Five Ways to Jeopardize Your Custody & Visitation Rights
Custody battles are heart-wrenching because they involve innocent victims — the children. As a family law attorney, I see bitter parents trying to use custody and visitations as weapons. Ultimately, these tactics can backfire. Here are some key mistakes:
- Interfering with visitation. Whether you repeatedly show up late for visitation exchanges or miss them completely, relocate without authorization, or just discourage your children from visiting the other parent, interfering with the non-custodial parent’s rights can cost you yours.
- Interfering with custody. If your ex has shared legal custody, he or she has the right to be involved in major decisions relating to education, health and welfare. Even if you cooperate on visitation, excluding the other parent from key decisions means you are interfering with custody.
- Verbally attacking the ex in front of the children. Malicious put-downs and untruths — even encouraging the children to be disrespectful to your ex — can come back to haunt you. In extreme cases it can be considered emotional abuse, resulting in Parental Alienation Syndrome. In addition to harming the kids’ view of the other parent, it can damage the court’s opinion of you.
- Making unfounded allegations of abuse. If there’s evidence that your ex is abusive to any household member, by all means talk to a lawyer. But if you make such charges solely out of spite, your own rights could be at risk.
- Engaging in substance abuse or other immoral, irresponsible or immature behavior. Unless you love your substance more than your children, get some help before you end up a distant observer in your kids’ lives.
If you feel that your parental rights are being violated, don’t take matters into your own hands – call a family law attorney.