Navigating custody battles can be tricky. It’s already emotional to have to leave a partner or significant other. What makes it even more stressful is now you need to consider the thoughts, feelings, and development of all your children. Although emotions are understandably running high, it’s best to keep all the drama out of the courtroom. There’s lots of things you’re going to want to try to do out of fear and even spite. Your lawyer can help you navigate through your feelings and provide solutions to your situation.
Most lawyers will agree that custody battles should be handled outside of work to try and come to a collective agreement. If the battle does go to court, a judge will ultimately decide the terms of the custody agreement based on which parent has better qualitfication. There are a few things to remember when entering into a custody battle.
What Not To Do
Because you love your family and want nothing more than to protect them, it’s easy to be ruthless. However, experts have shared that trying to win by any means necessary not only extends the battle, but further complicates things for both you and your children.
Withhold children from the other parent without a court-order
What’s important to remember is that both parents are equally entitled to the same amount of time with the children. The only reason why you should attempt to withhold your children from the other parent is because you believe the other parent will abuse the children. If that is the case, you will need to work with your lawyer to file for a restraining order. However, you cannot withhold visitation regardless of the following:
- The amount of care they provided before the custody battle
- If they’re behind on child support payments
- A child says they don’t want to be with the parent
Tell your children about the ongoing battle
Some parents may think that letting your child know even some of the details will help them understand the situation. Even questions you think will offer some comfort to the child such as “who do you want to live with,” actually do more harm than good. Don’t talk about the other parent, or anything about the negotiations until everything is settled.
Talk about the other parent
Even though the other parent may be frustrating you, or saying harmful things about you, avoid sinking down to that level. It goes without saying that you should avoid saying bad or harmful things to your children about the other parents. However, the same can be said about other people that could potentially become involved.
Attempt to move or disappear
You might be tempted to just take off, especially if your significant other begins to act harmfully. If you believe that you or your family is at risk, talk to your lawyer about filing a restraining order. By taking off, you not only risk your rights to your children, but can possibly be charged for kidnapping.
What You Should Do
You might be feeling helpless or like you have no choice during this proceeding. The important thing to always remember is everything you do is for the good of your children. Here are some things you can do to make this process easier for everyone involved.
Provide whatever support your children need
Some children will feel more affected than other children. Always remind your children that both parents love and care for them, and nothing changes that. Look for adverse behavior in your kids, and seek outside counseling if they need it.
Remember that it’s for your children’s best interest
Even if you feel as though the amount of visitation is unfair or the amount of money is unfair, every decision made will ultimately help your children.
Discuss a parenting plan
Figuring out a parenting plan with the other parent can help all parties navigate through big picture issues that have to do with raising your children. Ask yourselves how you’re going to handle:
- Any decisions about the child
- How parents are going to communicate
- When and how each parent is going to spend time with the children
- Other issues or concerns to do with children
This can be even more complicated if a child has special needs, or requires special care. A lawyer can also help you figure out what kind of things you should include in your parenting plan, and provide you with family counseling resources.
Control your behavior
It’s incredibly easy to lose your cool over the other parent. As we mentioned before, you should avoid talking poorly about the other parent to other people. However, you should also avoid any outburst at the other parent. You can always control how you act towards them, and walk away from a potentially harmful situation.
Not sure where to start when it comes to custody battles, child support, or divorce? Call one of our Premier Partners for free expert advice on a case. You and your children should receive the best support out there. Call a lawyer today.