If you are contemplating a separation or divorce and have a child, you should have a temporary custody agreement before your divorce or separation agreement is finalized. The court in your state will determine temporary custody based upon what is in the best interest of your child.
It’s important to note that a temporary custody agreement may start as being only temporary but could become permanent when you go to court to finalize your separation or divorce.
What Are the Reasons for A Temporary Child Custody Agreement?
It’s possible that you may grant someone else or another couple temporary custody of your child. The reasons for temporary child custody agreement include, but aren’t limited to:
1. Separation or Divorce: If you are getting a divorce or separating, many times a temporary child custody agreement is in place until the order for final child custody can be issued by the court.
2. Lack of Money: In some cases, neither parent can afford to care for the child so they may decide to grant temporary custody to a trusted friend and/or relative.
3. Responsibilities that Compete: It may be that you have an unusual work or school schedule or have work-travel commitments.
4. Domestic Violence: If your child is threatened with abuse, the court could order a temporary custody agreement to protect your child.
5. Hospitalization or Illness: If you are incapacitated on a temporary basis due to illness and/or hospitalization, you may ask a relative to care for your child.
Who Can Be a Custodian for Temporary Child Custody?
In theory, almost anyone can be a temporary guardian for your child including:
- Extended family members.
What Should Be Included in a Temporary Child Custody Agreement?
Your temporary child custody agreement should include:
1. The time period of the agreement that includes when it starts and when it ends
2. Where your child will live
3. Very specific details about the parent’s right to visitation
4. Financial arrangements – if necessary
Also, it should be noted that temporary custody orders will remain valid while your divorce is pending and a permanent child custody order may be included in your final divorce order.
How To Win Temporary Child Custody at the Hearing
As you work with your attorney to prepare for your temporary child custody hearing, there are things you can do to be prepared. How to win temporary child custody involves the following steps:
- Write out a detailed history of your relationship while married. This should include dates and facts that support your case.
- Pick out pictures, videos, and other visual aids that you and/or your attorney will present to the court.
- List the reasons why you believe you are the best choice to have temporary custody of your child and include specific dates and facts.
- Write down specifically why your spouse should not have temporary custody of your child. Again, include facts and dates.
- List the names, addresses, and contact information for any potential witnesses you may need to help you win your temporary child custody case.
- Write out a summary of what any witnesses could testify to and if you may have to subpoena them.
- Assemble all of your financial information to show you have the means to care for the child.
- Have your attorney review your plan and all the evidence. Make any recommended changes.
- Create a plan as to how you plan to support your child while your divorce is pending.
Appearances are Important at Your Temporary Child Custody Hearing
When you go to court, you may be expected to testify to a judge or jury. If you want to know how to win temporary custody, then know that first impressions matter more than you think.
If you are a woman, wear dark-colored clothing and natural-looking make-up. Also, keep the jewelry to a minimum. If you are a man, wear a conservative suit, dress shirt, and tie.
Additionally, you should never drink alcohol or take any drug, prescription or otherwise, that will affect your nervous system before you testify. The judge, jurors, and attorney for your child’s other parent will be watching you closely inside and outside of the courtroom. Be kind and polite and answer the questions seriously without making jokes.
What Issues Are Addressed in a Temporary Child Custody Hearing?
Every divorce or separation case has different issues and the same is true for temporary child custody hearings. In general, a temporary child custody hearing will include:
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Possession and/or sale of your marital home
- Any other important issues relating to your unique situation.
Can I Lose Temporary Custody?
In general, a temporary custody order usually is in place until your divorce is finalized. However, there are cases where a judge may change the terms of the temporary child custody order and you could lose custody if the child’s best interests aren’t being met.
This could include an impactful and significant change in your situation, or if you are stopping the child’s other parent from having visitation with your child. If you lose your right to have temporary custody of your child, you may be able to reclaim them.
When it comes to how to win temporary child custody, the answer is: it depends largely on you. The more prepared you are before attending the temporary child custody hearing, the better. If you follow the steps outlined in this article, you may increase your odds of winning temporary custody of your child.
Ultimately, the court will decide on permanent child custody and, when awarding temporary child custody, the court will look at the same things they do if it was for permanent child custody: your child’s health, safety, stability, and well-being.
Remember, the court will always do what they believe is in the best interest of your child, and it’s up to you to take the steps necessary to prove to the court that you are the best parent for the job.