What does it take to show the court you’re the better parent?

Flicker, Kerin, Kruger & Bissada LLP

Like other parents in Menlo Park and San Ramon, you want what is best for your children. Now that you are either contemplating divorce or have already filed, you anticipate fighting for what you believe are the right choices for your children.

If you aren’t able to work well with the other parent to figure out what that means for your family, you will need to rely on the court to make these decisions for you. However, that does not mean that you will not have the opportunity to plead your case and prove that you are the better person to serve as the primary custodial parent.

What does it mean to be the better parent?

More than likely, you have your reasons for believing that obtaining sole custody of your children would provide them with a better life than joint custody. If that is the case, you could face an uphill battle with the court since, these days, the courts take the stance that the best interests of the child are better served by having both parents in their lives as much as possible. To show that this may not be the best choice in your family’s case, you will need to prove the following:

  • You need to show the court that you can better provide consistency in your children’s lives.
  • If you do need to make changes to your children’s routines, the court will want to make sure they benefit the children and do not unnecessarily disrupt their lives.
  • You will need to prove that you have the ability to support the children’s emotional, mental and physical needs. For instance, do you give them the love, support, shelter, food and other requirements they need in order to thrive?
  • The court will want to know that your living arrangements, temperament and more ensure the safety of the children as much as possible.
  • The age of your children also plays a role since the daily needs of children change as they grow.
  • You will need to show the court that you serve as the children’s primary caregiver.
  • If you have a reason to believe the other parent is unfit, you will need to prove that to the court. For instance, if the other parent has a substance abuse problem, provide evidence of it to the court.

Another important factor courts look at is your willingness to work with the other parent. Focus more on the positive aspects rather than the negative ones of the other parent. Judges do not appreciate “badmouthing” the other parent. Of course, if the other parent has an issue that precludes him or her from taking proper care of the children, you need to address it.

Knowing how to present yourself as the better parent to the court can be a complex process. Simply saying that you would be the better person to serve as the primary custodial parent is not enough. With the future of your children at stake, you may want to consult with an attorney experienced in child custody matters in order to put your best foot forward in court.

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