In the early stages of a separation or divorce, all parents want to be polite with their ex for the sake of their children. While the marriage or relationship has ended, it does not mean the end of a parental relationship or family dynamic. Neither parent wants the divorce process to be a pain point for their children, and many are trying to make this transition as smooth as possible. However, as in any highly stressed emotional situation, it can be difficult to keep a cool head in a conflict. Anthony Macri, Canadian attorney and family attorney, understands the challenges and disputes often associated with child and parental leave decision making and hopes to help those currently navigating family courts avoid mistakes that will cost them their desired custody could.
While it is quite common for couples going through divorce to dislike each other, they should never allow their conflicts to affect their child’s relationship with either parent. When one parent tries to negatively affect their child’s relationship with the other parent by sharing negative and inappropriate information, this is known as child manipulation. Some experts believe that the simple act of damaging a child’s relationship with a parent is child abuse. Those parents who try to manipulate their child by exchanging information that puts the co-parent in a bad light, such as the parents ‘personal relationships or the parents’ financial literacy, are likely to see consequences in the courtroom. Since this has been proven to have lasting damage to the psyche of a child, any indication of child manipulation can induce a family judge to end the contact between the alienating parent and the child and transfer full custody to the co-parent.
Some examples of child manipulation are:
- Include the child in conflicts with adults and tell the child what the other parent did “wrong”
- Do not tell a co-parent about their child’s life, appointments, grades, etc.
- The child was instructed what to say to his parents. These conversations will often sound very aggressive and forced.
- Disturb the visits of the other parent with frequent text messages or calls to the child.
Social media posts
Today, nearly 80% of Americans, 247 million people, have at least one profile on a social media platform. As social media becomes an increasingly important part of our lives, it can be difficult not to use our social media platforms to discuss our private lives in depth. Whether it is for compassion from friends or advice from relatives, many Americans use social media to share their current challenges and daily struggles with loved ones or others. When you’re going through a tumultuous divorce, that feeling of wanting to connect and share with others can increase significantly, especially as family and friends begin to choose sides. However, Anthony Macri emphasizes the importance of staying civil on social media as anything posted online can be used as evidence in family courts.
Whenever possible, Canadian attorney Anthony Macri encourages individuals to remain silent on the radio on social media and, if this proves to be too harsh, to refrain from publicly denigrating their ex or discussing any aspect of custody. Much like sharing negative details about an ex with children, divorce courts disapprove of disparaging social media posts and may use this as evidence of child manipulation in family courts. If a person has posted something negative about their ex or children in the past, it’s important not to remove it from their feed. This is often seen as an admission of guilt in court and encourages the ex-spouse’s case. In the event these posts are used against the poster in court, Anthony Macri recommends admitting your intentions to the judge, who is likely to appreciate the honesty and candor.
Move after an action has started
Regardless of whether the court has granted decision-making powers to a parent or not, that parent must inform their ex-partner in good time before moving within or outside of their current school district. If the main parent wants to move outside the school district, only the non-main parent needs to be notified. However, if the move is to an area outside the school district, the non-primary parent may be able to prevent the move if a judge agrees that they have not been adequately informed. If sufficient advance notice has not been given and the parent who is not bringing up objects to the move, the judge can order that the parent responsible for custody must withdraw or risk that the parent who is not bringing up has full custody.
Failure to see the importance of precedents
Very few parents spend the same amount of time with their children. Whether one parent works full-time or is away on business, it is far more common for one person to raise the children 75% of the time while the other parents are 25% of the time. The time a parent spent with their child before the split is known as a precedent. In the event of a custody battle, a judicial officer will determine at what level each parent has helped their child in the past and use that to determine possible custody. However, Canadian attorney Anthony Macri insists that the official will also consider the level of involvement after the split. If someone has raised 25% of the time, both before and after the breakup, they will likely not be awarded 50/50 split custody because they have not set a good precedent and demonstrated their ability to parenting for that length of time. However, if the same parent started parenting 50% of the time after the separation, it would set a good precedent and will likely be able to continue 50% of the time in the future.