Preparing for a Custody Battle
A custody fight is never ideal. Instead, parents should sit down together and try as best as they can to come up with a custody arrangement that works for both. Nevertheless, sometimes parents cannot agree, and a custody fight is unavoidable. If your ex is unwilling to work with you, you’ll need an aggressive Richmond, Texas, family law attorney by your side to fight for your rights.
How Judges Decide Child Custody
In Texas, custody decisions are made with a focus on what is in your child’s best interests. There isn’t some mathematical formula that a judge uses to arrive at this determination, and judges do not assume that children must stay with the mother. Instead, Texas courts consider many factors, including:
- Each parent’s emotional ties to the children
- Your child’s bond with their siblings
- Each parent’s ability to provide their children with food, medical care, clothing, and other daily needs
- The safety and nurturance of each parent’s home environment
- Each parent’s physical and mental health
- Each parent’s involvement in their child’s life
- Any evidence of child abuse or family violence
Texas law doesn’t give any one factor priority over the others and to build a good case for custody, you need to show a judge how most of these factors work in your favor.
Building A Persuasive Case For Child Custody
Based on the above factors, you should begin gathering evidence to present to a judge that shows you have a strong bond with your child and can provide for their needs. For example, you might consider gathering the following:
- Proof that you spend time with your child, particularly if you aren’t currently living in the home. For example, you should have pictures or video showing you together.
- Medical proof that you are in good physical and mental health. For example, you might have had a recent physical exam.
- Witness testimony from people who have seen you together with your children. Ideally, these witnesses shouldn’t be family members but instead should be daycare providers, neighbors, teachers, etc.
- A detailed list of the time you spend with your child, particularly if you aren’t currently living in the home.
Your family law attorney will have other ideas about how to build your case, but gathering the above information is a good start.
Showing The Other Parent Is Unfit
No one wants an emotional child custody fight. However, to protect your child, you may need to prepare yourself by finding evidence that casts doubt on your ex’s ability to parent. Looking at the above factors again, you might collect proof of the following:
- Police reports if your ex was physically violent toward you or the children.
- Medical records if you received treatment after a bout of domestic violence.
- Eyewitness testimony from people who have seen your ex strike your child or humiliate them.
- A record of the amount of time the other parent spends away from the child. Note any missed holidays or birthdays, as well as significant events the other parent misses.
At your consultation, your family law attorney will discuss other ways to show your ex shouldn’t have custody, but the above list of documents is a good start.
Call a Texas Family Law Attorney Today
Custody fights can often be avoided. But if one is on the horizon, you’ll need skilled legal representation as soon as possible. At the Vendt Law Firm, we represent parents throughout the divorce process, including custody fights. Call us today at (832) 276-9474 or fill out our online contact form.