Common Child Custody Mistakes to Avoid
When a couple divorces or otherwise ends their relationship, often one of the most difficult and emotionally charged issues they deal with is child custody. If you are in the midst of a divorce involving shared children, or you have finalized a divorce and are now living with a custody order, there are plenty of pitfalls that can derail the custody arrangement and cause you to lose what parental rights you do have. Continue reading to learn about a few common mistakes to avoid when fighting custody battles and dealing with custody arrangements generally, and reach out to a dedicated Claremont child custody lawyer for help.
Threatening the children’s other parent
Emotions tend to run high in a divorce, especially when there are shared children involved. It is important to keep a cool head and avoid threatening your ex-spouse in any way, whether in person, on the phone, via email, or in text messages. If a court has reason to believe you are a danger to the other parent or the children, you could easily lose custody rights and potentially face a restraining order or criminal prosecution. Keep your communications formal and business-like, without letting emotions take over. Retaining an amicable relationship with your ex-spouse is best for everyone involved, if at all possible.
Not paying child support
If you are the non-custodial parent and you are ordered to pay child support, it is very important that you do so. Do not forget to pay, and do not choose not to pay support because you are angry at your ex-spouse that month or because you think there is a problem with the order generally. If you have financial troubles and cannot pay at the moment, file a motion with the court and ask for relief. Failing to pay child support gives your ex a strong argument to take away your custody and visitation rights; do not give them that ammunition.
Taking the kids on a trip without getting the other parent’s consent
When you have a shared custody or visitation agreement in place, it is important to follow the terms of that arrangement. While you may believe that your children are yours and that you do not have to get your ex’s permission to take your kids on a spontaneous vacation, the law potentially sees violating a custody order as kidnapping. This can seriously harm your chances of winning additional custody rights in the future or even keeping the custody rights you already have.
Missing parenting time or otherwise failing to stay involved with your children
If you are the noncustodial parent and you want to continue having visitation or shared custody rights, it is vital that you make all of your parenting time appointments and generally stay involved in the lives of your children. Divorces are complicated affairs with consequences in many aspects of your life, and it is easy to get caught up in the rest of it–moving, finding work, dealing with family and friends, etc. Do not let that get in the way of spending time with your kids. If the custodial parent sees that you are missing your scheduled parenting time with your children, they can use that against you in court to limit your parenting time or to seek sole custody.
Preventing your ex from seeing their kids
Whether you are the custodial or noncustodial parent, you must keep to the terms of the court’s custody order. If you hide your children from your ex-spouse or otherwise prevent them from exercising their parental rights, you may wind up losing custody yourself. If you think that the other parent poses a danger to you or the children, it is important to take the appropriate legal steps after you get yourself and your children to safety. Contact the authorities, tell your attorney, and petition the court.
Call a knowledgeable and talented San Gabriel Valley custody lawyer for help with a child custody matter by contacting the Claremont offices of Blasser Law at 877-927-2181.