do's and don'ts of child custody

Top 10 Most Important Do's and Don'ts during a Child Custody Battle

Going through a child custody battle is one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. Most people want to know, “How do I win custody of my child?” When fighting for custody or visitation of your child, there are many things that a judge is going to take into consideration when determining the custody that is in your child’s best interest. Therefore, everything you do must reflect your concern for your child’s welfare. Here is a list of the most important things to do while fighting for custody of your child.

1. Stay up to date on all child support payments.
Regardless of which parent is ordered to pay child support, the judge is going to look at the payments – or lack thereof – as an indication of his or her concern for the child. Set reminders for yourself before the payment is due, or set it up to be taken out of your paycheck. Most important, make certain that there is a record of every payment. If you don’t pay through the Attorney General’s office, always pay by check and get the receipts from the bank.

2. Stay out of trouble with the law.
You absolutely do not want to give the other parent anything to use against you in court. One of the worst things that you can do is to break the law. Charges such as driving under the influence, drug use, and assault can be deal-breakers in the judge’s eyes. Because this is so important, it is best to avoid all situations that could put you in danger of slipping up. For example, limit your alcohol when at a party and always take a taxi or have a designated driver.

3. Be careful when using social media.
Oftentimes, the most damaging information that the other side will have against you comes directly from you – through your Facebook page. Posting pictures or comments that can be taken out of context or used in a negative light can be very damaging. Even an innocuous posting can create a storm of other comments that can be used by the other parent to prove impropriety. The best thing to do is to delete (or hide or drastically reduce usage of) all social media accounts, with the exception of any that are specifically for business or work.

4. Control your emotions.
Divorce and custody battles are inevitably the most contentious and emotionally turbulent times of a person’s life. Unfortunately, this can lead to heated exchanges between you and your ex. Of course, you should never lose control of your emotions in front of your child, but ideally, you should not lose control at all. Try to find ways to stay calm while with your ex. This will go a long way to show the judge that you are concerned only with the best interest of your child and not your own problems.

5. Hire an attorney.
Many people try to save money during a custody dispute by not hiring an attorney and representing themselves. This can be a huge mistake, especially when the other parent has an attorney. If you try to represent yourself, the judge is not allowed to treat you any differently than an attorney. Therefore, you will have to be aware of all required court procedures and deadlines, as well as the underlying law. This can be a very difficult task, and there are many ways that it can end up hurting you.


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