If you are involved in a child custody battle, there are certain things you should not do because they will only serve to adversely affect your case. You should not represent yourself under any circumstances. Although custody litigation is complicated and expensive, representing yourself could have unfavorable consequences. Because you are emotionally involved in the case, you cannot be objective. In addition, you will be unfamiliar with the procedural or substantive legal issues that are relevant to every custody battle.
It is also advisable not to exaggerate or lie in an effort to strengthen your position in a custody matter. Such dishonesty will not work in your favor. If you lie to the court, to the custody expert, and to your attorney, and they find out about your deception, your credibility will suffer, and it may be irreparable. Furthermore, be honest with yourself about your reasons for seeking custody. Make sure you are trying to obtain custody because you truly believe that is in the best interests of your child.
Moreover, don’t act in violation of any orders. If you violate an order, the judge may remember you and view you in a negative light. If there is something about the custody process that you do not comprehend, be sure to ask questions. Litigants often keep their feelings to themselves, and become anxious and stressed when they could be asking questions that may help allay their concerns.
It is common for forensic experts to conduct custody evaluations during a custody battle. Each litigant will have a chance to meet with the custody expert to give their thoughts as to their family interactions and the reasons they are involved in a custody matter. Children frequently meet with the expert alone, and at times, with each parent while the expert is present. In several states, the court may also conduct an interview of the children.
However, when some parents prepare their child for the court interview or the meeting with the expert, they sometimes coach the child by telling them to make negative statements about the other parent. This can only have unhealthy consequences for the child, as well as harm the parent’s chances of gaining custody. An expert and subsequently the court will be aware of when a child has been coached.