A lot of men feel as though the courts will automatically favor the mother during a divorce, giving them the advantage during child custody issues. But that isn't always the case. There are a number of things you can do to protect your rights and increase your chances of getting custody, whether full or shared. Here are three tips for fathers to follow in order to make the transition smoother for all involved.
Stick with a Visitation Schedule
There will be times that things come up, work schedules change, and emergencies arise. But if you and your spouse have agreed to a temporary visitation schedule, stick to it. If for any reason you can't see your child on your scheduled day, arrange for a babysitter or family member to help out. Sticking with a schedule and treating the situation as though you already have sole custody, instead of expecting your spouse to deal with a change in your schedule, demonstrates to the courts that you're serious about taking responsibility, and it gives your child a greater sense of stability.
Communicate with Your Child
It's natural for children to be anxious during a divorce, particularly in the beginning. Keep the lines of communication open between you and your child. Ask them, in age appropriate ways, how they are adjusting to the changes. Spend time with them doing some of their favorite activities.
Also, no matter how angry you are at the other parent, do not say negative things about them to your child. Badmouthing may initially hurt your spouse, but worse, it puts the child in the middle of the battle, ultimately making them feel confused, hurt, fearful, or angry. In the end, the child might end up resenting you for the things you said about the other parent. It can also reflect negatively on you in court. In fact, some separation agreements will clearly prohibit badmouthing.
Stay on Top of Child Support and/or Spousal Payments
If you've agreed to support the other parent in some fashion, whether through spousal or child support, be sure to make those payments on time. Not doing so can land you in legal trouble, even if you've encountered hard times financially. If a court order exists, you might be held in contempt of court. If not, your spouse could still decide to bring a civil case against you.
While the other parent shouldn't relay negative information to your child about the sudden lack of payments, most children are pretty perceptive about these things. And if they learn that you aren't contributing financially to their upbringing, it could send the wrong message to your child.
Making regular on-time payments can benefit you when seeking custody, and it can help improve the relationships between you, your spouse, and your child. For more information, contact a local attorney, such as Kenneth J. Molnar Attorney.Share
18 May 2017