Keeping calm and rational when dealing with your ex might be difficult during a painful and contentious divorce. If children are involved, it’s crucial that you find a way to show that you're a steady and reliable parent, so that the best interests of your kids are properly served.
Gain the advantage in a custody hearing and show the judge that you’re a stable and capable parent by avoiding these mistakes:
Not hiring a legal professional: A divorce is stressful enough for everyone involved. Don’t add to your mental and emotional burdens by trying to navigate the incredibly complex world of divorce court and child custody hearings alone. An experienced family law attorney will make sure all paperwork is filed, deadlines are met and keep track of the details that can make or break your child custody hearing.
Lack of cooperation: No matter the level of contention and bad feelings between you and your ex, you must always put the needs and best interests of your children first. Take the higher road and offer compromise and cooperation to your ex, while ensuring you do your best to keep the lines of communication open. The family court judge will notice your efforts and most importantly, so will your children.
Social media mistakes: You might be feeling angry or resentful but before you post about it on Facebook, remember that anything you say online will be there forever. You don’t want to post anything that could negatively influence a judge’s opinion of you, like images of heavy drinking, drug use or blistering tirades against your ex. Also, speak with your attorney before deleting any posts, to avoid any negative repercussions if the item in question could be considered evidence.
Don’t forget—your children are watching you: As awful as you might feel about your ex, refrain from fighting with or speaking badly about them in front of your children. You need to be a positive role model for them, even in the midst of a bitter divorce. Show them, and the judge, that you’re a rational person who has the best interests of your family in mind.
Withholding visitation or disobeying other court orders: Unless there is a clear danger to your children, don’t withhold visitation rights from your ex or disregard other court orders for any reason. Likewise, make sure you meet all of the obligations set forth in the parenting agreement or visitation schedule.
However, in cases of abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol abuse or other harmful situations, speak with your lawyer for help with keeping your children safe.