What can be used against you in a custody battle? A divorce can be highly distressing. Having to decide who will have custody of your children may be very taxing for all parties involved. Nonetheless, it is essential to remember that the court will observe your every move during legal proceedings and outside of court. Your conduct can and does significantly impact your child custody dispute.
If you have a thorough awareness of what your ex-spouse may attempt to use against you in your custody struggle, you will be able to avoid committing several errors.
Keep on reading for What can be used against you in a custody battle?
What can Be Used Against You in A Custody Battle?
The following items should be avoided because these are what can be used against you in a custody battle dispute:
#1 Engaging in Verbal/Physical Altercations
A custody battle can bring about a wide range of passionate emotions and feelings, but it is essential to remember that any verbal or physical altercation you have with your child’s other parent may be used against you in the courtroom.
The key to success lies within self-control; speak calmly and logically, never resort to raising your voice, and absolutely refrain from getting physical. If done correctly, this way of handling arguments has the potential to significantly strengthen your position during custody proceedings.
#2 Bringing Your New Partner Around Your Child
Even if your child custody agreement has yet to be finalized by a court, it’s best to avoid involving anyone you are dating in any interactions with your child. This should continue after the divorce is officially over for an extended period of time.
Avoid any turmoil for yourself and your child by keeping things civil post-divorce. Not doing so can result in confusion, drama or stress that isn’t needed and could ultimately lead to legal issues down the line. Therefore, it’s best to remain composed following a separation.
#3 Criticizing Your Child’s Other Parent to Anyone
Remember, this restriction applies to both family and friends. Basically, whatever you express to someone can be used against your case in a custody battle, thus casting you in an unfavorable light for the court.
Although confidants may not have the intention to spread your secrets, they could be forced by subpoena in court or deposition to do so. At this stage, it is out of their hands as they are legally obligated to tell the truth – and that may mean breaking your trust.
#4 Not Paying Your Child Support or Not Seeing to Your Other Parental Responsibilities
If you are obligated to pay child support and/or alimony to your former partner, it is imperative that you make these payments on time – especially if those orders were made by a court.
If you fail to adhere to the court’s temporary or permanent order by not making any payments, your negligence could be seen as contempt of court. In addition, nonpayment of child support and alimony may indicate that you are an inconsiderate parent who is unconcerned with your child’s welfare; this will lead to more severe legal repercussions down the line.
In much the same way, when it comes to dropping off and picking up your children for visitations, consistency is essential. It’s important that you adhere to the agreed upon time and location for these exchanges with the other parent.
#5 Stopping Contact between Your Child and Their Other Parent
Even if you and the other parent of your child are in disagreement, it is strictly prohibited for you to deny them appropriate contact with their child as long as they have legal visitation rights that are being respected by the court.
If you make this mistake, the other parent can file a contempt of court complaint, prompting the court to review your child custody and placement agreement. If they do so, it is highly likely that the result won’t be in your favor – potentially limiting or completely changing your contact with your child as per their visitation and/or custody agreement.
#6 Removing Your Child from Their Regular Activities
A divorce can be especially damaging to your child’s mental and emotional state, based on their age. For that reason, it is essential to establish a sense of security through routine.
If they were already participating in any activities prior to the divorce, make sure they continue those same activities afterwards – this will help them maintain a healthy balance during such an uncertain time.
#7 Removing Your Child from School or Daycare without Notifying the Other Parent
As the primary custodian of your child, you should always keep them in daycare or school unless there is a valid explanation for taking them out. Your ex could present evidence to the court demonstrating any times your kid has been tardy or absent from their educational institution with printouts from said center. This could be used against you if they take legal action.
#8 Abusing Alcohol and/or Drugs
It is critical that you take steps to ensure your child’s safety and well-being, including avoiding substance abuse. Doing so not only benefits your little one but also prevents your ex from using it as evidence against you in custody disputes. When it comes to divorcing an alcoholic and related custody, substance is a huge factor that courts will take into consideration.
#9 Refusing to Follow the Court’s Requests
You have a chance to demonstrate your dedication to your child and win custody if you are willing to comply with any request from the court. Now is an optimum time for that! If they need you to join a parenting class or attend counseling, do it immediately without hesitation. Taking this action will prove how devoted you are in demonstrating the best interest of your kid.
This is also the last one of what can be used against you in a custody battle. You should revise your local custody attorney for more detail.
How Does the Court Decide Child Custody?
When deciding who will have custody of your child, the judge will use what most courts call the “best interest of the child standard.” The court must evaluate the entire situation, in order to properly determine child placement, parenting time, and the best interest of your child.
Some of the factors they take into consideration include:
- The amount of time your child has been under the care and control of any person other than a parent, as well as the relevant circumstances.
- The wants of each parent, as they relate to any residence agreement reached by you and your ex that your family law attorney submitted to the court.
- The interrelationship and interaction of your child with both you and the other parent, as well as any other person(s) who could have a significant impact on your child’s best interest.
- The way your child has adjusted to their home, community, and school.
- Any evidence or allegations of domestic abuse
- Any evidence or allegations of sexual abuse
- If you or your ex has to be registered as a sex offender
- If you or your ex is residing with anyone who has to register as a sex offender
- If you or your ex has ever been convicted of child abuse
- If you or your ex is living with someone who has been convicted of child abuse
- If you or your spouse has a history of drug and/or alcohol abuse
Q: What should I wear in a custody battle?
A: It is important to dress professional and conservatively. You want to appear respectable, so what you wear should show the judge that you take your child custody battle seriously.
Q: Can I be forced to pay for my ex’s attorney fees in a custody battle?
A: Generally speaking, no. Each court will look at the individual circumstances of your case. The court may, however, order that you pay a certain amount towards the attorney fees in some cases. It is important to speak with an experienced family law attorney to better understand what your obligations may be.
Q: How long does a custody battle take?
A: This depends on the individual facts of your case. Generally speaking, the process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months or even years. You should speak with an experienced family law attorney to get a better idea of what you may be looking at in terms of time frame and what steps need to be taken along the way.
While there is no way to guarantee you will prevail, using the above information about what can be used against you in a custody battle can give you a fighting chance and help you avoid actions that can hurt your case.
One of the most important things you can do to help yourself during a child custody battle is to have a good family law attorney by your side.
While you are committed to winning your child custody battle in your heart, you need to be able to show the court your willingness to work with your ex-spouse and demonstrate the reasons why your child would benefit from you having custody.