I have over twenty years trying child custody or parenting rights cases for mothers in Georgia courts. We are successful at what we do. I also try just as many cases for fathers. We win cases other law firms turned down or where clients were advised they could not win. As such, I have a lot of experience regarding the biggest mistakes mothers make in child custody cases. Often, it can be summarized in just one word, “mean.”
This can manifest as being overly controlling, possessive, and dismissive of the importance of a father to a child. They all come down to being mean. These are the things that cause a mother to lose cases they may have otherwise won if they could curb mean behavior in the process.
Examples of Negative Behavior in Child Custody Cases
Let me give you a few real-life examples of this kind of behavior.
- Not putting the father down as a contact on the children’s school forms.
- Hiding the school the children attend from the father.
- Hiding medical appointments from the father.
- Calling security on a peaceful father at the hospital when he just wants to see his little girl.
- Telling the father that any information he needs to get about the children will go through you, and he has no right or need to contact the children’s doctors or teachers.
- Posting on Facebook using rather crude language about the father being an awful person and how his late sister, who died as a child in a house fire, can continue to burn in hell.
- Refusing to allow a father to pick up his child 30 minutes early when he is flying in for long-distance visitation so he can have plenty of time to make a flight.
- Introducing other men to the child as their father figure, when the actual father is begging for the chance to see his child and requests are largely ignored.
- Generally alienating and villainizing a child’s father to the child.
- Creating vast conspiracies about how everything the father does is out to get you and interpreted in the most negative light.
And there are so many more examples.
How to Handle the Situation with Grace
It does not need to be something as egregious as having a gun fall out of your purse when you pick up the child at a parenting exchange after making threats the night before. This is a situation that happened, by the way. Any pattern of mean and controlling behavior can turn an otherwise winnable case into a losing one.
That doesn’t mean you need to bend over backward or pretend to be friendly or even like the father of your child. Instead, treat the relationship towards the father as if you are a professional co-parent.
Speak concisely, to the point, and only on the logistics and the needs of the child. Adopt a customer service mindset. That doesn’t mean you have to accept abuse or neglect. You do not need to go beyond the requirements of any court order if you don’t want to, and you do not need to do anything you are uncomfortable with if there is no court order in place requiring your compliance.
The best thing to do is consult with an attorney specializing in this area of law to learn what you can and cannot do. You will also get advice on how to approach the situation to put yourself in the best position. That can include communications with the father of your children and how to navigate public online spaces such as social media. You’ll also find out when it’s time to go to court to accomplish things for the child’s best interests or your sanity.
Do you want to know more ways to effectively communicate regarding child custody?
We are Georgia divorce and child custody attorneys. This is all we have done since 1995. We can help. If you need help or have any questions, we would be happy to speak with you via email, text, or phone. Check us out at www.shawlaw.com
Shaw Law Firm, PC
(770) 594-8309 (phone or text)