Many people state that going through a divorce is one of the most stressful events in their lives. When you add on the stress of child custody matters, it can be incredibly draining for everyone. It is important to remember that the family court will be watching how you act during the child custody dispute. They will consider your actions in court during the legal proceedings and outside of the courtroom. The way you behave to your co-parent and around your children will significantly impact the outcome of your child custody matter. We have created a list of actions you should avoid taking because they could be used to hurt you in your child custody negotiations.
Engaging in Physical or Verbal Altercations
The stress of your divorce or custody matter can make it easy for you to lash out against your co-parent. Your emotions are probably running hot, and you are understandably concerned about losing custody of your children. Getting into a physical or verbal altercation with your co-parent can be tempting, but it can be devastating to your case. If you feel like you are going to begin yelling at your soon-to-be ex-spouse or partner, it is wise to take a step back, leave, and take a break so you do not do something you will regret.
If you scream at your ex, especially when your children are there, the judge presiding over your case will not be pleased with your behavior. If you are physically violent with your ex-spouse or children, you could be facing criminal charges and a restraining order. Try to talk calmly and rationally and do not yell or become physical. If you cannot do so, we recommend discussing the matter with your divorce lawyer, who can communicate with your ex-spouse in your stead.
Bringing Your New Romantic Partner Around Your Child
We recommend that you do not bring your new partner around your child until the child custody agreement has been decided in court. We recommend maintaining this level of separation for some time after the finalization of your divorce agreement, as well. Bringing a new romantic partner around a child can cause unnecessary drama and tension with your ex-spouse, which can result in legal complications for you.
Criticizing Your Co-Parent in Front of Another Person
Everything you say about your ex-spouse and child can be used against you when you are going through a child custody dispute. Talking about your ex may feel necessary or therapeutic, but it can also make you appear in a bad light in the court’s eyes. The court could subpoena your friend or family member to court. They would be required to testify under oath about what you said about your spouse.
Not Paying Your Child Support
Paying child support and alimony is always important, but it is imperative if you are involved in a child custody dispute. If the court requires you to pay child support or alimony, you must make sure you make these payments. The court may determine that you are an uncaring parent who is unable to have custody of your child if you fail to make your payments.
Not Seeing to Your Parenting Responsibilities
You should also make sure that you fulfill your current responsibilities as a parent. You need to pick up your children from visitations on time and drop them off at the location you have agreed to with your co-parent. These steps may seem simple, but they can show that you are a responsible parent who cares about being involved in your children’s lives.
Stopping Contact Between Your Co-Parent and Your Child
Cutting off communication between your child and your co-parent can be tempting, especially if the co-parent is belligerent or difficult. However, do not cut off contact between the other parent and your child. If you do so, the family court judge could hold you in contempt and end up revising your child custody agreement. They may decide to limit your contact with your child or change the agreement, assuming that you will not be able to follow it.
Removing Your Child From Regular Activities
It is wise to help your children retain as normal a routine as possible when you are going through a divorce or child custody matter. A parent’s divorce can leave their child’s emotional and mental health in a fragile state. Keeping your child’s routine and making sure they are still in the same activities as they were before your divorce is vital.
Refusing to Follow Court Orders
Complying with all court orders is important in child custody matters. If you have a temporary custody agreement, you cannot take your child from daycare or school without notifying your co-parent. Even if you are your child’s primary guardian, you should keep them in daycare or school unless you have an excellent reason to take them out. It is important to follow all of the court’s other requests, as well. You can show the judge how committed you are to your child by following all of their requests, including taking a parenting class or going to counseling.
About Brian Bishop
Brian Bishop started the Bishop Law Group in October 2018. Mr. Bishop is an active member of Maryland Association of Justice, The American Association of Justice, The Academy of Truck Accident Attorneys. Mr. Bishop has received a nationally ranked Top 40 Under 40 Attorney award since 2017. Mr. Bishop has also been named a Rising Star by Super Lawyers. The American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys has named Brian Bishop as one of The 10 Best Attorneys for Outstanding Client Services.