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          Are You in a Custody Battle?

          February 10, 2010

          Ending a relationship is never easy, but when there are children involved, it becomes even more complicated. Dr. Phil and civil and family attorney Areva Martin give their advice for smoothing the transition of divorce for your kids and tips for improving your chances of gaining custody:

          Dr. Phil says there are two main rules when it comes to parenting, especially during times of crisis and instability in your family:

          1) Do not burden your children with situations they cannot control.
          2) Do not ask your children to deal with adult issues. For more advice and strategies, read:

          Areva Martin is the founding and managing partner of Martin & Martin, LLP. She offers these tips if you’re fighting for custody of your children:

          1) Don’t separate the child from other members of your ex’s family, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles.

          2) Do encourage a relationship with the child and your ex — a child needs both parents.

          3) Be mindful of and obey at any cost any custody orders issued by the court.  

          4) Do not badmouth your ex-spouse's family members, as your child is related to them.  

          5) Never withhold child support to punish the other parent — you are only depriving your child.

          6) Respect the privacy rights that each parent has when he or she are with the child.

          7) Do not try to control what happens with the child while at your ex's — assuming the child is not in danger.

          8) Don't take the child out of town without a written consent from the other parent or a court order.

          9) Avoid showing your anger about legal issues or your ex around the child — this is emotionally draining for the child.  

          10) Be willing to accept that what is in the best interest for the child may not be 50/50 or shared custody arrangements. For more of Areva's divorce advice, read:

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