If you are struggling in a child custody battle, the stress can be overwhelming. Parents generally want what is best for their children, but can sometimes lose sight of that goal when anger, frustration, and emotional pain take over. It is important to avoid further complications as a result of emotional responses when in a child custody battle. The following is a list of some of the pitfalls to avoid, which will hopefully alleviate some of the tension and move the custody process along.

First and foremost, do not discuss or otherwise involve the children in blaming the other party for the custody dispute or related legal matters. It can be difficult to resist the temptation to ask the children about what the other parent is doing, or to blame the stress of the custody matter on the other party. This behavior is very toxic to the children and is actually prohibited by the Courts for this reason. Children are already under a lot of pressure during a custody battle, and their parents must avoid adding to that stress. There could also be legal ramifications, such as being charged with contempt. If you are having difficulty knowing what and how to communicate with your children about what is happening during a custody battle, it is recommended that you seek the help of a family therapist.

Secondly, avoid confrontations with the other party. Parents in a child custody matter still have to interact directly with each other in order to continue to raise their children. Despite their personal feelings about one another, the parents will have to work together to arrange parenting time exchanges for the children, transport the children to sports and other activities, and coordinate care for medical appointments. If one parent works hard to avoid confrontation, this alone can ease the stress on everyone involved, especially the children. It is important to remember that the children are affected the most during a custody matter, and it is each parent’s responsibility to minimize involvement of the children in the particulars of the custody dispute. There are low-cost (and in some cases, free) third-party communication applications, such as Talking Parents or My Family Wizard, that can help facilitate polite and appropriate communications between parents.

Finally, remember that the Courts are concerned about what is in your children’s best interest, not your best interest. Many times, parents will argue that they want to spend as much time with their children. It is a subtle difference, but the courts are not as concerned about a parent’s desire as it is with how those desires affect the children. Though it is generally believed that it is best for children to have a relationship with both parents, the courts look at each case on its own merits, as the circumstances are never the same between cases. Sometimes, a parent will fight for an additional hour or two a day, but forget to consider the child’s school schedule, clubs, or activities that may be disrupted to accommodate these couple of extra hours. While it is important to spend as much quality time with your children as possible, the Courts will not award additional parenting time at the expense of the best interests of the children simply because the parent requests it. Remembering this when thinking about decisions regarding your children will put both you and your children in the best situation.

Custody battles can be difficult for everyone involved. The guidance and representation of an attorney during these matters will help assist you through this process. If you currently have a custody matter, or any family law matter, and are feeling lost and confused, please contact us at Law One to see if we can help. Our experience in these matter may be what you and your children need to begin moving forward.