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Be prepared when a child custody case goes to court

There may be no more emotionally charged aspect of a divorce than working out custody of children. Child custody disputes may range from simple affairs to long, drawn-out courtroom battles. While no one enters into a situation like this willingly, it is important to be effectively prepared in case it does happen.

In days passed, it was generally accepted that after a divorce the mother would take custody of the children and the father would pay support. Parenting roles have changed over the years, and now the playing field is essentially level so far as gender considerations go. Family law in Alberta provides divorcing parents the opportunity to work together to establish a custody agreement. If they are unable to do so, however, the issue will go before a judge who will then weigh all the relevant facts before making a decision.

The judge will seek to award custody to the parent most capable of providing a stable and nurturing environment for the child. In order to increase one's chances at coming out on top, it is important to provide evidence of being the right person for the role. For example, physical health will be taken into account; this is a good time to quit smoking and stock healthy food in the kitchen.

Employment status is also important, so now is not an opportune time to leave a job, or to be let go for any reason. And of course the child's own desires may be considered, which means it is crucial to show that a healthy and engaged relationship exists and can continue to exist between the parent and child. On the flip side of the coin, any information that can be provided to show the other parent is not fit to have custody may be helpful.

Of course there are many other factors the judge will consider before issuing a ruling. If a child custody agreement cannot be reached, and a mother and father find they must go to court, it is a good idea to be thoroughly prepared. A well-practiced Alberta family law attorney can help with that preparation and the ensuing court proceedings.

Source: wikiHow, "How to Win a Custody Battle (with Pictures)", Accessed on Jan. 19, 2017

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