Shared custody has become the standard expectation in most modern divorces. Overall, the Massachusetts courts put a major emphasis on keeping both parents involved after a divorce. Psychological research has shown the importance of having both parents around for children and teenagers, and judges want to do what is best for the children.
Most of the time, judges will approach litigated custody matters with a presumption that shared custody will be best for the kids. Unless there are clear signs of someone being an unfit or unsafe parent, each parent will likely have time with the children.
However, there are mistakes that you could make right before and during your divorce that could actually damage your chances of getting shared custody of your children. What common mistakes eventually affect a parent’s time with their children?
They interfere in the relationship their ex has with the kids
The term parental alienation refers to one parent’s efforts to harm the other’s relationship with their shared children. Sometimes, parental alienation involves one parent frequently canceling the parenting time of the other. Other times, parental alienation might look like one parent emotionally manipulating the children so that they turn against their other parent.
Refusing parenting time without a valid reason and talking negatively about your ex to the children could eventually hurt your custody rights. If your ex accuses you of parental alienation, the judge might reduce your parenting time because you don’t put the needs of the children first.
They lose their cool during the divorce
An angry and aggressive outburst in family court can make everyone there think that you are unstable and possibly dangerous for the children. Even if you keep your cool in court, the things you say and do on your own time could affect your custody case.
From sending nasty messages over social media to your ex because you know they cheated on you to getting in their face during custody exchanges, your behavior toward the other parent could make you look like someone who should not have time alone with the children. Anything you send in writing could come back to haunt you, and there is always the possibility that your ex or someone else nearby will try to capture video footage or make an audio recording of your interaction with them.
Keeping calm and respecting the other parent’s relationship with your children will help you get the most favorable custody arrangements possible in your upcoming Massachusetts divorce.