The child custody battle that you are facing will be a gut-wrenching emotional rollercoaster. You will need to be fully prepared to handle all of the ups and downs as you go through it. You are focused on winning the custody that you think is deserved. Unfortunately, how you are going to make that happen might still be a mystery to you.
By following this list of custody do’s and don’ts, you will be ensuring that you are giving yourself the best possible chance of winning the custody battle. In addition, you should also aim to maintaining a positive relationship with your kids no matter what happens.
Here are ten mistakes to guide you on what not to do during a custody battle:
1. Do show a willingness to work with your former partner
During a custody battle, it is important to show that you are open to compromise and working towards a solution that works for everyone. It is not rare for a parent to lose a custody battle because they have been so focused on tearing apart the family and taking the kids for themselves.
Do not hold a grudge or a vendetta against your partner during a custody battle. By showing the family courts that you are open to a fair and balanced solution, you will be putting yourself in a favourable light.
2. Do exercise your rights
If you have been given visitation rights during this process, then you should absolutely use them to the fullest. Never push your luck with this though. You need to show that you are a present and attentive parent that can follow the rules.
3. Do get evaluated
If you have a decent living situation then you should have it evaluated by the appropriate party. This will count in your favour as you present your case. This can be very important if your former partner is looking to cast your living conditions as unsuitable for children.
4. Do be aware that perception is everything
There will only be so much that you are able to prove to the court. There will be certain aspects of your character and ability to be a good parent that are brought into question. Custody battles can get ugly and it is important to do everything that you can to present your self in the best possible light.
You should make a point of arriving on time for court, dressing well and respecting the judge and everyone that you interact with when at the courthouse.
5. Do get a family lawyer
During a custody battle, you will need to get yourself a family lawyer. They will be able to provide you with everything that you have to know if you are going to be successful in court. They can provide support and reassurance when you need it most. They will also protect your rights from the moment that you hire them to represent you.
6. Don’t speak ill of your former partner
No matter what they have done to you in the past, it is important that you try to keep emotion out of this situation. This is important for you to seem calm and collected throughout the court proceedings, but also for your kids. If you have any frustrations about your ex, then you should discuss them with a friend or family member well out of earshot of your children.
7. Don’t miss, or be late for visitation
Do not be late for anything during a custody battle. Punctuality is key. If you have an appointment with your kids, you need to be on time. If you are late or cancel at the last minute, you are giving your ex’s lawyer all the ammunition they need to present you as an absent parent. You should always keep this in the back of your mind. Any actions that you make can and will be used against you.
8. Don’t drink heavily, or any drugs
Do not be irresponsible during a custody battle. You don’t want to give your former partner’s lawyer anything negative to say about you. The last thing that you need is to be drinking or taking drugs. This might be an emotional time, but this behaviour can torpedo any chance you have of a judge ruling in your favour.
9. Don’t refuse to do anything the court tells you to
This is part of being open to compromise. You need to show that you respect the court’s judgement and respond well to what they have to say. If you are asked to do something then you should do it without hesitation. Rather than getting frustrated, you can look at this as a way to demonstrate how strong your commitment is to your children.
10. Don’t burden your kids with this
You should never share the details of the case with your children. This is not a healthy way to communicate what is going on with their parents. Instead of bogging them down with the legal details you should be focused on reassuring them about the future.