Avoiding Mistakes That May Sabotage Your Child Custody Case

Child custody disputes are very personal, and often emotional and taxing, both for parents (or guardians) and children. Through this difficult time, it is extremely important for parents to realize that their actions can not only negatively impact their child’s well-being and their ongoing relationship with the child, but can also result in a loss of custody. Here are a few things to avoid:

  1. Involving the child in the dispute. Oversharing inappropriate or case-sensitive information with a child, or manipulating the child, can be damaging to the child, and can be seen by a judge as emotional abuse and an attempt to alienate the child from the other parent.
  2. Refusing to cooperate or compromise with the other parent. A parent can lose custody for being unwilling or unable to collaborate with the other parent.
  3. Fighting with or opening criticizing the other parent, especially in front of the child. A parent should not lose control in front of anyone who has the power to hurt their case, whether that is the other parent or the court. And a parent needs to be able to cope with their own emotions, since a child may feel like they have to pick sides or they will get in trouble.
  4. Disobeying court orders or lying to the court. A court finding a parent to be in contempt of a court order, or lying, can seriously harm the parent’s reputation and case in the eyes of the court.
  5. Breaking the law. Being arrested can indicate to the court that the parent is unstable and a potential danger to the child.
  6. Forgetting who is most important (hint: it’s the child!). No matter what the emotions are toward the other parent, a parent must keep in mind why they are fighting for custody: the child. A parent should always try to understand and do what is best for the child, even if it is not what the parent wants to do.