The most important tool in winning a child custody case is having the right lawyer for you. Make sure that when you first call, you feel welcome and at ease with the staff. Make sure during the first meeting that the lawyer does not make any guarantees. If guarantees are made, do not hire the lawyer. Why, you may ask? Because, there are no guarantees in regards to a custody fight. You may win, you may loose, no one will know for sure until it is all over.
Do not, under any circumstance speak to your children about the case. If the court feels that it is necessary, it will appoint an "amicus" (which is a lawyer that is only looking out for the best intrest of the child/children). Speaking to your children negatively about the other parent with negative intentions, no matter how true, is fiercly frowned upon and can cause you to loose. So please remember to be the bigger person at all times.
Do not lie at court procedings and especially to your lawyer. Just keep in mind that the court will place the child/children with the most appropriate parent. Putting yourself into a bad light with the court will not help you in the least bit.
Keep your business to yourself. do not text, tweet, post, blog, or even speak of the case with any one. Your phone records, email, Twitter account, Facebook account, and basically every electronic device can be used as evidence. Badmouthing the Judge or court in any of these ways is also a bad idea. Remember that you are trying to prove who is the better person, please act the part. Also, do not confide in anyone about anything going on. Your best and most trusted friend can become your worst enemy during divorces. To prevent such problems, just keep things to yourself. If you feel the need to talk to someone. Get a counselor or go see a Doctor.
Stay home and do not date. Do not go out to bars, dance halls, and clubs (basically anywhere that there is alcohol, pool tables, dancing, and neon lights). Going out to party, dating, and reckless behavior as such can be used as ammunition. If you have started to see someone else, do not bring said person around the child/children, let said new person stay the night, or acknowledge to any person that you are "moving on".
You are judged by the company you keep. Any unsavory "friends " that you may have, drop them. If they are your real friends they will understand and forgive you. If they get offended and upset, they aren't a real friend to begin with and refer to rule number four. Also, keep in mind that it is highly possible for the Judge to order drug testing. Just say NO! Brazoria County and Texas in general frowns on any drug use no matter if it is legal in other states.
Listen politely but do not heed any advice from family and friends. Yes, they love you and want what is best for you and yours, and no matter how much experience they may have in the matter, listen only to what your lawyer says. Your lawyer, no matter who you choose, will most undoubtedly have the most current knowledge on family law. (Not you cousin that has been married and divorced five times).
This is your custody case, not anyone else's. Even if somebody other than you paid for it , it is yours. Do not let any person force you to do or say anything that you don't want to. Any decent lawyer worth his weight in salt will be the first to remind family and friends this fact. What you decide to tell the lawyer you have hired is confidential and protected by law. Any person that you bring with you to meetings is not included in this law and can be called to testify against you. Its ok to bring support in the form of close friends and family but keep them out in the waiting area.
If you have any questions for you lawyer, write them down. All questions are important, but try to get as many out at one time as possible as not to tie up the lawyer or the staff. Also please do not be offended if you call in an emotional state and the lawyer seems a bit detached. To best represent you, the less of an emotional bond there is between client and the lawyer the better. It would not look very professional to be crying out in empathy in your honor during the trial. Yes, we understand the highs and lows of divorce, separation, and custody fights, but we are not trained to help you emotionally. Refer to number four and see a counselor who is bound by HIPPA laws and cannot repeat anything you say.
This is basically just a recap of the previous nine rules just to prove the importance of working with the lawyer in your best interest. It is far more comforting to take an active role in your case rather than just stand by. Keep ALL documents. This way in case anything goes missing you have copies yourself. Keep all correspondence as well. Remember that by working as a team, (which is the both of us doing our parts), will only help your case and probability of winning.