Parents who question their ex's ability to raise their child may decide to wage a custody battle in hopes of being awarded more parenting time. Those who decide to do this often ask what it takes for a judge to decide to award increased custody to them as opposed to their ex.
While the factors that a family law judge considers vary by jurisdiction, every judge is expected to make decisions that are always in the best interest of the child.
The burden of proof that a parent seeking sole custody must meet is high. They must be able to produce evidence that the other parent is unfit to raise their child. In most cases, it would take proving that your ex has an untreated mental illness, is abusive, keeps bad company or engages in illicit activities for them to be deprived of custody.
Parents who talk poorly of each other can do more harm than good if they're seeking custody of them. Judges tend to place kids with moms or dads who are going to encourage them to develop a loving relationship with each parent. This is why it's important for the petitioning parent to keep the conversation focused solely on the needs of their son or daughter.
A parent seeking sole custody should talk to how they can better provide for their physical well-being. This may include talking about how awarding you sole custody may improve your child's eating and sleep schedules and overall health. Alternatively, he or she may discuss how it would allow them to participate in more extracurricular activities.
It's important that a parent be able to show that their home is better for their child's psychological well-being also. A parent who is able to maintain a stable home life and keep up with their bills may come off as more stable to a judge and seem most appropriate to care for the child.
A number of factors including financial means, work schedules, age, health and relationships may impact whether a judge decides to award one parent custody versus another. An Ann Arbor child custody attorney who is experienced in brokering parenting time agreements can help you decide whether seeking sole custody is ideal in your unique situation and if so, your prospects of being awarded it.