A child custody battle can be a huge headache, especially when the stakes are so high. Fighting for the chance to be with your child or children can dredge up a lot of unpleasant issues and emotions; those emotions can spur decisions that can negatively impact child custody proceedings. To avoid that situation, read through this list of common mistakes that parents often make that lessens their chance for success.
Not considering the ramifications of a social media post
Don’t fall into the trap and believe that social media posts have nothing to do with a child custody battle. The truth is that a post, even on a social media site that deletes posts, are forever and can impact a case negatively. Social media profiles can be hacked and screen shots taken (even by friends who you trust); for this reason, always think before you post. Avoid bashing the other parent online, posting non-flattering pictures that shows negative behavior, or ranting about issues that are key to the child custody case.
Disregarding court orders
At the initiation of proceedings, the judge typically gives certain orders, such as a temporary custody schedule, to be observed throughout proceedings. Follow these orders as closely as possible; frequent or major violations of court orders may be taken into account by the judge as he or she makes decisions. With regard to the temporary custody schedule, these agreements are fairly hard to get altered; make sure the agreement is a schedule that can be followed before you sign on the bottom line.
Not hiring an expert
A successful custody proceeding involves multiple steps and expertise. Don’t try to navigate through the process alone. Hire a local, experienced family law lawyer that’s guided other parents through custody proceedings successfully. Use these tips for an efficient and successful first visit with the lawyer and be prepared to provide additional information throughout the process.
Behaving badly in front of the kids
Everything you do during a child custody battle can have ramifications on proceedings: how you act when you pick-up or drop off the kids, the things you say to the other parent, how often you leave the kids when they are in your care, what you say on the phone in front of them. Even when the other parent is behaving badly, make sure your actions and words are beyond reproach and cannot be used against you. Make note of any risky or bad behavior that the other parent exhibits.
Stopping child support payments
“If I can’t see my kid, I’m not paying child support!” It’s a common mistake that many parents make—but can have serious ramifications when the custody of the child is in question. NEVER, never stop making child support payments without consulting your lawyer, even if the other parent is not following the temporary custody schedule and you are not getting a chance to visit your kids. Most courts in Wisconsin hold you accountable for child support even if you are not seeing the child. If you don’t make child support payments, you can land in legal hot water and may even be arrested.