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3 Common Child Custody Mistakes

A custody agreement is an important part of your divorce settlement, and is intended to benefit your child’s needs and interests. Unfortunately, parents can intentionally or inadvertently make mistakes that violate the custody agreement.  These mistakes can have severe legal consequences and are often detrimental to the child’s well-being.

Mistake #1: Using Your Child as a Weapon

In the aftermath of a divorce, former spouses don’t always react reasonably when it comes to dealing with their exes. However, you can’t let your unhealthy emotions damage your child’s relationship with your former spouse. Avoid openly insulting or criticizing your ex in front of your child. Acting out of spite and trying to hurt your child’s perception of a parent could damage their stability.

Using your child against your ex can also affect your legal custody. In California, it’s illegal to keep a child away from their other parent for any reason. Depriving parents of their custody or visitation time is called a “California wobbler,” and if convicted, you could face jail time and fines up to $10,000.

In cases involving neglect or child abuse, parents may be forced to protect their children by keeping them away from their exes. If you’re charged with deprivation of custody in California or need information about restraining orders, contact the child custody attorneys at Singleton Smith Law Offices.

Mistake #2 Not Paying Child Support

The purpose of a child support order is to provide financial assistance that ensures the care of your child. Keeping up with child support payments can be difficult, especially if you’re struggling financially. However, if you refuse to make payments, you may be found contemptable in court. The Department of Child Support Services may be forced to take payments directly from your personal financial accounts, or interfere with your unemployment checks, tax refunds, and disability benefits until you pay. Failure to pay child support also has a terrible effect on your credit score and may lead to jail time.

You can request a child support modification if you’re genuinely struggling to make your child support payments. A temporary or permanent child support modification can help if your financial circumstances have changed since the initial custody hearing.

Mistake #3: Accidentally Kidnapping Your Child

As previously mentioned, California takes custody and visitation rights very seriously. With summer coming, many parents want to spend time with their children and take them on vacations. Even if you’re divorced, you are still co-parenting a child. You can’t take your child somewhere without your ex being aware of it. If you want to have your child for an extended period of time, it’s better to compromise with your ex so you don’t end up in jail.  However, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should trust your ex. Before taking your child on vacation, get any visitation agreements in writing for your lawyer to review.

We Can Assist You

Contact Singleton Smith Law Offices if you require legal representation in your divorce or child custody case. Our attorneys can help you understand California custody laws and even assist you in modifying your child support payments.

If you’re concerned about the terms of your custody arrangement negatively affecting your child, call Singleton Smith Law Offices at (951) 779-1610. Our child custody lawyers are available for a free consultation.