What NOT to Do in a Custody Case in Anderson SC
What Not to Do in a Custody Case!
By M. J. Goodwin
Contested custody cases are probably the most difficult type of case for clients to navigate. The cases are especially difficult with very young children. Parents find themselves under extreme scrutiny, in all aspects of their lives: parenting, living arrangements, employment and income, undesirable habits, undesirable friends and even undesirable family members.
It is important to know what to do in a custody case, such as filing the appropriate paperwork, preparing good affidavits for Court, collecting evidence and participating with the Guardian ad Litem. But what is equally important and often overlooked by lawyers, is advising clients on what NOT to do during a custody case.
There are some things that are easy to avoid, but due to the volatile and often toxic nature of the family court proceedings, parties often fall into these traps:
1. Posting details of one’s life on social media. It is very hard to overcome pictures of excessive partying, drug use, or being in the company of undesirable individuals. I counsel my clients to stay off social media.
2. Text messages, to the other parent or anyone else, can be used in family court. Particularly damaging to cases are texts admitting to inappropriate conduct, or texts that threaten violence. Texts or emails threatening suicide are equally damaging.
3. Using drugs or alcohol to manage the stress of the custody case. It is very difficult to overcome substance abuse in family court. Once a person is caught abusing alcohol or using illegal drugs, supervised visitation is typically ordered.
4. Starting a new romance. In the midst of a contested custody case is not the time to launch that new match profile. Focus on court proceedings and improving yourself, not on creating a new relationship. Adulterous relationships can cause tremendous problems in custody cases.
5. Not listening to a lawyer. Often times, even though the client has paid for the advice, the client will not listen to their lawyer and comply with the advice given.
Instead of posting on social media, texting your ex, smoking that joint or starting that new relationship, try seeing a counselor, getting involved in community or church activities, or meditating, or reading, or exercising. And make sure that you have competent, experienced legal counsel. Once you have a lawyer, listen to and heed the advice that you have paid to obtain. Custody cases are only one season of your life. You will get through it. It will pass. The emotions and the uncertainty are typically the most difficult part of the case.
If you need assistance with any family court matter in Anderson or Abbeville County, contact M. J. Goodwin at firstname.lastname@example.org