Perhaps you were not a model parent before, but now as you face a divorce, you want to be a better parent for your child. There are ways to improve your chances of still being awarded visitation rights, or even some custody, but do not be surprised if this does not happen initially. It will take time to prove to a judge that you have turned a corner in your life and that you want to be more involved in the life of your child. But no matter what happened in the original divorce settlement, remember that court orders can be modified later on.
If for example, you were not around for your child before, be there now. Get to know him or her, spend time with your child. You can also introduce yourself to their teachers, counselor, coaches, etc. Be involved where you can. Perhaps you struggled with substance abuse before. You can enter rehabilitation, take treatment; do what it takes to recover and to show that you are now a sober and responsible parent. If necessary, you can take other courses as well, such as anger management, or parenting classes. Of course, these steps will not be completed overnight, and it could take a considerable amount of time to overcome any distrust that the other parent, the judge, and your child may have. It will take persistence and dedication. In time, your attorney may be able to prove that there has been a substantial and lasting change in your life, and that a modified court order is in the best interests of the child.
There is also the chance that if you are not awarded any custody at all, you may still have visitation rights, or supervised visitation. Supervised visitation might be decided upon if there has been substance abuse or abusive behavior before. It is entirely up to the judge. If deemed necessary, the judge might suspend visitation altogether—temporarily. Visitation rights can be reinstated if it can be proven that there has been substantial progress.
These are just some of the steps you may be able to take to ensure that your child can maintain a healthy relationship with both parents, something that can be vital to the child's development and wellbeing. If you need any further advice in your divorce, especially as pertains to child custody, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Raleigh divorce attorney. With an issue so vital to you and your child, you cannot afford to be without legal expertise on your side. Contact Hopper Law Office to learn how we may be able to fight for the best interests of your child.