For many parents, the most stressful and emotional aspects of a divorce relate to worries about their ability to maintain a close and loving relationship with their children, both through the divorce and afterwards. We want to do everything we can for our children, and we want to be there for them in the years to come. But the worry over having that relationship strained or impeded by the divorce can cause parents to take well-intentioned actions which can actually backfire in the divorce, making the ongoing relationship even more strained due to an adverse custody ruling resulting from those actions. Here are four mistakes parents should avoid in a Virginia divorce to prevent that from happening.
Speaking Poorly of the Other Parent
Judges want both parents to have an ongoing role in the child’s life, wherever possible, and when one parent speaks poorly of the parent to the child, they will often consider this to be detrimental to that goal. Remember, the child will not make the custody decision, a judge will, and so if you have pertinent negative information about the other parent, that should be relayed to the judge, not the child.
Preventing the Other Parent From Having Access to the Child
Similarly, even when a parent does not speak poorly of the other parent to the child, but simply prevents the other parent from having access, a judge will often look upon this with concern. Of course, if the other parent presents a danger to the child, such as through domestic violence, preventing access is important, but you should work with an attorney to obtain the proper court order to restrain access and not do this on your own.
Assuming that the Law Prefers the Mother
Virginia state law, like most states, does not provide a preference for the mother over the father in determining custody, and instead bases all custody decisions on the best interests of the child. In many situations, a judge could determine that the best interests of the child favors sole custody with the father. If a mother ignores making custody arguments based on the best interests of the child, or if a father does not pursue his rights, both out of a mistaken assumption of there being a preference for the mother, this could hurt their prospects in a custody matter.
Attempting to Litigate a Divorce Without an Attorney
There is often a temptation to try to obtain a divorce without the assistance of an attorney, either out of a concern about making things complicated or a desire to save money, but family law attorneys know what judges will be looking at in making the important custody decisions that can shape your relationship with your children for many years to come. By finding an experienced, compassionate family law attorney you can trust, you can help improve your chances for obtaining the custody outcome that will address the needs of both you and your children.
Schedule a Consultation With a Virginia Family Law Attorney Today
At Kurylo Gold & Josey, PLC in Fredericksburg, we will guide through all of your questions regarding all aspects of divorce including custody, and help you work towards a favorable outcome in your family law matter. To schedule a consultation with one of our Virginia divorce attorneys, contact Kurylo Gold & Josey, PLC at 540.642.1766.