A child custody agreement could make it easier to co-parent with your ex. You can work together on shared responsibilities, and a judge will set up a parenting access schedule to help establish a routine. To increase the chance you will get the outcome you want, below are a few mistakes not to make in child custody proceedings that are the most common.
What is Child Custody?
According to state laws, most biological parents make all decisions involved in rearing their children. There are certain decisions in particular, such as:
- Health care
- Religious education
It is not necessary for parents who are listed on a child’s birth certificate to obtain the legal right to make these decisions. In the event of disagreements between parents, or if authorities believe that a parent is unfit to make these decisions, the child’s custody will be determined by the family courts or juvenile courts.
District and state courts base their decisions on state laws, which vary greatly among states. Suppose a case challenges the constitutionality of a state law or—in rare instances—a state’s jurisdiction (i.e., its right to decide the case). In that case, the U.S. Supreme Court may issue an opinion.
Sharing Details With Your Children
Although your child might know about the custody case, a serious mistake not to make in child custody proceedings is sharing too much information with your child. Make sure not to share too much information about the proceedings. You could unintentionally say something negative about the case or the other parent. A situation like this could make your child feel guilty or obligated to choose sides between parents. When interviewed during a hearing, they could share this information with the judge. You could be accused of alienating the child from your ex, which could affect the case’s outcome.
To avoid putting your child through this stress, reassure them that you are working to reach an agreement. Reiterate to them that they are loved, and you only have their best interests at heart.
Recording the Other Parent Without Their Knowledge Consent
To get the child custody terms you want, you might be tempted to record incriminating conversations with the other parent and share the recordings with the judge or your lawyer. This tactic could backfire, as recording another party without their knowledge or consent is against the law in many states. Making an audio or video recording will also jeopardize your credibility with the family court judge and the likelihood of a favorable outcome.
Not Following Court Orders
While the judge decides, they might create a temporary parenting access schedule and put other orders in place. Failing to follow instructions demonstrates a lack of respect for the court. And makes it even more difficult to modify a child custody agreement. Any concerns you may have about the orders, bring them to the judge’s attention before signing a legally binding agreement.