child custody

8 Tips To Help Dads Prepare For A Custody Battle

child custodyWhen it comes to child custody battles, the deck is often stacked against dads. There are numerous gender stereotypes that work against fathers in all family law matters, but they seem especially pronounced in child custody issues.

The unfortunate reality is that child custody is the practice area of divorce that tends to cause the most heated disagreements. Divorce can impact nearly every aspect of your life, but matters such as property division and spousal support pale in comparison to the relationship you have with your kids. Far too frequently, dads are relegated to a secondary parent role when custody is determined.

If you are a father facing divorce and an ensuing child custody battle, it is best to take steps so that you are prepared for what lies ahead.

Contact a child custody attorney

The single most important thing you can do to prepare for your child custody case is to hire a family law attorney who focuses on fathers’ rights.

There are a number of different factors you should consider when choosing a divorce lawyer, but first and foremost you need to make sure you find an attorney who understands the specific challenges men and fathers face in family law.

Fortunately, there are law firms out there, such as Cordell & Cordell, that are solely dedicated to providing dads the legal guidance and resources they need during the divorce process. These fathers’ rights attorneys are well-versed in the child custody statutes in your jurisdiction and equipped to navigate the treacherous minefield of custody battles you are likely to face.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Pay attention to details

If you are seeking sole custody or joint custody, it is vital that you show you are invested and engaged in your child’s life. This means knowing everything from your child’s school schedule to the names of their best friends.

As their dad, this is likely information you already know, but do not leave it to chance. A judge can tell the difference between a father who is intimately involved with his child’s life versus a dad who is a passive participant in it.

Don’t confide in your child

Divorce is such an emotionally trying time that many fathers find themselves desperate for a listening ear to vent their frustrations to. But no matter how stressful your divorce gets or how frustrated you get with your ex, do not rant and rave to your child.

Trashing your ex in front of your child can potentially lead to parental alienation, which is incredibly damaging. It can also badly hurt your child custody case. If a judge finds out that you are using your child as a therapist and turning them against their mother, they are likely to question whether you truly have their best interest in mind.

It is important not to keep things bottled up as you are going through the divorce process, but talk to a friend, a trusted family member, or a mental health professional such as a therapist or counselor. Leave the kids out of it.

Stay civil

When a marriage falls apart, it is difficult to avoid having some hard feelings towards your ex. However, regardless of what you think of her, it is for the best if you two can work together to have an amicable relationship post-divorce.

After divorce, you might wish to never even see your ex again, but that is not realistic when you have children. Although you are no longer husband and wife, you are still both co-parents and you are going to need to communicate on some level as you raise your child.

Review some of the best practices for effective co-parenting and try to implement as many of them as possible. Of course, good co-parenting is somewhat dependent on cooperation from your ex, and that is out of your control. If your ex is especially disagreeable, consider utilizing a parallel parenting model of co-parenting to avoid conflict.

Keep notes

It is a good idea to start keeping a journal recording important names, dates, places, and people in the lives of your children. You should also detail any negative behaviors from your ex that could help your case, such as engaging in alienating behavior.

Make sure you list precise times and dates. Attention to detail, or lack thereof, can make or break you child custody case.

Understand your state’s child custody laws

Child custody laws can vary substantially from state to state, so one of the first things you should do is familiarize yourself with the custody statutes in your jurisdiction.

Paying attention to the fine print is tedious, but it is the only way to know what you are up against before your child custody hearing. Reading up on the latest custody laws can also help you figure out a list of questions to ask your divorce lawyer as your court date nears.

Follow proper courtroom etiquette

If you hope to win child custody you have to make sure you behave appropriately in court and follow correct protocols. Talk with your attorney about what is expected on the day of your hearing. It might even be a good idea to do some roleplaying with your divorce attorney ahead of time to ensure that you understand the expectations prior to your court appearance.

You will also want to make sure you dress appropriately to make a positive impression. Typically, you will want to wear something formal that conveys that you are well put together and a responsible adult.

Monitor social media

When you are in the midst of a child custody battle, it is for the best to shut down your social media accounts across the board. There is not much upside to having those accounts open during this time.

Whatever you do, do not post any details about your case. You should be very careful about all the content that you post because it is very easy for someone to form the wrong impression without proper context. For example, you might post a picture of you and your friends having a couple drinks and the opposing party could use that photo as evidence that you are partying too much and not a responsible parent.

