What Can Cause Me to Lose Custody?
Monday, May 29, 2017
In our last article, we briefly discussed the difference between custody and parental time share and how the dissolution of a marriage can impact a family. Divorces are full of legal and emotional complexities that become even more delicate when children are involved. As the previous article pointed out, the legislature and courts of Kentucky have a preference for joint custody arrangements. However, there are certain instances where one parent’s behavior or conduct might cause the judge to consider granting custody to a sole parent.
Contrary to what some people think, child custody law in Kentucky revolves around the “best interest of the children” and not necessarily what works best for a particular parent. While judges may not be able to prevent parents from divorcing, courts can and do take steps to minimize the effect that the parent’s divorce may have on the children. Parents who are actively involved in their children’s lives can expect to continue to be involved. Neither parent should fear that they will lose custody because of their gender or their spouse’s wealth. While we can’t speak to your situation without knowing the specific circumstances, there are some general principles that apply.
If you are afraid of losing custody, concerned about child support or visitation, here are some suggestions to strengthen your claim for continued involvement in your children’s lives and the decision-making process:
· Avoid badmouthing. Whether you kids are old enough to understand the events occurring or not, they should never be put in the middle. Speaking or behaving negatively towards your spouse could not only hurt your children, it could also hurt you. Unless there’s an immediate safety concern, you should also resist the urge to keep your children from your spouse. Conducting yourself in a reasonable, respectable manner will be much more favorable in the eyes of the court than acting irrationally. Efforts by a parent to alienate a child from his or her other parent will become obvious, and will be dealt with harshly by the family court judge.
· Be responsible. Some parents take advantage of newfound freedom when they are not parenting full time. While it’s OK to enjoy yourself a little, this is not the time to start drinking, partying, or taking drugs. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your spouse doing. If in doubt, opt out. If you are struggling with drugs, alcohol, mental illness, or violence, seek help immediately. These issues should never go unaddressed regardless of your marital or custodial status.
· Don’t relocate. You may be craving a fresh start, but moving out of state or even out of the school district could reflect a lack of commitment to your children. School choice and the ability to maintain a routine are key considerations for the court when determining a time share arrangement for the children.
· Keep records. Communications should be by text or e-mail so that a record of communications can be maintained and shared with the court if an issue arises. Keep your communications focused and limited to simple answers and responses. Track your interactions with your spouse, your time with your kids, and your expenses. Showing your involvement, both physically and financially, can go a long way in establishing your case for custody.
· Minimize exposure. Social media can play a large part in custody cases these days. Be aware of what you place on any social media account. If you would not be comfortable with a judge seeing something, do not post it, regardless of your privacy settings. A simple evening out with friends can take a negative twist if inappropriate images become evidence against you.
· Be involved. If your spouse can prove that you have been absent or uninvolved, it will not reflect well on you. Your relationship with your estranged spouse is likely strained, but don’t let that interfere with your relationship with your children. Above all else, be the best parent you can be to your children. Not because anyone is watching or keeping track, but because you love them.
There can be a lot of fearmongering and bluffing in an intense custody battle. One party may lie or make threats to try to persuade the other to settle. Regardless of what your spouse does, this is not a healthy path to take. Allow us to speak for you. We can convey your wishes with authority and respect, saving you and your children unnecessary stress and heartache. Contact Knoebel & Vice today to secure your relationship with your children for the future.
The following is required by the Kentucky Bar Association: THIS IS AN ADVERTISEMENT. This website is designed to obtain general information only and should not be taken as the formation of the attorney/client relationship. Additionally, the information contained in this website is not, nor intended to be legal advice. Please contact an attorney for legal advice regarding your specific situation.