Everything You Need To Know About Foreclosure Law

« Back to Home

Seeking A Favorable Custody Arrangement? Don't Make These Common Mistakes

Posted on

One of the most challenging aspects of divorce is figuring out which parent will be the main custodian of your children. Sometimes, getting visitation and custody arrangements can be the biggest point of contention, requiring intervention in court with a judge. With mediation and other forms of legal help, you want to avoid a custody trial if you can. However, if you do end up needing to go to trial to get more time with your children, you need to make sure your case is strong.

People can inadvertently weaken their bid for custody by making mistakes during the divorce process. Here are some common mistakes to avoid. 

1. Withholding money from your spouse. 

You want to ensure your financial future, and when you were married, you probably shared some accounts with your spouse. If you were the primary breadwinner, resist the temptation to take large sums of money from the account, especially if your partner was the primary childcare provider. 

Even though you want to make sure your own future is secure, in custody arrangements, failing to provide for basic needs through monetary support is a powerful tool that can be used against you. If your ex-spouse cannot pay rent or utilities without money in the bank, this endangers your children and shows that you aren't willing to provide for them. 

Make sure that if you do move money to a separate account, you continue to pay all essential bills and provide money for things like groceries, school fees, and health expenses. 

2. Losing or changing employment. 

Having a steady job is important when it comes to getting a good custody arrangement. If the company you work for is downsizing or you lose your job through no fault of your own, get new employment right away, even if that employment is not ideal. You can always job search after the visitation and custody agreement is final. 

3. Moving to a new school district when separating. 

When you and your spouse first separate, you may leave the house for a new place to live. If possible, try to rent an apartment or home that is child-friendly, with places for your children to sleep, and find this home in the same school district. This way, you can argue that living with you will not interrupt the day-to-day routine your children are used to. It also means that you can be on call for things like doctor's appointments and injuries at school, showing you can be present as a parent. The court likes to make transitions simple and easy for children, so staying in the area shows your willingness to co-parent effectively. If you must move, move to an area with a better school than the one where your children currently attend. 

4. Failure to stick to preliminary custody arrangements. 

Often, in the face of custody disputes, you might have a hearing or a similar emergency court meeting where a preliminary arrangement is made for the time being. This arrangement might not be entirely favorable toward you, but you need to show you are willing to do what it takes to spend time and care for your children. For example, if you are given one weekend day each week with your children, make sure you always see your children on this day, no matter what. Do not be late to pick them up, and don't be late to drop them off. You show your cooperation, but you also show that you are able to handle all of the time that is your responsibility. If you skip time with your children, you essentially give up custody to the other parent during that time. A judge can interpret these actions as reduced enthusiasm for more custodial time.