Your Rights As a Father During a Divorce

Until the past decade, the divorce process has been fairly sexist when children are involved. The mother was usually awarded custody without much thought otherwise, leaving the father with limited visitation rights and enormous child support payments.

Fortunately, both parents are now being considered equally. The rights of the father are taken into account when deciding which parent is better capable of caring and providing for their children. Some argue that this is the result of the increasing number of divorces, and they might be right. Whatever the case, fathers are becoming the sole provider and caregiver of their children more frequently than ever.

Some divorces are quite clean-cut. The husband and wife are perfectly capable of sitting down and deciding what’s best for their children’s future. But many more divorces are messy and your capability as a caregiver can be called into question. If you believe this might happen, it’s time to contact a reputable family attorney. Some rights, such as visitation, can’t be taken away from the father under normal circumstances. Other rights, such as unsupervised visitation, can be brought into question and successfully taken away if enough evidence is provided. A lawyer can adequately assist you in contesting these allegations.

When preparing to fight for custody or visitation rights, create a list of what responsibilities you’d prefer to have or how much time you’d like to spend with the children. The court will have the final decision, but not voicing your opinions will do more harm than good. Keep in mind that while the number of custodies awarded to the father are growing rapidly, many judges still hold old-fashioned views. Hiring a good lawyer can be crucial. Unless otherwise stated by the court, some rights are guaranteed by the United States Constitution and state laws. These rights include seeing the child’s school and medical record, attending or even participating in their hobbies or sports and determining the child’s doctors and medical treatment.

It’s worth noting that while the divorce may be hard on you, it’s harder on the children. The entire process is confusing and stressful, and a child can develop resentment toward one or both parents. Be gentle with them and have patience. Don’t compete with the other parent in regards to gifts and fun outings. Counseling may be necessary, in which case both parents and the child should attend.

Remember that while fighting for custody of the child, judges don’t look kindly to one parent attempting to withhold all contact with the child from the other parent. You want to appear as a reasonable party. This is also important once you’ve gained custody. Refusing to allow the other parent to see the child or making threats toward the other parent can eventually result in the loss of custody.

If you lose custody of the children, a child support attorney can aid you in contesting the amount. Additionally, you can contest custody if you feel the other parent has begun to neglect the children in any way. It’s uncommon for courts to aware both sole and legal custody to one parent, meaning the other parent will always be able to see and interact with their children on a regular, scheduled basis. Both sole and legal custody can be awarded to one parent if the other is deemed completely unfit. “Unfit” usually means that person has demonstrated mental instability, physical violence, abuse of drugs or alcohol, or has neglected a child in the past. In these cases, most rights are revoked, but sometimes the court will still grant supervised visits.

In conclusion, get professional advice and help during the divorce. Remember to pay special attention to the children who are just as hurt as you. And lastly, be fair to the other parent, no matter how bitter you may be toward her.