A divorce is often one of the most stressful experiences a family can go through, and it can be particularly hard on the kids. You’ll want to shield them from the worst of it while also being realistic and protective of your own legal rights throughout the process. Use these tips to protect yourself in matters of child custody and while communicating with your ex-partner:
Child Custody Tip #1 – Get Everything In Writing
Saving emails, text messages and other correspondence is a great way to gather proof of your efforts to have good communication with your ex and effectively co-parent. It’s also an ideal way to document the other party’s lack of effort so that you can show it to a judge if necessary.
However, keep in mind that your ex could be doing the same thing with your communications. If you ever feel triggered and think you are about to say something inappropriate in an email or text message, wait 24 hours before sending it, then read the communication again; do you still think you should send it? How might a judge react to the communication? If you are still unsure, consult your attorney for guidance.
Child Custody Tip #2 – Avoid Phone Calls — or Record Them
Heated and emotional exchanges over the phone should also be avoided; however, recording your phone calls with your ex can assist in eliminating any “he said, she said” debates. Utah Code Ann. § 77-23a-4 provides for the legal rights of individuals to record and/or disclose the contents of any oral, wire or electronic communications to which they are a party. However, installing a recording device without consent in a place deemed “private” without the other party’s consent is a misdemeanor. Talk with an attorney if you’re not sure about the possible legal consequences of recording calls with your ex.
Child Custody Tip #3 – Keep a Calendar Specifically Dedicated to Your Utah Child Custody Case
Again, when it comes to retaining your rights in matters of child custody, accurate documentation is key. Use a dedicated journal or calendar to help keep track of all of the overnights with each parent, appointments, late arrivals/ pick-ups, and missed custodial visits. Any unusual child custody issue can be noted on the calendar as well.
Child Custody Tip #4 – Be the Bigger Person
Strive to always be respectful to your ex, even when they aren’t acting in a respectful manner toward you. Keep in mind that while you may not care for this person anymore, they are still your child’s parent. It can be highly upsetting for children to see two of the most important people in their lives bickering or fighting. Even if the other party is not behaving in a dignified manner, stay in control and model good behavior for the sake of your children.
Child Custody Tip #5 – Maintain Decorum and Exercise Discretion
Try and keep your frustrations and concerns about your ex and your child custody case to yourself or to a limited circle of family members, trusted friends or support group members. Never post your frustrations on social media; it’s a small world and you just never know who might know your ex (such as a friend of a friend). These persons could take a screen shot of your postings and/or pass along the things you are saying to your ex. All of these things could be used against you in a legal setting — so don’t risk it.
Child Custody Tip #6 – Seek Professional Guidance
If you’re finding it difficult to control your emotions or show restraint in correspondence with your ex, enlist the help of a therapist or professional counselor as well as a lawyer to help you make informed decisions. Navigating child custody can bring up lots of strong emotions for everyone involved, and getting professional help is one of the smartest things you can do during this trying time.
Experienced Salt Lake City Child Custody Attorney
Attorney David Pedrazas has been helping people through difficult life situations for over 20 years. The Law Office of David Pedrazas, PLLC, is committed to helping people move forward following a divorce or other family law issue, and staff strive to educate clients so that they can make the most informed choices possible. Call us today at 801-263-7078 to schedule a free child custody case evaluation with the Law Office of David Pedrazas.