Custody – 8 Mistakes to Avoid for the Sake of the Children
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Criticizing your Ex- Partner

Even if your split has been difficult and you can’t stand the sight of your partner, it is a grave mistake to start criticizing him or her. The Courts will be looking at the child’s best interests and talking badly about your ex-partner or co-parent may affect your child if they find out you are telling family and friends that they have a bad mum or dad. Your child loves both parents and it will make him or her feel unhappy and uncomfortable. A child does not want to make a choice between one parent or the other and the courts know this.

Not Paying Maintenance

Whatever you feel about the split, you share parenting responsibilities and have a duty of care to your child. Paying maintenance will ensure that your partner has money for your child’s essentials like food and clothes. If you don’t pay maintenance the courts will think that you are irresponsible and uncaring.

Not paying may also result in a separate legal action being taken against you, which could result in a visit from the bailiff’s, being ordered to sell property or assets or money being taken directly out of your wages.

Not Being Reliable with Child Contact

Whilst not being reliable may infuriate your partner, it will also hurt your child’s feelings and in most cases make him or her unhappy and insecure. Children thrive on consistency and so if you have set days and times for visits, make every effort to make sure you turn up. The courts might view this as an inability to provide a stable environment and a lack of interest in your child’s best interests.

Ignoring Court Orders

You might not agree with the decision the courts reach, but it’s important during a custody battle to abide by the law and address any concerns or disagreements legally. Ignoring court orders won’t do you any favours in any future court hearings and it may well damage the relationship you have with your child.

Not Being Flexible

If you don’t get the visitation or custody agreement you want, don’t dismiss suggestions that are being made. For example, it may well be that your child has demonstrated a preference for shared custody, even though you don’t want this. Always keep in mind that it is the happiness and security of your child that is important and not any vengeful feelings you may have towards your ex.

Getting Angry

Losing your temper will not look good in court. It will make you look like you’re not in control, or you have anger issues, which may affect the well-being of your child. Try to stay calm. If this is difficult for you, then seek help; talk to a professional, learn breathing exercises which you can do before you go into court and make sure you are always well prepared.

Not Listening to Legal Advice

If you are being advised by a legal representative, then take what they have to say on board. After all, they are the specialists in this kind of court action and have a lot of experience. You might be feeling emotionally charged and not listening to reason. Listen to the advice you are being given, take the time to think about it and then make your decisions.

Restricting Contact

If you have your child with you for visits, don’t stop them being in contact with your ex-partner or co-parent. It is reasonable that he or she would want to speak to their other parent at some point during the day. Allow them to make or take a call or contact them through Skype. If they’ve had a good day they’ll be eager to share the news. Don’t show them that you’re angry or disappointed because they want to speak to their mum or dad. An amicable relationship with reasonable contact is one of the things courts look for when deciding custody.

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