Common Mistakes Made in Custody Battles

Divorce is an emotional, trying time for all parties involved. It can be even more complicated when there are children involved, and a custody battle ensues.

The courts will hear each parent’s case and then decide based on what is best for the child. Keep in mind that mistakes made during custody battles can ultimately affect the amount of time you get to spend with your child.

Today, we’ll discuss five common mistakes that parents make during custody battles. 

#1. Thinking That What Worked for Someone Else Will Work for You

Just because something worked for your friend or a family member during their custody battle doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the right thing for you and your family. Each family is different.

When a court decides custody arrangements, they are in effect until your child turns 18. If something doesn’t work out, there will be much work involved to get the courts to change the arrangement. Be sure that you take into account the individual needs of your family before you draft and submit a parenting schedule to the courts.

#2. Thinking That Child Support and Visitation Are Intertwined

Often, the custodial parent believes that they can withhold visitation from the non-custodial parent if they haven’t received child support. Child support and visitation are separate issues, and one doesn’t affect the other. If you choose to withhold visitation, the courts will view this negatively, and you will be in violation of the terms of the custody agreement.

#3. Missing Child Support Payments

If the court has ordered you to make child support payments, make sure that you consistently make those payments. Neither the courts nor your spouse will be pleased with you missing a support payment.

Sometimes non-custodial parents see child support as benefiting their former spouse, but this is not the case. These payments are to ensure a better life for the child. Missing child support payments negatively affects your case and places you in violation of your child support agreement. Willfully missing child support payments can find you in contempt of court and may result in jail time.

#4. Talking Badly About the Other Parent

It doesn’t matter if you are badmouthing the other parent to friends, family, or your child. When you do this, you are risking a confrontation if it gets back to them and damage to your case if it is relayed back to the court.

Talking badly about the other parent to your child can be traumatizing, and is not recommended under any circumstance. It is never wise to make your child feel like they have to choose between their parents. By doing this, you not only risk damaging your relationship with your child, but you also risk causing parental alienation, which could affect the outcome of your custody battle.  

Try to remember that this time in your life is temporary, but you will be parenting with the other parent for the rest of your child’s life. Try working on dealing with your negative feelings towards your ex with a counselor instead of lashing out and risking the outcome of your custody battle.

#5. Keeping Your Child Informed About the Custody Case

Kids are smart. They tend to know and understand more than they are given credit for. So even if you don’t mention the custody battle that is going on, it’s likely that your child will have an idea of the gravity of the situation..

While being honest with your children is important, if you are sharing with them what is going on during the case, or if you feel like you have to give them your “side of the story,” it can inadvertently cause emotional and psychological damage. If your child approaches you about what is going on, instead of discussing details, keep your explanation simple and child-appropriate. 

Let the Experts at Azemika & Azemika Help You Navigate Through Your Custody Battle!

During a divorce, the needs of the children involved have to be the number one priority for all parties involved. However, you must also make sure to protect your rights as a parent.

At Azemika & Azemika, our attorneys have specialized in all aspects of family law for over 28 years. We use our vast experience to customize each case based on each client’s needs. As a result, we will help you find solutions to all of your child custody concerns.  

Reach out today to schedule a consultation. Let us focus on your family so that you can focus on the future.

What Can Cause a Parent to Lose Visitation Rights?

There are quite a few reasons that parents could lose their parental rights in California. Some of these reasons are obvious, but some may surprise you.

Child custody orders in California are typically considered final and generally aren’t altered. And while California courts believe that it is in the child’s best interest to have a relationship with both parents, they will not hesitate to limit or revoke custody rights if it is in the child’s best interest to do so.

If you are trying to gain custody of your children, there are some mistakes that you absolutely cannot make. Let’s take a look at some of the mistakes that could cause you to lose visitation rights in the state of California.

Child Abuse and Neglect

Child abuse is one of the most substantial and urgent grounds to request a modification or termination of parental rights. The courts have the authority to modify existing custody arrangements if they receive evidence that a parent has been physically, psychologically, or emotionally abusing their child.

Neglecting the child is another way that a parent may lose their visitation rights. Some forms of neglect include failure to:

  • Provide your child with a proper diet
  • Provide adequate shelter
  • Make sure the child is clean and well-groomed
  • Ensure the child attends all scheduled appointments
  • Adequately watch the child

Children who experience neglect and abuse have an increased risk of mental health issues and an increased risk of developing a substance abuse problem in the future. The courts will revoke a parent’s custodial rights if it is in the child’s best interest.

Falsely Accusing the Other Parent of Abuse

If a parent has falsely accused the other parent of abuse, they may also lose custody rights of their child. This is because the court sees false accusations as a way to disrupt the custody process. 

Domestic Violence

When domestic violence exists in a household, it can put the child in a dangerous situation. If either parent is found to abuse any other member of the household, they may find their custody rights in jeopardy, even if the child isn’t the victim.  

Substance Abuse

Parents with substance abuse problems may also risk losing custody and visitation rights. Substance abuse prevents a parent from caring for their children properly, putting them at a higher risk of being neglected or abused.

