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Attacking Your Co-Parent’s Character Rarely Has the Intended Effect

Posted on in Child Custody

Attacking Your Co-Parent’s Character Rarely Has the Intended EffectDivorcing or separated parents in a dispute over their parenting time are often looking for something that will give them an advantage over their co-parent. Pointing out flaws in your co-parent’s character feels like a strong argument for giving you a greater share of parental responsibilities. However, character attacks are not always effective in a parenting case and may instead backfire on the accuser. You will be best served during your parenting case by demonstrating the strengths of your own character and only bringing up your co-parent’s lack of character if you can explain actual ways that it is harmful to your children.

Importance of Character

Someone’s character is relevant when a court rules on the allocation of parental responsibilities if it concerns their morality and judgment. Illinois law states that providing moral and ethical guidance is one of the roles of a parent. An immoral parent may fail in that role by demonstrating a lack of morality or not teaching their children the difference between right and wrong. Other parents show a lack of good judgment that puts their children in danger or neglects their upbringing. You can express your concerns about your co-parent’s character to the court, but the court will find your claims more credible if you present third-party evidence, such as:

  • Character witnesses testifying in court
  • Character letters submitted to the court
  • Child services professionals testifying on their observations of the children

If you are the one whose character is under attack, you can present witnesses that testify to your good character as a parent.

Problems with Character Attacks

When you are divorcing or have broken up with your co-parent, you probably have a greater negative bias towards your co-parent than anyone. You know your co-parent’s character flaws that damaged your relationship, but those flaws may be separate from whether they are a good parent. Before attacking your co-parent’s character, you should ask yourself whether trying to limit your co-parent’s parenting time is in the best interest of your children and not just yourself. There are many negatives that can come from launching a character attack:

  • You are making it more difficult to have amicable negotiations.
  • You are encouraging your co-parent to attack you.
  • The accusations could hurt your relationship with your children if they learn about them.
  • Petty or irrational complaints reflect more poorly on you than on your co-parent.

Contact a St. Charles, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer

It can be difficult to see things objectively when determining the future of your rights as a parent. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group will both advocate for your parental responsibilities and help you focus on your children’s best interests. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.


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