How far would you go to make sure you get child custody? Some parents make the very dangerous decision to lie or exaggerate as a way to paint the other parent as “unfit” and enhance their own standing in the eyes of the judge…with a greater custody share as the hoped for result. Is your ex lying and making false accusations against you? Here’s how to protect yourself.
Keep detailed records. If you believe that your high conflict ex could be plotting to accuse you of abuse or neglect of your ex or your child, start keeping a daily journal. Logging your time with your child provides proof if needed of your day to day activities, what time you spent with your children, and the journal can also show how you conducted yourself when your ex was not there. Courts will look at journals and parenting logs during hearings or other court proceedings if your whereabouts or activities are questioned by your ex.
Agree to any drug testing. If your ex is accusing you of drug abuse (a common accusation to hurl, whether true or not), do not hesitate to comply with any court ordered drug testing. Testing can be done at the courthouse and it can be done immediately if the judge so orders. It is better to get the testing out of the way to eliminate any question at all the court may have regarding drug use or abuse. You may even want to consider volunteering for ongoing random drug screenings.
Have a trusted family member or friend around when you have parenting time. In Angelina and Brad Pitt’s high profile split, Pitt was accused of hitting his son on a private jet and was investigated for this alleged incident (and ultimately cleared). During the investigation, his parenting time with the children was supervised. Even if your parenting time is not court ordered to be supervised, consider having a close friend or relative there to witness you with the children and to take photographs of you and the kids having fun, interacting and enjoying each other’s company. Home movies of events like birthdays or other holidays are also great ways to show the court, if needed, how well your time with the children is going. Keep this with your parenting log information.
Avoid engaging with your ex. If you ex is constantly attempting to engage you in a fight in order to use that as evidence of your anger management issues or your tendency to fly off the handle, do not engage with them. Doing so will only escalate an already hostile situation and any evidence of angry interactions may be recorded and produced in court by your ex. You may want to consider recording telephone calls to protect yourself, or you may elect to communicate only via text message so that your conversations are in writing.
Stick to the high road. If you take steps to protect yourself and ensure that you can provide evidence of a wonderful relationship with your children if needed, the court will inevitably see through your ex’s attempts to smear you and your reputation. If a judge is led to believe that a parent is willfully and purposefully lying in order to gain an advantage in a custody case, that parent is in danger of having their own rights to custody or parenting time suspended by the court.
If you find yourself in this type of situation or if you are embroiled in a contentious divorce, please contact us to schedule your free attorney consultation and can get specific advice on your individual matter and guidance on how to protect yourself during this difficult time.