Common Child Custody Mistakes

Custody battles are simply never easy. After all, both you and your ex-spouse love your children and want to be part of their lives as much as possible. The prospect of losing some of that time can be heart-wrenching and, unfortunately, the stress and frustration of this emotional situation can sometimes bring out the worst in people. However, it is crucial not to allow the struggles of your custody dispute to affect your behavior, or it could ultimately affect the outcome of the case.

Below is a list of some mistakes you should avoid making in your child custody case:

  • Do not make mistakes with your behavior: The fact is that it is easy to lose your cool in these situations, but succumbing to these impulsive outbursts of emotion are only going to harm your case. Remember, you are trying to win custody of your children, so your behavior is going to be examined under a magnifying glass. Even getting involved in an overly heated argument with your spouse can potentially get you into trouble, regardless if it gets physical or not. If you end up facing domestic violence allegations, you might end up having to settle for supervised visitation with your children. Additionally, it is critical that you avoid drugs or alcohol abuse, particularly when your children are visiting. Engaging in this kind of reckless behavior will likely prevent you from having access to your children.
  • Do not forget to pay child support: If you were ordered to pay child support, you have to pay it on time, every time. If your financial circumstances change, preventing you from paying, you must file a motion with the court immediately, so your support can be temporarily reduced. Simply not paying your child support without any court approval is not an option and could potentially result in reduced or limited visitation or custody.
  • Never take your children away for a vacation without the consent of your spouse: Under no circumstances should you ever take the children away from the other parent. Not only will this result in limited or no custody, but you could be arrested for kidnapping your own children. The court does not have any patience for a parent who does not respect his or her co-parent. Ask for consent if you want to take your children away for a vacation.
  • Do not disrespect the court: While this seems like a given, many people tend not to realize the importance of being respectful to a judge and court proceedings. It is critical that you show respect for the court and comply with their orders, even if you disagree with them. If you disobey court orders, the judge might hold you in contempt.
  • Do not blow off time with your children: If you are trying to win custody of your children, blowing off the precious time you have to spend with them will not give the court much confidence in you as a parent. Make sure you are always on time to pick up your children and that you always drop them off at the agreed upon time. Your spouse is likely to record your mishaps, so do not give him or her the ammunition needed to use against you in court.
  • Do not leave the marital home: It is not always possible for divorcing spouses to remain in the marital home together, so if you must leave, make sure a temporary custody order is in place first. Leaving the family home is often perceived as abandonment and could give your spouse the upper hand in your child custody case. If your spouse is abusive, file a motion to have them thrown out or take the children with you.

Child Custody Attorneys in Bergen County

If you are in the midst of a child custody battle, you will need skilled representation on your side to ensure your parental rights are protected. At Sherwood, Johnson & Poles, our Bergen County child custody attorneys are not only knowledgeable and experienced in handling such matters, but also have the compassion you need to guide you through this difficult and emotional time.

Call our office today at (888) 224-1218 to schedule your complimentary case evaluation.