How to Start From Scratch on a Custody Case

Maybe you have been fighting for custody for years. Maybe you are contemplating the need for a custody case. Whatever your reasons and regardless of where you are at in the process here are some tried and true ways to start from scratch a custody case that will equal success in the final outcome.

1. Have a goal in mind. It’s not enough to just say that you want to win custody. Be specific. Be clear on what this means. Does it mean increasing your time or winning certain vacation days or holidays or influencing extracurricular activities? Defining your goal at the outset becomes the foundation for the rest of your conduct and actions.

2. Once you have a goal in mind develop a plan. Let’s pretend your goal is to win a 50/50 time sharing plan as defined by one week with you and one week with the other parent. To get this you must have a plan of action. We believe that 90% of your custody success is determined by what happens outside the courtroom. The witnesses you create, the conduct you exhibit and the interactions you foster.

3. Be committed to the process. Where most people fail in their understanding of how to win a custody case is the false assumption that they will go to court…tell their story…win custody. That just does not happen. It’s unrealistic. Instead, you must commit to the process of winning custody. It takes time. It takes dedication. We like to say that it’s about chopping down the tree. You don’t chop down a tree with one swing of an axe and you won’t win custody with one motion or hearing. Be committed to the process.

4. File appropriate motions. What we mean here is that many people try to jump to point Z without considering the judge and the courts. Here is how it usually looks. A person wants to win custody and win the 50/50 we discussed. So, they file a motion asking for 50/50. Well their current time is just every other weekend. Courts are notoriously conservative, slow and cautious when it comes to children. How likely are you to jump from every other weekend to a 50/50? Not very (this is assuming there are no extenuating circumstances like drugs, abuse, etc.). Why not consider first asking to increase your time by 3 days. So, instead of every other weekend, you ask for every other weekend plus 3 additional days. Thus, you just went from 2 days every other week to 5 days every other week. From there you just have to gain 2 more days. It’s easier to gain 2 days than to jump from 2 days every other week to 7 days every other week. See the progress? It’s easier for a judge to grant a small change over a big change. As long as you are on the path of progress stay on that path to get to your ultimate objective.

5. Focus on you! The tendency in a custody case is to always complain about what the other side is or is not doing. This is important, but what is probably more important is to focus on you. What we mean by this is to focus on the complaints the other side will raise about you and “fix” them. If you steal their thunder what will they have to complain about? This is often an underutilized tool in a custody case. Everyone is usually so hell bent on saying all the bad things about the other parent that they don’t take time to realize that the other parent will have their share of bad things to say about you as well. Remove that obstacle and remove their tool to fight against you and you increase your chances for success.

These are a few of the key ways in which you can start your custody case from scratch. There is so much more that goes into the development of a custody case. That is why you should contact our child custody expert attorneys. You can reach us at or by calling 505-880-8737.