6 Ways To Guarantee You Don't Win Sole Custody

Posted on: 30 May 2017


Unfortunately, couples feel they can no longer remain married and seek a divorce. If you have children, there may be a battle deciding who gets sole custody. Traditionally, judges award custody to mothers but this norm is changing and more fathers are being awarded sole custody. Whatever the reason for your decision to seek sole custody, judges have certain reasons for deciding to whom they will award it. Here are 6 things that pretty much guarantee you will not win sole custody, and what you can do to avoid them.

  1. You Decide To Move In With A New Partner. During a divorce proceeding, do not move in with your new partner. Not only is this transfer of affection difficult for children to grasp, but a judge will deem it harmful to children. He or she may not want your children to be forced into an uncomfortable situation where they must encounter your new flame.  This hurts your relationship with your kids and shows the judge you may not be the best parent to have sole custody. Wait until the divorce is over to make major decisions such as with whom you now live.
  2. You Yell At Your Spouse And Children. Divorce is an emotionally difficult time and you may be frustrated enough to yell at your spouse and children. This behavior will appear to the judge, your spouse, your kids, and anyone else listening nearby that you are abusive. No matter how hard, fight the urge to yell at anyone, whether in or out of the courtroom.  Always behave toward you family as if the judge is standing nearby. Who knows – your spouse may be recording you in the hopes you will lose control and start shouting.
  3. You Become Physically Violent. Even worse than yelling is becoming violent with your family. This might be something as innocent as a push, to downright punching and hitting. Either way, this type of assault is a crime and no judge will give you custody in these circumstances. Violence around children is dangerous and very upsetting; children who witness it in their own family suffer emotional problems later in life. Find ways with a professional to work on managing anger around your spouse and children.
  4. You Criticize Your Spouse To Others.  Any friends, co-workers and relatives that lend an understanding ear while you criticize your spouse could very well still have a relationship with your spouse. Always assume that what you say about your spouse will eventually reach their ears. If you have a case worker assigned to your case, they are on the lookout for signs you may not be suitable to have sole custody. Instead, focus on saying positive things or nothing at all. Spend your time being a good parent to your children.
  5. You Don't Pay Child Support. Sometimes during a divorce the court requires you to begin pay child support.  If you decide you don't want to pay or are unable, this doesn't make you look very favorable for many reasons. A judge will see you as lacking real concern for your children and for the courts. If you don't follow this order a judge may find you in contempt of court, and you can be fined or sentenced to jail. For most judges, child support trumps all of your other financial obligations.
  6. You Take Your Kids Somewhere Without Advance Notification. Not letting your spouse know if you are taking the kids somewhere is disrespectful and potentially dangerous. If you remove your kids from school or daycare to visit the zoo or the park, this could be seen as kidnapping. If the judge decides you are a potentially dangerous parent, you lose all chance of winning sole custody. Instead, communicate with your spouse about where and when you plan to take your kids. This shows the judge you are a caring, responsible parent.

Don't indulge in these 6 types of behavior during your divorce case. Instead, show the judge that you are a good parent and deserve to win sole custody of your kids. Talk to an attorney at a place like Begley Carlin & Mandio LLP for more information.