Custody Lawyer’s Divorce Tips: The Ultimate List

by | Nov 2, 2020

If you want to read the best current tips on what to do for your kids during a divorce or custody dispute, you will LOVE this list.

Included are 99 of the best tips available.

Get solid legal advice on “winning” custody of your kids and protecting their well-being.

Let’s get right into it!

To reach the custody lawyers that wrote this, call (210) 598-6344.

Know About What Divorce Evidence Can Be Used

Evidence is the substance of what is presented by your lawyer in your case.

You  should collect as much as you can as explained below.

You should realize that much of what you collect, will never be used.

Evidence makes and breaks child custody case success.

Know about private investigators, and what they do these days.

Private investigators do a lot of internet research as well as following people and taking pictures of their whereabouts.

They can be used to testify in divorce cases to help a person prove a number of facts, such as fault in the break-up of the marriage.

Private investigators can be hired even a year before the divorce case is filed.


Use a Vault App to Store Videos and Photos.

If you have particularly helpful videos or photos for your child custody  purposes, store them in your password protected vault app.

This way, if your child’s parent deletes things off your phone (yes this happens), you will still have your data.



You can keep a chart or journal of your child's emotional needs.

All children have specific emotional needs.

Keeping a log of these can help you parent, and can be used to explain a child’s particular needs to a judge.

Having visual aids and charts can be more useful that you would expect and explaining details about your child.


Keep evidence of your child's small successes along the way.

Keep a folder of your child’s successes.

This includes things like report cards, new motor skills and new language development

This will enable you to dispel any accusations in a divorce that your child is not doing well with you.

Also, this folder can help you celebrate small steps ahead.


Understand that you can be ordered to turn over your evidence.

During a divorce case, documents and other pieces of evidence in your possession can be ordered  to be sent to your ex’s lawyer.

Be mindful of this fact when maintaining your evidence file.


Take lots of pictures of you and your child as you go through life together.

Being able to show the relationship you have with your child takes you further in a hearing than just being able to talk about it.

So take pictures!



Log harmful events, too

In  a simple spreadsheet app such as Google Sheets (free)  keep the date, and a listing of the event that occurred.

If  a parent missed a birthday, log it.

If a parent abused the child physically or verbally, log it.

People throw the word abuse around all the time.

Just saying that they were “abusive” is not nearly as impactful as having a log of times with specified facts that demonstrate the particular abuse.


Do not post your life's details on social media.

Facebook is flat out used against people, often effectively, in custody cases.

For many, it shows your dating life.

It shows if and when you party.

It shows if you have friends that party (which  can also be used against you in a custody dispute).


Keep friends and a community that knows your parenting style.

If worse comes to worse and your spouse is accusing  you of not being a  good parent, having other witnesses in the community that are not  your own mom, can help.

So keep some friends and be involved in your community as a parent.

In this way, you have witnesses that can attest to your parenting.


Keep a chart of your daily childcare duties.

Do you always drive to school? Make the lunch? Handle the doctor?

Keeping a chart can help you in a  trial show that you are doing the majority of care taking  and therefore should continuing doing so.


Send your child's parent professional, considerate update emails.

Do not talk about anything other than your child’s visit in the email.

Think of the email tone as one that you would use at work.

Remember that emails are evidence.


Ask your child's parent how you can help.

Ask your child’s parent, how can I help your visitation go smoother?

Is there anything I can do differently to improve as a co-parent for you and our child?

Imagine having these emails to show a court when your ex is trying to say that you are a bad parent.



Log the bad moments.

When something damaging happens that harms your child whether physically or emotionally, you need to log it.

You need to write down, the date and time and what happened.

Your testimony about it will not carry nearly as much weight if you do not log it at the time it occurred.


Know that evidence drives up your legal bill .

Say that you have a picture that you want to show the judge.

You  send it to your lawyer.

Your lawyer then has to carefully plan and think through what will happen at the trial regarding this evidence.

