GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) - There seems to be a double standard when it comes to women vs men in custody disputes. Men are now being awarded custody 50% of the time even though some have not been the primary caretaker for their kids, have not been involved in their activities and schools and at times are controlling and abusive to their wife. I am not saying, by any means, that all, or even most, men are guilty of the above, but women are held to a higher standard. Women are almost always the main caretaker of their kids even if they work outside the home. They attend teacher conferences, haul the kids to their activities and are the cook of wholesome meals. In custody disputes, women are expected to be model mothers. If they are not, their chances at custody diminish substantially even though their spouse may not have provided the nurturing and care for the children in the marriage.
What do you need to do to be sure your chances of being awarded physical custody of the children are the best they can be? Here are six things you need to pay attention to;
Be the primary caretaker. This means that you don't leave the kids with babysitters or relatives an excessive amount of time (Daycare while working is fine). Going out every weekend and having the kids stay with grandma will not look good to the court when you are presenting your case. (And excessive partying doesn't either.)
Stay involved in your kids' school and activities such as sports. When you are on your own this becomes more difficult, but it is important to keep the lives of your kids as intact and normal as possible, especially during a custody battle.
If you have drug, alcohol or mental/emotional problems, seek help and take care of it. Now. These are deal breakers and a sure way to lose custody.
Be aware that social media can be used against you in court so do not engage in ranting about your spouse and his actions on facebook, in emails or voicemails to friends, acquaintances or relatives. All of these activities can be saved and copied as evidence
Do support the relationship your kids have with their father. Negatively influencing your kids' attitude toward their dad is severely frowned upon by the court.
Keep your anger in check. If you lose control of your emotions and show your anger to opposing counsel, the Judge, the Friend of the Court, your child's attorney or their teachers it will come back to bite you. Keep your emotions stable. Remember, the judge is looking for a stable environment that is in the best interest of the kids.
Keep in mind that both the Judge and the Friend of the Court are attempting to determine who has the ability to provide the most stable and loving home. Don't give them a reason to look to your spouse to fill that roll. It is not fair, but women are judged more harshly so you have to be the epitome of stability and motherhood.
Nothing herein constitutes a legal opinion.
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