Common Child Custody MistakesIf you are in the midst of a divorce, be sure not to make these 7 common mistakes. They could mean the difference between a more or less favorable outcome:

  1. Leaving hurtful email, voice, or other messages--any sort of record can, and probably will be, used against you later on. Whenever you communicate with your former (or soon to be former) spouse, imagine a judge reviewing your message in court a few months down the line. While emotions and stress are probably at their highest levels, try your best not to sabotage your own case by creating a disfavorable record.
  2. Parental alienation--by telling children negative things about other parent, you are almost certainly ensuring negative consequences for your children. In addition to potentially negatively impacting your custodial rights, especially when psychologist or guardian ad litem is appojnted, think of the negative impact on your children. In light of wanting what is best for the children, you should attempt to shield the children as much as possible from the animosity and conflict of the divorce.
  3. Using litigation as a tool for revenge--no matter how much money you spend on litigation and attorneys fees, you may still never feel true "revenge." You are better served using your money (and mental energy)  protecting your rights and developing a strong parenting plan for your child(ren).
  4. Ignoring claims of alcohol or drug use--There's an adage in politics that an attack unanswered is one confirmed. Take claims of alcohol and drug use seriously. You might consider preempting this claim with a record of clean drug tests, weekly if necessary. By proving you are clean and sober you not only establish a positive record on your behalf, but also immediately destroy the credibility of your former spouse regarding this issue.
  5. Not agreeing on a specific plan-- try to make sure the plan you agree on with your former spouse is as specific as possible-- down to the location and timing for pick ups and drop offs, including what will be done in case an alternate plan is needed. This will go a long way to having to make last minute decisions and acquiescing to less than ideal agreements.
  6. Failing to consider tax consequences--do not forget to consider the tax consequences that a divorce will have. This includes the potential impact on your retirement, who will be able to claim the dependent(s), etc.
  7. Failure to keep records/paying in cash--remember when paying for anything related to your settlement agreement or parenting agreement, that if you pay in cash, there may not be any paper trail. Be sure to establish records and keep proper documentation, don't risk having to pay for something more than once.

These are just some of the more common mistakes that you might make in dealing with your family law case. Consult a Family Law Attorney for more information about how to best proceed with your case.

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