If you find yourself about to begin a custody battle or fight for parenting time, there are some things you want to keep in mind and some things you want to avoid making the process smoother and better for everyone. Keep in mind that a fight over custody is difficult for everyone involved, including the children. The fight will be emotionally, physically, and financially draining so it is important to keep the following in mind to mitigate any damage that can be done. Children are very aware of their surroundings and when things change. When things become rocky, they sense it and you can think of it like being on an airline flight across the country.
When things are smooth, everyone is comfortable and at ease. However, when that plane starts rocking and you feel turbulence, you get a bit nervous that things are no longer OK. What do you do? You look at the flight attending and see how they are reacting. If the flight attendant is calm, cool, and collected and going about their duties – you feel better, you take their lead and you feel better too. If the flight attendant looks scared and is running here and there and not acting normal – your fear is increased. Think of your family life as a flight across the country. When things are smooth everyone is comfortable and calm However, when the children feel the plane start rocking, they are going to look to you – their parent (akin to the flight attendant) and see how you are reacting. If you are calm and going about your routines as normal – they will feel at ease. However, if you are upset, excited, and acting abnormal, your children will pick up on this and be very fearful of the turbulence they feel in the family.
9 Tips to Follow in a Child Custody Battle
When you’re involved in a child custody or parenting time case, keep the following tips in mind for the benefit of everyone, especially your children:
1. Do not say unkind things about the other parent to your child.
Children love their parents and when you say something bad about their parent, they feel hurt themselves and you may not realize it but this is very hurtful to the child. You will need to vent and talk about things that may include unflattering details about the other parent, but it is important that you talk to someone outside the presence of the children.
2. Provide a safe and loving environment for your child.
Continue to be a great parent by creating a safe and loving environment for your child when they are with you. You also want to make sure your child feels comfortable talking to you about the other parent. If your child feels you would resent hearing about the other parent, they will not talk to you. Make sure your child knows that you support, encourage, and will facilitate their relationship with the other parent even if you are going through a custody battle.
3. Keep the lines of communication open with the other parent when it comes to your children.
Keep open and frequent communication with the other parent about the children – specifically anything significant that you as a parent would want to know. If you travel with the children, behavioral issues, medical or medication issues, things related to school or activities that directly impact the child – you can’t provide too much information as both parents have a significant interest in all aspects of what is going on with their child.
4. Avoid sharing your personal issues on social media.
You should avoid putting your issues on social media – putting things out there for all to see can backfire on you. Social media posts can be used as evidence in legal battles so it is best to keep these types of personal things off social media platforms.
5. Hire a Child Custody attorney you trust and feel comfortable working with.
Hire a child custody attorney that you trust and feel comfortable working with. If you are involved in a custody issue you should not represent yourself. How your case ends up will affect you for a very long time and family law courts can be difficult to navigate without the assistance of an attorney.
6. Comply with all temporary court orders that are entered during the pendency of your child custody case.
While a child custody case is underway, the court will be making temporary orders. It is very important to comply with all temporary court orders that are entered during the pendency of your case. It is very important that a court’s order is adhered to which shows your commitment to the procedure and respect to the court.
7. Maintain good records of all matters related to your children.
Maintain good records of all matters related to the children such as parenting time with you and time with the other parent, vacations, grades, activities that you and the other parent participate in, who goes to the doctor or dentist with the children, who attends the parent-teacher conferences and their games and activities.
8. Do not make your children choose who they want to live or spend time with.
Do not talk to the children about making choices of who they want to live with or be with. It is important that your children believe that their parents have a united front – that they are on the same page with the same goal of making sure they are taken care of. If the children, ask you questions or complain about the other parent it is best to tell your children that they are lucky to be loved by two parents who are working very hard together to make sure they are taken care of and that you are working things out and love them very much.
9. Be the best role model possible for your child.
Continue to be the best role model you can be for your children when you’re involved in a custody battle – and after. Do everything you can during this time so that when you look back at your behavior you have nothing to feel bad about. Your goal is to raise children that become well-rounded, self-supporting, happy, productive members of society. To do this you must maintain your dignity in the eyes of your children.