Divorce not only affects spouses. It has a major impact on the children of a marriage as well. When divorces involve custody fights, you can make the transition easier for your children if you're well prepared. You might find that preparation helps you at a stressful time as well.
Establish the Best Home You Can
Don't let the divorce distract you from being an attentive parent. Keep up with your children's activities and create a stable, safe home environment for them. If necessary, arrange for counseling to help them through the transition. No matter how bad your marriage is, it's rarely a good idea to move out of the marital home and leave your children with your spouse. It indicates to a judge that you think your spouse is a great parent and is perfectly capable of taking care of your children. If your spouse leaves, that's OK, but make sure the children stay with you.
Keep a Diary
Begin keeping a daily record of everything you do with your children, and include the time they spend with their other parent as well. Make note of any negative events, such as arguments started in front of your children or ridiculing comments made about you in their presence. If your spouse fails to show up to pick up the children as scheduled, write it down.
Gather documentation to support the things you've said in your diary. This might involve lining up witnesses who can eventually testify about your parenting skills or your spouse's, or documenting incidents with police reports or school records.
Your spouse might be doing the same thing, so gather proof to explain any iffy situations your spouse might try to use against you.
Protect Your Own Interests
Divorce can be a battle that involves much more than your children, so take steps to protect your own interests as well. This includes making copies of any documentation that relates to your finances, such as bank records, mortgages, credit card statements, car loans or retirement account statements. Pay stubs that prove your respective incomes are important as well.
Find a Lawyer
Interview lawyers until you find one you can afford and feel comfortable with, and who has the experience to do the best possible job for you. Especially if custody is an issue, you won't want to try to handle your divorce on your own. Give all your documentation to your lawyer so he can use it to help you. Get a cell phone of your own, one that's not on your family plan, so your contact with your lawyer is confidential, and establish an email account that your spouse doesn't have access to.
A Divorce Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding children and divorce is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact a divorce lawyer.