25 Tips for Dealing with a Child Custody Case

21 Oct

25 Tips for Dealing With a Child Custody Case

(Parents Advice from your Lawyer)

  1. Follow the court order completely, regardless of any violations of the order the other parent may be committing. Just because the other parent is not following the terms of the order does not mean that you are now able to violate as well. Talk to your attorney about a way to handle the violations by the other parent.
  2. No Negative Comments. Do not talk bad or in a negative tone about the other parent in front of the minor child(ren) or within hearing distance of the minor.
  3. A major factor that a Judge will look at in a custody determination is which parent is better able to share the children with the other parent. Make sure that you have done everything in your power to ensure your children go on each of the other parent’s visitations. Do not withhold the children from visitation or encourage them not to go.
  4. Visiting Parent. If the children do not currently live with you, exercise all of the time available to you, keep requesting more time. Keep a calendar of all the time that you are requesting visitation and whether it was granted or denied.
  5. Journal. Nothing is more helpful to your attorney then a detailed journal of what has been going on in your custody dispute. Keep a detailed diary or calendar of the specific days each child was with you and with the other parent, with notations the times of pick up and return of the child.
  6. Support. If you are paying child support, keep records and do not pay in cash. Keep copies of all checks that are given to the other parent for the support of the children. Cash is untraceable.
  7. Exchanges. It is important that you are the one doing the exchanges of your child(ren). Having someone other than your self routinely doing the drop offs and/or picks ups will lead the other parent to argue before the Court that the time you do have with the child(ren) is not even being spent with you.
  8. Significant Others. If the separation from the other parent is recent, it is a better idea to not include your new significant other with the visitation with child(ren). Your children are already going through such drastic changes that a new significant other immediately being introduced may do more damage then good. Further, involving your new significant other in exchanges with the other parent can cause unnecessary friction.
  9. Make sure that your child(ren) are always being driven by a licensed and insured driver, including yourself.
  10. Always be certain that the children use seat belts. Car seats must always be used until your child is eight (8) years old, and weighs eighty (80) pounds.
  11. While in a situation outside of the courtroom may seem normal, certain activities can lead one parent to arguing about claims of sexual misconduct with your children. These include bathing with the children, letting them sleep in your bed, and being nude with the children.
  12. Make sure your home and other places you take the children are safe and child-proofed, according to your children’s ages.
  13. Make sure that your alcohol consumption is kept to a minimal amount when around your children. Neither parent should be so intoxicated that they cannot care for the child(ren) while in their care.
  14. Witnesses. Get to know your children’s teachers, doctors, school counselors, scout leaders, coaches, etc. Make sure that you attend school functions and parent conferences.
  15. Discourage your child from calling persons other than the other parent “mom” or “dad.” You do not want to do anything that appears like you are trying to take the child away from the other parent or to replace him or her in any way. This is an important one! Only biological parents should be referred to as “mom” or “dad.”
  16. Do not change the name of the minor child(ren) in any fashion, including utilizing your new spouses last name.
  17. Corporal punishment such as spanking, slapping, or hitting a child, must stop immediately. Judges do not like to hear of these methods being used and you must find another way to discipline your children.
  18. Keep in contact with potential witnesses so that they can easily be contacted they are needed to testify. Make sure you have current addresses and telephone numbers.
  19. If you are seeking a change from a prior custody order after your divorce has become final, the testimony may be limited to events that have occurred after the last custody order. You should concentrate on a change of circumstances since the last order.
  20. Do not make any threats of taking the children away so the other party cannot see them.
  21. Spend as much time as possible with your children. Do not drop children off with your relatives when it is your visitation weekend. Be prepared to testify regarding the activities you and the children share.
  22. Unless necessary for work, do not put very young children into day care facilities.
  23. Do not discuss the contents of the litigation with your children, or expect them to testify on behalf of one parent. This can be traumatizing for young children especially.
  24. If you cannot communicate in person with the other parent look into utilizing email or text message. There are also programs out there such as talking parents or ourfamilywizard. These programs are designed to help parents communicate.
  25. Make sure that you involve the other parent in major decisions regarding the child(ren). Unilateral actions regarding the child(ren) will not look favorable to the court.

For further assistance with your child custody case, give our office a call (424) 703-3416

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