How do I get custody of my child after a divorce?

How do I get custody of my child after a divorce?

Date : 14 Mar, 2019

Post By Barbie Duggal

If divorce is inevitable, bitter battles cannot be the option to settle issues of child custody and access. Custody of a child, when parents divorce, only implies as to who the child will physically reside with. Both parents continue to be natural guardians. 

Over the years, there is a shift from custody and access being the 'right of a parent' to being the 'right of a child'.The custodial parent will be the primary caretaker responsible for the emotional, medical and educational needs of the child and the non-custodial parent who does not lose the rights over the child will have the right of access.
The non-negotiable principle on which custody is decided is the 'best interest and welfare of the child'. Who will best serve the child's emotional, educational, social and medical needs is the only criteria.

The earning capacity of the parent does not determine custody but the capacity to provide a safe and secure environment does. A non-earning mother will not be disqualified but the earning father will be asked to provide child support. While the mother is the preferred custodial parent when the child is of a tender age, once the child attains a discernible age, his/her wishes will be considered while deciding the issue of custody and access .

 Some things you should keep in mind are:

Check your state’s laws regarding changes to a custody order. Some states require that, absent an extreme emergency, a certain amount of time must pass after the court signs your decree before you can ask to modify it. Judges value stability for children, so they frown upon frequent custody changes. Most states also require a “material change of circumstance” before they’ll alter custody terms.

-Document whatever circumstance has changed to warrant a modification of your custody arrangement. Your case may hinge on proving the material change of circumstance to the court, so take your time and be thorough. Gather as much physical proof as possible that the developments have occurred. The court won’t take your word for it.
-Visit the courthouse where you received your divorce. Speak with the court clerk and ask for the appropriate forms to file a motion for modifying custody. Some states call these “post-judgment” motions and others call them “motions for modification.”

-Complete your motion and affidavit. Make copies of the documenting proof you’ve gathered regarding the change of circumstance, and attach it to the affidavit.

-File your completed paperwork with the court clerk and ask about what rules your state has for serving a copy on your children’s other parent. Some states will allow you to do this by certified mail; others might require that your county sheriff deliver them.
-Attend the court hearing when the clerk notifies you of the date and time. You must prove that your children would be better off with you. This means being factual and cool-headed when you orally present your case to the judge. Your ex-spouse will probably try to prove that you’re wrong, so hold on to your temper and emotions.

Divorce is never easy, but we can help.

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