Children are not property. Therefore, it is not your rights or your spouse’s rights that are most important. That is why the legal standard in deciding custody is the children’s best interests.
Since the children’s best interests govern the decision, just about any fact that is relevant to their best interests will be considered by the court in reaching a decision. This means that your chances of getting custody are going to be governed by the specific facts in your case. No two cases are alike. They are all unique.
You can enhance your changes by hiring a good, experienced lawyer who has successfully handled many custody cases. He/she will assess the facts in your particular case and will advise you how to best proceed. This may entail hiring experts to conduct evaluations. It may involve hiring private investigators. It may involve engaging in mediation.
Every case is different and the prospects of success vary widely. Carefully select an attorney. Tell him/her the whole story (good and bad parts). Follow his/her advice. In that way you can maximize your chances of getting custody.
Peter Paras is a name partner in the family-law firm of Paras, Apy & Reiss, P.C. in Red Bank, NJ. He is also a past member of Divorce Magazine’s Advisory Board.