Child custody proceedings tend to be confusing and emotional times. Whether it is an initial custody determination or a modification of a pre-existing custody order, the process is emotionally and financially draining on all involved parties. You can relieve some of the burden by avoiding some common mistakes many individuals make in custody proceedings. In this blog, we provide five child custody mistakes for you to avoid in Indiana.
Letting Your Anger Get the Best of You. Many individuals let their emotions control their actions in custody proceedings, with the most common of emotions being anger. This is understandable, because, custody proceedings are emotional times. It probably feels like much of your personal life is on the line and exposed to the world. As hard as it may be, it is important to let go of the anger. Losing your temper in court will not go over very well when trying to make your case in the custody proceeding. Most judges would probably think, “if dad/mom is that angry in court, how must he/she be at home?” You must be able to demonstrate poise and candor in front of the court in order to fully illustrate why you should have custody.
Putting Your Interests Above Your Children’s. Another very common mistake made by many is putting one’s own interest before their children’s interest. In Indiana, the over-arching standard for all custody proceedings is the “best interests of the child.” Many parents put the focus on themselves and how a custody determination will affect their lives, as opposed to what is in their child’s best interests. While you may wish to have as close a relationship as possible with your children, it is extremely important to remember that you have to focus on what is in their best interests, not yours. Answering every trial question in a way that actually meets the children’s best interests goes a long way to making your case.
Oversharing Information on Social Media. As technology has become more important in our day to day, the rise of social media has skyrocketed. While there is a lot of good that comes from social media, there is also a lot of bad. As it relates to parents in a custody proceeding, oversharing details of their case is becoming more and more common. This is a mistake. Keep any details of your custody case off of social media because there is a good chance the other party is watching what you post. If you post something bad about the other side, expect to be called out on it in court. If you post inappropriate behavior on your part, there is a very good likelihood that too will be used against you in court. Just remember, it is best practice to keep any details of your case off social media.
Disobeying Temporary Court Orders. During your custody proceeding, there is a good chance that a court will put some sort of temporary order in place while the case is pending. Do not disregard or disobey this order. This order is going to be focused on the best interests of the children. As such, it gives you the opportunity to show the court that you can be focused on the best interests of your children, while also displaying that you respect authority. For instance, some parents took the position during the COVID-19 outbreak that they would just keep the children from the other spouse in the name of safety. Judges were not pleased.
Refusing to Work with the Other Parent. While you may not like the other parent, it is extremely important to work with them. How you behave around the other parent, and what you say about the other parent, will reflect your character in front of the court. Showing a willingness to compromise and have respect for the other parent will set a good example in front of the court and go a long way in helping you achieve your goals in the custody proceeding. As such, remember to avoid harassing the other parent, sending negative emails, or even losing your temper. You can bet if you do not do so, this will become “evidence” and used against your custody position in court.
Child custody proceedings can be a trying time for individuals. If you are in a child custody case, it may be helpful to seek the assistance of an attorney to help navigate through the process. Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. attorneys handle all types of child custody cases throughout the State of Indiana and understand the significance of same. This blog post is written by Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. advocates and is not intended as specific legal advice or a solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.