Ask A Child Custody Attorney: 5 Examples Of Evidence That Can Work In Your Favor
When you hire a child custody attorney, they can help you find the necessary proof to win your case. But what kind of evidence will you need to show the judge that you deserve custody of your child? Read on to find out what can work for and against you and how to compile the necessary proof.
Ask a Child Custody Attorney: 5 Examples of Evidence That Can Work in Your Favor
1. Evidence of Abuse
Shockingly, almost one in seven children has been abused in the past, according to the CDC. If there is any evidence that your spouse has abused your child, it’s much more likely that you will get sole custody. In the eyes of the law, abuse can be sexual, physical, or emotional, so you should keep a record of things your spouse said to your child as well as their physical actions.
Your first step toward proving your child has been abused is to document everything that has happened to them. Write down bruises or behaviors you feel indicate something problematic is happening, and take pictures or videos. Keep a journal and write down every incident in which you are suspicious. It is essential that your doctor, as well as the court, are aware of this evidence. The key to proving abuse and modifying a custody agreement is to hire an attorney who is willing to fight for the rights of your child.
Often, abuse is easy to prove because there might be evidence such as marks on the child’s skin, photos or videos of physical abuse, written records, and electronic communications such as threatening text messages. However, it’s important to remember that children don’t always recognize abuse when it happens, so you have to be very vigilant if you suspect your former partner might be abusive.
2. Evidence of Substance Abuse or Criminal Activity
If your spouse is currently in prison, they cannot take care of your child, so you will automatically receive full custody until they are released. At that point, their access to the child depends on whether they are considered stable enough to take care of a young person. If the judge suspects that the criminal activity could resume or that the child could be harmed, it’s unlikely that your spouse will be granted custody.
Similarly, most people who are dependent on either drugs or alcohol aren’t considered fit parents, so they won’t be granted custody. However, judges are often reluctant to grant sole custody because it’s best for the child to have access to both parents. Therefore, you will have to prove that your spouse is a substance abuser. Simply saying that they drink too much is not enough. You will need tangible proof, such as a drunk driving record or eyewitness accounts.
3. Evidence of Abandonment or Neglect
Neglect is the fourth type of abuse, and it occurs when a parent or guardian doesn’t take care of a child’s basic needs. A parent is considered neglectful if they fail to enroll their child in school, expose them to domestic violence, fail to feed them properly, fail to supervise them, delay or deny them medical treatment, or abandon them. True neglect is not hard to prove due to its effects on the child.
You may also be at an advantage if your spouse simply did not show much of an interest in your child in the past. If you’ve consistently been the main caregiver and you’ve handled all the decisions related to your child, it’s unlikely that your spouse will gain sole custody. Instead, you’ll be the custodial parent, and they will get visitation rights.
4. Evidence of Mental Instability
Mental illness can prevent a parent from taking proper care of their children. It is one of the most important risk factors for neglect and various types of abuse. If your former spouse has been diagnosed with a medical condition such as an anxiety disorder, depression, an eating disorder, a personality disorder, or post-traumatic stress, it’s possible that they can’t provide a stable and loving home for the children.
In such a case, you might not get sole custody because the mentally unstable parent still has a right to see their child. Depending on the situation, your former spouse might see the child on their own, or the visits might need to be supervised. What’s more, the children are likely to live with you, and you’ll be responsible for decisions related to their upbringing.
5. Evidence that You Are a Good Parent
If you’re hoping to get sole custody, good child custody attorneys in Atlanta, GA will focus on finding evidence that your former spouse is an unfit parent. However, you’ll also have to prove that you are a good parent and that you have the means to adequately take care of the children. Your financial situation and the stability of your home are particularly important factors since they will influence the child’s lifestyle.
Additionally, you should consider your past interactions with the child. Have you been making most of the decisions, and have you spent a lot of time with your child in the past? If so, you have a good chance of getting custody. You will also be put on trial for your parenting skills and lifestyle, as well as that of the abusive parent. In consultation with a divorcing client, I heard that his mother was verbally and emotionally abusing her son. A recording of the mother screaming, yelling, and cursing at the child was captured. Each day, the mother spewed venom against the child, saying he was worthless and a noose around his neck. It was important to point out here that Dad’s behavior was just as harmful to the child as his behavior toward Mom.
Finding enough evidence to gain sole custody can be hard, but if the judge determines that your spouse is unfit due to substance abuse, child abuse, neglect, or mental instability, it’s likely that you will be your son or daughter’s, full-time caregiver. You can also benefit from any evidence that demonstrates why you can provide your child with a loving, stable home and that you have spent a lot of time taking care of them in the past.