There are numerous evidentiary laws that may  prevent your picture from being used.

For this reason, the more evidence you want used, the more your case will cost.

Keep in mind that for couples who are not in a litigious divorce, they can skip all of this evidence stuff, and go straight to just being divorced and co-parenting.



Realize that your texts, conversations and emails with anyone aside from with your lawyer are EVIDENCE.

You can be ordered to produce all of the information that you exchange.

With a few exceptions the only safe place to communicate is with your lawyer.

Also, speaking with a counselor is generally protected under privilege as well.


Know What Actions The Judge Tends To Care About

Your child can talk to mom and to dad.

Do not deny your child the ability to call your child’s other parent on the telephone. 

Being able to reach both parents can help a child foster their sense of security.

In a custody case, a judge would frown upon a person denying their child use of the telephone to call their other parent.


Be respectful of your child's good experiences and memories with their other parent.

If a judge finds out you are doing things to intentionally botch the healthy relationship and experiences your child has with their other parent,  your custody position will be harmed.

Additionally, your child will have a stronger self-esteem by being well-behaved and praised during times with both parents.


Avoid keeping dangerous friends.

Few things can motivate your child’s other parent more quickly  to bring a custody battle against you than their perception that you are keeping people around that are dangerous to the kids.

Keep in mind that you  are not the one judging whether your friends are safe, but rather the judge is the one judging in a divorce case.

So, realize that if someone that you hang around just seems dangerous, that may be enough to put you in a worse position in a custody case.

Protect your child's ears from your arguing & negotiating.

Do not negotiate your case in front of your child.

This can be very difficult to apply to everyday practice for some, but it is worth knowing that it can hurt  a person’s position in a custody case.


Smoking in front of your child during a divorce (or ever) is not good for your custody case or child.

Do not ever smoke in front of your child or in a car or home that your child has to be in.

Your ex can use this as evidence that you are not acting in their best interest.


Drunk driving mixed with kids is a very bad idea in a divorce.

You can lose custody of your child by drinking and driving them.

You can also lose your child custody rights by allowing ANOTHER person who has been drinking to drive them.

By the way, driving kids while intoxicated is also a felony that can carry a prison sentence.

As you can imagine, having a felony can also cause you to lose custody of your kids, depending on the particulars of the crime.


Your child has the right to view mom's and dad's greeting cards.

Allow your child to access greeting cards and other written materials from their other parent.

Again, this is a list of things, some of which seem small, but are weighed by judges in their final custody decisions during a divorce case.


Cross examining your child about your ex can damage your child emotionally.

Do not interrogate your child about their other parent.



Do not violate your temporary orders.

If you have temporary orders, violating them can really hurt your creditability with the court.

If the court does not perceived you with having creditability, you cannot persuade an outcome in your favor.



Punishing your child for not going against their other parent is a bad plan.

Do not punish your child for not taking your side on something against the other parent.

Not only will it hurt your child emotionally, but a judge will disfavor you if he/she learns that you employed this tactic of parenting during your divorce.



Do not do a physical evaluation of your child when they come back from the other parent's house.

If you were to physically evaluate your child, the impression your child can gain is that you are not sure their other parent takes good care of them!

This can emotionally harm THE CHILD’s sense of security, which is exactly what you need to protect during a divorce.


Do not give a "gift" to your child on the condition that it stays at your own house.

When you give your child a gift, do not put unfair conditions on it that will make your child want to live with you more.

If a judge finds out you are doing this, your entire parental character can be called into question.



Your child should not ever be your middleman.

Using your child to communicate to your ex is not a smart way to approach your co-parenting.

This part of the list is about tips that prevent you from taking actions that the Judge can punish you for in a hearing.

If your spouse presents evidence that you are using your child as middleman, the Judge will question your intentions and parenting.


Do not ever talk about child support to your child.

This child support topic is entirely off limits during your divorce, and after.

Discussing this with your child will cause them to have to think about things that should not concern a child.


