Not being the primary caretaker: In most households, one parent is mostly responsible for caring for the children’s basic needs — the so called primary caretaker. The parent who is the most involved in the children’s daily lives usually has the edge in a custody case. Therefore, if you are not putting in the time to do homework with your child, feeding, bathing, reading, taking him or her to the bus stop, you are at a disadvantage in a custody case. There is no better way to lose custody than to demonstrate to a judge that you are simply not involved in raising your child.
Not being active in your child’s schedule and activities: Do you know the names of your child’s teachers? Have you ever supervised your child on a play date or taken your child to the doctor? Do you regularly attend school conferences and school events? If the answer to these is no, then it is an indication that someone else (i.e. the other parent) is the primary caretaker, not you.
Not addressing alcohol, drugs, or other parental fitness issues: A parent who even casually partakes in alcohol and/or drugs will have a problem winning custody. Most judges will take allegations of substance abuse seriously, and these allegations will be investigated thoroughly via drug testing, psychological evaluations, etc. If you have an issue with substance abuse, then seek treatment for it immediately.
Providing material to be used against you in court: Thanks to technology we are now reachable 24 hours a day. This does not bode well for a parent that is prone to sending impulsive e-mails and/or text messages where they are ranting and raving at the other parent, third parties, or their own child. This also applies to social media in that parents should never post anything without first considering how it would look if that post made its way into a courtroom.
Refusing to communicate with the other parent: Although it is important to keep from sending inflammatory texts and e-mails, you cannot avoid this pitfall by simply refusing to communicate altogether. Courts want to see each party making an honest effort to co-parent with the other parent and this cannot happen without communication.
Disparaging the other parent: Judges tend to look favorably upon a parent who demonstrates that he/she supports the child’s relationship with the other parent. This may be a difficult time but you need to refrain from unloading your feelings about the other parent onto your child. It is not fair to your child to put them in the middle and in extreme cases, you may be accused of engaging in parental alienation.
At LaMonaca Law we work to ensure that our clients avoid these and other mistakes commonly made by parents during a custody matter. If you or someone you know needs assistance with a custody matter, please contact us (610) 892-3877.