Contested Custody: When Exes Can’t Agree

One of the most difficult issues to decide during a divorce is that of custody. While there are exceptions, generally speaking, people want to care for their children. If not through full custody, then at least partial. It is always best if parents can come to an agreement about this outside of the courtroom. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. When custody cases go to trial, things often get messy.

Why Parents Can’t Agree

In many cases, the two parties’ inability to agree on things is the main factor that caused the divorce in the first place. If they couldn’t concur when they were supposed to be on the same team, the chances of being able to agree when in an adversarial position are low. When it comes to children, though, parents should always be on the same side. The well-being of the child is the most important thing.

Still, there are many reasons that parents might not be able to come to an agreement about custody.


In some situations, one parent is so angry at the other that they want to make them suffer. The best way they can think to do that is by taking custody of their kids away. If they are unable to completely deny custody, then limiting the custody of their ex, will often be the next most satisfying choice.

However, parents should never make a custody battle about spite. If a judge believes that your battle for custody is intended to harm your spouse, rather than being about your child’s wellbeing, then your attempts are likely to backfire on you. The judge might decide to reduce your level of care instead.


Sometimes custody has to do with location. Parents are often bound to the same general area by their custodial agreement. If one parent wants to move away, this is going to create a significant disruption in everyone’s lives. If the move is desired before custody has been set in a divorce, then the parent who wants to move will likely either have to waive their custodial rights or try to fight for sole custody.

Of course, there are other options. If the moving parent has the financial means to travel back to where the other parent lives frequently, they might be able to negotiate limited secondary custody. If the move is temporary, they could attempt to fight for custodial rights when they return while temporarily granting full custody to the parent who remains.

If the parent who wants to move is likely to be the primary custodial parent, they might fight for full custody. They could also try to convince the other parent to move as well so that they can still be a part of their child’s life.

Both Parents Want Primary Custody, or a Parent Wants Full Custody

When both parents want primary custody, and both have the financial means and the right lifestyle to be the primary caretaker for their child, they may battle for primary custody. Unfortunately, evenly split care often isn’t very realistic. When one parent worries that their ex is not responsible enough to care for their child, or they worry that their former partner will harm their child, they will likely fight for full custody.

A Court Battle Is Never Good

When a custody case goes to court, things are bound to get ugly. Parents should do everything they can to settle custody issues through mediation. Children are always worse off when a custody battle goes to trial. Unless you believe that your spouse poses a serious threat to your child, you should find a way to come to an agreement before it gets to this point.

Read more about contested custody litigation in California. Your best bet to help you come to an acceptable agreement while avoiding putting your child through the ugliness of a trial is to be informed about how custody battles work. Make sure to have a qualified divorce attorney on your side to help protect your interests and those of your child.



Welcome to the Night Helper Blog. The Night Helper Blog was created in 2008. Since then we have been blessed to partner with many well-known Brands like Best Buy, Fisher Price, Toys "R" US., Hasbro, Disney, Teleflora, ClearCorrect, Radio Shack, VTech, KIA Motor, MAZDA and many other great brands. We have three awesome children, plus four adorable very active grandkids. From time to time they too are contributors to the Night Helper Blog. We enjoy reading, listening to music, entertaining, travel, movies, and of course blogging.

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