Divorce and custody proceedings, now known as “Allocation of Parental Responsibility” present a range of unfamiliar challenges and emotional stressors for all involved parties. At times, it can be easy to let this emotional investment overwhelm a more collected sense of judgment, but the top priority within the allocation of parental responsibility is the safety, health, and happiness of the children. To ensure the most favorable outcomes for children, it’s important to act with decorum.
Here are five key things to avoid when engaged in custody proceedings.
- Disparaging the other parent. You may find yourself extremely frustrated with your child’s other parent or caretaker. However, disparaging or badmouthing that person is more likely to hurt your case than help. A main determining factor in allocating parenting time is your ability to get along and co-parent, and if you show the Judge that you are incapable of doing that, your chances of success will decrease. However, in many situations, your ex has done things to hurt you and your children. In these cases, discuss with your attorney what may and may not be relevant and how it should be presented before the Judge.
- Posting to Social Media. Everyone loves to show their children off on social media. However, posting pictures of your children that seem innocent to you can be construed in many different ways. Likewise, using social media as an outlet to vent your frustrations about your ex can have devastating consequences. If you find yourself having a difficult time during your proceedings, seek out a therapist or trusted individual with whom you can speak. Please also keep in mind, though, that you can still get into serious trouble for deleted social media posts, including pictures and comments on your profile.
- Speaking Over the Judge. Matters involving children can be extremely emotional. Often, litigants are so wrapped up in the situation, they want to immediately explain to the Judge every detail of what has occurred during the divorce. When the Judge or opposing party is speaking, let them finish. Judges will not appreciate you talking over them or anyone else. You will receive your chance to speak, and if you have an attorney, let them do the talking; that is why you hired them.
- Disobeying Court Orders. This may seem obvious, but when involved in something as emotional as a divorce or parentage matter, it becomes less apparent 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, do so. If there is an emergency and you are running late, text or call the other parent immediately to let them know approximately when you will be arriving. Failing to follow Court Orders can not only turn the Judge against you, but it can also result in you being found in contempt of court.
- Being Unreasonable. You may feel that your ex has treated you unfairly and that you deserve or are entitled to precisely the parenting arrangements you would like. It is, however, extremely important that you try to be as reasonable as possible during proceedings. If you refuse to compromise, the Judge will see that and may find you not the suitable parent to be awarded residential parenting. There are many ways to come to a resolution where you are satisfied while still behaving reasonably with the other parent.
If you are embarking on proceedings for Allocation of Parental Responsibility, formerly known as Custody, the attorneys at Greenberg & Sinkovits are here to answer your questions and discuss the intricacies of custodial arrangements. Contact our office to make an appointment today.