Do not "split" your child's reality and perception of their other parent.

You should not engage in changing your child’s reality of the other parent at any time by manipulating, re-scripting or rearranging facts or events that occurred.

Doing this is called “splitting.”

Many Judges know that parents have the ability to do this, and know that it can emotionally and deeply  damage a child’s relationship with their other parent.

This article lists some of the things your child wishes they could say to you when you engage in splitting.

Do not encourage your child to act negatively for or towards the other parent.

If a judge finds out you are doing things to intentionally botch the healthy relationship and experiences your child has with their other parent,  your custody position will be harmed.

Additionally, your child will have a stronger self-esteem by being well-behaved and praised during times with both parents.

Your child can and should keep a photo of both parents in their room.

Assist your child with getting a picture of their parent framed and put in their room.


Know the Top 3 Things People Think the Judge Will Care About, But That The Judge Actually Ignores.

To enable you to “divorce the smart way” with kids as this page promises, it is helpful to know a bit more about what the judge does NOT care about.

The judge in a custody battle does not care much about whether someone cheated.

When someone cheats on you in a marriage, there is no question that you have been wronged.

They violated their vows.

They broke most chances of being able to continue on in the relationship.

They threw it all away.

But, the judge has heard about affairs and cheating every day that they have been a judge.

It does not sway their outcome for or against someone as much as is usually anticipated.



The Judge does not give much weight to anxiety, depression or bipolar disease evidence.

People often bring out testimony of the other parent’s mental health illnesses during custody.

Since depression and anxiety are very common, it does not carry weight to persuade the judge in a custody dispute as many expect it will in court.


Proof that your ex verbally abused you does not help your custody case very much.

Accusations of verbal abuse is another sort of evidence that is used so regularly in divorce cases, that judges almost do not hear it.

Your case will be more persuasive if it focuses on other facts.

If the verbal abuse is severe, plan to record it happening to you so that it is not just your word against theirs.


Know the Typical Child Custody Outcomes In Your City So That You Can Plan Accordingly

Life altering choices regarding divorce lawsuits and child custody are made often on bad, plainly wrong information about the law.

The most typical misconception is that a person thinks they can win “full custody” when statistically speaking there is a low likelihood that this is the case.

Knowing the true likely outcome can help you know where to focus you legal funds and energy.


Typically speaking, the parent that spends the most nights with kids, gets the most nights with kids in court.

The Court can tend to maintain the status quo on its custody orders for kids that are doing well.

So if historically in your family, you leave a lot at night, but your child’s other parent is always home, then the judge is more likely to award that the majority of nights are with the parent who always had the majority of nights.

Don’t start leaving at night all the time in the middle of a divorce (unless you are ordered to).


  • Most Child Custody Cases Result in Joint Custody 95% 95%

Realize that Joint Parenting Rights is Highly Likely.

Winning sole custody or entirely taking the other parent’s rights to see and manage the child is very unlikely, statistically speaking.

Usually sole custody is awarded only when:

  1. A parent is a serious drug abuser and it is proven; or
  2. A parent has a serious criminal history and it is proven; or
  3. A person is very dangerous to the child and it is proven.

Most likely, joint custody is going to be the outcome.

Child custody trials in divorce are not a slam dunk ever and are unpredictable.

There is no way to predict the outcome of a child custody trial, no matter how good your facts.

You know all of the details about what your ex did to you.

You know why you should have custody of your children.

But, the judge is not you and is the one that is deciding on everything. in a trial.

The judge is a stranger to your case, and is pressed for time.

The way that your trial is presented, the politics involved, and many other factors can lead you to an unpredictable trial outcome regarding custody and parenting rights.

Trial should be avoided for this reason, whenever possible.


Understand that you cannot control who your child's other parent dates and brings around your kids.

Getting divorced can be a big relief, but realize that as with all things, there are down sides.

One of the most difficult downsides is the inability  to control who your child’s other parent dates in front of your kids.

