Going through a divorce is never a walk in the park--but things can be exponentially more complicated and stressful when children are involved. Unfortunately, child custody disputes in divorce are very common; when both parties wish to retain primary custody of the children (or when a shared custody arrangement cannot be agreed upon), the decision may end up being left to the judge.
If you're in the middle of a child custody dispute, there are a few mistakes you'll want to avoid that could result in an unfavorable outcome for you.
Venting on Social Media
As frustrating as it may be when you cannot reach a child custody agreement with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse, you'll need to be careful about what you post on social media. Making angry posts about the situation or bad-mouthing the other parent on social media can come back to bite you in court, even if you have your privacy settings maxed out. Ideally, you should keep all discussions of your divorce off your social media page.
Ignoring Visitation Orders
Often times, judges will put temporary visitation orders in place while a child custody agreement is being decided upon. Even if you don't agree with these orders, it's important to follow them exactly. Failing to drop off or pick up your children when you're supposed to may be noted by the other parent and used against you in court.
Relocating Away From Your Child's School
Ultimately, judges must keep the best interests of the child at heart when deciding on a child custody arrangement. If your child is school-aged, the judge will typically want him or her to stay with a parent who lives within the school district. If you plan on moving during your child custody battle, be sure to stay within your child's school district if at all possible.
Failing to Consult With an Attorney
Trying to get through a child custody battle and divorce without any kind of legal representation is never a recipe for success. To make sure you're receiving the legal guidance and representation you need during this stressful time, it's always a good idea to consult with a family law attorney. He or she will be able to fight for your best interests in court and, in some cases, even help you reach a custody agreement outside of court through the use of a third-party mediator. If you haven't consulted with a family law attorney yet, now is the time to get started.