Winning Full Custody of Your Children
Massachusetts Child Custody Lawyers
Full custody or sole custody is when one parent is designated as the parent with primary legal or physical custody—often both. In these cases, the non-custodial parent is often given visitation rights or at least supervised visitation, although that is not always the case. If you have children and you are facing an impending divorce, you likely want to win full custody of your children.
While there is no sure-fire way to guarantee sole custody, there are certain steps you can take that could give you an advantage:
- File first
- Beware of what you say or post on social media
- Avoid using tricks
- Demonstrate interest in your children
- Don’t move out
- Don’t use your children as bargaining chips
One thing we always recommend is filing first. While we usually try to settle divorces by entering negotiations with the other spouse’s lawyer, sometimes the other side becomes unreasonable and going to court is necessary. We approach every case as if it could go to trial, and we often do file first. This can give us the advantage by putting us in the driver’s seat and being able to control, to a certain extent, the order in which the court considers the issues.
Manage What You Say on Social Media
If a child custody dispute is on the horizon, think twice before posting anything on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform. This is because the other side can use something called “electronic discovery” to access records from your social media accounts and use them against you in your custody dispute.
Avoid disparaging your spouse (directly or indirectly), posting pictures or comments showing alcohol or drug use, posting pictures or comments about a new girlfriend/boyfriend or posting photos that show your children in a setting that suggests inappropriate supervision on your part.
Avoid Using Tricks
Far too often, people believe they have to resort to certain tricks to get full custody of their children, such as making false claims of abuse. These tricks can get you in trouble, and if the court finds out you lied, it can harm your case—possibly preventing you from getting custody of your children.
Demonstrate Interest in Your Children
Demonstrate interest in your children and involvement in their lives. This seems like a no-brainer since, as a parent, you likely care very much for your children. However, if divorce is on the horizon, make sure to support the claim that you love your children by attending their school or sporting events, picking them up from school and spending time bonding with them on the weekends.
Don’t Move Out
Moving out of the marital home is one of the biggest divorce mistakes a spouse can make before or during the divorce process. In most cases, the spouse who moves out stays out. Moving out of the home in which your children live can also create the perception that you do not care whether or not you are around your children.
Don’t Use Your Children as Bargaining Chips
Avoid involving your children in your divorce more than they need to be. Far too often, children are dragged into contentious custody battles and can suffer emotional harm as a result. Don't speak negatively about your spouse in front of your children, and especially avoid making false claims about your spouse or making your children feel as though they should choose sides.
Consider Hiring a Guardian ad Litem
While there are certain factors that all judges must look at, each one brings his or her own morals and values into the decision-making process. Our firm often suggests hiring a guardian ad litem (GAL) as an expert.
Contact Miller Law Group, P.C. today to discuss representation from an experienced Massachusetts child custody attorney. We pull the gloves off to help give you the best chance at winning full custody.