Navigating custody battles can be tricky. Leaving a partner is already emotional. What makes it even more stressful is now you need to consider your children’s thoughts and feelings. With emotions running high, it’s best to keep everything out of your day-to-day lives, and keep it in 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. Here’s some tips on how to navigate your custody battle.
What Not To Do
Most lawyers agree that custody battles should try to come to a collective agreement. If the battle does go to court, a judge decides the terms of the custody agreement based on which parent has better qualifications.
Because you love your family and want nothing more than to protect them, it’s easy to be ruthless. However, experts warn that trying to win by any means necessary not only extends the battle, but further complicates things for both you and your children. Here are some ways parents can often get carried away.
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. 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.
If the other parent is behind on payments, calmly speak to them to work something out. If they refuse to pay any child support, speak to your lawyer.
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 your ex may be frustrating you, or saying harmful things about you, avoid sinking to that level. Especially avoid saying anything about your ex to your kids. You never know what will get back to your ex, and certain things you say can be used against you in court.
Attempt to move or disappear
You might be tempted to just take off, especially if your ex begins to act harmfully. By taking off, you not only risk your rights to your children, but can be charged for kidnapping.
In many cases, the other parent is abusive to either you or your kids. Since this puts yours and your children’s safety at risk, you do have some legal options.
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 others. Always remind your children that both parents love and care for them, and nothing changes that. Look for any odd 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 your children.
- How you’ll communicate with your ex.
- When and how you’ll spend time with your children.
- Other issues or concerns to do with your 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.
Also Read: 7 Tips For Handling A Difficult Divorce