Sometimes parents are unable to agree upon where their children should primarily reside (or which parent their children should live with) when they have separated or have filed for divorce. When there is no agreement and the issue of custody/parenting time cannot be settled, litigation ensues. Custody litigation is an emotional process for all involved. How could it not be? It involves your children. Custody litigation is also a complicated process. As a family law attorney, I have handled many custody matters and have witnessed other litigants unknowingly make critical mistakes that affect the outcome of their cases. This is my attempt to help those on what NOT to do in a custody battle:
1) DON’T REPRESENT YOURSELF. It is indisputable that custody litigation is complex and costly. Some people opt to represent themselves to save money or because they believe they cannot afford an attorney. Self-representation can have disastrous results, especially in a custody battle. There are too many legal nuances that you will not know (especially when it comes to court procedures and the rule of evidence (what is admissible and what is not admissible in court)). You may think you are able to effectively represent yourself, but I strongly recommend that you retain counsel, preferably an attorney who has significant experience in trying (and settling) custody matters. You are too emotionally involved and you will not know the procedural or substantive legal issues that are intertwined in every custody matter.