Divorce is a very difficult situation. You and your family’s lives are being upended. The hope in the end is that this separation will lead to brighter days ahead and a new lease on life for everyone involved, but if you have children, that can be harder to navigate. Children process information differently than adults. Throughout you and your spouse’s divorce, your child(ren) may be quiet, in which you’ll want to console them and listen when they are ready. Your children may also be more vocal about the situation. If so, allow them to express their emotions and assure them that they are not the reason for the divorce.

If possible, don’t badmouth your future ex-spouse to your children. Doing so only indicates that they must choose you or your ex, which could create lingering descent and troubled relationships.spouse. In some custody cases, the children maybe asked to testify, especially if you’re goal is sole custody. In this case, some of the feelings you’ve tried to hide might be heard by  the children, but that is determined on a case-by-base basis.

What does the judge consider?

Above all else, the judge will place heavy emphasis on the best interests of the child or children in question. Is other parent abusive or constantly absent? Do they not contribute to their children’s well-being, or have a severe substance abuse problem? Sole custody is attainable, but can be a tall task to achieve unless the evidence is egregious because the court would like to see the children being raised by both parents. In addition to citing in specific detail why it is in the best interests of the children to only live with you, consider the following protocols to better your chances of a favorable outcome.

  1. Act polite at all times
    • The judge will sense if your decent actions are a facade. You have the right to express your true feelings – to be real and be you, but do so while maintaining your composure and avoid lashing out or interrupting the proceedings.
  2. Dress appropriately
    • The most important dressing tip is to avoid casual or unkempt clothing. The court will often associate tattered, baggy or casual clothes with disrespect for the courtroom or one-self, which would not help in a custody case. Instead, consider a dark suit. Suits can be expensive, and not feasible for some parents seeking custody. If you are in this situation, consider asking a friend or family member if they have  suit you could borrow, or search local thrift shops, consignment shops or online sales for good deals on a well-fitting suit.
  3. Be prepared
    • This is partially where the importance of an attorney comes into play. Represented parents show that they have taken the time to discussed their case with a professional family law attorney. Also, if you are accusing your spouse of abuse (physical, verbal or substance-related), or are arguing any other position against he child’s other parent, provable documentation or other forms of evidence could greatly advance your hopes of receiving sole custody.