Divorce can be ugly. A family lawyer knows that even the friendliest divorces can suddenly become acrimonious. When you add a contentious custody battle to the mix, it is no surprise that many people feel they are at war during these times.
Unfortunately, many divorcing couples develop a “winner take all” attitude and instead of peaceful negotiations, the process can quickly become a constant state of intensity. It is critical during these times to remember that when it comes to custody, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse need to stay focused on what will be in the best interest of your child. Save your battling for property division but try to work together to come up with a cohesive parenting plan.
There are several common behaviors that parents engage in a custody fight make. The court may consider these behaviors so egregious that any one of these can actually affect the court’s decision and you could lose parenting time because of it.
Never Deny the Other Parent Access to Your Child
When a parent purposely restricts the other parent’s parenting time, the courts consider that parental interference. One of the key components the court looks at is whether or not each parent is willing to help foster the child’s relationship with the other parent. If a parent is unable to do that, the court could restrict their parenting time and limit their custody.
Never Let Angry Feelings Against Your Spouse Take Priority Over Your Child’s Needs
It doesn’t matter to the court why your marriage is ending or how angry you are at your spouse for the things that they did to you. The only thing they are concerned about is the well-being of your child. This is why you should never bad-mouth your spouse in front of your child or force them to choose sides. This also applies to social media postings. Ranting about your spouse on your Facebook page can actually be used against you and have a negative impact on your custody case.
Never Move or Change Jobs Unless There Is Good Cause
Moving to a different area because of a job change or any other reason is never a good move, especially if you have primary custody of the child. There are some exceptions, such as an extraordinarily good career offer. But if you are moving just so it will make it harder for your ex to have parenting time with your child, it could actually backfire and he or she could end up with primary custody. Forcing your child to change schools, leave friends, and routines because you don’t want the other parent to have close access will not be looked at kindly by the court.
Never Refuse to Cooperate with Your Co-Parenting Because of Contentious Feelings
No matter how intense the battle between you and your ex gets on the legal field, do not let those feelings seep into your co-parenting. Just because you are angry at your spouse, do not use this as an excuse not to communicate information about your child’s school and extracurricular activities. You may think you are punishing the other parent by not telling them about the school’s science fair, but the one who bears the brunt of the punishment will be your child.
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