The separation of parents will be a complicated situation for children at best, and a devastating experience for them at worst. Your goal throughout, is to be the absolute best parent that you can possibly be. This will not only be beneficial to your children but it is ultimately what the courts want to see in deciding custody issues. Decisions that you make during this process can be life changing. The following are examples of common mistakes that parents make during custody issues:
- Due to strained relationships with ex’s, contact with children may become interrupted or even discontinued. There are many factors that might be obstacles to maintaining relationship with your children, however, DO NOT LET THIS HAPPEN! Do everything within your power to maintain a relationship with your children. They need you during this time and the relationship that you have is what the courts will be looking at.
- Losing touch with your children’s day to day activities and contacts is another big mistake. Keep in contact with their day cares, teachers, coaches, physicians, as well as playmates and their families. Make sure that you are listed as an emergency contact for them in case of any medical emergency.
- Be cooperative and timely regarding any information or documentation that is requested of you by an attorney or by the courts. They are looking for the best possible situation for your children so let your life be an open book. Give them what they need so that they can make the best possible decision.
- The courts are only doing their jobs to help your children. Often times they will require supervised visits and/or counseling. Do not fight this or take it personal. Cooperate fully so that they see that you are willing to put your children’s welfare above your own needs.
- Full disclosure is always best because lies can come back at you later and cost you and your children dearly. The truth is always the best practice no matter what the circumstances and that is what the courts are looking for. Remember no one likes to be lied to, especially a judge!
- Avoid losing your temper or exhibiting bad behavior with your children or your ex. Not only can this be detrimental to your children but it can show up in court later and hurt your case. Be willing to walk away rather than do something rash that you will regret!
- Make sure that you know and assert your legal rights as a parent. Speak up when necessary, but appropriately! Don’t let attorneys or the court system intimidate you. The attorney works for you. Remember that you are fighting for your children.
- Little situations can become big issues when they are not ‘nipped in the bud’. When too many little things are not immediately dealt with, they can grow into a big problem. Take care of situations as they arise, that immediate effort will pay off down the line.
- Like it or not, your ex will continually be part of your life, birthdays, graduations, weddings, grand kids, etc. Remember that your children love both parents and are placed in a difficult situation. Always do your best to maintain a positive relationship with your children’s other parent. This will truly make life easier for all involved, including yourself!
- Dealing with ex’s can be challenging to say the least. Often there is hurt, betrayal, anger and bitterness in broken relationships. These emotions can lead to ugly verbal confrontations at the very least and actual physical violence at the very worst. Avoid these at all cost! Again, be willing to walk away. It can only hurt your children and come back and be used against you in court.
If you are looking for help to get some type of custody with your child or children, please contact a Parent Advoate at aboutthechildren.org