There are some limited legal approaches to controlling this exposure, but they fall short a lot of the time.

Spending a lot of money trying to control this in your lawsuit may prove fruitless.


Know that trial custody disputes can run 10K-75K.

Because so much can be done by your legal team in preparation  for a custody battle, your case costs can run high.

The more time you ask your lawyers to put into different aspects of your custody battle, the more the fees will be.

The only way to keep fees down is to settle faster on the terms of parenting.

The best way to keep fees down is to find a way to be respectful co-parents as you go through your divorced life.

Know the child support payments are inflexible, and a waste of energy to fight.

Most things in law are negotiable with a court or other lawyer.

Child support is not one of those things.

If you are ordered to pay child support by a judge, you will be ordered to pay based on the Texas family law guideline amount:

1 child= 20% of your net;

2 children= 25% of your net;

3 children= 30% of your net.

Paying your lawyer to fight this will most likely be a waste of your legal fees.

If your lawyer does not know this, s/he can look like an idiot in court, and lose credibility for your case.


Know that genuine 50/50 custody time can result in $0 child support.

Sometimes a parent will try to argue that they want a 50/50 custody division schedule just because they want to avoid paying child support.

If you genuinely share in 1/2 of the time and parental duties, then there is an opportunity to have no child support ordered in certain counties.

Bexar County allows it.

Harris County does not.

Tips About Lawyers

About 50% of people start their divorce and custody case without a lawyer.

All divorce documents that are filed are public record.

The divorce decree impacts every single asset and debt that you and your spouse have.

Divorce decrees written without lawyers often have serious errors.

You do not have to hire a lawyer to handle your entire divorce, but do hire a lawyer to review the documents that you are filing.


Try not to change lawyers more than once.

Changing lawyers more than once can increase the costs.

Every time you change lawyers, the new team has to learn about the case.

Changing lawyers more than once can make it harder to hire a new legal team because you can be perceived as a “difficult” client.


No one is really saying it, but I will. In law, it is often flat out true that you get what you pay for.

People these days are much more blatant about shopping for the best priced lawyer than they were 10 years ago.

They will actually call and say they are just shopping for price.

But, you are calling a lawyer to set up your divorced parenting life, and to protect your children.

If you shop price alone, you will not likely get as good of a service or more importantly, an outcome.

Tips For When Drugs, Alcohol or Abuse Are an Issue


Proof, proof, and more proof.

Log it, video record it, audio record it, and take pictures of the problem.


Get a Random Drug Test.

When you go to court, have your lawyer request a random drug test of your ex.


Consider NOT leaving the marriage right now.

I know that it is odd advice from a divorce website, but you could consider not getting divorced until this problem has been addressed.

Try to get your spouse into rehab.

People do heal, sometimes.

This way, when you do get divorced, your child’s other parent will be a safe place to go.

Realize that you are unlikely to be able to shield your child entirely from this parent.



Request supervised visitation and random drug testing.

I know that it is odd advice from a divorce website, but you could consider not getting divorced until this problem has been addressed.

Try to get your spouse into rehab.

People do heal, sometimes.

This way, when you do get divorced, your child’s other parent will be a safe place to go.

Realize that you are unlikely to be able to shield your child entirely from this parent.


Technology Tools For Child Custody Cases


Nest Cameras

Nest cameras are super reliable and can capture the everyday stuff you do with and for your kids.

You can save clips to your account, as an easy way to log your parental duties and also hold on to some evidence of how you are working in your child’s best interest.

Co-parenting Applications

You can have your entire custody  schedule for a year on an app that you and your child’s other parent use.

This can log your text message interactions, and help the schedule be clearer to follow than just using the decree.


Streak is a gmail chrome extension.

You can use it to track whether someone has opened your email.

This is useful in a setting where sometimes parents deny receiving an email from you to persuade the court.

Divorce Tips For Parents With Babies

Use an exchange bag for important items.

