The initial phase of the separation can be the most difficult part of the entire process of splitting your family in two. How well the divorce or mutual separation goes determines the arrangements for the child and who they live with, this goes without saying. You may feel that you shouldn’t have to prove to anyone that you’re a good father. Anger blurs our vision and is only going to make things worse. Keeping a cool head is extremely valuable. If you bypass coming to an agreement out of court and find yourself having to face the judge, this is an opportunity to show the judge that you’re a good parent and have the right to spend as much time with your child as possible. If your ex is doing a less than satisfactory job at being your child’s mother or father and you want your child to live with you primarily, the judge needs to understand why you should get this.
Take Inventory. Are you involved in your child’s life? Taking them to doctor’s appointments, attending school meetings, knowing their friend’s families, these things are what the court is going to examine. Of course there are different circumstances for everyone. If you work 60 + hours a week and aren’t able to go to as many school meetings as you’d like, to make enough money to send your child to a better school, then obviously it’s not a lack of involvement as if you were out with your buddies instead of their little league game or parent teacher conferences.
Defining Your Terms. Knowing what legal terms mean for different custody or visitation scenarios should be on the top of your lists; make sure you know what you’re signing. If you’re meeting with an attorney, coming to the meeting prepared with a list of things you want to talk about or legal terms you need clarity on is a step in the right direction; writing it down can put things in perspective. The difference between legal and physical custody is huge. Knowing what a temporary guardianship order is, what it means, how long “temporary” means etc. You don’t necessarily have to pay an attorney to tell what all this means either. Information is readily accessible. The link below might be helpful to you.
In a perfect world this wouldn’t be a battle, not all divorce and custody matters are though. Overall, being a good parent is simply being around your kid. Make sure they know you’re there and that they want to tell you about their lives. If they’re younger, toddlers etc, and haven’t reached the friend stage yet, set a good example. It all takes work. If it was easy, it wouldn’t really be worth it. Climbing a hill doesn’t give you as much satisfaction as climbing a mountain does.