You know what’s best for your children, and you deserve to be in their lives following your divorce. But you may need to tread carefully, as even the most stellar records are placed under the microscope during custody hearings. Your actions could help you get the custody you need, or derail your plans entirely.

Virginia will usually rely on a judge to determine custody in the best interest of your child if you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement. The decision will probably incorporate your relationship before the trial began, but the scrutiny is likely to increase once the divorce is underway.

In the spotlight

The judge will likely go through your life with a fine-tooth comb during your time together:

  • Compromise: Showing you’re willing to work with the other parent in court could show the judge that you’ll be just as thoughtful in the real world. This could go a long way to getting you some leeway when crafting a custody agreement.
  • Naysaying: The judge probably won’t be thrilled if you’re caught subverting the process by speaking ill of your partner in front of your children, posting negative things on social media or out-right lying in court about conditions. This might not bode well when you ask for additional custody.
  • Performance: Now is likely the time to shine in the eyes of the court. A spotless record when it comes to parental duties, steady employment and avoiding run-ins with the law can go a long way to proving your responsibility to a judge. Extra effort to keep things on the straight and narrow could pay big dividends.

A divorce trial may be one of the best times for you to be on your best behavior, even though your resume up to now certainly counts. The judge is watching, so make sure you stay aware of your actions to ensure you get the custody you deserve.