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Primary Conservatorship Archives

Making Your Case for Primary Conservatorship

Making Your Case for Primary ConservatorshipA contested custody battle should be your last resort.1. Personal Assessment as a Parent
The assessment of your existing parenting skills is crucial. Make a list of your strong points and your weak points as a parent, as a provider and as a person. Make a similar list of the good points and bad points of your spouse or ex-spouse. Then, list the names of persons who can testify as to the good and bad points of you or your spouse or ex-spouse, who can also describe the interaction between you and your children and can describe the relationship you have with them. Finally, provide your attorney with their names, addresses, and telephone numbers including a description of their relationship to you, so that we will have the ingredients for their testimony.2. Paint a Picture of Your Children's Relationship with Each Parent
Provide your lawyer with a picture of each of your children so that she may have it in my files for reference and let her know what you think about them. Explain the relationship you have with each child and the activities you and your children share. Provide the same type of description about your spouse or ex-spouse's relationship with your children. If this is a divorce, describe your role during the infancy of your children. If you are the father, where you were when the children were born. What was your participation in the care of the children after they came home from the hospital? Exactly what was the division of duties in your house with each child, from the first child through the youngest? Break this down into time periods, such as infancy, two years, five years, etc. This needs to be in writing and to be as specific as possible.3. Get Involved with Your Children
There are activities in which you can participate with your children that will be beneficial to a custody case and to your relationship with your children. You cannot think of your children as one group. Each child is unique and, consequently, your relationship with each child will be different. You need to develop activities that fit the interests of each particular child. Remember, each child may want or need activities different from those of your other children. It is important to determine what activities your children will enjoy with you. If you require them to perform activities that they find unpleasant, they will look upon the time spent with you as unpleasant. That is counter-productive.The expenditure of funds in entertaining children is often necessary, but not essential. Try not to be subject to the criticism that you're trying to buy the favor or your children. The money you spend should be on things other than material possessions for the children. Children tend to use parents against each other during a lengthy custody proceeding. Do not allow your children to put you in a position where you are in a spending war with4. Know Your Child's School and Activities
You should become actively involved in your child's school. You should know the children's teachers and principal by name, so that if you are asked about their schooling, you will be able to reply quickly and easily about their activities, their interests, and their academic progress. Quiz yourself. Do you know the name of each child's homeroom teacher or your child's favorite subject? You should know this information before proceeding to court in a custody contest. If you know that a custody dispute is going to become a reality, have a private conference with your children's teachers to let them know what is going on. Don't ask the teacher to pick sides, just let them know what is going on at home so they can be alert to any problems the children are having. Teachers are potentially among the strongest witnesses in a custody case. Make sure the teachers know that your children's best interests are your primary concern, and not who "wins" the custody battle. How much do you really know about your children? We intend to find out. For example, what size dress does your daughter wear? What size shirt does your son wear? Who is your daughter's music teacher? Who is your son's assistant principal? What is your daughter's favorite color? What is your son's favorite ice cream? You should know the answers to all of these questions. If you don't, you should work on your knowledge of your child's life. As a part of the process of preparing for this case, you are going to learn about those things, and retain them so that you have the ability to testify in court as to those facts. You should be able to talk about your son's best friend, your daughter's boyfriend, if she has one, and what things your children like about their various friends. The only way you can find out those things is to spend time, individually, with each child, talking to them, but not interrogating them.5. Be Able to Communicate to the Court about Your Relationship with Your Children
It's important that you be able to communicate to the court the kind of relationship you have with your children. You can be the best parent in the world and have impressive activities with your children, but if you are unable to demonstrate that to the judge, the counselors, the psychologists, or the social worker, you may not succeed in your case. Some people verbalize better than others. Good communication skills are an asset. If you do not have the ability to communicate effectively we will work together to improve that ability. When asked to describe their children, most people do a terrible job. They have a difficult time doing much more than saying, "He's a great kid". You should make the judge believe your child is "a great kid" by helping the judge understand and visualize him. You have to remember that the judge who hears your case has heard hundreds of cases. You have to humanize yourself and your children so the judge can see that the names on the paper represent people who are alive, children who are real and people who care about and love those children. You should practice describing your children. Think of their imagination, sense of humor, or sensitivities. Write down those qualities. Then describe those qualities aloud.6. Keep a Journal of Events
For purposes of this suit, you should keep a log in which you write down the most interesting incident, positive or negative, that has occurred with each of your children. Try to do this at least once a week. As noted before, you also need to keep a record of the time you spend with your child. Your record should reflect the times you have with your child, or in some cases, the times you did not have. Such a record will be a quick reference for you and your attorney in determining if visitation privileges are being carried out.7. Look for the Best from Your Spouse as a Parent as Well
Your children will benefit from this case by having a more caring, understanding, attentive and skilled parent than when the case was first filed. If, in fact, your spouse or ex-spouse has made the same kind of effort, the children will then have two parents who are functioning, both physically and emotionally, on a higher plateau. You may discover some of the problems and complaints you had about your spouse or ex-spouse have disappeared during the pendency of the suit. You should expect and hope that your spouse or ex-spouse's new conduct is of a lasting nature rather than a facade or a temporary measure to impress the court. If, in fact, your spouse or ex-spouse's conduct is real and lasting, your children will be the beneficiaries of two parents who love them and have worked hard to achieve better parenting skills.8. If a Social Study Investigation is Required, Cooperate Fully with the Investigator or Case Worker
Tell the truth and let the case worker know the kind of parent you are. It is the duty of the case worker to make recommendations regarding the custody of the children and you should spare no effort in being cooperative so that your side will be understood and believed. The investigator will ask you for references, the names of people with whom you have worked and people who know you. These people will be contacted. Talk with your references and tell them that they can expect to hear from the case worker. Do not tell them what to say. Above all, don't give names of people who either do not know you well or who might be adverse to you. Do not hurt your case -- help it.- See more at: http://www.divorcemag.com/articles/child-custody-is-a-custody-battle-best-for-your-children#sthash.E4OOuEAQ.dpuf 

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