The dissolution of a marriage or long-term relationship is never a pleasant affair and it becomes infinitely more difficult when children are involved. Each party typically believes they can parent better. Emotions are intense and in some instances, a parent may contest custody simply as an act of revenge. Messy child custody cases can be avoided if everyone remembers the most important factor – what’s best for the children.
A custody case can be a long and drawn out process that feels like it will never end. It’s easy to be caught up in the emotion and drama, but it’s imperative that a parent remain calm while their attorney takes care of the details. The following are the seven most important things for individuals to remember when embroiled in a custody battle.
- What’s best for the children – The emphasis should always be on the children and their overall welfare.
- Court orders – Temporary court orders are typically put in place while the custody case is in process – don’t violate them under any circumstances.
- Be nice to the ex – Don’t engage with an ex, inside or outside of the courtroom no matter what they say or the accusations they make. Always be respectful.
- Don’t involve the children – No matter how one parent feels about the other, don’t bad mouth them to the children in any way. The custody case is between the parents, not the kids, and children should never be forced to take sides.
- Social media sharing – Anything said on social media may be admissible in a court case and rest assured, the opposing attorney will be looking for just such an opportunity. Talk to a therapist to vent anger, fear and frustration, not friends or family members as there’s no way to know if they may be called as a witness at some point.
- Drinking – The parent that has temporary custody of children must demonstrate moderation and restraint in all things. An occasional glass of wine isn’t a problem unless it becomes a habit. Don’t overindulge.
- Engaging the judge – Under absolutely no circumstances should a parent attempt to contact or engage the judge presiding over the custody proceedings.
The legal process governing custody cases are designed to let each party’s attorney present their case and for a judge to render their unbiased opinion based on what’s best for the welfare of the children. Engaging in any of the seven most common mistakes will adversely affect the outcome for the parent that does so.