How Not To Lose Your Custody Case

Posted over 4 years ago. Applies to Virginia, 2 helpful votes

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1

Cooperate with your lawyer.

You have hired someone who knows the law and knows the judges who will decide your case. If you fail to follow your attorney's advice, you are throwing away all of that expertise, in addition to hurting your case. You are also increasing your legal fees needlessly. Cooperation includes telling the entire truth. Surprises in court are truly bad experiences for all involved.

2

Cooperate with Social Services.

The Department of Social Services or some other agency may be involved in investigating allegations of child aguse or neglect or in doing an investigation for a Home Study (court report). You do not want to make a bad impression, whether it be of you personally or of your housekeeping skills. If you have to hire a maid before their home visit, by all means, do so. Be certain that there is milk and food in the refrigerator and a bed for your child to sleep in. If you smoke, remove all evidence of it and air out the house.

3

Cooperate with the Guardian Ad Litem.

A Guardian Ad Litem, who is a lawyer for your child, may be appointed by the court. The Guardian typically interviews the parents, child and others who are involved in the case. They then report back to the court and may make a recommendation about your child's custody. Judges rely on their opinions in making custody decisions. So you need to make the Guardian your friend. You always return their phone calls immediately. You are always available to them. You get them whatever documents thay may need. You cannot be too helpful!

4

Cooperate with the court.

When a judge enters a court order, he expects you to abide by it absolutely. If you do not, the judge can punish you by finding you in contempt of court and fine or imprison you. He also can rule against you, and you will lose your case and custody of your children. This true even if you think that you had a very good reason to disobey the order. This is especially true with visitation orders. Follow them like what they are...the law.

5

Cooperate with the other parent.

While it may be human nature to behave badly toward the other parent in a custody battle, you need to resist the impulse. Judges consider which parent is cooperative and fair with visitation in making custody determinations.Encourage contact between the child and the other parent. Do not ever make a scene, especially in front of the child. Do not make derogatory comments about the other parent, and don't let your realtives and friends do it either! If you need to see a therapist in order to be able to this, then you probably did need to see a therapist.

6

Cooperate with the school.

Teachers and babysitters often find themselves in court as witnesses. They can be friend or foe depending on their perception of you. Get your child to school on time and well rested , with brushed teeth, combed hair and and a clean body and clothes. Communicate and show your involvement and concern. Let the other parent know of school activities. Share report cards, test papers, notes home, etc. with the other parent.

7

Cooperate with doctors.

Know who your child's doctor and dentist are and take the child to appointments! Be aware of any medical conditions and medications. Don't second guess every medical decision. Instead ask for information and become informed.

Additional Resources

Family Law Website

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