Anyone who has had a small baby knows that not having the right bottle, sleep sound, milk,  pajamas, pacifier or blanket can entirely ruin a baby’s mood.

DO NOT keep these items from the other parent.

It is a mean thing to do to your own baby! Come on.

If your baby is bonded to only one parent right now do not insist on overnights.

Some people share night duty with babies immediately.

But if you have a baby that is just bonded to one parent that is doing the vast majority of feeding, etc., then insisting on overnights away from this parent can be traumatic to the child.

You should instead insist on overnights when they turn 4. (3 is still too soon for them to totally understand, so I think 4 is the right age.  I am sure this will draw other opinions).


Tips Especially For Long Distance Parents


Resist the temptation to let the local parent take all control.

It is easy when you are long distance to let the other parent be on top of schooling and health, but do not let it go, and insist that you stay apprised of all updates.

Consider having your lawyer construct a custody schedule that enables make-up days for when you are off work.

The regular custody agreement in a decree of divorce will not enable you to make up days with your kids that you miss due to travel.

Some added drafting can ensure you have this right, and it can add up to a lot more days with your kids.

Do not allow your ex to disrupt your time, and take your ex back to court if s/he does do so.

Since the parent that is not traveling can sometimes end up taking over the entire parenting picture, you need to make sure to draw your lines early and consistently.

You have a right to undisrupted times with your child.

Insist that those visitation periods occur.

Do not let  your ex talk you into skipping the visit.

Get orders to visit with your child on face-time or Marco Polo once a day.

There is no reason  with today’s technology in the U.S., that you should not be allowed to check in and see your child on a smartphone at least once a day.

Ask for orders that order the daily face to face appointment with your child.


DO NOT Miss your phone appointment with your child.

You want to teach your child that you are there for them.

Failing to show up for simple things like phone appointments, communicates the opposite.

Do Not Spend All Of Your Long-Distance Time Saying "I Miss You."

Living in the “I miss yous” will not form new memories with your child today.

Instead, use your technology time with your child to read a book, tell a joke, draw together, play an online game, or go on a tour of your child’s favorite toys.

If you just ask “how was your day” or say “I  miss you”, the interaction will fall flat for your child after a couple of days.


Make sure your decree says who pays for travel.

If you anticipate that you will be long-distance from your child, you can make sure the decree orders that both parents will pay for travel.

Child support can be credited by an amount certain.

Or, the parties can be ordered to split the costs of travel.


Realize that traveling a lot increases the odds that the other parent will have more time with the child.

The underlying assumption is that having a regular schedule in the same house is in the best interest of your child.

So, the parent who is  not able to be there regularly is less likely to be given the exclusive right to decide on primary residence.



Distance is one of the hardest things because there is no perfect solution.

If two parents do not live local to each other, it means that regular easy on and off visitation times will not happen.

All visits will involve hardship.

Naturally, this means that sometimes, less visiting occurs.

When possible, try to stay local to your child’s other parent.

"Exclusive Right To Decide Primary Residence"

This right is fought over by parents in custody battles.

It is the term that is used to award a person what is normally known as primary custody.

This person decides on where the child primarily lives.



"Temporary Orders"

In a divorce with kids, you can obtain temporary orders.

This involves going to court to have a trial in front of a judge.

The judge listens to the evidence about the divorce and decides on the rules.

The rules will last for as long as the divorce case is ongoing.

The rules can include:

  • Where the children primarily live;
  • Who pays child support;
  • Who pays temporary support;
  • Who has access to the money;
  • What money can be spent;
  • What traveling by the kids can occur;
  • How utilities will be paid.


Uncontested is a divorce case where both parties agree on the terms of divorce, and are willing to sign off on the papers.

About 50% of cases are filed as uncontested divorces.

Uncontested divorces are cheaper and faster.


"Sole Custody"

Sole custody is not an accurate legal term.

When people say “sole custody,” they usually mean that they want the other parent to have no time with the child, unless they choose to allow it personally.

