Children are literally our future. When parties divorce or in paternity actions or subsequent custody modifications, most litigants (Mothers and Fathers) make three key mistakes multiple times. Sometimes this impacts their custody objective and causes negative outcomes when they are avoidable. This blog explores these three key mistakes and how to avoid them.
- The first is testifying in terms of “absolutes” or without qualification. Everyone has done something they are not proud of or that is illegal or both. In the acidic nature of divorce proceedings, most litigants get asked questions about these events even if they play little or no role on a court’s decision about custody in the child’s best interests.However, by failing to admit to a fact or circumstances that are obviously true, such as smoking marijuana, trial court judges who are wise and know otherwise then may doubt the rest of the testimony (that actually matters to the custody case). Thus, being brutally honest in trial is the way to be the most believable to the custody objective. If you did it, own it!
- Second, in the high-stakes of child custody litigation, human nature makes most litigants vilify the other parent—as if he or she did not have any redeeming qualities or positive parenting attributes. This is obviously inconsistent with what brought the parties together in the first case in most circumstances.Thus, the mother or father who can admit the qualities of the other parent while making his or her case for custody is the party who is likely to be most credible to the judge; this goes a long way to meeting his or her custody objectives so long as this in the child’s best interests. All parents have good qualities. Admit them.
- Third, and perhaps the most significant downfall of litigants in child custody disputes is to come to court and present a laundry-list of failures of the other parent; but then he or she does not tie this to why custody should be maintained or modified in connection with his or her requests of the court and why such is in the child’s best interests.What does this mean? If you are seeking to maintain or modify custody, come to court with a concrete plan of why it is necessary and in the child’s best interests. If you are seeking a modification of custody, be able to articulate to the court how you will care for the child while at work and what you propose to be the other parent’s parenting time. So don’t ask for the same to remain or a change to occur without explaining to the Court why this is in the child’s best interests.
This blog is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle child custody modification throughout the state of Indiana and handle cases in all Indiana counties and appeals to the Indiana Court of Appeals and Indiana Supreme Court. This blog is written for informational and educational purposes only and is not legal advice or a solicitation for legal services. It is an advertisement. We hope find this blog informational to make you a more educated citizenry about Indiana’s lawyers and judicial system available to you.