Custody battles are often difficult, time-consuming, and costly. You certainly don’t want to sabotage your case by making mistakes that could have easily been avoided. Countless parents say their custody case is the most significant factor in the divorce process. Therefore, it is crucial to know the correct things to do, and perhaps more importantly, the things not to do. Below are five common mistakes parents make in their custody case.
Do Not Engage in “Bad Behavior”
Some people lose their temper and get very upset when dealing with their spouse or the court. Expressing your frustration may have serious consequences. In other words, don’t lose your cool. Always display a calm demeanor. You absolutely must avoid any physical confrontations. Even during a heated argument, do not touch the other person in any way. This sort of behavior is considered threatening and could cause you to lose custody if an abuse allegation is proven. Do not even make verbal threats to your ex. It could be a devastating mistake. Additionally, do not use drugs or alcohol while your custody case is active. Having a few drinks with the girls may be a much-needed break, but it could also be misconstrued as something much more sinister and negatively impact your case. It’s just not worth the risk.
No Consent – No Vacation
Do not take your children on vacation without your spouse’s consent. This may be considered kidnapping, and you could be arrested. The courts do not look kindly upon this type of behavior. It could seriously limit your access to the children in the future.
Avoid “Irresponsible Parenting”
It’s important that you follow some basic parenting rules. The court needs to know that you are responsible. Basically, just do what you are supposed to do as a parent.
These things include:
- If you are a gun owner, make sure it is locked away, and you have a trigger guard. You may even want to remove all weapons from your home temporarily, considering the current controversy surrounding gun violence.
- Use child safety seats in the car for children who are required by law to be in one.
- Watch only age-appropriate TV shows and movies with your kids.
- Carefully select any babysitters you might hire.
- Abstain from corporal punishment. This could easily get blown out of proportion.
- Know the significant people in the lives of your kids. This includes their friends, teachers, coaches, and even doctors. All these people should know you as well.
Try Not to Leave the Marital Home
If at all possible, you need to stay in the marital home. The parent in the home has a major custodial advantage. Leaving the house might make you seem flighty or unstable. It could even be implied that you abandon your children by moving out of the house. If you are in an abusive situation, consider filing a motion to have your spouse removed from the home. Of course, there are extenuating circumstances that simply make it impossible to stay in the house. But stay if you can.
Don’t Try to be a “Lone Wolf”
You need an attorney. Do not attempt to handle your custody case alone. Make sure you are honest with your attorney. They need to know all the facts in order to best represent you. Not only do you need a lawyer, get any support you can from friends, family, and your community.
There is a deeply emotional nature to a child custody battle. It is easy to get lost in the anger and fumble the ball. But this is not a game. It is your life and your children’s future. It is essential that you remain calm, cool, and collected in order to make good decisions and avoid common mistakes.