The term “custody” refers to two legal decisions: legal custody (i.e. who makes major decisions for the children) and physical placement (how parents share time with the children). When it comes to determining custody, a judge looks at several factors in order to make a ruling based on what is in the best interest of the children. Here are a women’s custody lawyer’s tips for what to avoid during your custody battle in Westerville, OH.
Ask a Women’s Custody Lawyer: 6 Things to Avoid During a Custody Battle
1. Verbal and Physical Altercations
Bad behavior can come with serious consequences, so it’s important to keep your temper under control. Verbal sparring matches and physical altercations should be avoided in general, but especially in a custody battle. Judges will not look favorably upon you, and physical altercations can lead to charges of physical abuse on top of losing custody. This can often result in a Restraining Order, making co-parenting and shared custody virtually impossible.
It’s also important to remember that anything you say about your ex-spouse can make it back to court. This includes anything posted online or to social media. When talking to your attorney, your spouse’s attorney, your family, friends, or online audience, it may be tempting to bad-mouth your ex. It’s a better idea to keep negative thoughts to yourself, as anyone could be called upon in court to testify and these harmful sentiments can be used against you.
2. Property Damage
Just like with arguing, fighting, and bad-mouthing your former spouse, property damage is a bad behavior best avoided. You want to avoid damaging any property that belongs to your ex, including shared property. Take it from a women’s divorce attorney in Westerville, OH: do not damage, destroy, or sell anything you purchased during your marriage until the divorce is finalized.
3. Altercations with Your Children
Avoid getting into arguments with your children or badmouthing your former spouse in their presence. Sometimes the court will interview your children to help determine custody, so what they have to say about you and their other parent will impact the judge’s decision. Additionally, physical altercations with your children will likely lead to losing custody and placement as well as charges of child abuse.
4. Denying Your Children Contact
It may be tempting to deny your children contact with your former spouse during your designated time together. However, if your former spouse has visitation rights and is upholding the visitation regulations laid out by the court, you cannot legally deny them contact with your children. If you attempt to deny contact with your children, your spouse may ask to have you held in contempt of court, which could result in revisiting the allocation of custody and placement.
5. Changing Schedules Without Notification
It may not always be possible, but for the comfort of your children, do your best to keep to your normal routines. This includes keeping them in school activities and extracurricular sports. Do not schedule activities during the time your children are with their other parent, or travel with your children, without the knowledge and consent of your former spouse. Any changes to a child’s schedule, including travel, needs to be communicated with your ex-spouse.
6. Neglecting Child Support or Parental Responsibilities
Whatever spousal support agreements you and your ex have made need to be followed. Absolutely do not miss court-ordered payments, and do not fail to meet any responsibilities you’ve agreed to or were ordered to do, such as picking your children up for visitations. This suggests you do not have your children’s best interests at heart and will not be seen favorably in court.
There may be no guaranteed way to win a custody battle, but it’s an easy game to lose if you’re not mindful of your behavior. By following our tips, you’ll have a much better chance of gaining favorable results in your custody battle.