When you and your significant other separate or file for divorce and you have children together, you will want to make sure to file for custody right away. Legal custody entitles the children to continue living with you and makes you the primary caregiver. You can expect your significant other to expect parental rights to your children as well, which is why it's very important to get a lawyer as soon as you can to make your custody case much stronger. Here are things you should share with your lawyer right away when you have your children involved in a legal battle.
A few things can affect the way a judge views a parent seeking custody. One of the things a judge will want to look into is your criminal history, especially if it involves drug or alcohol abuse or domestic violence. Be honest with your lawyer if you have ever been convicted of a crime and let them know of any programs you have completed (such as anger management, parenting classes, drug court, or rehab) that prove you have made changes. Be prepared to supply current drug tests or other evidence that you are not a threat to your children. Your lawyer may arrange for you to get a recommendation from a therapist that you are perfectly able to be the custodial parent of your children.
If you are raising children you consider yours but they are not yours legally or biologically, then this is something your lawyer needs to know right away. A judge will want to place children with their biological parent or close relatives (such as a grandparent) unless you can prove that the other parent is somehow unfit. You will want to provide documented proof that the other parent leaves your children unattended, that the children would rather live with you, or that the other parent is participating in illegal or immoral activity or is incarcerated. You will also want to show proof of your raising your children, such as receipts for clothing and food provided to them, school enrollment where you are listed as a parent, and documents showing that the children have been living with you in your home for a long period of time.
It's important that you file for child custody right away as soon as your relationship with your significant other is no longer working. This makes the other parent the defendant in the custody case and can help aid you in winning more rights to your children. For more information, contact companies like Anderson Legal Group, P.C.