It goes without saying that child custody cases are intensely emotional. When emotions run high, parents tend to make rash decisions that can negatively impact the result of their custody case. It is always best to be honest and amicable during your divorce proceeding. Lying about your spouse or making unreasonable demands is counterproductive and will unnecessarily increase the length and cost of your custody case. With this in mind, here are 3 reasons to be honest in your child custody case.

1. Credibility with the Court goes a long way

Judges are smart people.  Oftentimes, your family law judge has practiced in the area of family law prior to being your judge.  The judge has also seen a lot of family law cases in his or her time as a judge.  What does this mean for your case?  Parties making up allegations of abuse, neglect, and substance abuse in a custody case is not a new or unique issue to the judge.  Of course, if there are issues such as these in your situation, they should be brought to the Court’s attention.  However, if a party is embellishing, exaggerating, or downright lying about these types of issues, the Court will look very unfavorably on that party.  It ruins credibility with the judge. For example, when a party lies about the other parent’s substance abuse problem, how will the Court know that the party is not lying about their own relationship with the children?

2. Negotiating and Mediation Can Get Expensive

Sometimes a party will want to propose a parenting time schedule or custody designation that they know will get rejected, under the belief that if they ask for 10 weeks of vacation parenting time, but really want two weeks, then it will be easier for the other party to agree to two weeks if you start with 10.  Every email, phone call, letter, mediation, or meeting that your attorney must participate in will cost money.  While a party can certainly leave some room for negotiation, usually asking for the world and hoping to settle on something a little more reasonable ends up being a waste of time.  Additionally, wasting time with bogus settlement proposals can sometimes lead to a complete breakdown of settlement negotiations and place you on the much more expensive litigation track.

3. Retaliation Can Hurt you in the Long Run

If you start your settlement negations asking for what you really want and the other side is not agreeable to your terms, blowing up the negotiation by asking for unreasonable terms is counterproductive.  You are wasting time (which means you are wasting money) and you are spending less time coming up with a creative/productive solution that both parties can live with.