Welcome back to The Kronzek Firm. Thanks for joining us again. We’ve been talking about a slightly strange subject – moral fitness – and how it might have an effect on your Oakland County custody case. Specifically, how your behavior before, during and after your divorce might make it harder for you to get custody of your children (assuming you do things that the Family Court Judge believes reflect badly on you!).
As we mentioned in the previous article, the idea of moral fitness is really subjective, and nowadays it plays less of a role in custody battles than it once did. Michigan law has some guidelines for courts to use and our law is very clear that if the court is considering weighing your immorality against you, it must be shown that your conduct had an effect on the children. But certain life choices still look bad as far as Judges are concerned. So if you don’t want your soon-to-be-ex and their attorney accusing you of being an immoral parent, and arguing in favor of having your right to spend time with your children after the divorce limited by the court, avoid these life choices:
Things you should NOT do before or during your divorce:
- A Bad Driving Record
A poor driving record, which could mean a large number of speeding tickets, or one or more drunk driving convictions, can be a sign that you tend to make poor choices behind the wheel. It can also be considered evidence of “questionable conduct”, which could influence a judge who is trying to figure out if you’re morally fit enough to have your kids.
- Foul Language
Although many people cuss in front of their kids these days, and it certainly isn’t going to get you into trouble, it might look bad to a Judge. “Pervasive use of foul language around the children” essentially means extensive use of profane words or racial or sexist terms in front of your children. Every now and then the court considers this to be a sign of poor parenting skills and a lack of self-control, which might be interpreted as a lack of moral fitness.
- Allegations of Abuse
Any allegations of abuse are taken very seriously by the court. An abusive parent, particularly a parent who is physically or sexually abusive, is very unlikely to be considered morally fit in a custody case. However, with an awareness of parental alienation and narcissism growing, judges are aware that manipulative parents sometimes make false allegations of abuse in an attempt to influence a custody dispute in their own favor.
- Extra-marital Affairs
Having an extra-marital affair can sometimes be viewed as an immoral choice by the court. But what is more likely to be detrimental to your custody case, is how that affair affected your children. If your affair kept you away from your kids for long periods of time, or you introduced your new partner to your children before your divorce was final, a judge is less likely to see things from your perspective.
Making good choices also means choosing a good attorney for your divorce!
Making choices that put your children’s best interests first is part of being a good parent. That’s the truth whether or not you’re getting divorced. However, when you’re ending your marriage, your children are going to need even more support and understanding as they work through this difficult time. So you’re going to need to be extra careful of the choices you make, both because of their emotional health and because of the impact it may have on your custody agreement. However, having an excellent lawyer on your team to advise you goes a long way towards helping you make the right choices at the right times. So if you live in Troy, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak, Bloomfield Hills, and Ferndale, call (248) 479-6200 today and start this process with a good choice.