Maryland parents who are involved in a custody dispute should take steps to demonstrate that they are responsible, cooperative and involved in their child’s life. Above all, they should put the best interests of the child first and should show this level of commitment to the child’s well-being in court.
Document and stay positive
Documentation is important. You should keep a log of the time that you spend with your child as well as whether the other parent is late or a no-show for pickups and drop-offs. However, you need to present any negative information as non-confrontationally as possible. Judges do not respond well to parents who appear to be uncooperative, and as long as your child is not in any danger because of abuse or neglect, courts generally proceed from the assumption that the child is best off spending time with both parents. You should also avoid being negative about the other parent around the child or making the child feel they must choose between their parents.
It is generally not a good idea to agree to even a temporary custody arrangement that you are unhappy with because it can be hard to get this changed. Courts will be reluctant to alter a status quo that appears to be working for the child. Whether or not your child is with you, you should refrain from drug use or excessive alcohol consumption since this could hurt your custody changes.
Your attorney may be able to help you prepare for a custody battle and advise you regarding what kind of documentation to submit. Even if you are experiencing a great deal of conflict with the other parent, you should try to shield your child from this. Keep in mind as well that a rocky co-parenting relationship may smooth out once the divorce is final.