Top 7 Mistakes Couples Make in Child Custody Cases
Prioritize Children, Cooperation in Child Custody Cases
One of the biggest battles between divorcing couples is over child custody.
The stress and emotional toll on families is high amid a divorce, but arguments over children during legal proceedings only make matters worse. The steps you take now to care for them will either make your relationship with them better, or worse.
While the parents may be ready to end their relationship, it’s the beginning of an uncertain new world for their children. Indeed, negative feelings, bad behavior and criticizing your spouse in front of them will not only hurt your image in court, but also in the eyes of your children.
Over the years, Johnson Attorneys Group has seen how wise decisions have led to positive outcomes for families.
Furthermore, we want to share the breadth of our extensive family law experience with this list of top 7 mistakes couples make so that odds are in favor of a positive outcome.
1. Parents refuse to cooperate or compromise
Never put your negative feelings towards your former spouse above what is in the best interest of your children. Communication is the key to a positive future for both you and your children. If you fail to communicate with your children’s mother or father, the judge will draw the conclusion that you don’t care about your child’s well being. Constructive and open conversations will be the best path for all of you going forward. If you find it difficult to engage in constructive communication with your spouse, an experienced family law attorney may handles these communications for you and advise you on compromises necessary. Also, there may be situations where you need to stand up to an abusive or toxic spouse, but it must be handled in a way that keeps you in a positive light in the eyes of the judge.
2. Unless there is an urgent reason, do not withhold your spouse’s visitation with their children
Courts take into consideration the actions of parents and the resulting impact on their children. It’s never a good idea to cut off your former spouse from seeing their children unless you have a court order to do so. However, if there is any danger to your child in the form of physical abuse or a safety issue, you may be able to block the parent from seeing the child. These must be immediate threats and we advise that you speak with an attorney before attempting to violate court-ordered visitation schedules.
3. Putting down mother or father in front of children
Your children’s well-being should always be the priority. Avoid speaking badly about the other parent in front of the children. Also, refrain from fighting or arguing with your former spouse when the children are present. Be a good example for the kids even if your ex-spouse is difficult to deal with. You can set the tone by being compassionate and acting in a calm and collected manner even if the other parent behaves badly. Your actions will positively affect the outcome of your custody case in court. Show the judge that you are best equipped to make decisions and care for your children.
4. Social media can be a dangerous place to air grievances
Anything posted on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram may be used against you by your spouse in court. It’s important that you use discretion when sharing information on these social media websites. These publicly-made comments may present a negative image of who you are. For example, photographs of you intoxicated or engaging in embarrassing acts or written posts where you make disparaging statements about the other parent. You should not delete the posts because they may be considered evidence and there could be legal consequences. Rather, discuss the situation with your attorney who can reduce its impact or prevent its admission into evidence.
5. Never disobey a court order
A court ordered visitation schedule should never be violated because it is disrespectful to the judge. If the visitation schedule needs to be revised for any reason, it’s wise to speak up and not sign agreements that cannot be adhered to. Consult your attorney and ask them to convince the judge to remedy the situation and the start of your child custody case. Potential problems should be fixed before the agreement or consent order is signed. After signing the visitation schedule or agreement, it may be difficult to change it.
At the beginning of your custody case, the judge may order a temporary schedule for visitations, or you may sign a consent order, which is an agreement regarding temporary custody. Once you’ve signed this agreement, your options to change it can be limited.
6. Keep a journal and take notes
Keep a record of dates and times that your spouse acts inappropriately or makes poor decisions that affect the welfare of your child. This instances may be brought up to the judge and can carry a lot of weight when decisions are being made. Keep all documents that relate to these interactions to back up your claims. Additionally, keep notes on your positive interactions with your child and things you have done to keep things positive with the other parent. Take photographs or write down names of witnesses who may back you up.
7. Failing to hire an attorney to represent you
Nothing should get in the way of your relationship with your children. However, child custody cases involve significant paperwork, various court dates and visitation schedules. Any missteps could risk a negative outcome for your case. Furthermore, there are various filings that must adhere to special requirements and schedules. A family law attorney is experienced with all aspects of child custody cases and is a trained professional whose personal emotions will not disrupt the process. Emotions often get in the way of what is best for children, but a qualified attorney can be a mediator focused on prioritizing your relationship with your child.
These tips are simply a short list of some guidelines you may wish to follow if you find yourself in a child custody battle. Indeed, every situation has a unique set of circumstances that will need to be addressed by an experienced family law attorney.
Johnson Family Law Attorneys
There is no room for mistakes when it comes to a child custody case. Johnson Attorneys Group understands the importance of finding the best solutions that will enable co-parenting of your children while protecting your rights. We will help you find common ground with your former spouse and defend your rights in court to ensure the best outcome for you and your children.
Our Southern California family law firm has experience with all major family law issues. Whether it’s child custody, child support, property division, divorce or alimony, we’ve got your back.