Divorce or separation is an emotional conflict that affects different people in different ways regarding child issues, and may also affect the child or children emotionally or psychologically.
It gets even worse when parents fail to agree on custody, visitation, and support outside the court. This can escalate matters to court where one party may file for child custody, and things can get ugly, QUICK.
During the court hearings, both parties present their request of outcome before the judge. The parties will then present the issues regarding the case, and each party may present evidence in support of their claims.
Whether you were the custodial parent before the hearings or not, you will be required to present your side of the story with evidence that you have. In the process, the other party may accuse you of any of the following:
Not Meeting Your Parental Responsibilities
If you have been reluctant to pay your child support as agreed, or per temporary orders that were issued, your ex-spouse is likely to accuse you of failing to remit your support.
This may negatively affect your case, especially if you are found to have acted in contempt of the court by disobeying the temporary orders that had been issued.
By not meeting your parental responsibilities, and if your ex-spouse can prove that with factual evidence before the judge, then you are likely to be deemed unfit and may lose a child custody case.
Alienating the Child from The Other Parent
Alienating the child from the other parent is subjecting that child to emotional stress and that is a serious matter when mentioned in court.
There is a likelihood also that you are creating hostility between the child and the other parent and that is considered child abuse by the court.
If you have engaged in alienating the child from the other parent, whether physically restricting or using threatening words, the other parent may accuse you of abusing the rights of the child by alienating him or her if there is sufficient evidence, then you are likely to lose child custody or receive supervised visitation.
Engaging in Physical and Verbal Abuse
Physical and verbal abuse by the parents, especially in the presence of the child or children is a serious matter, but especially during a child custody battle.
If your ex-partner accuses you of physical abuse, then you are put in a tough situation to defend yourself. These accusations can muddy the waters and completely derail a solid, cut and dry custody case.
Whether towards the other parent or the child, cases of verbal and physical abuse affect the child emotionally and psychologically.
Always try to avoid getting involved in matters of violence or abuse of any form , don’t give the other side any clear opening to falsely label you.
Not Following Visitation Schedule
Being late on your visitation, rescheduling parenting time, or failing to show up at all is a sign that you do not care much about the child or children.
As a great parent, you should always be on time when it comes to visitation. If there is an issue that you cannot avoid, you should notify the other parent. More importantly, contact your children directly, so you don’t have to rely on your ex to let them know. Also, keep a record of the call and note the reason so it doesn’t come to hurt your case during custody hearings.
Your ex-spouse with her child custody journal may indicate that you have failed a particular number of times to pick the child or show up in their home for visitation. If that is considered to be impactful in the growth of the child, your ex-spouse is likely to win her case against you.
Disobeying Court Orders
Your ex-spouse, for one reason or another, may seek temporary orders against you. There are many dirty tactics people use to make you look bad in court.
If you attract these false allegations, you have no choice but to obey the orders that have been issued by the court until the day of the hearing. These can be temporary restraining orders, child support, or visitation orders.
You will need to comply as you gather evidence to defend yourself when the time comes. If you allow yourself to be swept up in this drama and fail to follow the order, the other parent will surely accuse you of violating court orders.
Interfering with The Child Routine
If you interfere with the child’s affairs such as education or extracurricular activities, you are likely to be accused of failing to act in the child’s best interest.
Sometimes out of spite or simple disregard, a parent will schedule activities for the child during the other parents visitation time. This will cause an issue if there is no prior knowledge or any agreement made with the other parent.
This may include stopping the child from attending daycare, or interrupting extracurricular activities the child was enrolled in that the parent will now have to make time for without any notice.
Exposing the Child to New Partners
Rushing to have new partners immediately after divorce or separation may not work well when it comes to a child custody case.
All too many problems can arise from this situation, it really should be avoided at all costs. Just to name a few:
- Children can be confused by new strangers hanging on and around their parents
- Your Ex can try to accuse you and your new partner of inappropriate behavior
- It can distract you from focusing on your children and the current custody case
- New partners can come with their own baggage as well, and possibly start trouble
Whatever may affect the emotional and psychological well-being of the child or children may be used against you when it comes to a child custody battle.
It is understandable to seek some comfort during a tough, ongoing battle with your ex, but keep it discreet and wait until the dust settles, and you know it will last, before exposing your children to any new relationships.
Stalking and Harassment
Stalking is a behavior that has, over the years, become more serious to the courts. It won’t matter to the judge, if your intentions were harmless, just to see the children or more severely to control the other parents’ activity.
It is considered detrimental and does not promote the best interests of the child.
Oklahoma statute for instance, states that any form of domestic violence, stalking, or harassment does not serve the best interests of the child.
It also defines stalking as the willful course of conduct by the parent to repeatedly follow or harass another person. This may be through unwanted and repeated phone calls, text messages, or emails that may be threatening.
If you have engaged in stalking or harassment, you are likely to be accused by your ex and that may ruin your chances of winning custody.
If you are fighting for custody of your children, it can be very difficult to avoid getting caught up in all the drama. But if you want any chance at winning this life changing legal battle, do not engage with false allegations or accusations by your ex-spouse.
Do everything within reason and stay focused on being a good parent during this tough time. Know that if you are trying your best, then the courts will likely rule in your favor, providing they have all the evidence to support it. Keep your head held high and do not give up.
Be sure to avoid these behaviors in a child custody battle, or you’ll be sorry when it comes time for the judge’s decision. Don’t let anything get in the way of being a good parent!