Child custody cases, perhaps more than just about any other type of civil court proceeding, have the propensity to get very nasty very quickly.
A recent tragedy out of Delaware drove this point home, where a suspected gunman who had been embroiled in years of child custody battles fatally shot his estranged wife and another women before he too was killed.
Our Birmingham divorce attorneys well understand the heightened emotions and even primal protection instincts involved in many of these cases – and we will fight aggressively for you and your child.
At the same time, we understand the importance of maintaining a civil discourse. The Delaware case is an extreme example of what can happen when that discourse dissolves. We do understand that the legal system heaps its own complications and frustrations on already-strained communications. When you reach a point that it becomes too difficult for you to communicate with your ex on matters pertaining to custody of your child, we can act as a go-between to help find solutions.
In cases where abuse or neglect has clearly been an issue, we work to ensure your children are safe by providing the judge with a detailed history and documented facts that will allow him or her to make an educated decision as to your child's well-being.
It's important to understand how a judge reaches his or her conclusion. The types of factors the judge will look at in determining child custody details are:
- The bond between each parent and child;
- Whether the child has lived with one parent more often than the other;
- The mental and physical health of each parent;
- The ability of each parent to provide a loving and stable home life;
- The extent of involvement each parent has had in the child's education, social and extracurricular activities.
Older children may also be asked to personally weigh in about where they want to stay. Although this won't be the determinant factor, a judge will often consider it carefully.
Some things you may want to keep in mind that will not only help us reach a better outcome, but also make this difficult process easier for you and your children, are:
- Avoid communicating any negativity about your ex or your ex's new spouse to your child. Not only is this confusing for the child, it may hurt your case if the judge finds that such messages are harming your child emotionally.
- When it's possible or appropriate, try to keep your ex in the loop about your child, and keep track of those instances. Involving him or her in things like school events may be tough for you, but if you can do so without it causing a scene, it may show your willingness to work across the aisle – which will show the judge you aren't trying to be vindictive or cut your ex off completely.
- Try to stay calm, even when your spouse flies off the handle about something insignificant. Not only are you setting an example for your child, but diffusing a situation – even at the cost of your own pride – is a powerful illustration of someone with the kind of level-headedness that makes for good parenting. Just make sure to document it, and if the situation becomes violent, report it immediately to police – and your attorney.
If you are contemplating a divorce in Birmingham, contact Birmingham Family Law Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.
State Police say 3 dead in shooting in lobby of Del. courthouse; shooter among dead,Feb. 11, 2013, Associated Press