Avoiding the most crucial mistakes
It can be difficult to deal with the emotional burden of a divorce, especially when child custody is involved. The legal concerns frequently intersect with the personal reasons that lead to the breakup, and disagreements over child custody significantly aggravate the matter.
Even though child custody might elicit strong feelings and convictions, it’s important to realize that your decisions can have an impact on your child’s well-being and your connection with them in the future. Allowing bad emotions to lead to damaging action or poor judgment is a quick way to present yourself in a negative light in front of the judge and put yourself at a disadvantage in court.
A child custody and visitation case can feel overwhelming due to a tangle of legal paperwork, court dates, and visitation schedules. In any of these areas, missing even a single detail might have a negative impact. The bond you have with your child should not be jeopardized by a custody battle.
How Do Judges Make Child Custody Decisions?
It’s a good idea to start with a grasp of how custody orders are formed. Child custody is divided into two parts: legal custody and physical custody.
You can have joint custody with the other parent or divided custody, with one parent having main custody. Legal custody refers to the authority to make key choices affecting the child’s life.
This covers religious, medical, and educational options. Physical custody determines where the kid will live—whether shared by both parents or with one parent having main custody and the other having secondary custody or visitation rights.
The parenting plan or custody plan is the split of legal custody and the schedule of physical custody. When deciding on a custody arrangement, a court must consider the “best interests of the kid.”
This is a vast matter, and the court has considerable leeway in rendering a final decision. The judge will examine the following broad factors:
Ties: A kid should be able to retain relationships with others in their life such as their noncustodial parent, extended relatives, and good influences at school or in their community.
- Safety: Keeping children safe is a critical component of the choice. One parent may be denied custody due to drug usage, abuse, domestic violence, or a criminal record.
- Development: A kid requires assistance as they grow and mature, and people responsible for their care will most likely need to nurture them both mentally and physically.
- Keeping these considerations in mind, here are seven issues that might jeopardize your child custody case.
1. Denying the other parent visitation without a compelling reason
In general, the court will not tolerate any attempt to deny the other parent access to their kid without the assistance of a court order.
You can prohibit visits if the other parent or the environment endangers your kid, such as if you suspect abuse or unsanitary living conditions.
Such circumstances, however, are restricted to genuine and urgent dangers. Stopping visitation as a punishment for other issues, such as late child support payments, can complicate matters and land you in contempt of court.
If it is not an extreme necessity, you should always consult an attorney before attempting to breach a visiting schedule established by the court.
2. Refusing to work with or compromise with the other parent
Even if you have strong negative sentiments against your former husband or partner, one of the worst mistakes you can make is placing those feelings ahead of your children’s best interests.
Refusing to speak rationally may lead the court to believe that your intention to harm the other parent outweighs your desire to be a positive role model for your kid.
Instead, attempt to maintain an open and productive communication with the opposing party. If you find it difficult to communicate due to emotional considerations, consider hiring an experienced family law attorney who can manage communication for you and give crucial advise on when to compromise and when to take a position.
3. Poor Social Media Decision Making
Social media accounts may appear to be a private zone where you may express your concerns and receive encouragement from pals. The truth is that these accounts are open to the public, and whatever you put on them might be used against you in court. Posts that might lead the judge to generate an unfavorable judgment about your behavior or impact on your kid can be extremely harmful to your chances of obtaining a favorable custody judgement from the judge:
- Photos showing you inebriated or high on illicit substances
- Lies or harsh remarks
- Negative remarks regarding the other parent
In general, you should not post anything on social media that you would not want on display in open court. However, if you have already posted something that might be used against you, do not erase it.
The post in issue might constitute evidence, and you could face legal ramifications if you try to remove it. Instead, consult with your attorney, who may be able to prevent the post from being included as evidence or lessen its impact by negotiating with the judge.
4. Arguing with or belittling the other parent in front of your children
Again, your children’s wellbeing should be your top priority, which means you can’t afford to pull them into any conflict between you and their other parent.
Even if your ex-spouse or ex-partner appears tough to get along with, it’s critical to take the high road whenever feasible and act compassionately and calmly.
If the other parent refuses to do the same, you may have a better chance with the judge. Meanwhile, if you lower yourself to their level, you forfeit an important opportunity to demonstrate to the court that you are better qualified to look out for your child’s best interests.
5. Ignoring a Court Order
If you breach the interim orders or ignore any court directives, the judge will see this as disdain for their authority, and you may be put in contempt of court.
As you may understand, this will not benefit you when the court decides your case.
When determining custody of your kid for the first time, the court may issue a temporary custody schedule or you may sign a consent order for temporary custody.
Your options for changing it may be restricted, and the court may order you to adhere to the agreement. Even though it is an agreement, once signed by the judge, it becomes a court order that you must obey.
6. Failure to Take Notes
If the other parent exhibits any of the actions listed in this article, you should notify the judge.
But it won’t assist unless you have a clear record of what happened. Terms like “a long ago” and “this one time” don’t hold much weight in court. If you wish to bring an incident to the court’s notice, be prepared to provide a precise date and time, as well as as much description and evidence as feasible.
Make a practice of maintaining a notebook for your custody case to make this easier. This can be a notebook in which you record events and dates, or an app on your phone in which you save notes.
Here are some pointers: Take notes throughout every encounter with the other parent, being sure to jot down specifics if they do something you feel is wrong or harmful to your child’s welfare.
Be Cooperative: You may also use your notebook to record good occurrences, such as constructive activities you performed with your kid during visitation or how you cooperated with the other parent.
Take images to substantiate your diary wherever feasible, and develop a list of anybody who was present to witness the incidents to bring to family court.
7. Refusing to Consult a Lawyer for Representing You
A custody and visitation case might appear to be a jungle of legal paperwork, court dates, and visiting plans. Missing even a single detail in any of these areas can have serious consequences.
Your bond with your child is too vital to jeopardize in a child custody lawsuit. To prevent this danger, search for an experienced family law attorney who can represent you in court and keep track of all the numerous filings, dates, and requirements.
An attorney may also utilize their knowledge to present your case to the judge in a clear and persuasive manner, as well as speak with the opposing party, so that personal feelings do not interfere with what is best for your kid.
To avoid this danger, get an experienced family law attorney who can represent you in court and keep track of all the necessary documents, dates, and deadlines.
At Family Law Matters we have the knowledge and know the fine art of representing you in the best possible way, so you can be successful with your child custody case. Call today and get a free initial consultation. 951-972-8287