If there is bad blood between you and the other parent of your child, he or she might be tempted to falsify information to make you look unfit. Although what he or she says about your parenting might seem outrageous, there is a possibility that a judge might find the information credible enough to factor into his or her decision about custody. Therefore, it is important that you take action before walking into court to help disprove the other parent's claims.
Ask for a List of Witnesses
Chances are, the other parent will be relying on witnesses to help paint you as unfit parent. Your own friends and family could unwittingly be used against you in court. To better prepare for what they could potentially say about you, you need to know who is on the list.
Your child custody lawyer can contact the other parent's lawyer and request a list. Your lawyer can even file a petition with the court requesting that the lawyer is compelled to provide the list.
Once you have the list in hand, take the time to consider what testimony each person could possibly offer. Your attorney could even hold depositions to learn more about their testimony. You can use that information to pinpoint what you need to focus on in your own preparations.
Find Independent Witnesses
In child custody cases, many people mistakenly believe that family and close friends are the best people to offer testimony about the parenting skills of each parent. The reality is having family and friends testify does not always help. Their testimony could be painted as biased by the other parent.
Although you can call on some family and friends to discuss the case, independent witnesses are important. An independent witness is seen as unbiased because he or she does not necessarily have a side to be on. Witnesses, such as your child's teachers and neighbors, can help paint a picture of your child's life.
You should also focus on finding experts. The court will most likely have your child evaluated by a social worker, but you can take that evaluation a step further. A child therapist can talk to your child about his or her relationship with you and the other parent. The therapist can provide unbiased testimony that could potentially help your case.
Your child custody lawyer can help find other ways to protect yourself against a less than honest co-parent.