Divorce is difficult enough, but when there are children involved, it can be even harder. Washington parents want the best for their children which makes it harder to decide where the children will live. When you are seeking custody of your children, there are some things that you must do in order to achieve the outcome you want.
Work with your ex-spouse
As difficult as it may be, it is critical that you do everything you can to work with your estranged spouse. There have been instances where a parent has lost a custody case because they refused to work with the other parent. Keep in mind that you created the children together and that you need to work together in a way that will benefit the children the most.
Remain in the home until custody is decided
When a marriage ends, the natural instinct is for one spouse to move out. If there is any way possible that you and your ex-spouse can cohabitate until custody is decided, you need to do so. In the court system, perception is everything and moving out may give the appearance you left the children behind. Although this may be far from the truth, child custody cases can get heated and your ex-spouse may use your leaving against you, especially if they do not want a divorce.
Visit your children
If the courts have awarded temporary visitation rights with your children, exercise them. Spend as much time with them as you can doing regular things like homework, chores and after-school activities. You will need to prove that you can be more than a weekend parent who only does the fun things like the park, movies or dinners out.
If you believe your children are not safe with your ex-spouse, whether you suspect abuse or there is a drug or alcohol issue, keep documentation of any interaction with your ex-spouse. If you suspect abuse, photograph bruises or unexplained injuries. Keep in mind that your ex-spouse may also be documenting interactions with you, so be sure your documentation is as detailed as possible. When completing documentation, do not question your children or attempt to put them in the middle between you and your ex-spouse as this could have a negative impact on your case.