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Getting Custody of your Kids after a Divorce

Updated on March 26, 2012

When you got married, you thought that the "I do" meant forever. Unfortunately, as the years went on, you realized that "I do" had somehow become, "I just can't do this anymore". You've separated from your spouse and are working out the details of who is going to get what as you go your separate ways. It isn't easy. In the midst of emotional turmoil, everything from the CD collection to the family dog becomes fodder for a tug-of-war. But the one thing that each of you wants most is the thing that you can't put in the middle and pull apart: your children.

No one can blame you for wanting to get custody of your children. And no one can blame your ex for wanting that same thing. Being separated from your children is one of the most awful experiences in the world and it's a natural instinct to fight to prevent that from happening. But custody battles are traumatizing to the children involved and you want to do everything that you can to minimize the fight while working out the details of custody.

The first thing that you need to do is commit to working out a solution as calmly as possible. You don't want to do that. Your ex infuriates you. You are emotionally drained. And you just want to take your kids and be done with it all. But the fact of the matter is that your kids probably want to have time with both parents and they want it to happen in as calm a manner as possible. If you really don't think that you can work out custody calmly, you need to foot the bill for an attorney to do your negotiating for you.

Before trying to get custody of your kids, consider carefully what kind of custody you want. You're probably going to say that you want full custody. However, unless your ex was abusive or will be putting your kids in danger, you're probably only going to be able to get joint custody. Sit down and map out what your ideal custody situation is, what terms you'd be willing to negotiate about and what isn't acceptable to you. Planning this in advance of actually negotiating with your ex will help you to reach a custody agreement that you can live with. For example, you want primary custody and the kids with you on every holiday. You're willing to accept shared custody and the kids going to your ex's on either Thanksgiving or Christmas but not both. When you start negotiating, you'll state your goal wish first and negotiate down to your acceptable terms. This helps you to look sane and willing to compromise while you still get a custody deal you can live with.

To actually work out the details of the custody, you'll probably want to work with a lawyer. This should be a legal agreement so neither of you can go back on your word. If you're on agreeable terms with your ex, you can save some costs by working out everything sans lawyer and then just having a lawyer present to draft the final agreement and make it official. If you can't reach an agreement, you may have to go to court. If that ends up being the case, you need to get prepared.

To prepare to get custody, you need to make sure that you can prove that you can actually care for your kids. This means that if you don't have a job, you need to get one. If you live in one bedroom in your own mom's house, you need to find an apartment with a separate bedroom for the kids. If you have any sort of addictions or vices, you need to kick them. When you go to court, you're going to get dragged through the mud. Show up there as someone that your kids can be proud of and you'll be able to prove to the court that you're fit for custody. Reiterate your goal wish for custody and what you'd be willing to negotiate on. The court will then decide.

Remember throughout all of this that it's important to keep your kids out of the middle of your custody battle. Let the bitter tears and ugly fights happen when they're at school or with the babysitter. Remind them that you love them regardless of the divorce. And be honest with yourself about what custody situation is truly and honestly best for them. By keeping your kids' needs at the forefront of the situation, you'll work out a custody situation that benefits them. In the end, that's what is most important.


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  • profile image

    john finler 

    4 years ago

    If you truly want to keep your child, then the thing to do is to hire an excellent lawyer that may assist you. Go to for the best of the best, and you will surely gain custody without any worries of loosing it. They are excellent and what they do, and their record proves that. visit their webpage and see how amazingly qualified they are for this task.

  • profile image

    jenna elizabeth 

    6 years ago

    Just wanted to thank you and let you know how much you have helped me. since my divorce from a21-year marriage. It started out being one of the most difficult things I have ever attempted in my life. After a spell at, My ex sent me an apology email and i sent him a response the next day…within seconds he called me and asked to see me and was crying because he was glad I was talking to him. We are starting out very slowly again as friends (which is difficult for me since I am still deeply in love with him). An interesting note is this is a long distance relationship and your agbalaxy spell still worked!! I am so happy to have him in my life again.

    Thanks again,

    Jenna Elizabeth

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Thank you ! Real good advice .

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    thanks for the advise.

  • profile image

    cool kid 

    7 years ago

    i like the information on this website.

  • profile image

    austin hanuscak 

    7 years ago

    real good info...

  • custodydad profile image


    7 years ago

    You have an excellent hub. It's really well written, concise, and above all, useful to the reader.

    I believe that "Best Interests of the Minor Child" means both parents should be saying "What can I do to make our child's live better, even though we're now a separated household?" You have an excellent grasp of what it really means.

    Great work!

  • legalese profile image


    7 years ago

    It is refreshing to hear calm, rational advice on the subject of child custody. Parents too often engage in infantile games which place children in the middle of custody battles. As is suggested in this lense, parents should take precautions to make sure children are protected from the emotional turmoil that frequently dominates custody matter. Great lense.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    thanks for the excellent info, but keep in mind the rules that a parent is to play by differ from state to state (and even circuit to circuit in some places).

  • profile image

    California Divorce Documents 

    8 years ago

    Great article. It's so common sense-like and reasonable. I totally agree that the kids should stay out of it. Often the children are simply collateral damage. The sad truth of divorce is that you have to live with the aftermath many years later until the kids are grown up. Good to keep things civil.

  • Pippa II profile image

    Pippa Packer 

    8 years ago

    Great article.

  • Ryan Clinton profile image

    Ryan Clinton 

    8 years ago from

    I appreciate your focus. Divorce sucks for everyone involved. Kids should never be the victims. Thanks

  • profile image

    personal injury law firm nyc 

    8 years ago

    I like this hub because it says "keep your children out of the middle". This of course is very difficult to do, especially when you have children that basically bombard you with questions. It is a very uncertain time for the kids and demands a lot of patience and understanding. Most often times the court promotes adversarial and otherwise

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Good Hub :O)

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Great advice!

    Divorce greatly affects the family--especially the children. There could be individual reason why a husband is seeking for full custody against the wife or vice versa. As much as possible, it's important not to let the children get in the middle of divorce.

    Respect is something you can reap out of respect. Children who have had bad childhood carry the stigma until they grow old. It's important for parents to remain subtle to their children's needs despite the turmoil happening in the family.

  • Redrocker1970 profile image


    9 years ago

    I like this hub because it says "keep your children out of the middle". This of course is very difficult to do, especially when you have children that basically bombard you with questions. It is a very uncertain time for the kids and demands a lot of patience and understanding. Most often times the court promotes adversarial and otherwise

    "bad" behavior through special incentives like "child support" and "orders of protection". This is why I have introduced equal parenting legislation in my state of Missouri. The legislation states that unless there is an UNFIT parent, the default position of custody should be 50/50 between the parents. This will solve a lot of social issues in our state.

  • supercibor profile image

    Hector Herrera 

    11 years ago from Dominican Republic

    Thanks for the valuable information

  • Kenny Wordsmith profile image

    Ashok Rajagopalan 

    11 years ago from Chennai

    Useful hub, just in case.

    BTW, you have a nice typo in: " And now one can blame your ex for wanting that same thing." A kind of Freudian slip?

  • soyelude profile image


    11 years ago from Lagos - Nigeria

    Nice information...........every parent dreads.


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