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6 Things to NOT Do When Negotiating Child Custody

by | Dec 22, 2020 | Child Custody and Support NY

Child custody cases are often challenging, emotional and exhausting. They can drag on for months or more, depending on how much (or how little) you and your ex agree on. Sadly, as tough as it can be on the parents, a tough child custody battle can also have a negative impact on your child.  

If you’re working toward negotiating child custody with your ex, here are six things you should never do.


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#1. Try to Get a Judge to Believe Your Ex Is a Bad Person 

The fact of the matter is that family court judges don’t necessarily care whether or not your ex is a bad person or if they took advantage of you during your relationship. Apart from whether or not your ex has been accused of domestic violence or of harming the child in any way, the court doesn’t want to see a laundry list of all the egregious things your ex has done. The court only cares about what’s in the best interest of the child. Instead of complaining about your ex, focus your arguments on how you can support and benefit your child. 

#2. Propose Custody Arrangements That Will Purposely Make Things More Difficult For Your Ex 

Don’t be tempted to propose child custody arrangements that make life more challenging for your ex for the sole purpose of punishing them. Proposing pick up locations that are far away or visitation times you know will be inconvenient for them not only makes you look petty, it can also make arrangements more difficult for you too. 

#3. Put Your Needs or Wants Ahead of Your Child’s 

You may want your child at home with you, but it may honestly be a better arrangement for their wellbeing to spend the majority of their time at your ex’s home. This can sting, but you should never put your own desires or needs ahead of what’s best for your child. Judges are wise to this and are always evaluating how circumstances impact the child. 

#4. Avoid Child Support or Alimony Payments 

If you were ordered to pay child support or alimony payments, it’s very important that you don’t miss them, even if you believe you shouldn’t have to pay them or you are having difficulty making the payments. You can petition the court to have your support modified due to an inability to pay, however, if you simply avoid making the payments, you could be held in contempt of court. 

#5. Allow New Partners Around Your Child When You Have Visitation 

It’s normal to move forward from your romantic relationship with your ex and begin seeing new people as you begin this new chapter of your life. However, allowing new partners around your child when they’re in your care can be a red flag. Judges want to see children in stable home environments when they are with both parents, and if you have new partners with unknown backgrounds coming in and out of your house, the court may consider this unsafe for the child. 

#6. Allow Fights or Arguments with Your Ex to Escalate (Especially In Front of Your Child) 

Even though you and your ex no longer wish to be together, it’s critical that your child understand that you both still love them and are committed to their safety and best interests. Fights and arguments can heighten tension in your home, even if your child isn’t around to hear them. If they are, this can cause your child mental and emotional damage. 

Do your best to avoid fights and arguments entirely, and if it seems like a conversation is heating up, take it to text or email. Never, ever argue with your ex in front of your child or get into any type of physical altercation. This is one of the fastest ways to lose ground in a child custody case and may even cost you your visitation. 

Get Experienced Legal Help for Your Long Island Child Custody Today 

Navigating a child custody case on Long Island isn’t easy or simple, no matter which way you slice it. It’s important that you have an experienced advocate on your side that can help you better understand the New York family court system and give you the information needed to make the best informed decisions for your child. Contact Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. today to learn more about child custody or to schedule your consultation to discuss your case details by calling 631-923-1910.

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