Keep Track of Contradictory Requests Made By Your Opponent.
It is sometimes alarming to learn that a parent asking for custody of a child originally wanted nothing to do with the child. Indeed, parents sometimes make ill-advised requests from the court that indicate their disinterest in child custody, and then later turn around and make a pitch for full custody. If you’re the responding parent, then it’s time to starting taking notes.
The first category of contradictions involve those fathers who unnecessarily challenge paternity. By denying paternity and requesting genetic testing, the father essentially says that he is NOT the father of the child and refuses to own up to this responsibility until presented with scientific proof (usually, DNA evidence) of his paternity. Of course, if a father legitimately questions whether he fathered the child, then paternity testing is probably the proper route to take. But the right to testing should not be abused as a delay tactic or an avoidance technique. Fathers who challenge paternity needlessly effectively show that they truly don’t want to be fathers in the first place.
The second category of contradictions involve those parents who ask to voluntarily terminate their parental rights. Of course, it is difficult to terminate one’s parental rights, and courts are reluctant to grant such a request without substantial cause for doing so. What does it say, however, when a parent voluntarily requests that her parental rights by terminated; then the court rejects the request, and shortly thereafter the same parent applies for full custody of the children?
The third category of contradictions involve those parents who ask the court for permission to allow their new spouses, or their own parents or friends, to pick up the children during scheduled visitations, or to watch the children while they’re at work. If they’re too busy working to spend time with the children, why are these parents having joint custody or visitation rights in the first place?
All of these requests are evidence of parents who may not be ready for custody and shared parenting responsibilities. If they’re attempting to avoid responsibility for the children at the early stages of the litigation, then they’re hard-pressed to do a justifiable about-face months later.
Please share your stories if you’ve experienced such situations in your case.