve gone through all of this way more often than you have.
It doesn’t matter if you’re handling an agreeable co-parent or a difficult ex: if you can think over feeling, if you can stick to logic and the facts, chances are your argument – and your outcome – all stand to benefit.