Are you working through a custody or sole decision battle? Are divorce proceeding becoming a risky balance between maintaining a property, maintaining child visitation rights, and maintaining your dignity? The very nature of family law is highly emotional and with high personal stakes, but many people forget that they need to win the court battle in order to win any personal battles. If you're worried about the stakes and how to represent yourself when you have to speak on your own, here are a few guiding insights for family law mediation:
The Reasonable Test, Or Taking Small Victories
Consider a divorce case as an example. If both sides want custody of the children, how are the splitting parents likely to approach the situation. There are many divorcing parents who are at least cordial about the situation and ready to compromise, but what about when there are animosity and distrust in the situation?
For some parents, "winning" means getting the best rights out of the situation. If it isn't equal visitation rights, it's sole custody or sole decision-making while shutting the other parent out of the situation. There are certain situations where such decisions are necessary, but you need to try to step out of your situation and view everything as the judge would.
Make Your Requests Reasonable
Is the other parent truly unable to take care of the child? The question isn't if you think you'd be a better fit, or if you just don't like the situation. Is the parent truly unfit, and would your argument be legally sound or just "understandable" from an emotional standpoint?
One big mistake is allowing the toxic culture surrounding divorce situations to cloud your judgment. Some divorcing parents see examples of how to behave and copy the outlandish, all or nothing, great rage method of getting what they want. Unfortunately, the judge may see your hostile act and decide to punish you with a denial of custody, ignoring your requests for a decision in your favor, or making you pay your soon-to-be-ex spouse's legal fees.
Instead of arguing for big demands based on emotion, set smaller milestones and present them to the judge. Start a shared custody and have documentation that can be confirmed if you need to prove that the other parent is either not suited for parenthood or at least temporarily unprepared.
Were you determined unsuitable to take custody of a child in the past? Depending on the situation, it may be a temporary problem that can be fixed with documented changes, but you need to understand the deciding judge's reasoning.
Figuring out what you need to do is actually as simple as listening to the judge's order and referencing it in court documents, but putting your actions in a documented format that the court will accept is more challenging. You can't just open up a Word document and type a list of things you've done; independent parties must confirm that your actions took place.
If you were financially unstable before, you'll need to have pay stubs, bank statements, and housing arrangements that match up with your pay. A financial analysis is simple to perform, and the court can even give you a salary number to work towards in order to prove yourself. Not all people are guaranteed a rich and famous life, so don't think that you're fighting to be richer. Just suitable.
More risky situations such as substance abuse or physical abuse are more difficult to prove. Contact a family law attorney to discuss approved programs and documentation for recovery, along with victory conditions.