Custody issues are frequently the most important issues to parents engaged in divorce, as nothing is more important than a child’s well-being. In Minnesota, custody determinations will be made based on what is in a child’s best interest. Both parents are fighting for what they each think is best for their child, but there are some common mistakes that you may make that could lose you your custody case.
One common mistake is discussing the case too much with your child. Especially where you have a teenager, you may feel it is important to keep the child updated on the status of the case. Moreover, you may feel that your child should know the particulars of what your spouse has done wrong to cause the separation or divorce. Both of these could lose you your case because a court could see them as an attempt to undermine the relationship between the child and the other parent by putting the child in the middle of the dispute. It is very important to encourage your child to be happy with and love the other parent. Telling your child all about the problems in your relationship and every detail of what happens in court is not likely to further this goal.
Another mistake is not abiding by the court’s orders. In many custody cases, there will be a temporary custody order telling the parties how to handle visitation pending the final hearing. It is possible that you do will not agree with the court’s order, or you may think your spouse is being unreasonable when you ask for a little extra time with the child. Whatever the reason, it is imperative that you not take matters into your own hands and ignore a standing parenting time order. Repeated violations of an order will not only expose you to the very real possibility of being found in contempt, but a judge is not likely to award custody to a parent who has demonstrated an unwillingness to abide by a standing order.
Finally, being too angry or unreasonable with your spouse could also lose your case. Custody and divorce cases are, by their very nature, highly personal and emotionally charged. Even if you feel extremely upset and bitter about your situation, try your best to be as even-keeled as possible when speaking with your spouse. Yelling, bad language, and mean-spirited comments may feel good in the moment, but in the long run, they could show the court that you are unwilling or unable to work with that other parent, which is an important factor when awarding custody.
If you have questions about your custody case, we can talk with you about what we can do to help you reach your goals. Call us today at (651) 371-9117 for a consultation.