Mental Health Issues

Although mental health issues do not guarantee that a parent will lose custody, if evidence shows that the parent’s mental illness may pose a threat to the child, custodial rights may be terminated or limited. Before making a custody decision or altering one already in place, the courts may require the parent to complete psychological testing and counseling.

Parental Alienation

As stated earlier, California courts typically come to a custody decision that allows the child to have a relationship and contact with both parents. Parents who share custody have a legal obligation to honor the terms of the arrangements.

Parental alienation happens when a parent tries to keep the child from seeing the other parent or if they try to turn the child against their other parent. The courts do not tolerate this behavior, and the violating parent may have their custody and visitation limited.

Being Absent From Your Child’s Life

There are many reasons why a parent may end up being absent from their child’s life. When a parent has been continually absent from their child’s life, they may find that this affects their custodial rights even if their absence is due to a legitimate reason such as having a demanding job, multiple jobs, or even military service. If you aren’t available to parent your child, your parental rights could be put in jeopardy.

Let the Family Law Attorneys at Azemika & Azemika Help You Protect Your Parental Rights

The bottom line is that raising a child should be a team effort. Both parents should be contributing to the welfare of their child and should be doing what is in the best interest of their child, despite how they feel about each other.

If you are facing a custody battle or if you are worried about losing visitation or custody of your children, let the experienced attorneys at Azemika & Azemika help. Our partners have a combined total of over 56 years of experience with family law cases.  Whether it is a simple case, or a complex case, we will be there to help you understand and protect your parental rights.

We know that this is a challenging time for you and your family. You will be continuously updated on the status of your case so that you can make informed decisions.

Schedule a consultation today. 

Can You Date During a California Divorce?

If your marriage has come to the point where you are seeking a divorce, your relationship has likely been strained for some time. You could be eager to put this behind you and move on with your romantic life. You’re not alone. In a 2018 survey, 34% of participants reported dating while separated (but not yet divorced). 

Before you take that dive, you should consider how a new relationship could affect your divorce and, if you have children, how it could affect the time you get with them.

You may not see a problem with dating before your divorce is finalized, as it is becoming more socially acceptable. However, legally, until the court declares your divorce as final, you are still married to your spouse, which technically means that relationships you engage in outside the marriage are technically still considered adultery.    

Before you start looking for Mr. or Ms. Right, you should look at potential problems this may cause before your divorce is final. Today, we will cover some of the ways that dating while you’re getting divorced can negatively impact your case

California Divorce Laws

California is a no-fault divorce state. A no-fault divorce means that either spouse can decide to end the marriage for any reason, and that the other spouse’s agreement is not necessary. If the other spouse chooses not to participate in the divorce, the spouse who filed for divorce can still get a default judgment, and the divorce will still go through.

How a New Relationship Affects Spousal Support

Since California is a no-fault divorce state, the courts are not concerned about why the couple is ending their marriage. The only official reasons for divorce in California are incurable insanity of a spouse or irreconcilable differences.

Although dating before your divorce is final is considered adultery, the courts do not consider that when deciding to grant the divorce. This means that spousal support is not affected due to one of the spouses already being in another relationship. 

Spending Money on a New Boyfriend or Girlfriend Could Affect How Marital Assets Are Divided

We already learned that California follows a no-fault system, so your soon-to-be ex can’t use evidence of a new relationship to get more alimony or a larger share of marital property. However, spending money on a new boyfriend or girlfriend can still have consequences.

By spending money you earned while you are still married before the division of marital assets has been completed, you are technically spending marital assets on an affair. As a result, the courts could decide that this spending is considered dissipation of marital assets, and you could have your share of the division of property reduced by how much you’ve spent, or you may have to pay the amount back to the marital estate.

Custodial Agreements Can Be Affected

Family court judges in California make custody decisions based on what is in the child’s best interest. The courts will look at the parents’ choices (good and bad) and how dedicated they are at putting their child’s needs first.

If it appears that your dating interferes with your ability to be a present and responsible parent, the courts may grant you less parenting time. They will also take a deep look into the person you are dating. If they determine that this person could pose a threat to your children, it could also hurt your chances of gaining more time with your children.

Your Ex Could Make the Divorce Harder for You

Yes, they will soon be your ex. But divorces between spouses that are on good terms with each other are typically resolved faster and are less costly than divorces where the spouses are out for revenge.

If your spouse finds out that you are dating someone, it could cause them to be hurt or angry, which could cause them to want to take that out on you through your divorce. Their emotions could lead to them being unwilling to compromise and could delay the process or cause them to do whatever they can to make the divorce more difficult for you.

Azemika & Azemika Fight For You

Even if you keep your new relationship under wraps, there is always the possibility that someone will find out, and you may end up paying the price for it. So before starting a new relationship amid a divorce, you must ask yourself if this relationship is worth pursuing right now.

The divorce attorneys at Azemika & Azemika have handled divorces in Kern County for over 22 years. We know that divorce is a challenging and emotional time that can take its toll on your mental well-being. We are here to advise you on any issue that could affect the outcome of your divorce, and we will always have your best interest in mind.

Contact us today to schedule your consultation. We will fight for you and your family during the divorce process.