By Douglas J. Manning, Partner, Certified Specialist in Family Law
So you want to “win” your child custody case? Here are some do’s and don’ts:
- The most successful party is almost always the more cooperative parent: Avoid picking fights with, or escalating fights with the other parent.
- Basic care for the children should be of high quality: Make sure your child is returned to the other parent in clean clothes, with good hygiene, etc.
- Avoid saying anything negative to the children about the other parent, or the other parent’s friends or family: Obviously children can be hurt by hearing negative comments about the other parent, whom they love.
- The children’s toys and clothes belong to the children, no matter who paid for them: The child has the right to control their own belongings. If items don’t get returned from the other parent’s house, this is an issue between the parents, not the child.
- If the two parents are together in a public place, the children should be allowed to talk freely to both parents.
- Information about the children should pass freely between the parents: It is in your child’s best interests that both parents know about the child’s health, homework, etc.
- Some advanced thought about communication between parents may save a lot of difficulties: Consider and discuss whether you want to use texts, email, a communication journal, etc.
- Do not, under any circumstances, use the child as the messenger.
- Children should be free to speak to the absent parent.
- Don’t share confidences with the children about your own feelings.