How Will My’ Not So Perfect Past’ Affect My Child Custody Case?

Hi it’s Wendi Hernandez with Command the Courtroom. In this week’s video I want to talk with you about your past. So, if you’re human you don’t have a perfect pass at some point in your past you’ve done something wrong you’ve messed up you made a mistake you’ve lied whatever and that’s just a part of being a human. But when it comes to a custody case if it’s a really hotly contested case you can bet that the other side is going to try to bring up whatever the mistakes that you’ve made in the past to the judge to try to talk the judge into giving him or her whatever it is that that person wants. This is an unusual, oftentimes I see during a relationship where a person is really okay with the behaviors of their partner but all of a sudden when the parties are splitting up or they’re getting divorce and child custody is an issue those behaviors that the partner tolerated during the relationship are now suddenly a big deal.

The point I want to make to you during this week’s video is that whatever it is that you’ve done in your past you really have to cop to that if it does come up during your custody case. And by cops that I mean have to own up to it you and the thing is is because we’re all human and we all make mistakes I don’t think a judge is going to expect you to be perfect and some people are going to have made worse mistakes and other people. Some people’s mistakes are just lying to the other party about something on the other hand other parties have been in situations where maybe they committed an act of domestic violence against the other party or maybe they were convicted of a DUI or a drug offense or maybe they were convicted of some other more serious offense. And the fact is if that’s happened in your case if that’s happened in your pit pass then you really have to come clean and you have to tell the judge what happened, explain what happened explain where your head was when that happened. But really you want to pivot and talk to the judge more about where you are now and what you learned from that experience and how you’re going to use that experience to improve the lives with your children and make sure that they don’t make the mistakes that you’ve made.

Obviously, if you’re making these promises to a judge or these avowals to a judge about how you’re not going to mess up like you did before you have to back it up with action. Recently, I was in court on a custody matter and both of the parties have some different issues going on. One of the issues that the other party, the mom has, is that she’s doing drugs. And the judge in the course of the hearing turned to the mother, and it was just an initial status conference, but the judge turned to the mother and said, “If I were to order you to get drug tested today would you test positive for illegal drugs?” And the mother was very upset and of course she started crying and then she said, “Yes.” And in my mind she did the right thing by saying yes because if she had said no and then the judge ordered her to test then she would have proven to be a liar in the judge’s eyes and the judge would have never trusted her about anything again. So, she said yes and of course the judge chastised her a little bit and that was kind of the end of it but I want to fast forward six weeks later mother did not back up what she told the judge that day, which was I’m not going to do it again mother didn’t back up her words with action. We just had a hearing a week ago and my client suspected that mother was still doing drugs and we brought it up to the judge and the judge ordered that mother take a test. And guess what mother tested positive for the illegal drugs at she had been doing six weeks ago and this was just a urine test what that tells us is that she was she had been doing the drugs recently. So it remains to be seen what’s going to happen I suspect the judge is going to require mother to continue to test on a random basis and I wouldn’t be surprised if the judge ordered mother to have only supervised visits with the child or maybe suspended her visits all together until she gets clean. I don’t know what the judge is going to do but we’ll find out my point is is even if you’ve had a drug issue in your past if you’re making an effort to turn it around and you’re backing up your words with actions showing the judge how you’re changing yourself and change in your life because your kids are the most important thing to you then eventually you’re going to be okay. Sometimes it takes time for you to earn the judge judges’ trust back you know and it may be more than just a couple weeks it may be months it may be years but what’s important is your kids are going to need you and so to be a part of their life you have to take sustained action in the right direction. That means you have to act the right way for quite a period of time until the judge sees that you’re ready. Don’t give up because your kids need you, your kids deserve to have you in their lives and you really have the responsibility and the obligation to do whatever it takes to be a part of their lives and you can do it.

Whatever your past is please don’t be ashamed of it, own it, figure out how you’ve learned from it and how you’re going to teach your children to act differently in their own lives and back up your words with actions.