Your Child Custody Case: What Not to Do

A child custody case is often an emotionally taxing process for parents as it involves deciding who their child will live with and how the children will divide their time between homes. While some people look at child custody cases as “battles,” these proceedings should be as civil as possible and focus on the children’s well-being.

If you are involved in a child custody in Albuquerque case, it’s important to keep your children at the forefront. In addition, you will need to avoid some common mistakes parents make in custody cases to ensure you have the best chance of receiving your ideal parenting plan terms.

Ignoring How Important a Family Lawyer Is

A child custody case can get very complex quickly, and the law is not always crystal clear. It is very difficult for a layperson to navigate these types of cases. A family law attorney will help you prepare a plan so you can most effectively show the court why the custody arrangement you are suggesting is in the best interests of your child or children.

Depending on your case, your attorney may also prepare and negotiate the terms of a parenting plan with the other parent’s attorney. This can help avoid more animosity between you and your co-parent, which is better for you, your co-parent, and your children in the long run. Your attorney will ensure you fully understand any agreement before you sign it.

Not Honoring Your Obligations

You will not receive the result you are hoping for if you are not ready to demonstrate your ability to commit to taking your responsibility and your child’s needs seriously. You have to show the court that you are committed to the child’s best interests, and that means fulfilling your role as a parent. That can mean a lot of things, but at a minimum you should want and try to be involved as much as possible in your child’s life. You should play a role in your child’s extracurricular activities, education, social life and emotional wellbeing.

The court will consider the type of relationship you have with your child, how comfortable your child is around you and how you communicate with them. Essentially, the court will want to see that you are meeting your child’s emotional and physical needs. Parents who put their own interests first in custody situations can easily find themselves on the wrong footing. The court will want to be satisfied that you are involved in your child’s life, or at least trying to be, and you have an understanding of your child’s needs.

Not Following Court Orders

Depending on your case, the court may order you to do certain things, such as going to parenting classes, paying child support or visiting with your child on certain days. You must follow the terms of these orders, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them and even if the other parent is not obeying court orders. If you don’t, the court will assume you don’t have your child’s best interests in mind. In some cases, failing to observe a court order can also lead to other legal consequences.

If you are having difficulty following a court order, speak to your attorney immediately. It is always better to seek modification of an order rather than simply disobeying or ignoring the order.

Belittling Your Co-Parent

Bad-mouthing the other parent to your children may be difficult to avoid. However, this type of behavior almost always backfires and reflects poorly on the parent doing the bad-mouthing.

Always keep in mind that the court wants to see you and co-parent peacefully working together when it comes to your children. Therefore, you must be supportive of the other parent when your children are around. If you want to vent, do so only to a trusted friend, relative or therapist. Children can overhear things even when they are in another room, so to be on the safe side, never vent about your co-parent when your children can hear you.

As you progress through your custody case, be sure to listen to your attorney’s advice. They will help you avoid the pitfalls that could damage your case.