No matter how hard you try, it isn’t always possible to avoid a custody battle. If your spouse is determined to fight, there’s nothing you can do to prevent it.

You can, however, prevent yourself from falling into some common traps. These are some of the top mistakes that clients make during custody battles:

1. Letting their anger show

You have every right to be angry if your spouse is being unreasonable — but you can’t afford to show it. Find a therapist, journal, start an exercise program, vent to your best friend or go to a rage room to work off your stress — but don’t lose your cool in front of anyone if it could affect your custody case.

2. Talking negatively about — or to — your spouse

This is right up there with losing your temper. No matter how awful your spouse is being, keep your observations to yourself. Under no circumstances should you call your spouse names or say anything negative in text, email, on social media or in front of your child. That can be construed very negatively by the court.

3. Refusing to acknowledge the positives

Unless your spouse is 100 percent terrible as a parent, find something nice you can say about him or her in court. Be willing to admit that your spouse is always willing to provide money for extras the kids want or need (if that is true) or that your spouse does genuinely love the kids. Your complaints will seem far more balanced and credible to the court if you don’t paint a two-dimensional picture of your spouse.

4. Disobeying the court

Yes, these are your children — but the court has the final say over all your parenting decisions as long as a custody battle is going on. If the court orders you to do something — like take the kids to therapy or make sure that they always have access to a phone if they want to contact the other parent — do as you’re instructed. In a contest of wills with the judge, you’re bound to lose.

For more advice on how to handle yourself during a custody battle in Maryland, please contact our firm.