Last Updated On: February 2, 2024

5 Things Not To Do During A Child Custody Case

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.

Joint physical custody can be a good option for families where both parents are able to co-parent effectively and maintain a positive relationship with their children. However, it may not be suitable in cases where one parent is abusive or neglectful, or if the parents live far apart or have demanding work schedules. A skilled New York child custody lawyer can help parents navigate the legal process of child custody and even child support, ensuring their rights and the best interests of the child are protected.

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

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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.

5 Things Not To Do During A Child Custody Case Rationale
Refuse To Cooperate Cooperation benefits the children and shows your willingness to work together as co-parents.
Speaking Against The Other Parent To The Children Avoiding confrontations and negative talk in front of the children is in their best interest.
Neglecting Support Payments Or Other Parental Responsibilities Abiding by temporary orders demonstrates responsibility and concern for the children.
Making Poor Social Choices Maintaining a responsible and child-focused image is crucial during custody proceedings.
Not Hiring The Right Attorney Skilled legal representation helps you make rational decisions during an emotional time.

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.

Substance Abuse: A Critical Factor in Custody Cases

When parents go to court to figure out who will take care of their child, judges have a lot to consider. One of the biggest red flags for them is if a parent is struggling with alcohol or drugs. If a parent is dealing with substance abuse, courts worry about whether they can take good care of their child.

Being sober and away from drugs is crucial when trying to show the court you’re a good parent. While a child custody case is understandably anxiety and stress-inducing, staying clean is key. The judge recognizes efforts to make smart choices for your child’s sake.

If you lie about using drugs or alcohol, or if you don’t tell the whole truth in court, it can backfire. The court might be less inclined to believe your statements, and that could mean you end up with decreased visitation rights. It’s important to be honest and show that you are determined to stay on the path of self-improvement and set on being a positive influence for your child.

It’s also ill-advised to ignore the custody case or not follow the requirements set by the court. The judge could see this behavior as intentional noncompliance and decide against you without hearing your side. Just as important is staying civil with your ex-spouse; the court pays specific importance to co-parenting efforts for the best interests of the child.

A skilled New York child custody lawyer can also assist in representing your rights as well as providing advice on what to and not to do during your custody case. 

What Happens In A Child Custody Trial?

The child custody trial process in New York usually commences with an Initial Appearance, during which the judge examines the petition and clarifies the accusations or requests for assistance. If either party is unrepresented, the judge will also explain their rights and may assign a lawyer to someone who can’t afford one. 

Following the Initial Appearance, the judge may schedule a meeting with the lawyers to discuss settling the case without a trial. If the case can’t be settled, the court will schedule a trial. 

In cases concerning custody, visitation, paternity, or support, a trial typically includes a hearing to establish the facts, during which the judge will consider all pertinent evidence and make determinations about what has been proven. If the facts are established, the judge will also make decisions regarding relief. If the parties involved come to an agreement on custody, the judge may issue a consent order without a formal hearing. However, if no agreement can be reached, the court will hold a hearing and may appoint an attorney to represent the child. 

The court may also order an investigation and report from a social services agency or mental health professional. Ultimately, the court will award custody based on the child’s best interests. 

If you are facing a child custody trial in New York, it can be a difficult and emotional experience. A child custody lawyer can provide valuable assistance throughout the entire custody process, from the initial petition to the final decision. New York child custody lawyer Juan Luciano may be able to help you understand your legal rights and options, guide you through court proceedings, and advocate for your interests and those of your child. Call us today at (212) 537-5859 to schedule a consultation.

What Happens if My Child Refuses to Comply with the Visitation Order?

The child may be required to attend visitation sessions if the court decides that the non-custodial spouse should receive visitation rights and parenting time. The custodial parent is usually required to ensure that this visitation takes place and encourage the child to participate. However, if the child still refuses to abide by the visitation orders despite the best efforts of the custodial parent, the court may decide to take other courses of action. 

The best thing a parent can do if their child refuses to take part in the visitation is to speak to the courts early in the process. By letting the court know ahead of time, the custodial parent will be able to ensure that they do not end up dealing with unwanted legal issues.

The courts may also recommend something like therapeutic visitation to strengthen the relationship between the non-custodial parent and the child. If the court feels that the custody changes are in the best interest of the child, the court may allow residential custody to be changed to the non-custodial parent. 

Speaking to an experienced lawyer about child custody is very important when dealing with child custody matters. A skilled lawyer may be able to help you understand your roles and responsibilities when it comes to your children. Manhattan divorce attorney Juan Luciano may be able to help you and your family. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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