Custody battles are emotionally charged, and assumptions about what the court will “obviously” find to be in the best interest of the child abound. Parents, often egged on by well-meaning friends and loved ones, can make devastating mistakes by getting on their high horse when it comes to religion or the sexual “misdeeds” of their ex’s. On the other end of the spectrum, believing that a judge will strictly follow the letter of the law and decide what is in your child’s best interests from a purely objective point of view can give you a false sense of security and leave you blindsided with a decision that is not in your favor.
The assertion that you are a good Christian and the other parent is not will not win you points in court. It smacks of an inability to foster an ongoing relationship between your child and the other parent. But that doesn’t mean that all aspects of religion are irrelevant. It’s not about which religion, but the benefits of being a part of a supportive religious community that can be seen as being in the best interest of the child. More important is a disruption in the stability of the child’s situation. If one parent wants to rip a child from the religious community they are accustomed to and feel good about, that can be a problem. If the child is mature enough to express her wishes, then her wishes can hold great sway in matters of religion.
Sexual behavior is a very touchy subject. It’s another area where believing you have the moral high ground can ultimately make you look like the bad guy. But it really depends on the situation. If the other parent has a history of criminal sexual behavior, yes, that can be very important to you case. When it comes to current, legal behavior, it really depends on how it affects the stability of the home.
Now, if you’re the one whose sexual history or current behavior is being criticized, you need to be forewarned that it could color the judge’s opinion of you even if it shouldn’t, and even if it is never specifically referenced as a reason for ruling against you. You need to be prepared by talking to an experienced child custody attorney before the tone quietly works against you.
If you live in South Carolina and are facing a child custody dispute, please contact the Law Office of J. Darrell Beckham today.