Going through a divorce is a very stressful and emotional experience, and all of your feelings can push you into making decisions that don’t really reflect who you are. From picking fights with your ex to digging in your heels instead of compromising like you usually do, divorce can leave you acting in uncharacteristic ways.
Unfortunately, some of the behavior people display during a divorce can impact their rights and the outcome of the divorce. There are a couple of mistakes you can make specifically related to your children that could result in a less favorable custody determination by the courts.
Denying your ex parenting time or disparaging them to the kids is a mistake
People often use their children as weapons in a divorce, and the family courts absolutely frown on this practice. Research has made it clear that with the exception of extreme situations that involved issues like drug addiction or a history of abuse, the kids will do best after a divorce if both of their parents are still part of their lives.
Refusing to give your ex court-ordered visitation or parenting time doesn’t just hurt your kids’ relationship with your ex. It could also hurt your chance of securing shared custody. The family courts have a dim view of parental alienation, which often involves denying parenting time. Talking poorly about your ex to the children and attempting to poison their attitude toward their other parent is another common form of parental alienation that the courts take seriously.
Letting your self-pity take control can hurt you in the long run
People often experience depression as one of the many emotional reactions they have to the end of their marriage. Depression can cause people to miss social engagements, including parenting time, isolate themselves from their support networks and possibly even lose their job.
If you can’t get a handle on your emotions, your ex could use your instability as a reason to request full custody. Getting counseling or joining a support group can be a way to work through your emotions and keep yourself on an even keel during a divorce.
The courts aren’t going to just award you custody if you don’t ask for it
One of the other consequences of depression related to divorce could be that one parent doesn’t push for their rights in a divorce. They may instead just agree to any terms the ex demands.
When it comes to the custody of your children, failing to assert yourself could have very negative consequences. The courts could choose to give your ex sole custody just because you didn’t ask for equal parenting time. Not only does that mean that you will spend less time with your kids, but it also means you will likely have to pay more in child support. Avoiding these mistakes often necessitates focusing on the bigger picture during divorce and making sure you have adequate support.