Steps for getting back custody of my children
If you have lost custody of your children, it means a court has decided that your children would be better off with someone else. Maybe your ex-spouse got custody after your divorce, or child protective services removed them from your home for cause. No matter the reason, the best method of getting back custody of your children is to convince a judge that your home is now the best place for them.
This will not be easy, because the courts do not take modification of a custody order lightly. You will need to present compelling evidence that it is now in your children's best interest to come back to you.
Get a Lawyer
A lawyer's advice is critical if you are serious about getting back custody of your children. You will need to understand why you lost custody and what the courts will want to see before returning your children to you. A knowledgeable child custody lawyer can assess your particular situation and advise on these matters. If you cannot afford your own lawyer, ask the court to appoint one for you.
Request an Evaluation
A professional child custody evaluator will examine all the variables of your case, from your interactions with your child to your home environment. He or she will do the same for your children's current custodian. The evaluator's report will help the court make a decision about your children's best interests.
Address the Issues
- Before you will have any chance of getting back custody of your children, you will need to show that you have corrected any problem(s) that led to losing custody, such as:
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Physical abuse or neglect
- Other safety issues in your home
Your lawyer and the child custody evaluator can help you identify solutions, such as:
- Complete an addiction program.
- Take parenting classes.
- Go to counseling.
- Repair your home.
Once you have addressed the issues, you may have a reevaluation.
Follow the Law
Everything you do at this time should show the court that you are a responsible person who cares about your children.
- Attend all hearings about your case.
- Abide by the current custody arrangement, even if you are not allowed to see your children.
- If you have visitation, return your children on time.
In short, do not give the courts, or your children's current custodian, any reason to doubt your suitability as a parent.
Request Shared Legal Custody and Visitation
If you do not currently have these rights, getting them can be a positive first step to showing you are capable of making the right decisions for your children. Use every visitation opportunity you get. You will strengthen your argument for being a responsible parent and getting back custody.
Remember, the courts try to do what is best for the children. Everything you do should support your claim that you are what is best for them.