One of the most nerve-wracking portions of a divorce is the determination of which parent receives custody of the children.
In many divorces, the spouses share custody of the children, but other divorces often see custody of the kids given to just one parent, which is always a difficult arrangement to stomach for the noncustodial parent.
In order to help parentsâ€”particularly mothersâ€”put up a better fight for child custody in their divorce, a recent article in the Huffington Post offered some of the most common reasons why mothers lose child custody battles.
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Primary Caregiver Advantage
First, more often than not, the primary caretaker of the children has the advantage when seeking custody of the kids.
This means that the parent who does the bulk of the work taking care of the childrenâ€”including activities like feeding, driving, and reading to the kidsâ€”will likely be seen as the most suitable custodial parent.
So, the author of the article advises parents who probably wonâ€™t qualify as a primary caretaker to take a more active role in their childrenâ€™s lives.
Courts simply do not care to give full custody of children to a parent who has not shown a willingness to be an active caretaker.
In addition, parents who do not know important information about their children, such as the names of their teachers and their weekly schedule of their events, may appear to be a secondary caretaker, and will likely have a difficult time obtaining custody of their children.
Substance Abuse History
Next, the article observes that parents who have substance abuse problems will probably face a long battle in court if they try to obtain any custody of their children.
Family courts are very reluctant to hand children over to parents who have problems with drug or alcohol addiction, so parents who struggle with substance abuse must try to get sober before winning custody of their children.
Other Forms of Abuse
Of course, in addition to substance abuse, another major red flag for family law judges is any evidence of past abuse. If a parent has abused the children, or the other spouse, courts will not give them the opportunity to abuse again.
The digital age has also created another hurdle for parents in divorce: voice and film recordings. If a parent has ever sent an angry voice mail, or a tirade via email, itâ€™s likely that the other spouse will use this evidence in court.
So, parents should be very wary of leaving angry or thoughtless text messages, voice messages, emails, or any other form of communication that can be preserved indefinitely. These forms of technology can come back to haunt parents during divorce proceedings.
Influencing Child’s Perception of Ex in Negative Way
In addition to these trends, judges also are reluctant to grant custody to parents who disparage the other spouse in front of the children. This often shows a lack of leadership, and provides a poor example for impressionable children.
So, it is important for parents to remember that their behavior in front of their attorneys and the divorce judge may play a prominent role in the determination of their fitness to be a custodial parent.