Behaviors to avoid during a child custody dispute

Child custody disputes are easily some of the most difficult cases that any family law firm can handle. Parents often become bitter, irrational and allow their negative feelings towards each other dictate their behavior. Parents involved in a child custody battle must understand that a court will be evaluating their behavior through out the course of the case. Therefore, there are some behaviors that parents should definitely avoid during a child custody dispute.

  • Violating court orders: When a judge issues an order, he or she does not do so arbitrarily. Judges want their orders strictly followed and do not look favorably on those who violate them. Remember, the judge is the person who will ultimately be making decisions regarding your rights to custody and visitation. If you do not agree with the judge's decisions, consult with your attorney to see if that order can be vacated, modified and/or appealed. Otherwise, it is your best interests to follow the judge's order. Failing to do so will negatively impact your case.
  • Engaging in self-help: When parents take action without legal authority, such as refusing to return the kids back to the custodial parent, they do so at their own peril. If an emergency situation arises, it is best to get legal help before taking the law into your own hands. Contacting your attorney, law enforcement or obtaining an emergency order from the court are better options. Acting alone, without the proper authority, can hurt your case and even cause you to lose custody or visitation rights with your children.
  • Making false accusations: Taking the "desperate times call for desperate measures" approach to a divorce is generally a bad idea. Making false accusations of abuse in order to gain leverage in a custody case will only cause delay, increase costs, and potentially put your children through uncomfortable investigations. It may also backfire, resulting in child protective services looking for abuse perpetrated by either parent. In such cases, the accusing parent may find themselves under the spotlight instead of the other parent.
  • Using your kids as leverage: Divorce does not just affect the parents. Its has a potentially traumatic effect on children. Parents should avoid speaking directly about case problems with them or attempting to sway them to benefit their case. Using your kids as leverage to benefit your case will only cause them more emotional trauma and may negatively effect the outcome of your case.