For most parents facing the end of their marriage, negotiating child custody arrangements is the most sensitive part of the divorce process. While these parents often have specific goals and arrangements in mind when approaching this portion of their divorce, many of them do not realize that have sabotaged their own efforts with their own prior behavior or actions. Let’s take a look at some of the most common child custody mistakes parents make before starting this process.
No one expects someone going through a divorce to be on the very best terms with their soon-to-be ex-spouse. However, when it comes to child custody, the court wants to see parents who are ready to encourage their child’s relationship with the opposite parent. If you enter the child custody process and your spouse knows that you’ve been publicly insulting them (even online), it can hurt your efforts.
During the divorce process, the family in question is usually in a state of flux and it can be tricky to arrange parenting responsibilities. However, it is important that each parent continue to communicate with one another on parenting issues. Making a parenting decision without the other parent’s knowledge (such as a health or education decision) only shows the court that you are unable to properly collaborate with your co-parent.
If a parent is involved with a new romantic partner during the divorce process, it is critical that co-habitation does not occur. The court wants to see that a parent can provide a degree of continuity for the child and living with a new adult (even if they are not a stranger) does not reflect this.
If the child is old enough, the court may be interested in knowing their preference when it comes to child custody. It is important that parents do not try to “coach” or “prep” or prime their child in anyway for this kind of questioning. The court does not look kindly on parents who are willing to use their child as a pawn during this delicate process.
If you are facing a divorce and have concerns over child custody, then I invite you to contact my firm, Karin Johnson Chatfield LLC, today. I have more than three decades of experience in this practice area and know how to protect my clients’ best interests throughout every stage of the divorce process.