How Not to Sabotage Your Child Custody Case in Texas

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If you are facing a child custody case, your rights as a parent are on the line, and how your case is resolved will play an important role in your future. Skilled legal guidance is one of the most important tools you can avail yourself of, but knowing the kinds of common errors that are most likely to sabotage your case – and avoiding them – is an excellent plan.

Reach out for the skilled legal guidance of an experienced Round Rock child custody attorney today.

Remember that Texas Courts Are Focused on Your Children’s Best Interests

When Texas courts make determinations about child custody, their primary focus is the best interests of the children involved, and in the process, they turn to best-interest factors like the following:

  • The degree to which each parent is interested in effective co-parenting

  • Each parent’s level of involvement with raising the children to date

  • How well the status quo – or the children’s current living situation – is serving their needs in terms of their home, school, and community

  • The degree to which each parent supports the other’s close and ongoing relationship with the children

  • Each child’s needs and each parent’s ability and willingness to address them

  • How close each parent’s relationship is to the children

  • Any proof of domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect

The court is interested in gauging your proven and ongoing commitment to being there for your children and to providing them with the care and love they need. On another level, however, the court wants to assess how effective you and your soon-to-be ex are at putting your differences aside in order to better support your children’s health, happiness, and well-being.

Parenting Time

Parenting time refers to the schedule that guides how you and your ex divide your time with your children post-divorce. Texas courts begin with the presumption that spending a considerable amount of time with both parents benefits children – except when there is a serious reason for ruling otherwise. As such, it’s reasonable to assume that you and your ex will share joint physical custody.

Additionally, even if one of you fills the primary custodial role, the other will likely receive one of the court’s standard parenting time schedules that affords them a significant number of overnights with the children.

Keeping Your Cool

The backdrop for child custody cases is that parents generally share physical custody in one capacity or another, and the better prepared you are to accept this, the better positioned you’ll be to pursue a favorable case resolution.

Digging in your heels and refusing to give an inch on the issue of your child custody orders isn’t likely to go over well with the court and isn’t likely to further your case. Help your dedicated child custody attorney help you by doing what you can to keep your emotions in check while never losing sight of your rights as a parent.

Recognize and Steer Clear of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation refers to practices that are purposely designed to turn vulnerable children against one parent, and it is not only all too real but is also extremely destructive and damaging to children and parents alike.

According to Psychiatric Times, parental alienation tactics rear their ugly head in 11 to 15 percent of divorces. Some of the common misperceptions about parental alienation in the divorce process are addressed by the following:

  • Parental alienation often relates to one parent’s inability to face the breakup reasonably, which means there tends to be a perpetrator and a victim – rather than a situation in which both parents share responsibility.

  • A parent who is engaging in alienation can present as a very calm, reasonable, and convincing individual. In other words, outward appearances can be deceiving. The parent facing rejection may come off as the unstable party in contrast to their spouse’s cool demeanor.

  • Children are not reliable witnesses in parental alienation cases. The hallmark of parental alienation is focused and ongoing manipulation of the children, which means their take on the situation is likely to be seriously skewed.

  • Estrangement in which a child pulls away from a parent because they’re protecting themselves from abuse, neglect, or emotional conflict is distinct from alienation, which is orchestrated and guided by the other parent.

Judges take a very dim view of parental alienation in Texas, but as the indicators above suggest, it can be very difficult to identify and prove. If there is any indication that your children’s other parent may be engaging in parental alienation, it’s time to strategize an effective plan forward with your practiced child custody attorney.

Present a United Front with Your Ex

Your children naturally love both parents, and they don’t want anything to interfere with their relationships with each of you. While divorce naturally changes the landscape of your children’s future, their relationships with each of you don’t have to be affected, and you can help your children by separating your issues with your ex from their relationship with your children.

Taking the High Road

The better you and your ex are able to present a united front as parents, the better off your children will be – and the better received your parenting efforts will be by the court.

Texas courts favor parents who put their children’s needs above their own, take the high road when it comes to inconsequential conflict with their soon-to-be ex, and honor the important role that the other parent plays in their children’s lives. If you can master these basics, you’ll be well on your way to bolstering your position in your child custody case.