A temporary social media blackout is really for the best.

The post 8 Tips To Help Dads Prepare For A Custody Battle appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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divorce recovery

The Disturbing Ways Divorce Can Impact Your Health

divorce recoveryFiguring out how to survive and thrive after divorce is no easy task.

Divorce is a life event that completely shakes up your life and can leave you feeling like a shell of your former self.

It is not just the fact that your family is splitting apart, your living situation is changing, and your finances are taking a hit. Divorce also has a very real impact on your physical and mental health.

Here are some of the most significant ways divorce can impact your health.

Chronic stress

Divorce is consistently ranked as one of the most stressful life events, and when that stress becomes chronic, it can pose serious problems to your overall well-being.

When the body is stressed, it releases the hormone cortisol. Overexposure to cortisol can disrupt nearly every system in the body and can contribute to anxiety, heart disease, depression, digestive problems, and other issues.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Weight gain

According to a study published in Social Science & Medicine, ending a marriage can lead to a less healthy diet for men.

That is not surprising. A lot of guys might not have handled cooking duties while they were married. And after divorce, it is common to cope with comfort foods (who couldn’t use a night on the couch with some pizza and beer after a tough breakup?).

That nutritional decline can have serious consequences, however, as a lack of fruits and vegetables puts a person at greater risk for cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Sleep problems

The chronic stress of divorce also can cause trouble sleeping. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation is one of those things that can easily snowball. A lack of sleep leads to more stress, which makes it even harder to fall asleep, which causes more anxiety, and so on.

“In the sleep world, stress is to sleep as yin is to yang – opposite forces that are forever linked,” said Chris Winter, medical director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center. “Stress prevents sleep. Sleep deprivation increases stress and its consequences.”

Fortunately, there are some practical steps you can take to improve your sleep hygiene so that it is easier to fall asleep.

Depression

Depression goes hand-in-hand with stress and anxiety, so it should come as no surprise that many men struggle with depression after divorce.

The end of a marriage conjures a lot of emotional turmoil, and a lot of men are not equipped to deal with these mental health issues on their own. The situation is even worse if you were dealt an unfavorable child custody arrangement forcing you to spend less time with your kids than you would like.

Do not hesitate to reach out for help if you feel overwhelmed. A mental health professional can help you find a sense of stability and start to get back on your feet after divorce.

Addiction/Substance abuse

Research shows that excessive alcohol or drug abuse is the third most common reason for divorce. Divorce itself may pose a risk factor for addiction as a Medscape study found that getting a divorce increases the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder by almost sixfold in men.

Many guys try to cope with the heartbreak of their by numbing the pain with drugs or alcohol.

This is a dangerous road to go down. If substance abuse becomes your primary means of coping with what you are going through, you are veering towards addiction and should seek help immediately.

The post The Disturbing Ways Divorce Can Impact Your Health appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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divorce recovery

3 Reasons Divorced Dads Should Always Take The High Road

divorce recoveryVery few couples make it through the entire divorce process without at least a few points of contention.

Divorce, by its very nature, is adversarial and tends to breed conflict. Amicable divorces are rare. Although no-fault divorce is now the norm and it is no longer always necessary to prove marital fault, there still are plenty of opportunities for emotions to erupt.

The process of negotiating child custody arrangements, child support agreements, property division, and alimony/spousal support often is tense and involves a lot of back and forth at a time when each party is already in a precarious emotional state.

However, even if you are dealing with an especially difficult ex, it is wise to maintain your composure no matter how the divorce proceedings progress.

Here are three reasons divorced dads should always take the high road:

It’s best for your kids

First and foremost, you always need to keep the best interest of your children in mind.

Seeing their parents split is traumatic, but research shows that the negative outcomes children of divorce are at risk of has more to do with the amount of conflict they are exposed to during the divorce rather than the event of divorce itself.

Working with your ex to come up with an effective co-parenting arrangement that keeps both of you involved and engaged in your children’s lives is one of the best things you can do for them. This takes flexibility and compromise from both parties.

If your ex refuses to cooperate, you might employ a parallel parenting model, which is a co-parenting arrangement designed for high-conflict relationships.

