Whether you wanted to end your relationship or you didn’t, the truth remains is that both of you still love the child or children you brought into this world. It can be challenging to work with someone who doesn’t communicate with you, perhaps regularly run smear campaigns on your reputation, or is not entirely emotionally available to your child. When a child custody process is launched, whether it’s a new one or modifying a previous one, five things irritate or anger judges during this process. You should do everything in your power to avoid these behaviors.
Saying Terrible Things about the Other Parent to Anyone
It’s normal and healthy to attempt to process what happened in the past and what’s happening now and be concerned about navigating your future. The strife may have been very difficult for both of you. If the judge learns, and other parties can prove that you’re badmouthing the other parent to adults in public or on social media, the judge may presume you’re also doing it at home in front of your child. The court holds no place for this as it views both parents initially as equal and critical parental figures in the child’s life. If you need to vent about the situation, please keep the negative comments in a private diary, a password-protected journaling app, or with a trusted therapist.
Taking the Child Out of School or Cancelling Activities without Telling the Other Parent
You both have rights to your child to spend time with them, provide for them, care for them, love them, and be involved in your child’s education, hobbies, and activities unless otherwise stated by a parenting plan or other approved court order. Because the pain of a child custody process is often so great, one parent might feel they have free reign with the child. Sometimes this includes pulling them out of school for a day or canceling their enrollment in upcoming fall sports without telling the other parent.
That behavior is a massive mistake in the eyes of the court. The court expects you both to communicate well, to keep the child’s school-year routines intact as much as possible, and to do nothing that makes the other parent think someone has kidnapped your child.
Starting Fights in Front of the Child
During the end of your relationship, this may have been a regular occurrence. Since you’re no longer together, there is no longer a need to engage in battle in front of your children. The court expects you both to remain calm, courteous, and civil around each other. If you can’t, an experienced child custody attorney can provide a multitude of communication options that may work better for both of you.
Bringing Your New Romantic Interests Around
This one can be difficult and sensitive. You both have a right to move on and have new romantic relationships, regardless of if the other parent approves. The key, however, is to keep it quiet until your child custody processes are completed. You don’t want to give your ex any more ammo to use on court paperwork, and you don’t want to introduce any more confusing emotions to your kids.
Judges like to see patterns of consistency in parenting behaviors. When they don’t, it can irritate or even anger a judge, especially with repeated inconsistency. Inconsistent behavior examples include missed deadlines for receiving required paperwork, missing time with your child, being late or unreasonably early for drop-offs, missed child support payments, or introducing on-and-off respectful court behavior.
While judges don’t expect parents to be perfect or always perform things rigidly in life, especially when the situation may need something different, they expect parents to be responsible during the child custody procedure and processes. Utilize healthy outlets for negative emotions and work to keep your new working relationship with your ex as professional as possible.