Welcome back and thanks for joining our custody attorneys here at The Kronzek Firm for this discussion about what parents should NEVER do if they’re involved in a custody dispute here in Mid-Michigan. Custody is often a highly contentious subject during a divorce, and there are many other factors that are affected by it, like child support. So it’s important you follow some basic ‘rules’ of conduct, so as not to make yourself look bad in the eyes of the court or more importantly, in the eyes of your children.
As we pointed out in our previous article, a few big no-nos during a custody dispute are posting negative comments about your ex on social media, trash talking them to your kids, and losing your temper. But while those are important things to avoid, they aren’t the only issues that could complicate your custody battle in an Ingham, Eaton, or Clinton County court. Here are a few more…
Don’t ever do this if you’re involved in a custody dispute:
4. Using your kids as pawns in your negotiations
You love your kids – no one is disputing that. But sometimes parents who are hurt and angry make poor choices that can have a terrible impact on their children’s wellbeing. And also on their custody arrangements. One example of poor parenting choices made during a custody battle is using your kids as pawns in the war between you and your spouse. Trust us, it’s a horrible idea – both for your children, and from the perspective of the judge! Any of our family law attorneys will tell you that putting the kids in the middle of a dispute will come back to bite you.
Family court judges in Lansing, Charlotte, Lansingt, and Jackson counties DO NOT look kindly on parents who make a divorce even harder for their children by being manipulative. Don’t use your kids to pass unkind messages back and forth, and don’t try to use them as leverage to get what you want out of your spouse. There is no faster way to shoot yourself in the foot (and cause your children a great deal of heartache) than to have a judge discover you’re using your children to get even with your soon-to-be-ex! Your children should not be used as messengers to carry information between the parents.
5. Refusing to follow court orders
Court orders are not suggestions you can follow if you feel like it, or if you agree with them. They are orders, put in place by the court, and if you fail to follow them, the consequences will be severe! If your custody order says you need to drop your kids off at your ex’s house at 3 pm on Sunday, then that’s when you need to get them there. If the visitation order says you only get four hours, then don’t try to stretch it to five without asking your ex first. Our attorneys recommend that any changes to the court ordered schedule be in writing between the two parents.
You may not like your custody agreement. Or you might not think your parenting time schedule is fair. But a court order is a court order. If you want to modify the amount of time you get with your kids, the worst thing you can do is not follow the court orders. Talk to your custody attorney about requesting custody or visitation modifications. But there’s nothing a judge dislikes more than a person who doesn’t follow court orders. And you could end up with LESS time if you try!
6. Doing a poor job of documenting everything
A paper trail is critical during a custody or parenting time battle. Every single conversation you have with your ex, or even with your kids, could impact the outcome of that agreement. So make a point of keeping good records. If your kids tell you something your ex said, write it down, including the date and time. If your ex texts you about a scheduling conflict, or with a petty complaint, or with a threat, screenshot that message and save it. You never know what may be important down the road.However, do not tell the children that you are keeping track of everything. It will make them feel awkward and uncomfortable.That information is to be kept between you and your family law lawyer.
Whenever possible, use email, text, or a co-parenting app to communicate with your ex about the kids. All communications should be stored, including voicemails. If your ex has a tendency to play nice over text, and make threats in person, talk to your attorney about your options for documenting and keeping records about these exchanges. You completely defeat the point if you’re breaking the law while trying to prove that your ex is being manipulative and mean!
Custody battles are hard, and you shouldn’t fight them alone!
Figuring out custody and parenting time schedules can be a very challenging process. It really is complex stuff, even for experienced attorneys. Especially when you and your spouse can’t seem to agree on anything. That’s why you need a highly skilled and experienced family law attorney on your team, walking you through every step of the process. So if you have children and you’re considering a divorce, custody or parenting time challenge, call The Kronzek Firm
at 517 886 1000 today to set up your free phone or Zoom consultation.
We can help you work towards achieving a fair and reasonable custody agreement, keeping in mind what’s best for your family and your future. And if your visitation schedule isn’t giving you enough time with your kids, we can assist with that too. Call us today to ask about how you can modify your parenting time agreement. We’ve helped people all over mid-Michigan, from Okemos and Holt, to Dewitt, Charlotte and Grand Ledge. We can help you too.We helped thousand of clients right here in Michigan over the decades.