The Uphill Battle for Custody
In family courts, it is not always easy making the best impression. Men can find themselves facing an uphill battle, in their efforts to establish custodial footing. In an effort to be the parent that their child needs, they can often find themselves vulnerable to an opposing party, willing to reveal any and all skeletons that may exist in a man’s closet.
Part of this stems from the impression that you, as a father and possibly divorced man, may give off. There are many still among us that look down on those who are divorced and look down on the divorced men even more harshly. They may be unable to open themselves up to the possibility that the mother may not be the most capable parent or that she may not be deserving of custody.
Impressions and body language
There are ways of making a better impression that may be beneficial. As much as it may be disingenuous, suppressing any type of negative feelings and appearing outwardly positive, or at the very least neutral, can make all the difference, according to Psychology Today.
Your body language in court can make a difference. When you are addressed in court, make sure to make eye contact, smile, and always sit up straight.
It also is important that you avoid furrowing your brow or rolling your eyes. Because of the importance of the situation, you need to appear attentive at all times, so avoid any type of body language that could be construed as negative.
These subtleties play a factor in how a judge may interpret the validity of the bad facts that the opposing party may use against you. In identifying them, you are better able to avoid the negative consequences of falling into these poor habits.
Battling bad facts
While first impressions are another bump in the road of this uphill battle, there are other aspects that threaten to divide you from a favorable outlook with the courts. The bad facts that can come up during custody-related discussions can paralyze any good will that co-parents may have, in trying to do what is in the best interests of their children.
As difficult as it may be to listen to, these bad facts are a part of the case, and the judge needs to listen to them and consider what is in the best interests of the child. As a participating party in this discussion, it is important for you to inform your attorney of the bad facts beforehand, so that they can craft responses to them that can appropriate combat the damage that they may case.
Being prepared is part of the process. If you and your attorney are not prepared for the fight to gain custodial footing, it may not happen, which is why it is so important to do the homework for your case beforehand.
Many fathers simply want joint custody, or at the very least, visitation with their children. However, they may find themselves competing against the idea that they cannot provide the same loving and nurturing environment for a child to grow up in, as the mother.
This ideal is a remnant of the Tender Years Doctrine, a long-dead presumption that states that children should remain in their mother’s care following a divorce.
This relic is slowly being phased out of the societal perception, and the replacement notion that is sweeping across family courts in many states is that both parents should have a standardized opportunity to be parents in the lives of their shared children.
While this idea is spreading rapidly across states through the implementation of shared parenting laws, it is not yet everywhere, preventing many fathers from being the parents that their children need in their lives.
These parents need to understand that despite the legal and emotional difficulties that they may be facing in gaining a custodial foothold in their children’s lives, they should not give up. They need to remain vigilant and prepared for the uphill battle that they face.