Twelve Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Fighting for Custody

1.   What would my child want me to do? Don’t assume you know the answer to this question.  Depending on your child’s age and maturity level, this may not be appropriate to ask them directly.  It may be hard for them to be honest.  Perhaps you can have a counselor ask and relay response to you.  They should not be allowed to decide, but may be helpful to take their wishes under consideration.

2.  Is there another way to resolve this issue? In many jurisdictions, parents are required to go to mediation before going to court.  You don’t have to wait to file court papers to pursue mediation.  Perhaps your spiritual advisor or someone else you trust can serve as a mediator.

3.  What is the worst that can happen if I don’t fight? Ten years from now, will it matter whether you took court action to get custody.  If not, then perhaps you should not file an action today.

4.  What is the worst that can happen if I do fight? Think very carefully about this question.  And make sure you can live with yourself if the worse case scenario actually happens.

5.  What is my real motivation?  Is this really about what is best for your kids or are doing this to prove your love for the kids, hurt the opposing or attempt to gain an advantage in other areas of your divorce.

6.  How do I know for sure that fighting for custody is in my child’s best interest?  If you don’t know for sure that taking legal action against your the opposing parent is in your child’s best interest, then perhaps your should wait until you are before contacting an attorney.

7.  What would I do if fighting for custody in court wasn’t an option? I am convinced that the reason that some people file custody actions is because they can.  And if the option wasn’t available they would find a way to work with the opposing parent to reach an agreement on this issue.

8.  What am I missing? Have you looked at all of the pros and cons of filing for custody?  Have you taken all of your strengths and weaknesses as a parent into account when making your decision about whether or not to pursue custody?   Is there an obvious reason you should not file custody that you are ignoring or pretending does not exist?   Don’t you owe it to your kids to be honest about everything.

9.  Is there something about my past that is motivating my present actions? I had a woman tell me that she wanted to fight for custody because when her parents split up, her mother didn’t bother to fight her dad.   What was true in the past is not necessarily true in the present.  Don’t allow the past to taint the present.

10.   Who can I trust to tell me the truth about whether or not my motives in pursuing custody are pure? Sometimes in order to keep the peace, the people closest to you are the people least able to tell you the truth about yourself.   Find someone who you trust will always tell you the good, the bad and ugly truth about yourself what they think about your decision to pursue custody.

11.  Am I behaving the way I would have wanted my parents to behave? If you are someone who loves both your parents, would you want your parents to resolve custody issue through a knock-down drag out battle at the courthouse or would you want them to find a peaceful way for you to spend time with both parents.

12.  Am I fully aware of the adverse impacts fighting for custody can have on children? The best way to find out the adverse results of custody is asking people who deal with kids who parents engage in nasty custody battles — child counselors, school therapists, police officers, juvenile judges.


Photo Credit:  Visual Hunt

Posted in Child Custody, General Information.

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