A child custody battle can become quite a stressful experience for parents, but most especially for children. It’s not an ideal scenario, especially with all the emotional strain involved. However, not all parents and guardians can reach a compromise and settle out of court. If such is the case, then parents should prepare for a custody battle.

Here are some things to keep in mind to help you prepare and win your custody case.

Presentation Matters

Appearance may seem like a superficial aspect, but first impressions do last in a courtroom. If you want to win your custody case, you definitely have to look the part of a capable parent, which includes dressing up properly. Your entire demeanor will be under scrutiny, including your demeanor when answering the judge’s questions and your attitude toward the other parent. The latter is especially critical when proving that you are the better parent. Don’t “trash” the other, especially not in front of the children; focus on proving why you should be awarded child custody without attacking your counterpart.

Hire a Private Investigator

From conducting surveillance, gathering witness statements, and carrying out background investigations, a good private investigator can help you win your child custody case. Collecting evidence and hard facts does not necessarily mean looking for negatives. It’s possible that both parents are financially capable, and mentally sound, for example. With the help of a good PI looking into your community and interviewing your neighbors, among others, you can prove to the court that granting you custody will be in the best interests of your child.

Of course, if you suspect that your child is not receiving the best possible care, then it’s even more imperative that you hire a private investigator to gather proof and build a solid case for winning custody. Financial standing, criminal records, and emotional or mental instability are only a few things that a skilled PI can uncover.

For Dads: Pay Child Support

Fathers who want custody of their child (or children) should pay child support consistently. If you only have an informal agreement, be diligent in keeping records like bank receipts. You can even have a letter signed by the mother whenever she receives the child support payments.

If you have a legal agreement for alimony, then stick to it and ensure that you have a good track record. Should you have any struggles, say you can’t keep up with the same amount anymore, be honest and request for modifications while still keeping up with payments.

For Moms: Allow Visitation

Unless there is a situation that prevents it – for example, a restraining order – married mothers should allow the other parent to visit the child. If the parents are unmarried, the mother usually gains custody of the child without any contest.

If the father does file a custody case, however, and there are no safety or health concerns, then by all means allow the father to visit. This shows the court that you give importance to the child’s well-being, which includes supporting the relationship between father and child.

Most of all, be honest. Stick to the facts and don’t let emotions cloud your better judgment. Don’t invent stories just to paint a dire picture should the child end up with the other parent. Sometimes, neither parent will win the battle and the court will rule in favor of joint custody. In the end, what matters is coming up with an agreement that suits the child’s best interests.