A father can win custody of his kids if he is fighting a restraining order - it's an undeniable fact, no matter what an angry ex or her lawyer says about the matter. Many, many fathers (myself included) have won 100% custody of their children using nothing more than a mix of self-education, determination, honesty, and patience. However, your kids are relying on you to make the right moves to allow that to happen.
The first and most important thing is to get an understanding of what's motivating your ex to file the restraining order.
- Does she want to cause financial hardship by making you pay more legal fees on top of the custody case?
- Does she want you to get fired from your job or prevent a job offer being made, when they see the restraining order on your criminal record?
- Does she want immediate custody of the kids while you wait on the court date to defend yourself?
- Does she want the higher maintenance payments which are often awarded when you're no longer allowed to see your kids?
Basically, any father who wants to win custody of his kids should sit down and really think of the reasons behind your ex filing the order - because an understanding how the other side is thinking is half the battle already won. It's the best starting point so that you can figure out how to fight a restraining order.
The second most important element that you need an understanding of when fighting a restraining order is the legal process involved. If you've just been served a restraining order, it will be a temporary one which is often called an "ex parte" order, and it will be valid for a few weeks. It will have been granted at an "ex parte" hearing requiring only the attendance of your ex, and in the paperwork served to you, there will be a date for a second hearing. This may be referred to as an "Order to Show Cause" hearing date. This is where you should appear to defend yourself in front of the judge.
The second court hearing is a crucial point in fighting a restraining order - it's where you have your first (and often, only) chance to stop it becoming permanent!
If you have a clear idea of the two things I've discussed above (firstly, understanding the motivation of your ex, and secondly understanding the legal process involved in getting a restraining order rescinded), you're already ten times more prepared than your average father who's trying to win custody of his kids. Too often, fathers think that fighting a restraining order in a custody case just involved throwing the most amount of money at hiring a lawyer - and nothing could be further from the truth. The single-most important aspect to winning custody of your kids is that you get involved in your case - even if it's just to ensure your lawyer is doing a great job for you, should you choose to hire one!