Although you never married your children’s other parent, it doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to have physical custody of your kids if you and your partner decide to end your relationship. If he or she petitions the court for custody, you may have your work cut out to prove that living with you would be in your children’s best interests as opposed to living with your ex.
You can do several things, as well avoid several things, if you hope to win the court’s favor and achieve a satisfactory outcome. Every custody situation is unique. However, most states, including Colorado, have factors that judges take into account when faced with resolving child custody disagreements between single or married parents. The more you learn about the state custody laws ahead of time, the better able to exercise your parental rights you may be.
Don’t give away your game plan
While it’s nice if you and your ex can get along well enough to negotiate a fair and agreeable co-parenting plan, if you are served with papers informing you that your children’s other parent is suing you for custody, it means you and your ex are now on opposing sides. In such situations, it is best to keep anything you plan to do or say in court to yourself. The less the other side knows about your strategy, the better.
Stay calm, cool and collected in court
When you think of all the things your ex did that caused you to want to end your relationship, you may get a bit hot under the collar. However, if that’s the case, then it’s best to try not to think of such things during custody proceedings because the less emotional you are in court, the greater the chances you’ll be able to convince the judge that your children will be better off living with you.
The judge doesn’t care why your ex makes you mad
Just as important as staying calm during custody proceedings is to avoid launching into a monologue listing everything you dislike about your ex and all the ways he or she failed you when you were together. The court wants to know about facts and evidence that pertain to your children’s well-being, not whether or not your partner remembered your birthday or rarely took you out for date nights.
Know how to exercise your parental rights
The Colorado courts typically believe that children fare best when they spend ample time with each of their parents. If your ex is trying to impede your parent/child relationship or trying to gain the upper hand so that you rarely get to see your kids, you can turn to an experienced family law advocate to protect your rights and to make sure your children’s best interests are the central focus of all custody proceedings.