A parent’s relationship with a child is undoubtedly one of the most precious possessions in life. This bond is a unique and irreplaceable connection.
Therefore, when a couple decides to divorce, the issue of child custody can quickly become a contentious matter. To protect one’s rights to child custody, a parent can watch out for common mistakes.
1. Engaging in unnecessary confrontations
During a contentious divorce, a person can easily allow emotions to take over and get embroiled in verbal and physical altercations with the ex-spouse. However, this can be detrimental to a custody case as it might tell the judge the individual is not capable of co-parenting effectively and could put the child’s safety at risk.
2. Neglecting parental duties or child support
Throughout the divorce, parents maintain the responsibility to provide financial support and take care of the children’s needs. Neglecting parental duties, such as not paying child support or failing to show up for scheduled visitations, can negatively impact a custody case. Staying proactive and following through on obligations demonstrates to the judge one’s responsibility as a parent.
3. Taking actions that others could interpret as parental alienation
Parental alienation occurs when one parent tries to isolate their child from the other parent. Recent surveys find that over a third of parents feel a sense of alienation from their kids, affecting about 4 million children.
Such actions could be intentional or unintentional and include speaking negatively about the other parent or discouraging the child from spending time with them. If the judge perceives that one party is engaging in parental alienation, it could affect the custody arrangement. Co-parents should promote a healthy relationship between the child and ex-spouse for the benefit of the whole family.
4. Making drastic changes to the child’s life without good reason
A divorce may motivate the parent to make significant changes, such as moving to another state, changing jobs or starting a new romantic relationship. However, making significant changes without considering the impact it could have on a child might also affect the custody arrangement. A person may need to be able to provide strong evidence that such changes in one’s life will not be unsettling or disruptive to the child’s routine.
When a parent prepares well and can demonstrate that their actions consistently serve the child’s best interests, that person is often in a better position to get a favorable child custody arrangement.