A custody battle can be emotional, overwhelming and expensive, but the last thing you want to do is let a mistake sabotage your case. During this time, it’s important to understand that your actions inside and outside of legal proceedings can have an impact on your child’s well-being and your relationship with them. Any negative feelings that lead to destructive behavior can put you at a huge disadvantage in court. Here are some of the most common mistakes parents make during a child custody battle.
1. Missing Child Support Payments
If you’re ordered to pay child support, remember to pay it routinely. Failing to pay, without court approval, can result in you losing visitation with or custody of your children. If you lose your job or face another financial issue, file a motion with the court immediately to bring it to the judge’s attention.
2. Taking the Kids Away for Vacation Without Consent
If you take your children away from the other parent without consulting with them, you may be accused of kidnapping and can be arrested, resulting in limited or no custody. The fear here is that you may take them away and keep them from ever seeing the other parent. Ask your ex-spouse if you can take them on vacation and obtain their consent.
3. Showing Disrespect for the Court
Always comply with every order of the court, no matter how much you may disagree with it. If the court orders you to go to a parenting class, sign up and attend the class. If you don’t obey the court’s orders, the judge may hold you in contempt. Additionally, dress appropriately when appearing in court and never lie to the judge.
4. Leaving Your Marital Home
Unless there is domestic violence occurring, do your best to stay in your marital home until the divorce is finalized. If you leave the house, you may be giving up a major advantage when it comes to child custody. The court may look at your decision to leave as a sign that you are abandoning children and your ex is better suited to be the custodial parent. If there is domestic violence, take your children with you and get a restraining order.
5. Blowing Off Your Kids
When it’s your time to be with the kids, be there. Make sure you pick them up at the agreed upon time—don’t be late. If you don’t take them when it’s your day, the court may think you can’t spend the time you have asked for with them and the judge may restrict your time. Spend as much time with your kids as you can.
6. Exercising Poor Judgment on Social Media
Social media may seem like a private space where you can go to vent frustrations, but in reality anything you post can be used against you in court. Don’t talk down on your ex-spouse or post pictures of yourself doing drugs—these things can be very damaging in your child custody case. If you can’t post anything nice, it’s better to stay away from social media as your divorce wraps up.
7. Not Hiring an Attorney
A child custody case is a maze of legal paperwork, hearings, and schedules, which is why you need an experienced family law attorney. Not only can they keep track of important dates and requirements, they can also present your case before the judge to get you a favorable decision. If you need help with your child custody case, please contact our Altamonte Springs child custody attorney at the Law Office of Russell S. Hershkowitz, L.L.C. today.
Call (407) 753-4111 or contact us online for a free consultation today.