Some parents are so fearful of how divorce might affect their children that they stay in doomed relationships for years. That strategy can backfire, however, when the relationship is bitter and the atmosphere in the home toxic. One common fear among divorcing parents is the loss of custody and some warring parties resort to threats and intimidation. The party that takes proactive steps may be the one with the power during a divorce proceeding and power means taking offensive measures. Read on to find out what to do when threatened with a loss of child custody.
Take Threats Seriously
Divorce can be an emotional event and spouses frequently say things to each other that they don't mean. Threats to ask for full physical custody of the child may never come to pass. Hurtful words can be borne of frustration and stress or they might be serious. If you expect to retain custody of the child, you should not assume the threats to be idle. A spouse that makes threats could be a sign of an uncooperative spouse who intends to fight you and every divorce issue that comes up.
Take Assertive Actions to Protect Your Custody Rights
Whether you feel you are the best parent to retain full physical custody or you have reason to believe that your children would not be in the best hands if your spouse had custody, take the following actions as soon as you know a divorce is inevitable.
- Take the threats seriously and note the issues. For example, if your spouse is accusing you of being an inattentive parent, drinking too much, spending too much time at work, etc., make a note of those accusations. Once you have a divorce lawyer, provide them with those threats. It's helpful to know what to expect from a spouse and to be prepared to fight allegations ahead of time.
- Understand how family law judges view the best interests of the child. This means placing their needs above the needs of the parents when making decisions. That also means that just because you think you are the best custodial parent, that is not enough. Be prepared to present concrete reasons why you are the best custodial parent.
- Get a divorce law attorney sooner rather than later. Having legal help with your divorce – even if you are not quite ready to file – allows you to make plans early and to set up some provisions to assist you in parting ways. For example, you can ask for child support as soon as you are no longer living under the same roof.
- Begin a journal that details the interactions between you and your child as well as that of the child and your spouse.
Taking the above actions may give you a head start on fighting for custody. Speak to a divorce lawyer to find out more.