A child custody battle can be a minefield of stress and emotion, so maintaining a healthy mindset throughout is a necessity. While civil and cooperative parting should be the goal, it doesn’t always happen easily. Often, hurdles must be overcome. To prepare yourself for potential hurdles, keep in mind the following tips to uphold a positive mindset as you maneuver through the stages of a custody case in Houston, Texas.
7 Strategies for Keeping a Healthy Mindset During a Child Custody Battle
1. Be Prepared to Share
A child custody case is an ordeal you shouldn’t have to go through alone. The emotional toll can be overwhelming, so finding someone who’s been through it to help you express your feelings should be a priority. Leaning on friends and family for support can offer clarity during distressing times, and it means you’re better prepared to parent your children from a perspective of emotional awareness.
If you don’t have friends or family to help reduce your stress, you can rely on a variety of support networks. Support groups, for example, provide a safe space to share your experiences with people who understand what you’re going through and can offer invaluable insight. If sharing with a group isn’t for you, and you prefer a one-on-one environment, a qualified therapist can help you process any feelings that accompany a custody battle.
2. Have a Plan
It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions of custody proceedings, but it serves your children better to be in control. While this is easier said than done, experts say that simply taking note of your and your co-parent’s actions can alleviate the emotional aspect. Rather than allowing feelings to take over, keep a record of interactions and behaviors so you can put them down on paper and then move on to focus on what matters.
Simply being angry or reactive achieves nothing but further stress. By tracking behaviors and events, you nip this habit of rising anger in the bud. Not only does this serve you at that moment, but an organized record of important details also illustrates to any court that you’re capable and conscientious and gives you an edge during the legal proceedings.
3. Take Care of Yourself
A custody case is both a physical and mental burden. You want to win, but if self-care isn’t a priority, you’ll essentially be a tank running on empty. How can you expect to properly fight for your child while you’re struggling to cope? With what energy you have left, if you’re expending it on the wrong things like overthinking or focusing on the past, you’re adding fuel to the flames of your anxiety.
Instead, refocus that energy on yourself to become the best parent you can be by eating well, engaging in physical activity, and most importantly, sleeping well. Whether you use that energy in a physical way, like boxing to ease pent-up frustrations, or you meditate in a calming environment to clear your mind, you’re addressing the effects of this battle burden and ensuring the process is that much easier to tackle.
4. Communication Is Key
Except in extreme cases that require parents to be out of contact, shutting down communication with your spouse essentially means that you’re shutting down the opportunity to co-parent, something your children need in this confusing time. This can be tough, and it often depends on the willingness of your spouse, but an open line of communication, as well as mutual respect, is key to maintaining a safe and nurturing environment for your children.
Perspective is often necessary in this case. Yes, you’re fighting to win custody, but it’s harmful to behave as though you’re at war with your spouse. This can lead to a back-and-forth between parents that, if they’re exposed to, children find challenging to cope with. Acknowledge your children’s bond with your co-parent and put yourself in their shoes; be open and tell them anything about the children that you, as their parent, would want to know.
5. Put Your Children’s Needs First
The process of a child custody case is so overwhelming for children that they need both parents available to provide the care they need at that moment. Focusing solely on the case might seem like the best option for their future, but this can mean you lose sight of what’s important now. To stay connected and present with your children, make an effort to stay involved with them, their lives, and their daily routines.
It might not always feel like it, but you have control over the situation and your own actions, so take every opportunity you can to ease the process for your children while maintaining boundaries and structure. If possible, have a plan in place with your co-parent for this. Create a safe space for your child to feel however they need to feel and provide them the freedom to ask questions about the situation.
6. Avoid Social Media
Nothing is private online. A profile set to private might feel secure, but screenshots can be taken by other parties without your knowledge and can be used in court. That post you’re sharing that seems innocent can tell a different story. For example, a selection of pictures of you engaging in one or two light drinks might be used by your spouse to illustrate to a judge that you’re an unfit parent with alcohol issues.
It also might be tempting to inform friends and followers of your situation, but this can quickly backfire. If you’re unsure whether to post, consider a common guide beforehand. Think about what you’re going to share, and if you wouldn’t want it displayed openly in court, it’s best to refrain from posting.
7. Find a Good Lawyer in Houston, TX
Handing over control is never easy, especially when it comes to the welfare of your children, but it’s best to have someone on your side with significant experience in these cases. No two cases are similar, so it’s important to hire an attorney who understands your needs, the challenges you’ve faced, and who can negotiate on your part to ease tensions between you and your spouse.
The amount of paperwork and the long list of court dates can feel insurmountable, and while you work to maintain structure and stability in your children’s lives, you can’t be expected to handle the business end of your case. Being a good parent simply isn’t good enough in court. You need someone who can use their significant experience to communicate to a judge that you’re the fittest parent providing the best possible home for your children.
Taking on this burden alone will inevitably lead to further stress and anxiety, putting you at a disadvantage in your efforts to parent your children and win your case. And nobody should go through this alone. Working to maintain a healthy mindset goes hand-in-hand with hiring the right representation who will be on your side throughout.
At Skillern Firm, our prominent Houston, Texas law firm, a host of experienced and empathetic lawyers are here to help you through this process. If you need an attorney for an upcoming child custody case, call Skillern Firm today to request a consultation.