5 Common Mistakes Parents Make in Child Custody Cases

5 Common Mistakes Parents Make in Child Custody Cases

by Jun 19, 2019Child Custody

Often the fiercest battles in a divorce are fought over child custody issues. Parents will sometimes go to extreme lengths to ensure they won’t be forced to give up their children. But in doing so, parents frequently do more harm than good, and their chances of securing custody suffer significantly because of their actions.

Some of the most common mistakes that parents make are easily avoided. By not falling into these traps, you are more likely to gain either joint or sole custody during your divorce.

1) Assuming You Won’t Get Custody

This is a big mistake, especially for fathers. Many fathers still assume that they are less likely to get child custody than their children’s mother, and this is simply not true.

This misconception frequently leads to a child’s father not putting up much of a fight to begin with. But the truth is that judges tend to frown heavily on parents who seek sole custody and attempt to alienate a child from another parent.

If both parents are equally fit, then it’s in a child’s best interests to spend time with both parents.

2) Violating Visitation Or Custody Orders

Because divorces tend to be long and drawn out, many judges will issue temporary custody orders until a final ruling is made. This means you may only get visitation rights while your divorce is happening.

DO NOT VIOLATE THESE ORDERS. The number one reason parents lose custody or visitation rights during their divorce is that they disobey the judge’s orders. There is no better way to shoot yourself in the foot than to do things a judge has specifically ordered you not to do.

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3) Being An Uncooperative Parent

You don’t have to like your ex-spouse after your divorce. Most people don’t, hence the reason for their divorce in the first place. You do, however, need to make a real effort to cooperate and communicate with them in matters of child care.

Don’t habitually drop off your kids late at your ex-spouse’s just to piss him or her off. Don’t argue with and/or scream at your ex in front of your kids, and never threaten to withhold child support payments to enforce custody or visitation rights.

Being an uncooperative jerk is a fantastic way to demonstrate to a judge that you don’t deserve custody. Never forget that your ex can file for sole custody, and will likely win if you can’t behave like an adult.

4) Posting Dumb Shit Online

This didn’t use to be a thing, but now it is. In court, your social media posts, text messages, and emails are all fair game for a judge to evaluate. While it may feel good to throw up some unflattering photos of your ex on Facebook, posting dumb shit online is a great way to lose custody of your children.

During and after your divorce, do not post or send anything that you wouldn’t want a judge to see. Don’t threaten your ex via text message, don’t tweet about what a lousy parent he or she is, and don’t troll them in the comments of their own social media posts.

5) Ignoring Your Attorney’s Advice

Child custody is an emotional issue, and it often causes parents to ignore the advice they get from their attorneys. But it’s important to remember that your attorney is there in your best interests. If they’re telling you to do something, even if it seems questionable at first, there’s probably a good reason for it.

Always remember that while it may be your first experience with divorce and child custody, it is not your lawyers’. Following their directions gives you and your lawyer the best chances at winning your case.


At Vonder Haar Law Offices, we offer every client a free phone consultation to discuss their unique situation and determine how we can help. To arrange a consultation, please fill out the adjacent form or call us at: (707) 529-3200.

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