Having custody of your children is your only goal as you go through divorce. You’ve fought to show that your spouse is less deserving of their time and to show how much you play a role in their lives.

While you are trying to seek primary custody, it’s important to be cautious about how you represent the other parent. The last thing you should do is anything that makes it seem like you’re talking badly about them to your children or making up stories to try to win custody. A judge wants to see facts, not claims made because of hurt feelings or emotional distress.

Badmouthing another parent is a big mistake in court. If a judge believes that you’re the one causing problems and creating a divide between that parent and your children, then you could actually be hurting your case for custody. That doesn’t mean you can’t present facts, but you should be cautious about how you do so.

For example, stating, “They’re a bad dad and shouldn’t have custody,” is just your opinion. However, if you present evidence such as the dates of missed custody or visitation pickups, failing to go to teacher-parent conferences and other issues you’ve had, then the judge can come up with their own opinion. Allow the evidence to speak for itself, and ask for the custody arrangements that you want.

No parents really want to go to trial to have a judge decide on custody because that takes away control. However, if you have found that it’s the only option and that you want to fight for sole or primary custody, you should work closely with your attorney to do so in a favorable manner.