Navigating a divorce is never easy, especially considering the often negative emotions surrounding the other spouse. But when it comes to child custody cases, it is not about the marital partners, but the child’s best interests. Divorce courts hold the partners to different standards when it comes to the welfare of the children, so any animosity that spouses have toward one another must keep children separate from the discord.
Consequently, there are five things you should never do during a child custody case in New York.
1. Refuse to Cooperate
Despite how you feel about your spouse, when the courts get involved with child custody, they will look closely at your ability to cooperate with him or her, especially for the benefit of the children. The refusal to cooperate or communicate reasonably with your co-parent will give the court pause in a child custody case, especially if that refusal looks like it is intended to hurt the other party.
2. Speaking Against the Other Parent to the Children
Although divorce tends to bring out the worst in partners, it’s important to avoid confrontations and verbal altercations with your co-parent in the presence of your children. It’s also critical not to speak poorly of your co-parent to your children.
One of the most important things you can do during a child custody case is not bringing your children into your marital disagreements or talking badly about the other parent to your children. The court will look more favorably on the parent who is more able to take the high road toward the other co-parent.
3. Neglecting Support Payments or Other Parental Responsibilities
A common occurrence in child custody matters is for the court to issue temporary support and custody orders. During this time, both parents need to abide by these temporary orders in the interest of the children as well as the perception of the court. Abiding by them shows that you are a responsible co-parent and are chiefly concerned for your children’s wellbeing, despite how you may feel about the other co-parent.
4. Making Poor Social Choices
This is not the time for beginning a robust dating life and posting on social media depicting your newfound party life. Child custody is all about the parent who best exemplifies the best interests of the child. Unfortunately, these types of things can work against a parent who is actively pursuing custody of their children and may even be admitted as evidence against them.
5. Not Hiring the Right Attorney
Many people enter into a divorce with little guidance and then suffer for it afterward. Getting skilled legal representation as soon as possible helps individuals navigate a highly emotional time when feelings of anger or betrayal may outweigh their common sense and long-term goals. Getting the help of the right child custody lawyer ensures a level head is at play when you need it most.
What is an Unfit Parent?
Child custody disputes can be one of the most difficult parts of a divorce. Both parents want their children to be with them as much as possible in many cases. New York courts determine custody matters based on the best interests of the child. There is no perfect parent, so any imperfections in parenting won’t lead to a parent losing their rights. The courts have the legal power to declare a parent ineligible. A court can declare a parent unfit and reduce or limit contact between the child’s parent and the child.
A parent can be declared unfit if they fail to provide the proper guidance, support, or care. The court can also declare parents unfit if they are involved in substance abuse, abuse, and neglect. Child Welfare Services usually becomes involved in cases where a judge declares a parent not fit. The parent may be subject to an investigation or safety plan.
Parents may not be able to agree on child custody issues during a divorce. A parent might not trust the other parent with custody. Evaluating child custody rights can be requested by a parent or ordered by a judge. The child custody evaluation is designed to assess the safety, health, and welfare of the child. When determining whether a parent may be unfit, the evaluation team will consider 10 factors. The court will ultimately decide.