Mistakes to Avoid During a Child Custody Battle

Mistakes to Avoid During a Child Custody Battle

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When two people divorce and can’t work out a mutual parenting plan, the only option is going to court for a custody order. This places the future of your child into the hands of a family law judge who will decide what is in the best interest for the child. It’s a difficult decision, as a judge will be faced with allegations from each parent about how the other is unfit. A judge comes to a verdict without any first hand knowledge or prior relationship with the family. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for good parents to end up being classified as neglectful or unfit based on the following simple, avoidable mistakes.

Getting arrested

When a parent is arrested in the middle of a custody dispute, the judge may view that individual as an unfit parent. For example, if the parent gets arrested for a violent crime, even if they aren’t charged, it provides the other parent with ammunition to claim an anger management problem or inclination towards violence. Furthermore, allegations of a DUI/DWI or any other drug or alcohol abuse may be grounds for supervised or reduced parent time allegation, especially if the children are present while the parent is abusing.

Defying temporary custody orders

Courts often issue temporary interim custody orders at the beginning of a divorce, which remain in place until a final decree is ordered. Temporary orders can govern the physical shared custody of the children between parties, the decision-making rights of each parent and other custody issues. Disregarding the court’s temporary orders can be a fatal mistake. For example, if a parent fails to return the children to the other by a specific time, or removes the children from the state without permission of the other party or a court order, this could have an impact on the judge’s final decision.

Exhibiting bad judgment on social media

Parents often turn to social media during the custody battle to vent frustrations, bash the other parent or even show friends how much fun single life is. Social media is not private. The information and photos posted on social media are available to the general public, including the other parent and his or her attorney. Photos of a parent looking intoxicated, or posts where the parent speaks poorly of the other parent can easily be used against them in court. When it comes to social media, never post something you wouldn’t be comfortable having a judge read or display in open court.

Rejecting rational communication and co-parenting

When a parent refuses to communicate or co-parent during a custody battle, this looks negative to a judge. The parent who refuses to communicate runs the risk of being deemed the “problem parent.” The best course of action is for a parents to present themselves as a cooperative, reasonable adults who are trying their best to work with the other parent and maintain open communication and collaboration.

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