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Things you definitely shouldn't do if you're in a custody battle

If you're in a custody battle with your ex or soon-to-be-ex, the stress and anger you feel may cause you to behave in ways that will only harm your case. If you believe that your co-parent and possibly the judge and others who have a say in the outcome are being unfair, you might feel like giving up. You may not worry about how your actions will impact your case.

Neither of these things is wise. It's essential to remain positive, to focus on your children's well-being and to do what the court orders you to do. Let's look at some things you definitely need to avoid in a custody battle.

Contempt of court: This can include not returning your child to your co-parent at the designated time, defying a court order (such as not drinking or using drugs around your children) or not showing up to court hearings.

Speaking poorly of your co-parent to your kids: It may be tempting to blame your co-parent when your kids ask why they can't see you more. However, this will likely get back to your ex -- and the judge. Judges frown on parents who try to turn children against their other parent. It's best not to discuss the custody negotiations with your kids beyond telling them that their parents are working to do what's best for them.

Bringing a new significant other into the parenting relationship: Attorneys often recommend that their clients not introduce a new love interest to their children until the divorce is final. If you already have, be careful not to have them assume a parental role. You need to make the case that you will be the one parenting your kids when they're with you.

Being an absentee parent: If you've been denied access to your kids that you want and feel you deserve, it can be tempting (and maybe less painful) to separate from them completely. However, if you want greater custody or visitation rights, it's important to take advantage of all the time you're given with your kids and make it as fulfilling and enjoyable as possible.

Custody battles can be emotionally draining. It's understandable that you might not always be thinking clearly. That's why it's essential to have a trusted attorney by your side and to heed their advice.

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