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Custody And Visitation Do’s and Don’ts

Custody and visitation issues are some the most hotly contested issues in many divorce and separation proceedings. They also contain many potential pitfalls that could significantly change the court’s decision against your objectives. In the end, a family law court judge will determine what’s in your children’s best interests. It is critical to ensure that your actions are genuine and to show the court that you can be entrusted with your children’s safety, development and growth and to make decisions that are best for the children’s health, education and welfare.

At Scott M. Brown & Associates, we help our clients in all matters of divorce and separation from our offices in Angleton, Pearland and Houston. In custody and visitation cases, we provide the guidance and resources necessary to balance our clients’ needs and objectives with the best interests of their children. Our attorneys are experienced, and they are skilled litigators with extensive courtroom experience throughout the Houston area. Collaborating with expert witnesses when necessary, we will work tirelessly to achieve your best possible outcome.

Please view the following custody and visitation do’s and don’ts that we discuss with all of our clients:

Do:

  1. Know that the court’s perception is what counts. What the court perceives to be true will influence the final decision on the custody and visitation agreement. Proper etiquette in and out of the courtroom, dressing for court, being timely and never appearing combative will benefit you.
  2. Exercise parental rights. Spend time with your children, assist with your children’s growth and respect the other parent’s rights. Also, be legally prepared when either you or your ex-spouse is considering modification of agreements.
  3. Be willing to compromise. Showing flexibility, calm and a willingness to cooperate with the court and your ex-spouse will be viewed favorably by the court and lead to a better long-term custody agreement.
  4. Know that your relationship with your ex-spouse will continue after divorce. In most cases, you and your ex-spouse will split time with your children, so it’s beneficial to keep the relationship amicable, and it’s usually healthier for your children.
  5. Do preserve and document evidence. Document interactions with your ex-spouse and his or her family. Document their interactions with your children, whether through text, phone, social media or physical interactions.
  6. Help your children feel at home in your home. Help your children make friends at home, at school and in activities.
  7. Create appropriate schedules. Collaborate with your children and ex-spouse on age-appropriate schedules and ensure that your children are getting emotional support.

Don’t:

  1. Speak disparagingly about your ex-spouse to your children. Children are honest. Negative comments from you will be discovered either by your ex-spouse or the court. This could be detrimental to your case.
  2. Disrespect your children’s or your ex-spouse’s time. Rescheduling parenting time once in awhile is OK, but making a habit of it could cause the court to think that you’re not serious about parenting your children. Be on time and stick to the schedule, but be flexible when your child has a conflict.
  3. Refuse requests from the court. If the court requires you to participate in parenting classes, counseling or treatment, take the opportunity to show your commitment to your children.
  4. Make your child a message bearer. Children should not be delivering messages between parents, spying on adults or siblings, feeling bad about spending time with either parent or concerning themselves with the affairs of adults.
  5. Be fooled or manipulated by your ex-spouse or your children. If there is resistance to the visitation schedule from either party or if you believe your child is in danger, seek professional help right away. Going back and forth between parents can be especially stressful for young children.
  6. Abuse drugs or alcohol. Documentation by your ex-spouse, even without evidence, or witnessing by your children could be used against you to limit your visitation time or strip custody rights.
  7. Involve your children in legal matters. Details of divorce and custody proceedings can be damaging to children, and it’s important to shield them from these issues to avoid placing any extra burdens upon them.

Even seemingly simple cases can benefit greatly from professional legal guidance and representation. We are experienced complex and contested divorce lawyers, and we are prepared to help you today.

Contact Scott M. Brown & Associates

Call us at 979-849-8526 to speak with a lawyer, or contact us by email.

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