Cooperation Is Key

While you and your ex don’t have to be best friends and may not see eye to eye on much, one important goal you can strive for is cooperating as parents. It’s what’s right for your children, and it shows the court that you share their focus, which is your children’s best interests.

Avoid Verbal Showdowns

People facing divorce and child custody cases are often surprised by the level of animosity they experience – and the level of animosity the other person exhibits. There’s no denying that what you’re going through is emotionally charged and that you’re going to face challenging hurdles in the process, but letting your emotions get the better of you can lead to negative consequences.

If your ex is an expert at pushing your buttons in stressful situations and you find it next to impossible not to engage, negotiating terms through your attorneys may be your best option. And calling a truce when you’re both around your children, which is generally unavoidable, is the right thing to do for their tender psyches.

While no one expects you to manifest perfection in relation to your divorcing spouse, keeping your emotions in check to the degree possible is very likely to work in your favor.

Don’t Use Social Media as Your Own Personal Soapbox

You’re facing a difficult child custody case and have plenty to say about it, but social media is not the place. A poorly worded post can backfire spectacularly – even if the meaning you were trying to convey was lightyears away from the meaning that readers took away.

The most important point to keep in mind in relation to social media is that there is no such thing as privacy, and venting online isn’t a sign of good parenting. The truth is that there is a very good chance your rants will get back to your children, which isn’t something you want to inflict on them.

Turn to your family members, trusted friends, a mentor, a clergy member, a support group, a mental health professional – or some combination of these – for the support you need. If your children’s other parent makes it their practice to goad you online, now is the right time to turn the other cheek – you’ll be glad you did.

Don’t Neglect Your Parenting Responsibilities

You’re going through something big, and it’s only natural that some of your responsibilities will take a hit. When it comes to your job as a parent, however, it’s important to stay on top of your game. Life naturally throws challenges our way, and the court is interested in how well you weather these challenges for the sake of your children.

If you need extra help, this is a good time to call in your chips and avail yourself of everything your support group has to offer, and the bounty may surprise you. You’re going through a divorce, but it’s important to remember that you are not alone.

At this juncture, it’s also important to remember that being a solid parent doesn’t mean being a super parent. Now is not the time to pull out all the stops. Now is the time to provide your children with the structure and stability they crave, which includes scheduling downtime in which you simply hang out and do the things you enjoy doing together as a family.

These are the moments of our lives, and the court recognizes that these simple daily routines play a critical role in your children’s development and well-being.

Don’t Rush into a New Relationship

If you’re going through a divorce or a child custody case, it’s a terrible idea to rush into a new relationship. Your situation likely has you spread too thin in the first place, which makes cultivating a new, healthy relationship a challenge. Further, if your child custody case is part of your divorce, a new romantic relationship can prove damaging on a range of levels.

If you’re facing a free-standing child custody case, on the other hand, entering a new relationship can demonstrate that you’re not focused on your children’s best interests. Bringing a new person into your children’s lives at this point is likely to be jarring and confusing for them, and the court will take notice.

Moving in with a romantic partner demonstrates even less restraint, and your ex can use your lack of discretion to their own advantage. Introducing a new love interest to your children before the ink has dried on your child custody orders won’t serve you, your case, your children, or your new partner well. There is a better time.

Don’t Ignore the Court’s Temporary Orders

In some divorce and child custody cases, the court hands down temporary orders that address parenting time as well as other terms while the case is pending. Your goal is to follow any and all such orders to the letter. Flouting court orders is never a good look, and when you’re in the middle of a child custody case, it can come back to haunt you.

Don’t take matters into your own hands if the temporary orders that are in place simply aren’t working for you and your children. If there is a compelling reason for modifying your temporary orders that can’t wait until trial, your skilled child custody attorney will knowledgeably guide you through the process.

Make the Call to an Experienced Round Rock Child Custody Attorney Today

Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard is an accomplished Round Rock child custody attorney who takes great pride in his impressive reputation for helping clients like you protect their parental rights and obtain favorable case resolutions.

Our well-respected legal team is on your side, and we encourage you to reach out and contact us at 254-781-4222 to schedule your free consultation and learn more about what we can do to help you today.

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