Divorce isn't going to be all smooth sailing for any couple. However, dealing with a custody battle during a divorce can make things a lot worse. You may long to be the custodial parent. The Michigan Department of Health & Human Services reports that the custodial parent will have primary custody of the children as well as the care and primary responsibility for them.
When you are in limbo about how much time you will have with your children in the coming months and years, it can be hard to keep your cool. The good news is that there are steps you can take to empower yourself during this difficult time. Consider taking these actions to make things easier on you and your children during the custody battle.
See Your Children When You Have the Chance to Do So
If your children aren't living with you during a custody battle, do whatever it takes to see them every time you have the opportunity. Exercising your parental rights is good for you and your little ones. It also demonstrates how involved you are in your children's lives.
Do both ordinary things and special, fun things. For example, it's important to keep their schedule the same when possible and help them with homework. Consistency can help kids adapt. Keep things "normal" and expect them to complete the chores they did before the divorce. On the other hand, it's also alright to do special things with your kids when your time is limited.
Be Open to Compromise When It's Practical to Do So
A willingness to work with your ex is important for several reasons. For one, it's in your kids' best interests to be able to work things out amicably with your ex. For example, it's wise to compromise on last-minute schedule changes so that your kids have at least one parent at an extracurricular activity. That will benefit your kids more than it would benefit your ex.
You're also doing yourself a favor when you compromise with your ex. You don't have to agree to any demands your ex has, but try to offer solutions that work for both of you when problems arise. Otherwise, you may put your chances of getting custody at risk if you appear uncooperative.
Furthermore, you may find that your former partner returns the favor. If you and your ex can establish clear, respectful communication, it will be easier to compromise on matters with the children. Cutting each other some slack is beneficial to both parties since you can both enjoy more wiggle room when problems arise.
Document Everything You Can During the Custody Battle
Keep a diary or record book of everything that happens in your divorce and child custody situation. It's ideal to start records before you even file for divorce. This is extremely important if you feel that your kids may be at risk if your ex wins custody.
No matter where you are in your divorce and child custody battle, start documenting it now. Write down the positive stuff along with the negative. Always be honest in the book. If you miss or are late to pick up your kids or make a mistake, write that down in your book with a detailed explanation. Save any supportive documentation, too.
Check in With Your Attorney with Any Questions You Have
Talk to your attorney often throughout the custody battle. Ask questions you have. Don't make any major moves without discussing them with your lawyer. You may opt to make a list of questions you have between appointments, so you don't miss a thing. Your attorney has your best interests at heart, and you can experience from a divorce lawyer's expertise and experience.
Finally, consult an attorney as early in the divorce process as possible. That's especially important if you anticipate a child custody battle. Contact the caring, experienced team at Zoeller Law for help with your divorce, child custody, or family law case.