Child custody disputes are all over the news lately, and few are more visible than the dispute between actor Charlie Sheen and his wife Brooke Mueller over the custody of their two-year-old twins. In fact, the news interviews read like a primer on what not to do if you’re hoping to win custody of your children during divorce.

  1. Keep your private life conservative … and private. It’s difficult to imagine that a judge would think Sheen’s highly-publicized living arrangement with two women (one an ex-porn star) makes a good environment in which to raise children. Sheen shouting his life’s particulars from the rooftops doesn’t help either.
  2. Bragging about your drug use is a bad idea. Telling the news media about your bad habits (especially the illegal ones) is a poor idea during child custody disputes. If you’re doing something you probably shouldn’t be doing, at least keep it to yourself.
  3. Past behavior matters. If you, like Charlie Sheen, have shot a past girlfriend and can no longer count the restraining orders that have been taken out against you, it is best to assess your chances objectively — and remember to pick and choose your battles.
  4. Don’t antagonize. In child custody disputes, you need all of the friends (and character witnesses) you can get. Don’t make enemies of the people who know you best, and that includes your ex.

If you are struggling with child custody disputes similar to those in the news recently, consult a child custody attorney in your area for legal advice on your individual situation.