Quick Answer How to Lose a Custody Battle in Georgia:

If you show a judge that you have more hatred toward your spouse than love for your child and/or you cannot or will not reliably carry out the judge’s child custody ruling, you may lose the battle for custody of your child.

More information:

I have personally witnessed parents sabotage their ability to obtain custody of their children.  I’m writing this article so that you can more carefully make decisions that are best for you and your child.  10 Ways to Lose Custody of Your Child in Georgia

  1. Blame everything on your spouse
    If you are in court to decide who should have custody of your child, it is likely that your spouse will have a role in your child’s life for the rest of that child’s life.  The main objective should be how you and your spouse can work together to co-parent this child from now on. If you spend all of your court time focused on revenge and how wicked your spouse is, instead of pointing out how you can work together to co-parent, you are missing a significant opportunity to show the court that you always put the needs of your child first.
    There are cases when a spouse is abusive or has done something else criminally wrong that endangers a child.  However, this is not usually the case. In most cases, presenting the judge with a plan for how you and your spouse will parent together will be much more effective than trying to convince the judge of how bad your spouse has been.

  2. Talk badly about your spouse to your child
    In Georgia, the judge is empowered to decide child custody parenting time.  If a judge has reason to believe that a parent does not have the child’s best interest at heart, she is likely to limit that parent’s custody privileges.  

    It is extremely harmful to a child for one parent to disparage the other to or in front of the child. Judges have been trained to understand the damage this behavior can cause. Instead of lashing out at the other parent in front of your child, make your child’s welfare the first priority. 

  3. Listen to your friends instead of your attorney
    Every divorce is unique with its own set of facts and circumstances, just like every marriage is unique.  What worked (or didn’t work) in your friend’s divorce may have dramatically different results in your divorce.  

    You can damage your ability to win a custody battle by following advice from well-meaning friends who are not knowledgeable about Georgia divorce law and/or the specifics of your case.  
  4. Post negative things about your spouse or child on social media
    Anything you share on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other public social media platform is admissible as evidence during your divorce.  Posts that can in any way be interpreted or “spun” to show you in a negative light can be used in your divorce and can affect your custody rights.

  5. Exclude your spouse when co-parenting would be expected
    The judge will want to see that you intend to have a “healthy co-parenting” relationship with your ex-spouse.  The judge will be concerned if you refuse to allow the other parent access to your child. Your behavior could harm your case.   

    When schools and doctor’s offices ask who is authorized to pick up your child or have access to records, both spouses should usually be listed as authorized on the paperwork.  Of course, this can be different if a spouse has been abusive or has shown criminal intentions towards the child.

  6. Refuse visitation (when there’s no good reason)
    Similar to number 5, the judge wants to see that you intend to have a “healthy co-parenting relationship”.  It is a really bad idea to deny a spouse access to your children out of spite. Never allow your anger to harm the relationship between your children and the other parent.   

    If your spouse is abusive or has done something else criminally wrong that endangers a child, there may be a valid reason to refuse the spouse a right to visit. The key consideration is what is in the best interests of the child.

  7. Text ugly things to your spouse or child about your spouse or child
    Like social media, text messages and emails can and will come up in court.  If you text your child or spouse anything that shows that you are unlikely to participate in a healthy co-parenting relationship, your parenting time can be affected. 
  8. Monitor communication between your spouse and your child
    In most cases, the court will expect your child and your spouse to have normal communications and the right to privacy.  In most situations, checking to see what your spouse texted to your child and listening to their phone conversations is not healthy co-parenting.  

    Again, in situations where there is a history of abuse or criminal behavior, this may be different.  Consult your attorney for clarification. 
  9. Accept advice from an attorney who advises you to be vindictive
    I have seen attorneys who advise their clients to approach their divorce in ways that are unnecessarily aggressive and sometimes downright mean.  It’s unfortunate, but it’s ultimately the client who will pay the price for these tactics.

    Judges want to see that children will be cared for in the best possible manner.  If your attorney is advising you to pursue terms of your divorce that feel wrong to you, it is up to you to stand up for what you believe is right.  It can be worthwhile to seek out counsel from a second attorney to make sure that you are on the path that will get you what you truly want from your divorce.  

    If your attorney is counselling you to pursue a course of action with the sole intention of causing your spouse to suffer, or advising you to do something that will harm your child, it could be you who winds up with less access to your child. 
  10. Take a short-term approach to parenting
    Divorce is painful and can feel overwhelming for you and your child.  Change is difficult, even under the best of circumstances. Don’t let the stress and short-term problems harm your relationship between you and your child.

As time goes on, your child will have more and more power over how and when he or she has time with your ex-spouse.  The efforts you might put in to shaping or curtailing that relationship will ultimately end in the child making decisions for him or herself.  If you hold too tightly to the reigns and are too controlling about the time your child spends with the other parent, this behavior can backfire as the child grows older.

If you do everything in your power to give your child the healthiest and most beneficial relationship with both parents, you are far more likely to impress the judge and have a meaningful relationship with your happy child.

Bottom Line : How to Lose a Child Custody Battle in Georgia:

Judges decide what is best for your children.  You are most likely to get the child custody you want if you are the parent who encourages a healthy co-parenting relationship.   

You can lose custody of your child in Georgia if you alienate the other parent, harm your child, compromise your child’s privacy, limit parental access to your shared children, or do anything else that could compromise your child’s opinion of your current or former spouse. Remember that everything you say, write and post on social media can become evidence in court.  If you always put the best interests of your child before your own feelings, you increase your chances of being successful in court, and you are much more likely to have a happy, healthy child.

For more information about Child Custody, Divorce and Family Law Services from Stone & Sullivan please click here.