Protecting Your Custody Rights: 5 Legal Mistakes To Avoid

Don't let legal missteps derail your custody case. Read our blog and uncover the crucial mistakes to avoid when fighting for your parental rights.

Fighting for custody of your children is among the most emotionally draining and difficult experiences a parent can face. The legal system is complex, and the stakes are incredibly high. However, you're not alone. Statistics show that 33% of divorces in America involve couples with at least one underage child. (1) Amid this challenging process of divorcing with kids, it's easy to make mistakes that could jeopardize your case and your relationship with your kids. Thus, this article has compiled a list of common legal mistakes parents often make when fighting for custody rights. By understanding these pitfalls and working closely with an experienced family law attorney, you can better protect your interests and ensure that your children's well-being remains the top priority.

Protecting Your Custody Rights: 5 Legal Mistakes To Avoid

1. Letting emotions cloud your judgment

When battling for your custody rights, it's easy to let your emotions get the best of you. The stress, anger, and frustration that come with a custody dispute can cloud your judgment and lead you to make rash decisions that could hurt your case. It's natural to feel resentful towards your ex, especially if there's a history of conflict or betrayal. However, letting these negative emotions dictate your actions can be a costly mistake.

To protect your custody rights, you must keep a level head and focus on what's best for your children. This means avoiding any behavior that could be seen as hostile, uncooperative, or petty.

It's also recommended to work with a skilled child custody attorney who is familiar with custody rights in Denver or your state to help you navigate this emotional minefield and make informed decisions that support your case. Remember, the court's primary concern is the well-being of your children, not your grievances. So, by maintaining a mature and respectful demeanor, you can show the judge that you're a responsible and capable parent who puts your children's needs first.

2. Engaging in parental alienation

It's sometimes tempting to bad-mouth your ex in front of your kids to discourage them from contacting the other parent. According to research, parental alienation can happen in 11% to 15% of divorce cases, and 20% to 25% of parents continue this behavior for as long as six years post-divorce.

However, engaging in parental alienation is a serious mistake that can have devastating effects on your kids and your case. This won't only harm your children's well-being, but it can also significantly impact your custody case. Courts strongly disapprove of this behavior, as it undermines the fundamental principle that children deserve to have a loving relationship with both parents.

So, if you're found to be engaging in parental alienation, you could face legal consequences, such as reduced custody time or even the loss of your parental rights. To protect your children and your case, focus on fostering a positive co-parenting relationship and encouraging your kids to maintain a healthy bond with their other parent, even if it's difficult for you.

3. Neglecting to document important evidence

In a custody battle, evidence is key. However, neglecting to document important events, conversations, or incidents can be a critical mistake, as this can potentially weaken your case. To protect your rights and support your position, keep a detailed log of any interactions with your ex, including text messages, emails, and phone calls.

For instance, suppose the cause of your divorce is domestic abuse, which is prevalent among 24% of divorce cases. In that case, be sure to take photographs inflicted on you or your kids, as well as the event's time, place, and date.

This evidence can be invaluable in proving your commitment to your children's well-being and exposing any negative patterns in your ex's behavior. Remember, in the eyes of the court, a well-documented case is often a stronger case.

Protecting Your Custody Rights: 5 Legal Mistakes To Avoid

4. Disregarding court orders

Court orders are not optional. Disregarding or violating a court order, even if you disagree, can have severe consequences for your case and your relationship with your children. That said, you must follow the court's directives to the letter, whether it's a temporary custody arrangement, a visitation schedule, or a child support obligation.

If you've got a problem with an order, the smart move is to work with your lawyer and ask the court to change it. Trying to take things into your own hands by ignoring or defying court orders will only make you look bad and put your custody rights at risk in the long run. So, play it safe and play by the rules, no matter how much it might irritate you.

5. Failing to consider alternative dispute resolution

Don't assume that a courtroom battle is your only option for resolving custody disputes. Alternative dispute resolutions, like collaborative law and mediation, can be particularly effective in reaching an agreement with your ex. According to statistics, about 10% of custody cases are settled through mediation, and only 4% actually go to trial.

Alternative dispute resolutions can be less stressful for you and your children. Plus, it saves you a considerable amount in legal fees. So, before you gear up for a contentious court fight, take a moment to explore these options with your attorney. You might be surprised to find that a more peaceful, cooperative path forward is possible, one that allows you to maintain greater control over the outcome and prioritize your children's well-being.


Custody battles are tough, but by avoiding these missteps and seeking legal guidance, you can fight for what truly matters: your role in your children's lives. Remember, a strong foundation built on clear communication and prioritizing your children's well-being can pave the way for a more positive future for your entire family.

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