As we discussed in our previous post, in the same way you prepare for your wedding, in the event divorce is possible or seems imminent, it is advisable to be prepared. While preparing to address financial matters is a relatively straightforward exercise of compiling documents pertaining to assets and liabilities, preparing for a potential dispute as to custody and parenting time is not as clear.
Things You Should Not Do
- Do not alter the children’s routine in anticipation of a divorce. For instance, do not attempt to alter the time your spouse typically spends with the children. It is possible, if not likely, your children will perceive that something has changed and may struggle to understand what is happening.
- Do not disparage your spouse to the children or in front of the children in an attempt to “turn” the kids against your spouse. The short-term gain you may think to gain regarding your custody argument could result in long-term damage to each parent’s relationship with the children. In addition, if it can be shown you have disparaged the other parent, that fact could be used against you in court.
Back to what you can do to prepare for a custody or parenting time dispute. There is information you can gather that can be helpful to your attorney and your case:
- Prepare a summary of which parent provides care for the children regarding daily activities such as getting the children ready for school, picking them up from school, doing homework, etc.;
- If your spouse travels for business, note those dates he/she is out of town as that information could be relevant to show the actual time a parent has available to care for the children;
- Prepare a summary and/or a calendar regarding each parent’s involvement in extracurricular activities; and
- Prepare a summary regarding any arrests and/or substance abuse concerns you may have.
There are a wide variety of factors that could impact the outcome of your case, but the above is a good starting point. Custody and parenting time disputes are emotionally and financially taxing. However, the more prepared you are to argue your position, the better chance you have of attaining the outcome you believe is in the best interests of your children.