While the courts now leave many child custody decisions up to couples who can work together and create parenting plans, there are still instances when common ground cannot be reached and a judge must make a determination. In these child custody battles, many parents assume that their eligibility as a caregiver will be obvious to the court—only to be blind-sided by issues they did not realize would affect the judge's decision. Let's look at some of the most common mistakes parents make during child custody battles.
1 Publicly Badmouthing Your Spouse
No one is expecting a parent going through a divorce to be without feelings of resentment or anger, but it is expected that when children are involved, some tact be used. If a parent is badmouthing their co-parent in public (including on social media) or worse, in front of the children, the court may assume that the badmouther cannot help foster their child's relationship with the other parent, which is considered a key element in awarding custody.
2 "Coaching" Your Child
If your child is old enough, the court may seek their input about what kind of custody arrangement they prefer. One thing the court frowns upon, however, is a parent's efforts to influence this process and coax potentially untrue answers from the child. This will be seen as undermining the court's process and reflect poorly on the intervening parent.
3 Making a Parental Decision by Yourself
This is perhaps the easiest mistake to make. During a divorce, parents are likely living apart and sharing parental responsibilities. It's a new experience for everyone involved and sometimes parents will make a seemingly routine decision without letting the other parent know. This can include decisions about the child's education or health. When this happens, it can communicate to the court that the offending parent is not ready to collaborate with their co-parent and is unable or unwilling to make joint decisions about the upbringing of their child.
4 Living with a New Romantic Partner
It's not uncommon for divorcing spouses to already have moved on to a new romantic partner at the time of a divorce. However, when there are children involved, any parent who is seeing someone new must tread carefully. The court wants the parents to create a sense of consistency for children post-divorce. New romantic partners in the household—even if they are known to the child—are not a part of that equation.
Do you have child custody concerns about your upcoming divorce? If so, the award-winning Long Island divorce lawyers at Samuelson Hause Samuelson Geffner & Kersch, LLP are ready to hear from you. Our team has been nationally recognized for its legal work and is ready to bring knowledgeable and effective counsel to your case.
Do not face this uncertain time without proven counsel by your side. Call our firm at 516.584.4685 today.