Tonight’s post about keeping your children out of jail in a custody battle was written by our Marietta family law attorney, Alyssa Blanchard.
I recently read a news article about three children who were held in contempt by the judge for refusing to visit with their father. Their parents have been in and court involved in a messy divorce for the past five years. Unfortunately it appears that the children are caught in the middle. And because of it, now the children are caught in the slammer.
If you find yourself in the midst of a divorce involving children or maybe just a custody battle, it’s important to remember that when it comes to matters of your children, it’s not about you. It’s about them. As hard as it may be, you have to take your feelings out of it and focus on your child’s best interest. At least, that is the standard that the judge will use in making any decisions regarding custody.
Secondly, if you are the custodial parent, understand that this does not mean that you control your child’s relationship with the other parent. A judge will not look too kindly upon you if you are encouraging your child not to have a relationship with the other parent. Talking negatively to your child about his father or mother, telling your child that they do not have to visit or not encouraging visitation are all things that encourage your child to distance themselves emotionally from the other parent and chip away at the relationship. Engaging in this sort of behavior pushes you toward the direction of parental alienation and pushes your child toward living with the other parent.
I was in court just the other day and the judge ordered parents to attend reunification therapy with the children because he found evidence of parental alienation. I have also seen an extreme case where a parent lost custody because they engaged in parental alienation.
If you find that you are having issues with custody and visitation, talk to your attorney and get guidance quick. The actions you take to remedy the situation are critical. It could make the difference between just altering a visitation schedule or losing custody entirely.
It is unlikely that your children will get thrown in jail, but having them stripped from you could be almost as bad.