5 Things to Avoid During Custody Litigation
- Avoid disparaging the other parent. You may find yourself extremely frustrated with your child’s mother or father. However, disparaging or badmouthing that person will probably hurt your case. A main determining factor in custody is your ability to get along and co-parent with the other parent. If you show the Judge that you are incapable of doing that, your chances at being successful in your custody matter will decrease. However, in many situations your ex has done things to hurt you and your children. Discuss with your attorney whether it is relevant and how it should be presented before the Judge.
- Avoid Posting to Social Media. Everyone loves to show their children off on social media. However, posting pictures of your children that seem innocent can be construed in many different ways. Likewise, using social media as an outlet to vent your frustrations about your ex can also have devastating consequences. If you find yourself having a difficult time during your custody litigation, seek out a therapist or trusted individual with whom you can speak. However, please also keep in mind that you can get into serious trouble for deleting anything from social media that you have already posted, including pictures, posts and your profile.
- Avoid Speaking Over the Judge. Custody matters can oftentimes be extremely emotional. Many times litigants are so wrapped up in the situation, they want to immediately tell the Judge everything that has every happened. You will receive your chance to speak. When the Judge (or opposing party) is speaking, let them finish. Judges will not appreciate you talking over anyone, especially the Judges themselves. If you have an attorney, let them do the talking; that is why you hired an attorney.
- Not Following Court Orders. This may seem obvious, but when involved in something as emotional as divorce or custody, it becomes less obvious in the heat of the moment. It is imperative that you follow all Court Orders. If you have an Order requiring you to drop your child off to the other parent by a certain time, make sure you do so. If there is an emergency and you are running late, text or call the other parent immediately to let them know approximately what time you will be arriving. Failing to follow Court Orders not only can turn the Judge against you but can result in you being found in contempt of court.
- Being Unreasonable. You may feel that you have been treated unfairly by your ex and that the custody arrangements you would like are what you deserve. It’s extremely important that you try to be as reasonable as possible during custody litigation. If you refuse to compromise, the Judge will see that and may end up finding that you are not the best parent to be awarded residential custody. There are many ways to come to a resolution where you are satisfied while still being reasonable with the other parent.