Perhaps the biggest misconception about child custody cases is that there is a “winner” and a “loser.” In reality, courts are very hesitant to award sole custody to one parent, and instead will strive to form a co-parenting plan in which both parents take an active role in the child’s life. Still, there are many mistakes that you can make during this process which could affect the outcome of your case.
1. Not Taking An Active Role In Your Child’s Life
This one is pretty obvious – if you’re fighting for custody of your child, you should already be actively participating in their schedule and activities. If your attempts to spend time with your children are repeatedly blocked by their other parent, it’s typically best to keep trying – their refusal to give you access can end up working in your favor.
2. Ignoring Alcohol/Substance Abuse Issues
According to Drugfree.org, roughly 10% of American adults are currently recovering from a drug or alcohol problem. The real number of Americans who are struggling with these issues is undoubtedly much higher; if you have an addiction, you aren’t alone.
If you’re involved in a child custody case, now is the time to get help. These issues will likely be used against you in court, so it’s important to show that you are committed to being the best, most dependable parent you can be.
3. Speaking Ill of the Other Parent
Contrary of what many people think, court is NOT the place to air your grievances. If your child’s other parent does have issues like anger management, substance abuse, etc., make sure your attorney is aware so they can inform the court in the proper way. Speaking ill about them can come off as petty and malicious and can also discredit you.
4. Losing Control of Your Emotions
Child custody matters are often the byproduct of a divorce, and it’s quite common for emotions to run high. While many cases are resolved amicably by parents who put aside their differences for the benefit of their child, others turn into contentious court battles.
Regardless of what the other parent says, try to remain calm and be the bigger person – if you’re more mature in court, you send a message to the judge that you’re the more mature parent.
5. Posting On Social Media
When it comes to social media, exercise your right to remain silent! While you may be tempted to post your courtroom experiences on Facebook, social media is often used as evidence in court. Speaking ill of the other parent and losing control of your emotions aren’t just problematic in court – they can be problematic online, as well.