In my 20 years as a Rhode Island Child Custody Lawyer, I have seen many fathers and mothers make inane and stupid decisions during the course of Rhode Island Child Custody Proceedings. Sometimes winning your RI Child Custody is about the mistakes that you avoid rather than what you do right.
The stupid and boorish behavior set forth below may impede or ruin your chances of getting custody in Rhode Island Family Court. All of the actions set forth below are actual behavior that I have seen in Rhode Island Family Court.
Winning your Custody case by not making dumb mistakes
Read this RI Family Law article carefully! I am almost afraid to tell people not to engage in the behavior and antics set forth below for fear of being accused of being condescending or patronizing to my clients. It is really just common senses. Ironically, many of the mistakes that mothers and fathers make are mistakes made in an attempt to get an unfair advantage.
- Do Not post Inappropriate content on Facebook, Myspace, social networks or online which show that you are an unfit parent, use drugs or alcohol or otherwise not acting in the best interest of your child. Remember, the other parent is often trolling around your Facebook page looking for any angle to help him or her prevail in the custody feud. A seemingly innocuous “Facebook friend” may actually be feeding information to the other parent.
- Do Not Post online- Negative or disparaging remarks or comments about the other parent, the judge, the psychiatrist, the psychologist, or anyone involved in the custody proceeding, the other Rhode Island divorce lawyer or the other parties’ family.
- Do not Blog about your case. You should fight your case in Court not on your blog. These blogs infuriate judges especially when there is a chance that the children may view the blog.
- Do not buy an expensive item, cars or take a trip when you are claiming you can’t afford child support or you face a child support contempt motion. The other Rhode Island Lawyer will use this to prove that your contempt is willful and ask that you be incarcerated.
- Do not wear a 500 dollar watch to your Rhode Island Child Support Contempt hearing. If you can’t afford your child support you should not be buying expensive items while you are claiming you are broke. Certainly, if you owe RI Child Support you should not be wearing expensive items in Court.
- Do not make dumb arguments in Rhode Island Family Court. Please see Rhode Island Child Custody attorney, David Slepkow’s article concerning making stupid arguments in RI family Court. These arguments destroy your credibility, waste valuable Court resources and usually irk the judges.
- Do not Coach your child to take your side. This usually backfires because most children are incapable of lying. The first thing that the custody evaluator, Rhode Island Guardian ad Litem or investigator does is ask the child who they talked to about the case. Your child is not your friend or your confidante regarding the Rhode Island Divorce proceedings or the RI Child Custody Case. Coaching children can be emotionally harmful and confusing to your child.
- Do not send the other parent inappropriate or threatening text messages, emails, or voice messages that invariably will be shown to the judge. These stupid text messages are absurd and are an easy way to lose you RI Child Custody case. You want the judge to perceive you as the better parent and the reasonable person and these emails do not help your case!
- Do not send drug or alcohol induced text messages
- Do not make negative comments or remarks about the other parent in the presence of your child. This is the most frequent mistake that parents make in Rhode Island Child Custody cases. These comments can be very harmful to your child. They also show the judge that you don’t care about your child’s emotional well- being.
- Do not make threats, or act inappropriately on the phone to the other parent. Assume that everything you say is being taped because many parents tape the other parent.
- Do not Use Illegal Drugs. At any time during the Rhode Island Child Custody Case you are subject to being drug tested. A positive drug test may destroy your chances to prevail in your custody case and may lead to supervised visitation.
- Do not go out binge drinking the night before your evaluation by the custody evaluator. One client actually did this.
- Do not get involved in personal feuds, make accusations or act rudely towards the people who influence decisions in your case. You want these people to respect you and empathize with you on a personal level. Trashing the people who are influential in deciding your case is a really bad idea. This specifically includes Psychiatrists, Psychologists and the person who supervises your visits. In one case, a woman and her husband slammed down their fist, became enraged and started shouting at the psychologist.
- Do not write inappropriate letters to your child about the Custody Case. People actually do this. I can’t make this stuff up.
- Do not deny court ordered visitation or fail to pay child support per Court orders. This just makes you look bad and can change the focus of the Rhode Island Child Custody case. If you are not satisfied with visitation than you need to file a motion to modify the visitation.
- Do not write a letter to the judge or call the judge. Yes some of my clients have done this before. Your Child Custody Lawyer will advocate your position to the judge. It is inappropriate to write a letter to the judge.
- Do not show up to Court over dosed on prescription medications.
- Do not fail to show up for the other parents supervised visit without a good excuse and without calling Family Services and the other parent. (Unless there is a restraining order)
- Do not introduce the child or get the child involved with a new boyfriend or girlfriend especially one who has a criminal history or prior dcyf history.
- Do not have overnight visitors of the opposite sex while the children are home. The Custody case is complicated enough and there is no need to get other people involved in the case.
- Do not buy the child a huge gift the day before or the day of his interview with the judge. This looks like bribery to a judge. However, gamesmanship is a good idea. There is nothing wrong with a day at the amusement park the day before the meeting with the judge. Gamesmanship is ok. Bribery is not ok.
- Do not leave the state without informing the other parent of where you are going and when you will be returning. You must also provide contact Information.
- Do not have unnecessary heated confrontations with the other parent. Walk away from these bad situations and tell your lawyer. These confrontations often lead to a Rhode Island Restraining Orders or complaints protection from abuse.
Even if the confrontation is not physical and relatively harmless, the other parent may blow it out of proportion and use it to get an unfair advantage by pursuing a restraining order or instituting Criminal charges. Allegations of domestic violence could destroy your chances of getting physical placement or joint custody of your Child. Sometimes these confrontations lead to RI Criminal charges. You do not want to be hiring a Providence Criminal Lawyer.
Important Rhode Island Family Law tip:
Many people use the term “full custody.” This is not a legal term. Legal custody pertains to decision making and access to records and is either Joint Custody to both parents or Sole Custody to one parent. Physical Custody is where the child resides on a day to day basis and the other parent has visitation rights. There is also shared physical placement.
David Slepkow is a Rhode Island Divorce Attorney concentrating in RI Divorce law, Family Law, Restraining Orders, DCYF, Adoptions, Paternity, Post divorce, Relocation, Child Support, Custody and Visitation. David Slepkow has been practicing Law Since 1997 and is licensed in Rhode Island (RI), Massachusetts (MA) and Federal Court. Free Initial consultations. Credit Cards Accepted. Evening Appointments available. You can contact RI Attorney David Slepkow by calling him at 401-437-1100.
Legal Notice per RI Rules of Professional Responsibility:
The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer/ attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice.