If you’re in a custody battle with a co-parent who’s seeking primary or sole custody of your children, you may not be thinking or acting rationally. You may be consumed by anger that your fitness as a parent is being challenged.
Your goal is to demonstrate to the court (and maybe your co-parent) that you deserve the custody rights you’re seeking. To do that, you need to avoid some pitfalls that too often end up hurting parents in heated custody battles.
Don’t withhold information about your child from your co-parent.
You may not be on good terms with them right now. However, it’s essential to demonstrate that you take the term “co-parent” seriously. If it’s difficult to talk or even text with your ex, find a co-parenting app where you can share information without interacting. If you share information, they’ll be more likely to do the same. It’s important for you to show that you’re up-to-date on what’s going on in your kids’ lives, even if you don’t see them as much as you’d like.
Don’t try to alienate your kids from your co-parent.
When kids ask about why they’re not spending more time with you, it can be tempting to blame your co-parent. However, your co-parent — and the judge — may see that as parental alienation, which many people view as emotional abuse. If you’re perceived as trying to turn your kids against their other parent, it could end up hurting you.
Don’t risk a contempt of court citation.
While you’re making your case, obey all court orders. That means adhering to the current custody or visitation schedule and returning the kids on time. Don’t be late with child support.
Follow the court orders. For example, maybe there’s an issue with where you live or some of the people with whom you spend time. If the judge requires you to make changes in order for you to spend more time with your kids, it’s best to do that unless you believe the requirement is unreasonable.
Your attorney can be an excellent source of guidance during this time, as they have a more impartial view of the situation. If you have an experienced attorney whom you trust, rely on them to help you make a strong case for the custody rights you’re seeking.