The divorce process is as challenging for a couple as it is for the children. The difficulties and frustrations associated with divorce can make the involved parties behave irrationally, and this can affect the custody case. However, this is the time to weigh your words, actions, and decisions, as they can be used against you during the proceedings.
Here are some of the things that can make your child custody case more complicated and can put you at a disadvantage.
Falsely Accusing the Other Parent of Abuse
While the temptation to get back at your partner can be real, this is the time to only work with facts. False allegations of sexual abuse or any other form of abuse is reason enough to lose a child custody case.
The California Family Code 3027.5, for example, states categorically that the court may limit a custody or visitation rights if they establish that a parent, or their lawyer, in an attempt to limit the other parent's contact rights, filed a child sexual abuse accusation which they knew was false.
If, however, you suspect any form of abuse by the other parent, talk to your attorney promptly. A professional attorney can engage the services of an investigator to establish the facts before presenting them to the court.
Neglecting Your Children
The divorce process can leave one overwhelmed and exhausted, sometimes unable to take good care of the children. Child neglect is, however, a serious crime - the courts consider it a form of abuse.
The courts can charge a parent with abuse if they fail to properly feed their children, groom them appropriately, or seek medical attention when a child is unwell. Failure to make your home habitable and safe for the children also counts as neglect.
Child neglect is one of the primary reasons to lose a child custody case, especially if it has been prevalent and is endangering a child's safety or health.
When filing a child custody case, you should be aware that the court will thoroughly evaluate your behavior prior to and during the case proceedings. Yelling at your children and the other parent or behaving terrifyingly towards them is to your disadvantage.
Expect the other party or their lawyer to point out all your pitfalls as far as anger management and other behavioral patterns are concerned. Stay alert and act soberly when you have a conflict with your children, the other parent, family court officials, or anyone else that is involved in the case. Behave as though the judge were right next to you.
Moving in With a Significant Other
Courts look out for the child's welfare first in any custody case. They are reluctant to expose the children to details that can hurt or traumatize the children.
While no law prohibits you from moving in with your significant other while seeking custody, it can be a difficult task to prove that the children will be comfortable with your new partner. It is especially difficult if your children choose to speak against it in the court. California Family Code 3042 allows a court to consider a child's custody preference before ruling if the child is of sound age and capacity.
The code allows children 14 years old and above to address the court regarding their parents' custody and visitation rights unless doing so will be detrimental to the child. Younger children are also allowed the same privilege if the court determines that it is in the child's best interest.
A divorce case is by no means a pleasant or easy feat, especially when there are children involved. It is critical that you do everything with the children's interests in mind to avoid further trauma. One way to do this is to make child custody less messy. Working with an experienced attorney can help you prepare and strengthen your case.
Contact David Wilson Attorney At Law for an initial consultation, expert advice, and professional representation in Shasta and Tehama Counties in California.