Mistakes to avoid when working with a child custody lawyer

A child custody lawyer is a stressful and emotional process for parents going through a separation or divorce. Your lawyer serves as your advocate and guide through the legal system as you make important decisions about your child’s future. It’s normal to feel anxious or overwhelmed as you start this journey.

Being truthful or withholding information

The lawyer needs complete and accurate information to build the strongest case and provide the right legal advice. Never exaggerate facts or lie, even if you think it will help you gain an advantage. Be upfront about any issues or weaknesses in your situation. For example, disclose past problems like drug use, arrests, or abuse. While uncomfortable to discuss, hiding the truth damages your credibility if later revealed. Tell your lawyer the good and the bad.  

Inflexible on settlements

child custody lawyer battles are very costly, stressful, and time-consuming when taken to trial. In many cases, a reasonable negotiated settlement between parents is best for the child. Going to court should be a last resort. Be open-minded if your lawyer suggests compromises that allow the other parent partial custody. Refusing to budge on settlements or custody terms drags out the fight and drains your financial and emotional resources. 

Venting emotions to the other party

A custody battle stirs up intense emotions like anger, hurt, and frustration towards your ex. Yet exercising restraint is critical. Venting directly to your ex via hostile emails, texts, or in-person outbursts will likely backfire. It provides evidence against your character and parenting abilities. Always take the high road and remain calm. Follow your lawyer’s advice for appropriate ways to communicate with the other party.

Child with details of the dispute

Some parents vent to their child about the other parent or discuss inappropriate case details to gain their support. Not only is this unethical, it psychologically damages the child caught in the middle. Never burden your child with the custody battle or ask them to take sides. Be mindful of what you say around the child and explain the process with reassurance, not accusations. Focus discussions on their needs and well-being.

Unprepared for court or mediation 

Court hearings and custody mediation sessions require preparation and focus to gain the best outcome tardiness, or dressing inappropriately your credibility. Review your notes and documents, consult your lawyer, and follow all provided instructions. You want to come across to the judge or mediator as responsible, reasonable, and capable of putting your child’s needs first. Professionalism is key.

Indecisive on major decisions

There will be many important decisions in negotiating custody, from the parenting plan to the child’s schooling, medical care, and more. While weighing options is wise, your attorney needs you to make timely decisions so they execute the legal strategy feet with indecision at key moments sabotage or delay the case.