When you are considering divorce or when you find yourself in the middle of a divorce case and have minor children from your marriage, it is important to avoid certain actions prior to the determination of child custody. As you may know, Maryland law recognizes two kinds of child custody, which include legal custody and physical custody. When courts decide whether and how the parents will share in making important decisions about the child’s upbringing and where the child will live, courts use the standard of the “best interests of the child.”
While courts in Maryland want to ensure children have close relationships with both parents when possible, parents should keep in mind there are numerous mistakes that can hurt them in a child custody battle. The following are common mistakes parents make before a child custody case, which you should avoid. If you have follow-up questions or concerns, a Maryland child custody lawyer can assist you.
Putting Your Own Interests Above Your Children’s Interests
In general, you should put your child’s interests above your own. In the months leading up to a divorce and a child custody order, one of the biggest mistakes parents can make is putting their own interests above their child’s interests. Given that Maryland courts make custody decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child, it may be difficult for the court to award you legal or physical custody if you engage in behaviors that suggest your own interests are more important than your child’s interests.
Refusing to Consider Reasonable Communication with the Other Parent
For a court to award shared custody, it often wants to make sure the parents can communicate with one another for the sake of the child. This does not mean you need to have regular conversations with your ex, but you do need to be able to communicate in some fashion with the other parent. Even if communication is limited to text and email, you should know that completely refusing to communicate could lead the court to believe you are not acting in your child’s best interests and the custody determination could be affected.
Avoiding Your Children
Even if your children are angry about the divorce and even if your kids are teenagers and seem to be “siding” with the other parent, it is extremely important to continue spending time with your children on a regular basis. Your lawyer can help you to determine the best ways to remain in communication with your children and to ensure you spend a significant amount of time with them in the weeks and months leading up to your court date.
Talking Negatively About the Other Parent
You may be extremely angry with your child’s other parent, especially if your divorce has been contentious. However,, you should avoid badmouthing the other parent in front of your kids — including in conversation with your children, as well as any kind of social media post your children may be able to access.
Failing to Hire a Child Custody Lawyer
Child custody cases in Maryland can be extremely complicated and you should never assume you can handle the case on your own. An experienced Maryland custody attorney can help you to reach a compromise with the other parent in some circumstances. When a compromise is not possible, your lawyer can ensure you present the best case for getting child custody.
Contact a Child Custody Lawyer in Maryland
Any family law matter involving your children can be contentious and difficult, including child custody cases. You should know that a dedicated and compassionate child custody attorney in Maryland can help with your child custody case from start to finish. Contact the Law Offices of Sandra Guzman-Salvado to learn more about how we can assist you.