Top Four Mistakes Family Law Litigants Make
There are any number of ways someone can harm their legal position in a dispute. Because of the emotionally-charged nature of family law proceedings (such as divorce and child support proceedings), it is even easier for a party to lose his or her temper or act impulsively and find his or her legal position undermined. But not all mistakes are equal in nature – some cause more serious harm than others. Here are the top four mistakes that can ruin your position in a family law dispute:
- Preventing your child from seeing the other parent. Failing to follow a visitation schedule approved by the court or (in the absence of such a schedule) failing to give the other parent reasonable access to the child can be considered parental kidnapping or an attempt to alienate the child from the other parent. In either case, courts do not look kindly on such behavior. In extreme cases, a court may give the other parent primary custody and/or restrict you from seeing your child.
- Not paying child support. If you have a child, you have a duty by law to support that child financially. Courts are not interested in excuses or “sob stories” about why you have not paid, and failing to pay court ordered child support can result in the accumulation of a significant arrearage that will continue to grow until paid. If you are having difficulty paying your child support obligation, reach out to a Michigan child support lawyer to learn what options you have. We have successfully Friend of the Court child support calculations and parenting time recommendations. In short, challenge your child support in court, and not by refusing to take action.
- Yelling or threatening the other parent. The fact that you are making threats or using loud or abusive language toward the other parent can make its way back to the judge. This type of behavior can cause the judge to question whether your child is safe around you and/or whether you are able to effectively co-parent. This in turn can result in the court imposing conditions such as requiring you to attend anger management classes or have your visits supervised. In extreme cases, the other party may obtain a protective order against you (in which case you will not be seeing your child for some time). Either way, keep in mind that the other party may be recording you or have witnesses in earshot of your conversation.
- Physically striking your child or the other parent. Of course, physically abusive conduct is never appropriate and will almost invariably result in the court granting the other parent custody of your child and issuing protective orders against you. It may be months – or even years – before you would be able to see your child again – and you would likely need to prove to the court that you have sought help for your temper and there are adequate safeguards present before the court will grant you visitation. Domestic violence charges are often brought as well. Avoid physical confrontations to avoid the serious consequences they have.
An experienced and knowledgeable Michigan family law attorney from the Van Den Heuvel Law Office can help you take appropriate actions – and avoid inappropriate ones – in your family law case. We will work with you to help you realize your goals regarding your divorce, division of property, or child custody. Call us to discuss your case at (616) 698-0000. Or you can complete our firm’s online contact form and we will get in touch with you promptly.