Custody battles are stressful, but it’s important not to let that stress influence your actions. There are several mistakes you could make during a custody battle that could jeopardize your chances of getting the outcome you’re fighting for. Child custody attorneys in Houston can advise you on what to do and what not to do during a custody battle.
9 Mistakes to Avoid in a Custody Battle, According to Child Custody Attorneys in Houston
1. Refusing to Cooperate
You may not want to cooperate with the child’s other parent. This is especially understandable in a fault-based divorce where the other parent hurt you. However, you need to communicate openly with your former spouse, even if it’s just through your attorneys. Respond to any of your former spouse’s questions and listen to everything they say regarding your custody battle. Cooperation is key.
2. Talking Badly About the Other Parent
Avoid speaking badly about the other parent, even if they hurt you and your emotions are high. Speaking badly about the other parent can reflect poorly on you during the custody battle.
This doesn’t mean you can’t tell your attorney about bad things the other parent has done to you or your child, if relevant. In fact, sharing how the other parent treated your child poorly is a must if you’re trying to prove they’re an unfit or unsafe parent. However, keep it civil, and stick to the facts.
3. Withholding Visitation
If you have a temporary custody arrangement where the other parent is allowed visitation with your child, then you need to allow that visitation. Withholding visitation without an urgent reason can harm your case. You may have the right to withhold visitation if you believe your child will be unsafe with your former spouse. Always consult your attorney if you believe it would be unsafe for your child to spend time with their other parent.
You’ll need evidence to back up your claim if you believe your former spouse is a danger to your child. For more information, click here.
4. Poor Behaviour on Social Media
You need to keep up a good image during your custody case, both in-person and online. Making negative posts or comments about your ex or talking about your case online reflects badly on you. Posting photographs or videos of you intoxicated is also a bad idea. Anything you post online can be brought up in court to shine a negative light on you, potentially harming your case.
5. Ignoring Court Orders
You’ll usually have temporary court orders to follow regarding custody while you fight your custody battle. If you disobey these orders, then you could be held in contempt. Obey any temporary arrangements for custody and visitation unless there’s an immediate danger to your child. Speak to your attorney if you feel the temporary order is putting your child in danger.
6. Coaching Your Children
If your children are old enough to share their feelings on custody with the court, then their views should be entirely their own. Neither parent should speak negatively about the other in front of the child. Neither parent should attempt to bribe their child or sway their child’s emotions and opinions. If the other parent’s attorney or the judge finds out you’ve been coaching your child, then it can negatively impact your case.
7. Ignoring Your Child’s Best Interests
Parents rarely put their desires ahead of their child’s best interests. However, when emotions are high, sometimes a parent will say or do something that unintentionally places their own interests ahead of the child’s. Be very careful to manage your words and actions during a custody battle, as everyone involved in the case needs to see that you always put your child first.
8. Attempting To Get Your Child Involved in Legal Proceedings
The courtroom is no place for children. If your divorce goes to trial, then your child should never attend the proceedings. Children over the age of 12 can have a private interview with the judge, but the child should never appear in the courtroom or attend meetings between their parents and their parents’ attorneys.
9. Ignoring What the Other Parent Is Doing
Both parents need to avoid the mistakes above during a custody battle. If you notice your former spouse is making any of the mistakes, then you should tell your attorney. If your former spouse is withholding visitation, talking badly about you, or attempting to ignore court orders, then this needs to be addressed. If you’re trying to win sole managing conservatorship of your child, then informing your attorney of the other parent’s negative behavior may help your case.
Avoiding the mistakes above is vital while dealing with a custody battle. Keep your child’s best interests in mind, be respectful, present yourself well, and always be cooperative.