There are few things more emotional and heart-wrenching than a child custody dispute. These arguments encompass schooling, parenting choices, schedules, criminal histories, and character flaws. The process is personal, heavy-hitting, and exhausting. Few walk away unscathed.
To help you navigate this process with relative ease, avoid these common child custody mistakes:
Getting Arrested Can Affect Child Custody and Timesharing
Perhaps the worst thing you can do during a difficult child custody battle is find yourself wrapped in handcuffs. Your spouse can — and will — use this low moment as a reason you should not have custody of your child. This is true even if the crime was not violent and you have no criminal history.
It might not be surprising to find that first-time DUI charges and child custody proceedings go hand-in-hand. At such an emotional time, getting behind the wheel while intoxicated might not seem like the worst decision. But if charged and convicted, you could lose a significant portion of your custody/parental responsibility/timesharing rights. And if your child is present, the consequences could be even more dire.
Ignoring Temporary Custody Orders
During child custody proceedings, the court may set a temporary custody order. This order will be focused entirely on the best interest of the child. If possible, it will place the child in the family home with both parents.
If the parents have separated already, the court may give decision-making power and majority of timesharing to one parent for the sake of ease — especially if that parent is located in the child’s original home. If you disobey or disregard this temporary order, you show the court that you do not respect authority.
This decision is not well-received and will have an impact on a final judgment.
Being Disrespectful in Court
It is easier said than done, but being disrespectful in court can be the nail in the coffin. Healthy communication is essential throughout the child custody/parental responsibility/timesharing process — so mind your manners and keep calm, no matter what disparaging things are said. Imagine that your child was watching. How would you behave?
Making Poor Choices on Social Media
When you are in the midst of child custody litigation, especially a tough one, it can sometimes feel like you do not have anyone to talk to. Faced with this situation, many parents turn to social media to vent, denigrate their former spouse, or post pictures while partying with friends.
But social media is not private, and some of your friends are undoubtedly also friends with your former spouse. If you look visibly intoxicated in your photos or use foul language to describe your former partner and that evidence makes it into the courtroom, you could be painted as an unstable parent.
A good rule of thumb? Don’t post anything on social media you wouldn’t want displayed in court.
Consult With a Family Law Attorney
There are, unfortunately, parents who believe they can navigate the child custody process without assistance from a professional. These parents often fall behind in terms of paperwork, organization, and arguments. You should always consult with an attorney before making important choices in court.
Contact an Experienced Family Law Attorney for Representation
Once you are in the midst of a challenging child custody battle, it can be difficult — and sometimes nearly impossible — to keep your focus on the well-being and happiness of your child. For assistance in building your case and staying on track, contact an experienced family law attorney at The Law Office of Eric C. Cheshire P.A. P.A. in West Palm Beach. Call (561) 677-8090 to schedule an appointment.