High Conflict Child Custody Battles
High Conflict Child Custody – Advice About Age Appropriate Visitation and False AllegationsAuthor: E Brooks
I recently received a question from a mother of an 11 month old daughter. She wanted some advice about age appropriate visitation and how to handle false allegations that had involved CPS. Here is my reply to her.
I am sorry to hear that you are part of a high conflict custody battle.
I will answer the question about false allegations first. Yes, it happens far too often. In my experience it happens when things are going your way. It is a way for the other parent to attempt to gain the upper hand. I understand it is wrong, stressful, and painful. Make sure that the when CPS contacts you, that you mention you ask them the question, "did he tell you we are in a custody battle?". Don't add anything else. Let CPS figure it out themselves. They cannot tell you who called or give you any information but ask them what they will recommend for the case status. They should let you know that they are closing the case as "unfounded".
DO NOT mention anything about this to the other parent. You now have a clean bill of health from CPS. This is definitely in your favor. DO NOT bring this up until you go to evaluation. Never leak a word from your lips. He will now be wondering what happened.
CPS will not talk to him about the case except to interview him about what he knows.
The reason you keep this to yourself is, the evaluator has access to CPS records. They will know the accusation was made and that it was investigated and found to be unfounded. This will undermine his credibility forever. It will follow him and benefit you forever.
Now, let's talk about visitation.
If you do not have a temporary custody order, the pattern you set now will likely be the pattern that gets adopted. If you do have an order and you let the pattern change, he will have cause to go back and ask for that pattern permanently.
I don't know if you are still going to court or not. If you are I suggest that you work with the mediator or evaluator (separately if needed) and suggest the current pattern with an automatic modification to overnights when your daughter reaches a certain age (18 months?).
I lean towards equal visitation and overnights (except in extreme circumstances). If you prepare your order to include these overnights you will do a lot for your daughter.
Finally a bit of advice. Avoid the conflict. Minimize drop off and pickups so that you can avoid each other. Learn about parallel parenting and suggest he do the same. Exchange email instead of phone calls. The less contact, the less conflict. The less conflict the more your daughter benefits.About the Author:
Ed Brooks knows firsthand how painful a High Conflict Child Custody battle can be. Ed has created a site where parents can get advice on how to handle all aspects of a high conflict Child Custody battle. If you want to learn more about handling False Allegations issues you can find it here.
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