Any family dispute is a very difficult thing to go through, but when there are children involved, it becomes so much harder. While it's always best to try and amicably agree to some sort of arrangement with the other party regarding parenting responsibilities, it's not always possible to do so, particularly when the relationship is already strained.
In this instance, you might consider going to court for a parenting order, which can be a stressful and upsetting process in itself. Beforehand, you should start thinking carefully about your ideal outcome, balanced by realistic expectations. You should also make detailed notes of any important factors that go in your favour.
Your previous involvement with parenting
One thing that's sometimes overlooked in this type of planning, but is highly important, is the extent to which you've been involved with bringing up the children so far. This can be demonstrated by the time you've spent with them, money you've spent on them, and decisions you've had a major say in, such as school choices.
These things aren't always easy to quantify, but make detailed notes about anything relevant you can think of.
What the children want
The court might want to take into account the children's preferred parenting outcome, so you should try and make sure you're aware of what that is. This can help temper your expectations, but might also be a useful thing to mention if it's favourable to you.
Your work and financial situation
While it won't automatically damage your case if you have no job and limited funds, it can definitely be useful if you have good, stable finances and a steady job. That said, you should make sure you can demonstrate that you're able to invest the necessary time in the children's upbringing and won't frequently be away on business for days on end.
Any risks to the children's well-being
When children are in any sort of danger, it will have a huge impact on any parenting decision the court reaches. Make sure they're aware of any such dangers that exist, including potential psychological damage. Don't exaggerate any claims you make, though, as this could damage your own case.
There are a lot of different factors a court will look at, so have a think about anything else that makes you a suitable parent. This could include sharing a religion or culture with the children, living nearer to where they're currently based, or what sort of effect any upheaval could have. Write down anything you think could be relevant, and let your lawyer know.
For more advice, talk to a family lawyer at firms like Alexanders Lawyers.