The process of divorce and separation can be very trying and difficult for anybody going through one, particularly if it involves a custody battle for your children. In these difficult times, people can often act and react irrationally due to the high emotions, however, this can be detrimental to your child custody case. Throughout the process, the court and social services will be evaluating your behaviour and any decisions will be made accordingly. Here are some of the most common mistakes that fathers make during child custody battles, which could have an effect on your case.
It’s no secret that children will thrive best in a happy, healthy two-parent household. But if one parent makes a habit of putting the other parent down or badmouthing them in front of the kids, the children will often feel torn and feel that they need to choose one parent over the other, which can be very frustrating, confusing and even damaging for them. Judges are quite familiar with the damage that this parental alienation can cause, and most will not be tolerant of this behaviour. The two common forms are dads who criticise mums around the kids or dads who try to keep the children from their mother.
Yelling and Emotional Outbursts
Divorce, separation and custody battles are very frustrating, but it’s important to deal with these feelings in a healthy way. Even if it’s an out-of-character snap, yelling or shouting at your ex or your children can give the appearance that you are bullying them or even being abusive. And the court will take such allegations very seriously, whether they are true or not. The last thing that you want is to appear like you are losing control.
Criticising the Mother to Others
Bear in mind that your friends are now going to be friends who might still talk to your ex-wife, so anything that you share with them might be reported back to her, which won’t look good on you if you are spending your time criticising and bad-mouthing her. If you’re saying these kinds of things to mutual friends, then she will have every right to worry that you might be saying these things around the kids, which could emotionally harm them. If you feel the need to vent, a good therapist might be able to help you.
Fail to Pay Child Support
If you can’t support your kids financially now, then the court has every right to be concerned that you are not going to be able to support them in the future. This is especially true if you have been ordered by the court to pay child support and have chosen to ignore it. Generally, the legal system will feel that paying child support is more important than any of your other financial commitments; it costs money to raise children and your ability to continue paying child support payments throughout the custody battle will be taken into account when a custody agreement is put in place. If you have good cause to believe that you are paying too much child support, family solicitors can help. A useful site for finding the right lawyer is Qredible. On there, you’re able to search for family law solicitors in your area if you need legal advice or representation regarding child support payments.
Denying Contact with Mum When You Have the Kids
If you only get to see your kids at the weekend, it’s natural to want them all to yourself, but don’t go so far as to cut them off from their mum for the entire time that they are with you. Even if you only have limited time to enjoy with your children right now, you should never deny them the option to contact their mum if they want to, or deny your ex the right to speak to the child if she calls, unless of course, it’s going to cause disruption, such as when the child is speaking. Children should be free to communicate with either parent at any time. If your ex is denying you contact with your children when you call, don’t get back at her by doing the same – instead, be the bigger person and keep a journal of the dates and times that this occurs so that the court can address it if needed.
Take the Kids Out of the Area without Telling the Mum
Maybe you want to plan a family holiday with just you and the kids or another trip outside of the area in which you live, but just upping and taking your kids can be a bad idea. Not only will this be stressful for everybody involved, but it’s also not going to work in your favour in court if you’re seen as being terrible at communicating important things like this. You should always notify the mother before you decide to take the children anywhere out of the area, especially if it’s a big trip like a family holiday. Most separated parents will come to an agreement about holidays with the child so that they both get the opportunity to take their kids away.
Removing Kids from School or Nursery
If you are not the primary custodian, you should never remove your child from school or nursery unless you have discussed this beforehand with the other parent and come to an agreement. Of course, there might be exceptions to this rule, for example, in the event of an emergency where you are the parent who can get to the school quickest. However, you should always notify the other parent that you are doing this and keep them in the loop. Removing your child from school or nursery when you are not the primary custodian could be seen as kidnapping, which could have significant backlash when it comes to your custody case.
For dads, divorce and adjusting to not having your kids around all the time can take its toll. But during a custody battle, it’s important to make sure that you put your children first and are respectful of your ex as a co-parent, no matter how badly your relationship might have ended.