Most people don’t want to lose in family court. However, there are times when people engage in behaviors that make it appear that they desire to lose. The tips below will help assure that you will lose your case in family court. (Of course, doing the opposite of the tips below will help assure success in family court).
Involve the children in an adult fight.
Professionals universally will tell you that a divorce or other changing relationship between a child’s parents is always a difficult transition for the children involved. Some children do better than others with the changes, but almost all children struggle or have to process the changes in some way. Some studies have shown that having arguments in the presence of children, even young children such as babies where you would think that they are less than aware can still affect the child’s brain development. Nothing frustrates and upsets family court judges more than learning that a parent has involved the children in an adult fight or disagreement. The children should be blissfully unaware of the disagreements their parents may be having. Children only need to know what the new “rules” are at the conclusion of the case, i.e. what their new parenting arrangements and schedule will be.
Don’t Pay Child Support.
Child support is the right of the child or children involved. Every day of their lives, children need to eat. Whether you are seeing your children or getting the parenting time you think you deserve or not, your children still deserve to be financially supported and have financial resources to meet their needs. It is not the children’s fault that their parents are no longer living together. Judges are very impressed when the parents work out voluntarily paying the parent who has the children a majority of the time.
Don’t Encourage the Children to Spend Time with the Other Parent/Support the Other Parent’s Relationship.
Unless you have obtained a court order to limit parenting time/contact for the other parent and/or children’s services directed through a safety plan that contact be limited or terminated, it is the children’s right to have contact and a loving relationship with both parents. It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure and facilitate that relationship. In many situations, even criminals are allowed supervised or other safe contact with their children. Judges will take custody away from parents who unreasonably withhold contact from the other parent.
Violate or Ignore Court Orders.
Most judges have spent many years working hard in their careers to earn the respect of the judicial nominating commission, the interviewing committee, and ultimately, the governor who appoints them. Generally, once they are appointed to the bench it is because they are well respected for their insight and wisdom. Therefore, judges expect people appearing in front of them to respect and obey their court orders. If you present issues to the judge without settling your issues, the judge will be giving you a ruling that you will have to honor and abide by. When a judge tells you to do something, you are required to do it or you face the court’s contempt powers which can include sending you to jail if you refuse to abide by the court’s orders.
Secretly Hiding Money or Transferring or Concealing Assets.
The laws in both, Kansas and Missouri give the court guidance as to how assets should be divided. Unless you have entered into a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement, you cannot change the laws applicable to your case (based on the state in which you reside). Moving, hiding or concealing assets to try to keep the court from awarding them to the other party is illegal and often will be determined through the discovery process. Upon the other party proving that you have engaged in such behavior, the court will generally find a way to teach you a lesson and ensure that you don’t believe you can break the rules in the future.
You cannot get away with lying through the family court process. You will be required to swear to many things “under oath” such as your income and asset disclosure, your legal positions and filings with the court, as well as your testimony. Family law attorneys are generally very skilled at finding and proving lies. Once you get caught in one or more lies, the court will not find your information, as to other important items credible. It makes it hard to have success in family court if the court does not believe what you are telling the court.
Try to Represent Yourself or Complete the Process without a Lawyer.
When you don’t choose to use a lawyer for such an important process (most family law cases involve custody/parenting time of children and your financial future/asset division), it shows the court that you think you know more than professionals and you do not want to listen or receive professional advice or input. That is a bad way to start the process and “introduce” yourself to the court. From there, when you rely on your own judgment in such an emotional and stressful process, you will probably not be making your best decisions and performing at your best. To further this, most people do not understand the court rules and process and this furthers the negative way that the judge will view them. Finally, if the other party has a lawyer, they are likely getting excellent advice, input, and planning a strategy that will impress the judge. Of course, this is going to put the party without a lawyer at an impossible deficit from the beginning.
Refuse to Provide a Financial Disclosure.
By law, when cases involve financial support, property division, request for attorney fees, request for reimbursement of expenses or other similar things, virtually all of the parties’ financial status and information is subject to the court’s expectation of full disclosure. If you fail to cooperate with full and timely disclosure, the judge will assume that you are either hiding money, trying to lie, trying to complicate the process to make it more difficult for everyone out of anger or trying to delay things. The law gives the judge many options in terms of punishing or addressing an uncooperative family law litigant.
Take Every Opportunity to Be Combative and Angry with the Other Party.
At some point, you had a relationship with the other party such that you either married them, had a child with them, or had shared business interests with them. There were some good qualities about the other person at some point. Constantly attacking everything about the other party makes you seem extreme, angry, indicative,, and unreasonable. You do not appear sympathetic or as though you are trying to find solutions. This is not someone that the judge is likely to want to reward with a victory in family court.
Fail to Show Up For Court.
If you have been served with court paperwork (or in some occasions, if you are aware of the court proceeding even if you are not formally served), the court can enter a ruling or orders against you, even if you refuse to show up. Sticking your head in the sand and denying the existence of the court case will not help you. Instead, it is likely to help the other party win their case. If you show up and tell the court your side, the court is likely to hear what you have to say and take it into consideration in some respects. If you don’t show up to court, the court will enter an order against you and still hold you accountable to abiding by it. If you show up in family court and act appropriately, you are likely to have some success. At a minimum, the judge will likely explain his or her decisions and the reasons behind them.
You Really Want to Win in Family Court- Not Lose, Right?
Most people that search for information about how to lose in family court are actually trying to find tips for how they can be successful. Allow our team to work with you through our team approach to develop a winning strategy in the family court. Put our more than twenty years of experience on your side!
Call Pingel Family Law today to schedule your family law consultation at (816) 208-8130.