Being a parent can be rewarding but also extremely challenging, perhaps even more so if you're going through a divorce. The good news is that divorce doesn't necessarily have to undermine your parenting style or harm your relationship with your children.
Ending a marriage and starting over isn't a simple process, but it doesn't have to be disastrous either. As long as your children know they can come to you when they struggle, and as long as you know where to seek legal guidance and support, you can be hopeful about successfully adapting to the new custody arrangement and parenting plan.
Your involvement in your children's lives is a key factor.
Every state has guidelines regarding child custody. In general, if it becomes necessary to ask a California court to make a child custody determination, the judge will want to know how much time, on average, each parent typically spends with the children. If there is dispute with the other parent over how much time each of you gets with the children, you will need to show the court evidence that you are active in your children's lives. For example, you may need to prove that you go to school and sports events, take the kids to doctor visits, spend free time with the children, and know a lot about their academic and personal lives.
Safe and healthy environments are important.
Depending on the specifics of your case, you may have to undergo a home evaluation if you petition the court for custody of your children. If your home is un-kept or there are safety issues, that could affect the court's decision. It's important to convince the court that your home is a safe and loving environment for your kids.
Consistency and promptness are also important.
If you are always late when you pick up your kids or often cancel scheduled visits, it won't benefit your custody case. In fact, if your spouse is trying to greatly limit your time with the children, he or she could use any repeated inconsistency or lateness against you.
Is court intervention necessary?
Many divorcing parents are able to negotiate the terms of their co-parenting agreements without having to ask the court to intervene. However, if that is not your situation, many very important decisions regarding your children will be made at the court's discretion, and the importance of skilled and knowledgeable legal guidance cannot be overstated.