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How to prepare for litigation over child custody

Parents who must go through a child custody battle as part of of their contested divorce proceeding can prepare in ways that may help their case. While it is better to avoid litigation since a parent may be unhappy with the outcome, in some cases, it cannot be avoided. Going into litigation, parents should make sure they thoroughly understand Kentucky custody laws. They might also want to work with an attorney.

How parents dress and conduct themselves in court may have a bearing on how the judge assesses their fitness to have primary custody. The judge may also take into account any documents parents can provide that demonstrate that it it is in the best interests of the child that they get custody.

It is important to keep in mind that the custody hearing is entirely child-centered in that the convenience of the parents is not the issue. The court will choose what it views as the better parent. However, the other parent may be awarded an ample amount of visitation time. Parents can also create a parenting plan that addresses potential areas of conflict regarding how they will raise the child.

One thing a judge may consider in a custody hearing is who the child's main caregiver has been. If one parent has primarily taken the child to school and doctor's appointments and gone to most of the child's extracurricular activities, this may be given some weight. Parents who have not participated as much in their child's life may want to step up that participation if they are seeking custody. Other factors the judge might consider is how settled the child is, which living situation will create the most stability for the child and what types of relationships the child might have with others in the household.

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