If you want this, what you actually  are seeking is to be a sole managing conservatorship with full visitation time.

Or, you may be looking to terminate the other parent’s parental rights (which rarely happens).

"Joint Custody"

Some have the concept that joint custody means 50/50 custody, but that is not accurate.

Joint custody is not an accurate legal term.

Most all divorces result in both parents being appointed as joint managing conservators.

This means both parents are given the right to manage their child.

Being a joint managing conservator does not mean that you have any specific percentage of visitation time with your child.

"Standard Possession Order"

The assumption is that the standard possession order is the best schedule for the children in your divorce.

The standard possession order essentially amounts to the children living the majority of time with one parent, except for on:

Every other weekend;

Every  Thursday night;

Every other holiday;

A several week period in the summer.

So if this schedule will not work, then you may want to as for a CUSTOM POSSESSION ORDER.



An amicus is a person that can be appointed in a family law case to investigate your family.

The amicus will interview you and the children, and the other parent in your home.

The amicus can then testify in court as to her findings.

The amicus can sometimes make and break the decision on how child custody will be awarded.

"50/50 Custody Schedule"

If you are seeking to have both parents get equal amounts of visitation time with the child, then you request a 50/50 custody schedule.

Your lawyer will then draft a “custom possession order” that will reflect 50/50 time.


Disovery is an expensive (often unavoidable)  legal process used to exchange information between the parties.

It is time consumering for everyone.

It involves technical responses and deadlines.

It usually costs at least $3,000 with a law firm, and goes up from there depending on the case.

If used well, it can help a person win their case.


"Best Interest of the child"

One question is supposed to be the most important question in any custody case.

This question is supposed to dictate the judge’s decision on custody:

“What is in the best interest of the child?”

Because this one question is such a significant part of the outcome in any child custody case, it should be focused on.

One way  to set yourself up for this is to spend a great deal of energy yourself focusing on your child’s own best interests.

The following post talks about specific ways that you can do that.

These are ways to help your child do well, but are also things that can help you accumulate evidence to prove you are doing so.


Protecting and Boosting Up Your Child’s Emotional Well-being During Your Divorce (Any Age)

It is not a secret that divorce can cause loss of self-esteem to a child and severe emotional harm.

This list is about how to divorce the  smart way with kids.

So now we jump into tips on protecting your child’s emotional well-being.

Here are tips for some things you  can employ to  boost up your child up during a divorce.

Keep in mind that doing these things, also helps because you naturally accumulate more evidence for your case.


Engage Your Child in Mirroring Play.

A study shows that 5-10 minutes of mirroring play with your child a day can boost their self-esteem.

So, you simply let them be in charge and you immerse yourself in acting out with them their favorite imagination play.

If she is a dog, you are a dog.

If your child is older, instead immerse into their video game with them or their sport.

It can foster a friendship and deeper connection between  you and them, and win that way, supports them emotionally.

Use  your smartphone to video tape these interactions.


Know your child's love language.

Do they feel the most loved when you compliment them?

Or snuggle them?

Or spend quality time with them?

Or help them with a project?

Read the book about the 5 Love Languages because it can help you build your child up more easily.

Knowing these “deeper” details about your child can help you explain your child’s needs in a court setting.

Talk about your child to another adult when they can overhear you.

It has been shown that children care what you say to them about them directly.

But they put greater weight into what they hear you saying about them to others.

So, get on the phone and just happen to be near where your child can hear you telling your mom how great they are at this or that.

Do not be fake, be real.  Just let them  hear you.

Play a board game with the entire family, regularly

Board games or other competitive activities you can do at your house can boost your child’s emotional well-being a lot.

Unlike with other things, there is not a screen distracting the family.

There is not just a conversation that the child is having to be in.

There is nothing about the future or the past to deal with.

It is fun, and healthy.

Bring your child’s co-parent in on the fun if you can.

Here Are Some of The Big Things a Judge Can Order During a Divorce With Children 

District court judges have an enormous amount of power.

