Divorce is difficult enough, but when you add children to the mix, the situation can become even more stressful for all parties involved. A grueling child custody battle can be time-consuming, emotionally draining, expensive, and many cases are often rife with mistakes, some of which are nearly impossible to undo. You do not have to get caught in this tangled web, however, and some of the most common mistakes are actually quite avoidable. You and your ex both want what is best for your children, even if you have not found a way to agree on the specifics yet, so take a look at these tips and keep them in mind as you proceed with your case.
- Be aware of your behavior. It is easy to lose your cool when you are in the midst of a divorce. You probably have a list of reasons why you are angry at your spouse and hashing out the details of a settlement agreement can be overwhelming. That does not mean it is okay to lose your cool, especially when you are in front of your children. Try to avoid getting involved in heated arguments and absolutely never touch your spouse in any way that might be perceived as abusive or threatening. These allegations can severely impact your child custody case. It is also important to be on good behavior even when you are not around your spouse. Meaning, avoid drugs and alcohol abuse, especially when the children are in your custody or if you are visiting.
- Never forget to pay child support. If you have been ordered to pay child support, remember to always make your payments or, if you have encountered some financial troubles that prevent you from doing so, inform the court. The court will examine your situation and possibly reduce support until you are able to resume making the originally ordered payments again. Simply failing to pay child support might limit your custody or visitation rights.
- Do not take the kids away on vacation without the consent of your spouse. This can have some pretty serious consequences. You might be accused of kidnapping your own children and you can be arrested, resulting in either limited or no custody. If you want to go on a vacation with the kids, obtain the consent of your spouse and avoid the penalties and heartache.
- Never disrespect the court. This should go without saying, but many people show a fair amount of disregard for the court and care even less about what a judge might think of them. Make sure you always comply with every order of the court, even if you disagree with it. If you fail to obey the court’s orders, a judge might hold you in contempt. It would also be wise to dress appropriately when in court. Conservative or business casual outfits are a way of exhibiting respect for the judge and the proceedings. It might seem like a minor detail, but even the small things matter.
5.Do not prioritize your needs over your children’s needs. Your children are caught in the middle of this divorce and you should never make things worse for them by putting your needs above theirs. If you are unsure of how to help them cope during this time, try buying a couple of books and doing some research. If you think counseling might help, consider arranging it for them. You should also be willing to work with your spouse when it comes to parenting time. Your marriage ended, but you are still parents and have to be united when it comes to serving the best interests of your children.
6.Stick to your visitation schedule. If it is your day to spend time with the kids, make sure you follow through. Pick them up and drop them off at the agreed upon time and do not be late. Your spouse is likely observing you and will make a note of any issues you might have, so if you appear neglectful, he or she will share this information with the court. This is not just a helpful for your child custody case, but a better way to parent. Do not let your kids down.
7.Consult an attorney. This is one situation you definitely do not want to dive into without an attorney. Family law can be complex and without experienced representation, you will surely end up making some mistakes. They will not all be critical, but all it takes is one major mistake to ruin your chances at child custody. Additionally, you should always be honest with your lawyer. He or she is looking out for you and withholding information will only hurt your case.
Colorado Springs Child Custody Attorneys
Child custody is one of the most contentious issues in a divorce, but any decisions made should ultimately serve the best interests of the children. At Clawson & Clawson, LLP, we have more than 120 years of combined experience fighting to defend our clients’ rights. Our Colorado Springs divorce attorneys will help you achieve the most favorable conclusion for your child custody agreement and answer any questions or concerns you might have along the way. We can also help you petition for a modification to an existing child custody order if you need to relocate or if you are concerned about the safety of your children with the other parent.
Contact us today at (719) 602-5888 for a consultation.