If you are currently going through a divorce, child custody arrangements are likely going to come up. Even if you believe you and your spouse have a good verbal arrangement, you need to get it written up legally. Whether you want full or shared custody, it is important to follow these tips for proving you are a good and fit parent for your children.
Gather Financial Documents
One thing a good parent needs is the ability to support their children, which you can prove by providing the judge with your financial records. Be as detailed as possible with your current income, showing that you have stable employment, keep up with your monthly bills, and don't have a lot of unpaid debt. If you have debt, show that you earn enough to take care of it and your children. Make sure you are aware of the costs of raising a child on your own if you are seeking full custody. If you used to be a two-income household, things will be much different, so you need to adjust your budget accordingly.
Make Your Home Child-Friendly
It is also important that you provide a safe and stable environment for your children to live in. This is a little easier to do if you are remaining in your family home, since your children already have their bedrooms set up and the house is probably kept clean and organized. However, if you moved out of the home so your spouse could continue living there, you need to get your new home set up for children. Make sure they have their own space for privacy and that you have enough room for them to be safe and comfortable. Keep in mind that everything from how clean it is inside to the neighborhood you live in can make a difference in how the environment looks to a judge.
Become an Involved Parent
Now is the time to show that you care about your children's well-being and happiness, and that you are willing to do whatever it takes to become an involved parent. This means attending appointments when they go to the doctor or dentist, watching them perform in the school play, and helping them with their homework. Show the judge that even if you weren't the most involved parent before, you are making every effort to keep your children happy and well cared for.
Also try to get along with your spouse, at least for the sake of the children. This is important throughout the divorce and afterward when your children are going through a difficult time. Seek family counseling as needed. Getting a good child custody lawyer can also be very beneficial.