One of the main functions of your child custody lawyer is to help you carefully navigate through the obstacles safely.

So this section lists some of the powers you may not know that judges have.

The judge can decide where your child will live geographically.

The judge can order a parent has the right to babysit when the other parent is gone.

The judge can order that certain people cannot have access to your child.

The judge can order which parent decides on the schools that your child will attend.

A judge can order that your child's name be changed.

The judge can order that you and your spouse attend mediation to try to settle your case (this is common).

A judge can order that your previous child custody parenting plan is now going to change.

A judge can order you to immediately take a drug test and return to court.

In the face of not following orders, a judge can have you arrested.

A judge can order that your parental rights are terminated.

A judge can order that you pay more in child support.

A judge can order you to pay for the other side's lawyer.

Arguments you may want to raise in court for your divorce case, that will not usually work well for you

A good lawyer will listen to you compassionately.

But a GREAT lawyer will listen to you compassionately and then steer you clear of losing arguments.

Do here are some approaches to winning a custody hearing that people sometimes raise that do not tend to work in court.


WRONG: "I should win primary custody because my parents can do daycare"

Judges do not tend to favor grandparents over regular daycare.

Judges favor parents over grandparents as a general rule.

This argument is not a good approach.

WRONG: "I want to move away to start a fresh life."

Unless you have good reasons for taking away your child’s ability to easily visit their other parent, the court will not favor you just moving the child away.

WRONG: "My child does not want to go to the other parent's house."

Until a child turns 12, the child’s preference is not expressed to the court.

A child distaining their other parent could be a sign to the court that you  are intentionally causing the relationship to fail by manipulating your child.

WRONG: "She cheated so she should lose the kids."

Unless the cheating is impacting the parenting, it has little bearing on custody  decisions in a divorce.

WRONG: "His girlfriend is bad, so my kids should not be there with either of them."

The judge often assumes that you are saying this because of heartache.

The judge will not control who your ex dates and brings around the kids without substantial proof of serious imminent danger.

WRONG: "I will start taking care of the kids, so I should not have to pay child support."

The court will turn you down on this argument and you will lose creditability by asking for it.

WRONG: "I did not have enough money to get a lawyer so I am doing my custody case alone."

People often think that the judge will give sympathy in a custody case to a person who shows up without a lawyer due to lacking funds.

What actually happens is the opposite.  The person without lawyer tends to lose badly.

WRONG: "He didn't show up to visit the child, so I want to terminate his parental rights."

The court usually is of the mindset that this is just not enough reason to cut off parental rights, except for in long, extreme circumstances.

WRONG: "I want sole custody because he was not a good father."

It is very rare to win sole custody, absent imminent danger by a parent due to their extreme absence, use of drugs, or serious criminal history.

Asking for relief that the court never gives to others causes you to lose creditability in your case.

Final Tips

It's not over until they are 18.

Unlike with property, child custody issues can keep being brought back to court.

For this reason, you should maintain the evidence and advice of this page for the entire time you are raising your child.


Live in the present with this advice.

What you could have done before  to win custody of your kids or to help your case is irrelevant.

What might happen in the future, also is not what you should focus on.

Instead, just take a few tips from this page, and follow them.

No one is doing all of this stuff!

Now it’s your turn!

What did we miss with this list?

I would love to hear from you!



  1. Levi Armstrong

    Thanks for informing me that 95% of child custody cases result in joint custody. A parent only gets sole custody if the other parent has drug issues or a criminal history record. My husband plans to file for our kids’ sole custody, so this information gives me peace of mind. I just need to find a reputable child custody lawyer soon. Thank you for this.

  2. Levi Armstrong

    It’s great that you mentioned that private investigators do a lot of internet research and follow people and take pictures of their whereabouts. My dad and I plan on helping my sister find a child custody attorney since her ex-husband is coming back to get her son back. I’ll share this with them since we could use this in finding a lawyer. Thanks!


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