While divorce rates in the US are falling, children of divorced parents are still more likely to experience negative consequences.
Filing for divorce can seem overwhelming, especially if you’re also pursuing child custody. Knowing what not to do can make the process easier and help your family adjust to the change.
Keep reading for the top 7 child custody mistakes you need to know and avoid.
- Not Communicating With Your Ex
As difficult as it may be, communicating with your former spouse is critical to the well-being of your children and your court case.
The court encourages children to have relationships with both parents. If you’re looking to share custody, you have to be willing to communicate with your ex-spouse. If your relationship with your ex-spouse is contentious, it may be helpful to keep conversations in writing and only use text messaging or email to communicate.
Demonstrating the ability to communicate effectively for the sake of your child is the first step in pursuing child custody.
- Not Following Court Orders
Intentionally disobeying a court order will negatively impact your child custody case.
This includes taking your child without communicating with your former spouse. If you have an issue with a court order, bring it to the attention of your attorney. It’s important to go through the proper channels rather than just not following court orders.
Parents can wind up in serious legal trouble for violating court orders pertaining to custody including facing kidnapping charges or being held in contempt of court.
- Failing to Pay Child Support
If you are ordered to pay child support and fail to pay without notice, you can be sure the court will use this against you.
Sometimes life happens and you may not be able to make a payment. The best thing you can do is be proactive and reach out to the court before your payment is due.
Simply ignoring your child support order won’t do you any favors. Paying child support when you owe it is critical when pursuing child custody.
- Not Remaining Civil
You should try your best to remain civil throughout the legal process and even after filing for divorce.
Your child is watching and learning from your behavior. The court expects civility and failing to demonstrate effective communication skills and maintain your composure is one of the most common child custody mistakes. Remaining civil and level-headed will show the court that you are mature and able to share custody and make good decisions for your child.
This is especially true when your child is around. Always remember that as difficult as your relationship with your ex-spouse may be, they are still your child’s parent. Talking negatively about the other parent to your child can be emotionally devastating for your child and it can be used against you in court.
You never want to be perceived as trying to disrupt your child’s relationship with their other parent. You should always be willing to compromise for the sake of your children. Their needs should always come first.
- Oversharing on Social Media
You’ve likely heard horror stories of social media posts costing people their jobs. But did you know that what you post online can be used against you when pursuing child custody?
If you have a tendency to vent on social media, now is the time to reign it in. Talking badly about your ex online could end up hurting you in court.
Instead, focus on posting positive content that shows how you are a good parent. Always think twice before hitting share and avoid posting anything that could stir up controversy.
- Getting Into Legal Trouble
When you’re pursuing child custody, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not being on your best behavior.
As a parent, everything you do will be highly scrutinized by the court during this time. If you get arrested or get into any other legal trouble, this will be held against you in your custody case.
Avoid breaking the law and always be respectful towards officers of the court. While you may understandably be emotional while pursuing child custody, disrespecting the court can be consequential.
You should also take care to avoid abusing drugs and alcohol and seek treatment for any mental health conditions that may affect your ability to parent your children in the eyes of the court.
- Not Having a Lawyer
One of the most common and costly child custody mistakes is trying to figure it all out on your own.
While you may technically be able to represent yourself in court, it’s never a good idea. This is especially true if the other party is represented by a lawyer. You will automatically be at a disadvantage.
Filing for divorce and pursuing child custody is highly stressful and complicated for the average person. Fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone.
Family lawyers exist to help parents navigate the complex legal system and ensure the best interests of the children involved. Talking to your lawyer can help prevent you from making these and other common child custody mistakes.
Are You Worried About These Child Custody Mistakes?
If you are divorced and fighting for custody, you may have made one of these child custody mistakes. If you have, don’t panic. Talking to a lawyer right away is the best way to get things back on track.
And if you are going through a divorce and pursuing child custody, hiring a lawyer as soon as possible can prevent you from making common mistakes.
We want the best for you and your child and are dedicated to helping you prove that to the court. Click here to contact us to talk to a child custody lawyer about your case.