If you are in the middle of a custody battle or working through child support agreements, monitoring your own behavior throughout the process could make or break the outcome you are hoping for. While your intentions might be to find the best agreement possible for your children and your evolving family, there are things that an ex can use against you when it comes to actions and behaviors witnessed inside or outside of the courtroom. Here are seven typical life changes or actions that you might not realize could be seen in a harsh light by a judge deciding the outcome of custody, child support, or alimony payments.
1. Talking Badly About Your Spouse
While you might be going through a contentious divorce that is bringing you frustration, it is never a good idea to speak poorly of your spouse. This could be taken out of context by your children, friends, or even those who may hear you in a public space such as a courtroom. If bad behavior gets back to a judge, this could hurt your chances for the custody agreement you are hoping for, and you might then be on the hook for a larger child support payment than you were expecting. It is a good idea to keep negative thoughts to yourself, or blow off steam in a private space with a trusted friend or counselor.
2. Fighting in Public and at Court
Divorce proceedings can get heated, especially if custody agreements and child support are on the table. Decisions made in court can have long-lasting implications, but if you cannot settle amicably with your spouse, sometimes this is the only and best option. You will be in court together, and if you aren’t on the best of terms, this can lead to emotions running high. Publically lashing out or fighting with your ex-spouse is never a good idea, and is certainly something you should try to avoid outside of the courtroom. Let your attorney do the talking for you and stick to the facts so you don’t come off as a liability, which could be observed by a judge making final decisions.
3. Posting Activities Online
You should always be careful what you post online, but you might be under more scrutiny than you realize while going through a divorce that involves custody and support decisions. While you might not have your kids every night, you don’t need to post all of your newfound activities online for the world to see. You also shouldn’t post polarizing thoughts, statements, or forwarded content. One’s online presence is only one side to a person, but this can be saved, reproduced, and submitted in court as evidence if the information gathered puts you in a bad light.
4. New Love Interests
While you might be moving on after a divorce, moving on too quickly might not look great in the eyes of your ex, and even in the eyes of the judge. A new significant other is something that might happen quickly, but you don’t need to rub this in your ex-spouse’s face. This can make you look distracted and not ready to take on custody, or uncaring of the situation and not get the agreement you need. Make sure to handle meet-and-greets with your kids and those you are dating carefully as this will get back to your ex. Bringing a new love interest to court with you for a support is a no-no and might make you look uncaring and not taking the situation seriously.
5. Moving to a New Home
Divorce oftentimes involves a physical move for one or both spouses, but a drastic change might also be a bad look to your ex and those making decisions on your behalf. Custody decisions can weigh heavily on who can physically be there on a day-today basis to care for children. Even if you are only planning on moving one town or county over, it can still look like abandonment and come across as a sign you aren’t interested in custody. This is something that can be renegotiated after the dust settles, but a major change might cause your ex to seek more financial support by proving you aren’t physically nearby for the agreed upon custody arrangement.
6. Large Financial Decisions or Purchases
You might be in a place financially where making large purchases doesn’t feel like it would have an impact on others, but this could come into play during a custody or child support agreement or renegotiation. This is not the time to buy new big ticket items such as a boat, home, or car. Large purchases could come across as if you are trying to liquidate or hide assets, or can bring to light financial fluidity that might bolster your ex-spouse’s child support case. If you can keep all major purchases to a minimum while you are going through a family law case, the less this can be viewed and discussed in court, which might in turn help your ex get the agreement that they are after.
7. Making Decisions for Your Kids
While you are still your child’s guardian and you might feel as if you have a right to make decisions on their behalf, if you are going through a divorce, any drastic decision-making or actions without the okay of your ex can come off as a red flag. This might include changing up after school activities or schools, or even planned out weekend trips that you ran by your ex and then decided to change. This can look hostile and controlling and can hurt your chances for child custody.
Going through a divorce can be stressful, but can also be a freeing time for an individual who now has the chance to move their life in a different direction. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, some drastic changes, attitudes, and actions might come across in the wrong light. Be sure to monitor your personal actions when it comes to strong opinions, spending money, and moving on in new relationships. If you aren’t sure if an action might be discovered or come across in a bad way, consult with your attorney before making big decisions in your life. Once the dust settles you can feel free to move on and be yourself. If you are going through a divorce, contact us for legal advice and support to help you get through family court.