Everyone knows that it’s hard to not feel stressed and tense when going through a divorce, especially when it comes to decisions involving your children! And while there isn’t a roadmap to divorce and child custody, there are some guidelines that will help reduce stress and promote the outcome that’s best for you and your children. If you’re going through a divorce in St. Louis, Missouri, take some time to understand how to avoid these common child custody mistakes:
Mistake #1: Forgetting about the Best Interests of the Child Standard
Like almost all courts in the United States, judges use the Best Interests of the Child Standard when awarding custody in Missouri. According to Dad’s Divorce, judges look at the following factors and more when determining what’s best for your children:
- The length of time that the child has been under the actual care of each parent.
- The type of interaction and relationship the child has with each parent, and other family members
- The child’s adjustment to home, school, community, and more.
- The willingness of each parent to respect the bond between the child and the other parent
- Any evidence or allegation of neglect or spousal abuse
- Any evidence or allegation of child abuse with the children in question and any other children
- Whether either parent is required to register as a sex offender
- Whether either parent is residing with someone who has been convicted of child abuse
Mistake #2: Behaving Rashly or Carelessly
Emotions are inevitable, but also dangerous! When going through the divorce process, men and women alike need to be especially careful not to let their tempers, frustrations, and emotions get the best of them. LiveAbout warns that acting on your emotions can lead to detrimental results in custody battles! Rash, careless, and combative behavior can actually be used against you in courts. Do everything in your power to avoid red flags such as:
- Yelling matches
- Alienation towards children
- Physical confrontations
- Moving in with a new significant other
- Criticizing your spouse when talking to friends and family
- Failing to pay child support
- Damaging property belonging to your spouse or spouse’s family.
Of course, there are many other ways that the emotion and tension of the divorce process can cause you to act in a way that the courts question. A good rule of thumb is to always behave as if your words and actions were being monitored by the courts, and to think about how your words and actions will live up to the Best Interests of the Child Standard in the judge’s eyes.
Mistake #3: Going Against Child Custody Agreements
It might seem obvious, but it’s a common mistake! Going against the agreements of your child custody arrangements will definitely backfire, and could cause you to lose your custody privileges altogether. Avoid these common ways of going against custody agreements:
- Taking children out of the agreed upon area without notifying your spouse
- Removing children from daycare or school without notifying their other parent
- Delaying or avoiding contact with your spouse when your children are with you
When in doubt, ask your attorney if your actions might violate your custody agreements.
Going through a divorce or custody battle in St. Louis? We’re here to support you. Reach out to the experienced legal team at the Behrens Law Firm LLC by calling 314-786-3263 or contacting us online today for more information!
Behrens Law Firm LLC
75 West Lockwood Avenue
Webster Groves, MO 63119