The Don’t’s of a Custody Battle

Parents are often unable to agree upon where their child should reside, or which parent should have custody, when they have filed for divorce.

In some cases, both parents feel that their child should primarily reside with them, and that they are the “better” parent.

Litigation can ensure when the issue of custody and parenting time cannot be settled. Indubitably, this emotional process is difficult for all parties involved. However simple it may seem to decide who gets primary custody, being able to find a place of agreement is not easy. Here is our attempt to help those on what NOT to do in a custody battle:

  1. Do NOT represent yourself: custody litigation is complex and costly. Often times, litigants choose to represent themselves because of financial reasons. In custody battles, self-representation can have disastrous results. While you are not equipped to understand all the legal nuances, counsel like the Mullen Law Firm has significant experience in settling custody matters. Being too emotionally involved may blind you in understanding the substantive legal issues that are intertwined in each custody case.
  2. Do NOT lie: embellishing facts or blatantly lying to bolster your position will always backfire. Do not lie to the Court, the custody expert, or to your attorney. If your lie is exposed, your credibility will be irrevocably tarnished. The Judge and the opposing party’s attorney will remember your fabrication and will remind the Court, too. Also, do not lie to yourself. Be honest when seeking custody- is it for the right reasons? Is it truly for your child‘s best interest?
  3. Do NOT violate the Court’s orders: The Judge will always remember the liar, as well as the violator. Do not plant any bad seeds about you or your conduct to the trier of your matter. Breaching the terms of a binding order will reflect negatively on you and the Judge, as well as the opposing party’s attorney, will remind the Court of this every step of the way.
  4. Do NOT keep quiet: If you are unsure, do not be afraid to ask questions. Do not keep to yourself! Bottling up emotions can riddle a situation with unnecessary anxiety and you with stress. Rather, talk it out and ask the appropriate questions to resolve all your concerns. Your child needs you to be healthy: not only physically, but mentally. With counsel like the Mullen Law Firm, you are entitled to having your questions answered.
  5. Do NOT coach your children: in a custody battle, custody evaluations with a forensic expert is commonplace. Both parties will have the opportunity to meet with the expert to provide insight and opinion as to their family dynamic. At this point, children are involved and they often meet with the expert alone. When preparing children for an interview, it is one thing to explain to them that they are meeting with the expert so they are aware of what to expect. It is a completely different matter when a parent attempts to fill children with talking points. It is wise for a litigant to never disparage the other parent to their children, as it may have negative consequences. Furthermore, coaching a child on what to say to an expert is obvious and transparent. An expert will know when a child has been told what to say.