During a child custody dispute in South Carolina, you will likely go through mediation. In mediation, a neutral third party called a mediator tries to help you and the other parent to agree on a parenting plan. If you cannot reach an agreement with the other parent, then a family court judge will end up deciding child custody in your case.
Most people would prefer to arrive at a parenting plan on their own, which is why it is important to make the most out of mediation. You should have an experienced child custody attorney on your side. The attorney will protect your rights and help you to avoid saying or doing something that could hurt your case.
Refrain from Fighting Speaking Negatively About the Other Parent
While child custody is in the process of being determined, you should not speak ill of the other parent if you are within the child’s hearing range. You may be tempted to say something negative. This is especially true if the other parent has spoken bad about you. However, if you give in and say things that possibly denigrate the other parent, it could come back to haunt you during mediation or in court.
The standard in child custody cases is the “best interests of the child.” If you bad mouth the other parent in front of the child, it may harm the child and your relationship with the child. For instance, the child may suffer a great deal of stress and anxiety, which can carry serious mental health consequences. The child could also feel as if he or she needs to “pick sides.” In this sense, talking negatively about the other parent will not serve the child’s best interests.
If you speak ill of the other parent in front of the child, the issue could come up in mediation. The other parent may use it to argue that you are not fit to have custody. If anything, it could create a hostile tone and frustrate mediation.
The best thing to do is to keep your thoughts about the other parent private. You can feel free to share them with family, close friends and your lawyer. However, you should not discuss your gripes about the other parent in front of the child.
Do Not Discuss Child Custody or Mediation on Social Media
You should refrain from using social media throughout your entire divorce and/or child custody battle – period. Many people mistakenly believe that what they post on social media is something that only their friends can see. However, that is rarely the case. So, what you say on social media could keep you from accomplishing your goals through mediation.
The reality is that a great deal of what people post on social media can be used against them in a child custody matter. This is especially true if they post about partying, going out and engaging in other activities without their children. The other parent can – and most likely will – use those photos to argue that you are not fit to live with the child or to make decisions that affect the child’s future. Even seemingly innocent posts or photos can be taken out of context.
Your divorce and custody battle won’t last forever. So, do your best to live without broadcasting everything you do on social media for a few months until everything is resolved.
Why You Need to Respect the Other Parent’s Visitation Rights
If you separate from the other parent for the purpose of getting a divorce, you may get temporary custody of the child, while the other parent has visitation rights. Your child should continue having a relationship with both of his or her parents during this period. If you ask your child to take sides or prevent the other parent from fully enjoying his or her visitation rights, then you will create problems during mediation.
Don’t try to schedule events or activities that you know will conflict with the other parent’s visitation time. If you need to reschedule, or if something comes up that prevents visitation, then you should offer alternative days or times to the other parent. It will be better for everyone if you simply work out solutions.
If you are the parent with visitation rights during the separation period, don’t show up late or go out of your way to inconvenience the other parent. Don’t cancel your visits, either. All of these issues could surface during mediation. They could prevent you from achieving your goal – a parenting plan that serves your child’s best interests and satisfies both parents.
Why You Should Always Put the Child’s Best Interests First
At the end of the day, your child is the reason why you are going through custody mediation. Some parents can be selfish and make the decision that is the most convenient and easiest for them. However, what matters is your child. If you put your child’s best interests first during mediation and throughout the process of the divorce, it will benefit everyone.
Divorce is difficult on its own. It becomes much more complex when children are involved. It can take a toll on you and your entire family. Still, as a parent, you can take steps to minimize the fallout as much as possible during mediation and through all other stages of a divorce.
Get Help from an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Rock Hill
Preparing for your child custody mediation is an important step in your divorce and custody case. The attorneys at McKinney, Tucker & Lemel, LLC, understand the range of emotions that you are going through. We understand how easy it is to make mistakes that may harm your case. We will help you to prepare for mediation and avoid those common mistakes. Ultimately, we will do everything we can to help you to reach your goals. To discuss your child custody case in depth, contact us for a confidential consultation through our Rock Hill office.