If you are a parent bracing for a child custody battle with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, then you are likely filled with uncertainty and anxiety over the upcoming proceedings. For divorcing parents who cannot see eye-to-eye, child custody disputes can be the most emotional and stressful part of their divorce. Both parents are hoping to establish a favorable arrangement and are willing to fight to address concerns they have about the well-being of their children.
Even when parents have the best interests of their child in mind, many are surprised by how their seemingly unrelated behavior can negatively affect their child custody goals. The court takes a comprehensive look at the life of the family and the conduct of each individual parent during this process and many parents are dismayed to find they have made common mistakes that will make their child custody battle even tougher.
If you're facing a child custody battle, look out for the following:
- Badmouthing your spouse in public. During a divorce, it's normal to have negative feelings towards your spouse. However, the court wants to see parents who can foster their child's relationship with the co-parent. If you have publicly derided your spouse—including on Facebook and other social media outlets—they may be able to use it as evidence that you cannot provide your child a healthy perspective.
- Making parenting decisions without your spouse. Before and during a divorce, it is critical that parents continue to be cordial enough to communicate about parenting decisions. Matters concerning the child's education, health, and general upbringing need to be discussed and mutually agreed upon. If one parent is found to be making these decisions without the other parent's knowledge, the parent making those decisions will not be looked favorably on by the court.
- Adopting an over-aggressive strategy. Barring the presence of drugs, alcohol, or abuse, sole custody has become rare for divorced families. The court wants to establish circumstances where both parents play a key role in the child's upbringing. If you approach your custody battle unreasonable demands, it may hurt your credibility in the courtroom or seem like you are trying to needlessly "game" your divorce procedure against your spouse.
- Putting your child in the middle of the battle. If a child is old enough, the court may be interested in their preference when it comes to custody matters. However, no matter what age your child is, if the court suspects that you've been pressuring them—or "coaching" them—to take your side over your spouse's, it may perceive you as manipulative and selfish.
- Moving in with a romantic partner. It's normal for divorced parents to eventually transition back into dating, but during the tenuous period during and just following a divorce, any new romantic relationships should be partitioned from your family life. The court wants to see that parents can provide some semblance of consistency for their child post-divorce and having new romantic partners moving in or staying over does not reflect an environment the court has confidence in.
Have concerns about your divorce and child custody battle? Then it's time to speak with trusted counsel today. Contact our dedicated and knowledgeable Buffalo divorce attorney at Rossi Law Firm today and request a free case evaluation.