Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were once Hollywood’s most celebrated couple. Despite their relationship’s shaky start, they managed to brush off all the negativity and emerged as a power duo. They took their romance all over the world and gathered a diverse family, with three adopted children of Asian and African descent and three biological children.
Brangelina got married in 2014. Two years later, they divorced after 12 years of romance. Soon after, Angelina Jolie filed for sole custody of her six children, which Brad Pitt fought tooth and nail. When the court’s decision came, it was in favor of Brad.
Angie lost. And celebrity news sites say that the process has been difficult for her. It must have been difficult for the children too. That’s a custody battle for you. No part of it will be easy. But if fighting for sole custody of your child or children is important to you, make sure to do these vital preparations.
Hire a topnotch legal counsel
Try to get a good grasp of your state’s child custody laws. States differ in policies about this subject. Partner with a reliable family law attorney from the get-go. Ideally, your chosen legal counsel is someone who’s not only knowledgeable about custody hearings but someone whose personality and working style you find agreeable.
Remember that you could be working with your lawyer for a long time. A child custody battle can last for years. If you can’t stand your lawyer, you’re sabotaging your case. And you might as well raise the white flag.
The parent who wants sole custody has to accept a heavier burden of proof. They should get the court to believe that their partner is not fit to raise their children. And that’s a tall order. However, it’s doable through an arsenal of strong evidence.
Gather evidence as soon as you can. Consider emails and text messages that betray your partner’s chronic infidelity. Or pictures of incidents where your partner became violent to you and your children. Talk to possible witnesses too. Ask them if they can testify in court. Let them know the hearing schedules in advance.
Mind your living arrangements
You need to prove to the court that you can take care of your children without the help of your spouse. The most basic expectation from you is you can provide a safe and comfortable shelter to your children. If you’re living in a cramped space that’s poorly maintained, chances are the court will not trust you with sole custody.
You do not have to buy a mansion to appear like a responsible parent. Although you can consider moving to a better-looking apartment if you feel like your current residence does not do justice to your love for your children.
Know your kids
Another way for the court to know whether you’re a fit and responsible parent is to grill you about your children. They’ll ask you stuff about particular details, from your children’s birthdays to their favorite snacks. Giving the right answers to these questions scores you points with the judge.
If you fail to prove to the court that you know your children like the back of your hand, consider your case compromised. So before you make a court appearance, make sure you review your knowledge about your children. If you need to ask them stuff, do so.
Keep the kids out of the case
Speaking of asking children stuff to use for your eventual court appearance, ideally, that should be the extent of their involvement in the process. As a parent, it is in your best interest to keep them away from court hearings as much as possible. You separating from your spouse is traumatic enough for them. They don’t want to see their parents fight it out over child custody.
Also, not letting your children get involved in the process sends the right message to court. It means you’re ready to go out of your way to protect your children.
You might not be an A-list Hollywood celebrity like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, and you do not have to contend with reporters and paparazzi hounding you for answers. However, a custody battle will be a stressful and challenging process. With that said, avoid it if you can. Find a middle ground with your partner and agree on a mutually favorable arrangement to care for your children.
However, if that’s out of the question, take to heart the recommendations cited here. They’ll help you win your battle.