A child custody battle can be very stressful. After all, it is your child’s well-being on the line. In your heart, you are probably keen to win custody of your child. But do you know what you need to do to make this happen?
Winning your case does not necessarily mean getting sole physical custody of your little one. Most courts prefer to award joint physical and legal custody, except where one of the parents is abusive or incapable of meeting the child’s needs. To get a favorable outcome during the custody hearing, you need to prove to the court that you will always keep your child’s best interests in mind.
Here are some common mistakes that can hurt your child custody case:
Disregarding the court’s orders
All too often, people show total disregard for the court in remarkable ways. It is important to understand you could be held in contempt of court if you disregard the judge’s orders. This includes violating the court’s temporary custody orders both during and after divorce. For instance, if you have been ordered to take a custody evaluation, do it. If you have been ordered to take parenting classes, cooperate.
Letting arguments get out of control
It is easy to lose your cool when dealing with your ex. However, it is important that you stay as calm as you can. Getting into an unpleasant confrontation with your ex can seriously hurt your chances of winning custody. Text messages, witness testimony, emails and social media posts can all be used to portray you as a hostile, uncooperative person.
Abusing drugs or alcohol
A history of substance abuse can greatly impact your custody arrangement and influence the judge’s decision when ruling on your child’s custody. While this does not mean you will never get custody of your child, there are hurdles you will have to “jump over” to prove that the child will be safe in your care.
When parents separate or divorce, many hope to share custody of their children in a joint custody arrangement. However, it is important to understand that custody is never a guarantee. Avoiding the common mistakes parents make during and after a custody hearing is key to your goals.