Child Custody Mistakes to Avoid in Utah

Parent and child's hands touching. Sharing physical and emotional pain with children. Visual concept for family law blog about child custody mistakes.

Child custody matters can be legally complex, emotionally overwhelming, and financially draining. Unfortunately, many people make a number of mistakes when it comes to child custody that can affect their cases. While it’s easy to do or say things in the heat of the moment, it’s essential to understand the long-term impact your actions can have on your child custody case.

Here are 10 child custody mistakes to be aware of and avoid in your case:

Not Putting the Best Interests of Your Children First

Regardless of whether you and your child’s other parent get along, it’s vital to keep the best interests and welfare of your children first and foremost at all times. When making custody and parenting time decisions, the court will primarily consider the child’s best interests. Maintain a stable environment for your children, ensure they have a routine, and encourage a healthy relationship with their other parent.

Attempting to Keep the Child Away from Their Other Parent

Keeping a child away from the other parent can backfire on you in your custody case. Courts do not look favorably upon this type of behavior. Not only is it harmful to a child, but it can result in accusations that you are attempting to alienate their affection. If you believe that your child’s welfare is at risk of harm by spending time with their other parent, it’s important to seek the appropriate remedy in court.

Speaking Badly About the Other Parent

Making disparaging remarks about the child’s other parent in front of them can be hurtful to a child and their sense of self-esteem. It can also affect how the child sees the other parent, regardless of whether they think the comments are true. Significantly, if a parent is constantly badmouthing the other, court involvement may be necessary — if the child’s emotional well-being is at risk, custody could be modified to give the bad mouthing parent less parenting time.

Refusing to Cooperate with the Other Parent

Co-parenting is difficult. However, even if you have negative feelings toward the other parent, it’s crucial to work together and compromise for the best interests of their child. Refusing to cooperate or communicate with the child’s other parent is a common child custody mistake that should be avoided. A judge will typically take this into consideration when deciding a custody matter — and they may give more parenting time to the parent who is willing to cooperate.

Not Complying with Court Orders

When you’re engaged in a custody battle, you must follow the court’s orders — even if you don’t agree with them. Failure to obey a court order can result in the other parent filing a motion to enforce the order. If the judge finds that the party is in contempt, they may order them to pay a fine, serve time in jail, or order additional parenting time for the other parent, depending on the circumstances.

Letting Your Emotions Get the Better of You

Although it won’t be easy at times, you must try not to let your emotions get the better of you in your child custody case. Fighting with the other parent or acting out of anger can hurt your credibility as a stable parent. Moreover, keeping your emotions in check is critical to being a good role model for your child. If necessary, seek the emotional support you need from a therapist or counselor who can help you navigate the emotional challenges you are facing.

Using Your Children as Messengers

Children should never be placed in the middle of adult problems and you never use your children to convey messages to the other parent. Whether it is for communication purposes or spying, this can be emotionally damaging to a child. If you are unable to speak with your co-parent without tension arising, try using a co-parenting app to communicate.

Posting Material That Could Be Misconstrued on Social Media

It’s crucial to be mindful of what you post on social media when you are going through a child custody matter. Any comments or photos you publish could be misconstrued by the other side and affect the outcome of your case. This can be particularly likely if something you post could make you seem like an unfit parent, such as photos of yourself partying or using alcohol. It may be best to limit your use of social media while your case is ongoing or temporarily deactivate your account.

Not Documenting Your Case

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a child custody case is not documenting the occurrences in your case. Retain records regarding communication with the other parent, financial documents, and your child’s health. You should also keep a custody journal that details what you did during parenting time, notes about doctor appointments, your children’s activities and behavior, and anything else that could be relevant to your case.

Failing to Seek Legal Counsel

A child custody matter can be complicated — but you don’t have to go through it alone. By having an experienced child custody attorney by your side, you can ensure your rights are protected, you know your options, and you increase your chances of a positive outcome. Your attorney can guide you through the legal process and help you avoid pitfalls that could be detrimental to your case.

Contact an Experienced Utah Child Custody Attorney

If you are facing a child custody battle, a skillful family law attorney can provide you with the counsel you need and help ensure the best interests of your child are met. Based in Salt Lake City, BartonWood provides compassionate counsel and reliable representation to clients for a wide variety of family law issues, including those involving child custody. To learn more about our legal services and how we can assist you, call 801-326-8300 or contact us to schedule a consultation.

Categories: Child Custody