Tips to Prepare for a Child Custody Dispute

When you are separating or divorcing in New Mexico and kids are involved, it’s likely they are your top concern. If you expect your divorce to be particularly difficult, there is a chance you may end up disagreeing with your spouse over the custody terms. While what is best for your children overall should be your guiding focus, it’s all too easy to let your own emotions take over the process and lead to some undesirable outcomes.
As you prepare for a potential dispute with your child’s other parent, here’s what to keep in mind so you have the best chance at the most favorable outcome for yourself and your kids.

Talk to an Attorney

Speak to an experienced family law attorney right away. This still applies even if you do not expect to have any problems when it comes to custody issues. Emotions can flare up unexpectedly in a divorce, and you never know when you may find yourself needing legal help. It’s best to have an attorney there as the case unfolds. When you are receiving advice right from the start, it can set your case up to run more smoothly and reach a better end.

Mind Your Communications

Be very careful how you communicate with the other parent, especially if it is in a documented form such as text or email. While your spouse may personally hurt you, if it did not jeopardize your child in any way, it has no bearing on your custody case. What you say to your spouse can actually hurt your case, especially if you get angry or emotional and say hurtful things that you don’t mean that involve the children or the other parent’s ability to see them. If the court feels that you are not placing your children’s well-being above your own needs or that you may interfere with the other parent’s relationship with your children, you will find yourself in hot water in court. Remember, one of the factors the Court looks at when deciding custody issues is the parent’s ability to get along with the other parent and ability to foster a relationship between the child and the other parent.

Don’t Be Pushed into Anything

Do not allow the other parent to push you into a direction that you do not feel is best for the kids. While emotions are raw, it may be tempting to simply go along with the other parent’s wishes, but your children deserve the best living situation for them. This is why it’s important to speak to an attorney early on so you know exactly what your realistic options are before you make any major decisions.

Stay Put If You Wish

You don’t have to move out of the family home if the other parent demands it, even if they solely own the house that you are living in or you are not married. You don’t want to take any action that could be used by your spouse or former partner in court later as an example of you “leaving” the children behind. Do note, however, that if you feel your safety is in question by staying, you need to leave and talk to an attorney for help immediately.
If the other parent has decided to move but you are worried about your ability to pay the household bills, remember you may be able to seek temporary support such as spousal or child support. Your attorney can help you file for the temporary orders so you can continue to maintain the home for your kids.
Child custody cases are among the most emotional areas of family law. With something as important as your children’s future on the line, it only makes sense to get experienced legal help as soon as you can to avoid damaging your own case.