At Stanley-Wallace Law, we have years of experience working with parents on child custody cases in Louisiana. We know how passionately you feel about your child’s wellbeing and being afforded your rights as a parent to be in your child’s life.
However, these passionate feelings can sometimes lead parents to act in ways that are counterproductive to their case. The last thing you want to do is act in bad faith or antagonize the child’s other parent. Not only will this make life for your child more difficult, but it also tends to inspire the court to look less favorably on your case.
So what are the top 5 worst things you can do in a custody battle? Read on to find out.
Understanding the purpose of a Louisiana custody dispute
Everyone involved in your child custody case– the court, your attorney, and (typically) your child’s other parent– want what’s best for your child. The court even has a legal standard to uphold: according to Article 132 of the Louisiana Civil Code, all decisions about your child’s custody arrangement or your visitation rights must be made in “the best interest of the child.”
What exactly that means can be complicated. In Louisiana, the law defines the best interest of the child using 14 points related to your child’s wellbeing that the court should consider (CC 134), some of which include:
- The potential for the child to be abused
- The love, affection, and other emotional ties between each party and the child
- The moral fitness of each parent
- The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent
- And more
The bottom line is that you don’t want to give the court the impression that you may be harming your child emotionally, or using them to get back at your ex. Whether this impression is accurate or not, any actions that contribute to it can be very detrimental to your case.
5 ways to sabotage your case
Here are 5 of the most common ways that parents unintentionally sabotage their child custody case:
- Moving your child’s location without talking to the other parent: Before moving to the other side of town, it’s important that you talk about it with your child’s other parent first, especially if you have joint custody. If you don’t, it might be seen as a move to steal your child away from their other parent, or make it harder for them to access your child. In some instances, if you move a certain distance away, if you don’t get the other parent’s consent, you may be violating Louisiana law.
- Withholding your child’s access to their other parent: This is a very serious mistake that some parents make. Whether you think it’s best for them or not, withholding your child from the other parent in the custody dispute can be seen as a vindictive move to get back at them. Courts also try their best to settle custody disputes in such a way that both parents are still in the child’s life. Keeping your child away from their other parent can be seen as “parental alienation” and detrimental to your child’s mental health.
- Talking bad about the child’s other parent in front of them: Whether you’re going through a divorce or trying to change your child’s living situation, the whole process is bound to be a confusing and even upsetting time for your child. Speaking negatively about your child’s other parent while your child is in the room can not only be seen as an attempt to turn your child against their other parent — it can also be very harmful for your child.
- Talking bad about the child’s other parent on social media: It’s very tempting to indirectly talk about your ex on Twitter, or post about your legal battle with your child’s crazy other parent on Facebook. After all, only a couple of your friends will see it, right? On the contrary, if presented in court, these kinds of posts can be seen as a sign of bad faith, or a way to publicly shame the other parent involved in the custody dispute.
- Lying to the court: Probably the most important piece of advice we can give is to be truthful– to your child, to their other parent, to your attorney, and especially to the court. Lying is seen as the ultimate sign of bad faith, and your character is taken into account when considering whether to grant you custody of your child, so you want to present yourself well at all times. Credibility counts.
Some parents make these mistakes with perfectly good intentions, or sometimes they are acting irrationally and vindictively. It’s understandable to be stressed in these situations– we’re not here to judge you. What we are here to do is offer you advice on how to avoid the nastiest aspects of a custody dispute.
When it comes down to it, the most important thing is what’s best for your child. It may feel good in the moment to vent about your ex on social media, but it’s more than likely not in your child’s best interest.
Hire a family law attorney in Louisiana today
It may seem overwhelming to look at all the ways you can complicate your child custody case. But don’t worry– Stanley-Wallace Law is here to help. We have the years of experience and thorough knowledge of Louisiana family law to make sure that your child gets the best outcome, and your rights as a parent are fully respected. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.