When it comes to the custody of your children, what you do is as important as what you don't do. This is particularly true if you're in a custody battle. The other parent can use any of your missteps against you in court, which could result in you either losing custody or having your visitation rights infringed upon. To protect your custody rights, here are a few dos and don'ts you should consider.
Don't Fight in Front of the Children
One of the worst things you can do is fight in front of your children, especially if you're the one instigating the fight. If you have disputes with the other parent, it's important that you deal with them somewhere away from your children. You might think that a minor argument in front of the children won't matter, but it will.
Children who are exposed to parental arguments and fights tend to suffer from depression, anxiety and hostility. In some cases, counseling can help divorced couples deal with the stress that often accompanies shared-parenting. If you're experiencing feelings of hostility against the other parent, you may want to consider family or individual counseling.
Don't Speak Negatively About the Other Parent
Parental alienation is a serious matter. In fact, parents who are found guilty of parental alienation may risk losing custody of their children. If you're not sure what this is, parental alienation occurs when you speak negatively about the other parent to your children, or do things to keep the other parent away from your children.
Do Encourage a Healthy Relationship
After your divorce, it's important that you encourage a healthy relationship between your children and their other parent. In most cases, children need both parents. Children do better emotionally and physically when they have equal access to both parents after a divorce. Create an environment where your children feel comfortable having a loving relationship with their other parent.
Do Share Information
Whether you share custody, or have sole custody, the other parent has a right to be informed about their children. Be sure to share important information about your children. This includes school activities, social events, educational records and medical records.
It can be difficult to deal with custody issues following a divorce. The dos and don'ts provided above will help you avoid child custody disputes and promote a healthy environment for your children. If you've done everything you can to promote a healthy relationship but the other parent continues to cause problems, you should sit down and discuss the issues with your attorney.