Custody and Visitation cases have very emotional components involving your former partner. Even though you are no longer in an existing day to day relationship with that person doesn’t mean you won’t have to interact with one another. Your relationship is now very different and those feelings are not exclusive to you. Studies have shown that children share the impact of separated families.
The following are the “ten commandments” that have been adapted from a long time colleague, Sam Doulberg, to help you understand a child’s prospective. What behaviors THEY do and don’t want to participate in during a court proceeding and what you can do to minimize that impact in your case.
- Put your child’s needs in the center of your thinking in all aspects of the proceeding.
- Always respect the other parent when talking to your child. Never insult, disrespect or put down the other parent to your child or have other family members engage in this behavior Your child will resent this behavior.
- If you are the primary caretaker, be generous in allowing the other parent or grandparent to spend time with your child. Your child will appreciate this behavior.
- Never do thing like recording conversations, post to social media or “live stream” with your children in order to enhance your legal position. This is likely to make things worse and this behavior stresses your child.
- Never ask your child about what does on in the other parents home. Children know when they are being used as “spies” and do not like it.
- Never tell your child what they should tell their lawyer, known as the Attorney for the Child (AFC), A good AFC will see through this.
- Never ask your child what they told their attorney. Like you they should be able to have a confidential relationship with their attorney.
- Consult with your attorney before speaking with ACS, Probation, a Forensic Examiner, Psychologist or the Attorney for your child. Do not try to manipulate the result by calling ACS with frivolous allegations.
- Compromise! Two parents in a custody dispute never get everything they want. A mediated or negotiated resolution will usually be better for everyone rather than traditional litigation.
- Remember-There is life after a custody dispute. You are your child’s parent for life.