You might have been wronged by your ex, but you should not let those hard feelings boil over to the point that they affect your children.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

It’s best for you

The problem with lashing out at your ex, even if she has seriously wronged you, is that it is not going to make you feel any better. Whatever happened between the two of you while you are married is now in the past, and you need to be putting your best foot forward. That can’t happen as long as you are being drug into arguments and disagreements.

Rather than ruminating on past events or worrying about what lies ahead, focus on cultivating a mindfulness practice that keeps you centered in the present. This is the most effective way to find peace in the wake of divorce and can help you along your road to divorce recovery.

It’s best for your case

When feelings get hurt during divorce, it can be tempting to do whatever it takes to get back at your ex during the divorce proceedings.

That might mean trying to paint them as a bad parent so you get a better custody arrangement or lying or hiding assets so you come out ahead in the division of property. Tempting as this might be, it is a terrible idea. If the judge finds out you are lying, you are sure to pay for it in the final divorce agreement.

Rather than fixating on revenge, focus on what you can do to improve your standing going into divorce negotiations. Work on being the best father possible so the judge sees the value you bring to their lives. Establish clear channels of communication with your attorney so they can work to get you the best settlement possible.

When it comes to divorce, honesty is always the best policy.

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divorce recovery

How To Minimize Divorce Damage And Speed Your Recovery

divorce recoveryThe road to divorce recovery is typically long and arduous. Family court is set up in a way that tends to breed conflict, making amicable breakups tough to accomplish.

Unfortunately, the divorce process tends to be even more challenging for men and fathers. So many guys end up with alimony and child support payments that bleed them dry financially and far too many fathers are left with unfavorable child custody arrangements that limit the role they play in their children’s lives.

The stress and emotional turmoil of divorce increases the physical and mental health risks men are exposed to – divorce increases the rate of early mortality by up to 250 percent.

One of the reasons divorce wreaks so much havoc is that many guys make avoidable mistakes throughout the process that compound the damage. Here are some practical steps to take during divorce that can go a long way toward minimizing the harm done and speed your divorce recovery.

Meet with an attorney ASAP

There is a multitude of free information and resources available on the Internet that can be very useful throughout your divorce. There are literally thousands of helpful articles here on DadsDivorce and our partner sites, MensDivorce.com and MensRights.com.

However, most of the information you find while researching divorce online is generalized because every case is unique. It is difficult to determine how the laws and legal statutes are going to apply to your specific situation. It is a major mistake to try to resolve your case without the guidance of someone more knowledgeable on the topic.

You may have an aversion to getting an attorney involved and might prefer to handle the case on your own, especially if you and your ex are splitting on friendly terms. The problem is that the divorce process can cause amicable relationships to turn bitter without the help of legal professional to sort through the messy and confusing details.

At the very least, meet with an attorney for an initial consultation, which comes at a nominal free and sometimes is even free. This does not require retaining the attorney and can provide valuable information as you determine the next steps to take in your divorce.

The cost of a lawyer can be pricey, depending on how issues there are to sort out, but hiring an attorney who focuses on men’s and fathers’ rights is an investment that can save you from additional costs, headaches, and heartbreak in the long run.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Prioritize self-care

A certain amount of stress is unavoidable in most divorce cases. It ranks as the second-most stressful life event a person can experience. So keep in mind during your divorce that there are likely going to be days you feel completely overwhelmed.

Regardless of how messy your divorce gets, you can do yourself a huge favor by prioritizing taking care of yourself. That means eating right, getting plenty of sleep, exercising regularly, and doing what you can to maintain your mental health.

If you reach a point where you do not know how to cope with everything that is on your plate, consider seeing a licensed counselor or therapist. Mental health professional can help you figure out strategies to manage your stress better than you ever though was possible.

Budget responsibly

One reason divorce recovery is such an uphill climb for many guys is that it is so expensive. The cost of attorney fees, alimony, and child support can wipe out your bank account, and it can take years to get back on your feet.

One of the reasons hiring a family law attorney is such a worthwhile investment is that they can help minimize the long-term monetary damage of your divorce. However, there also are some steps you can personally take to keep yourself afloat financially.

Come up with a realistic budget that you can stick to before, during, and after divorce that factors in all of your monthly costs and expenses. This will give you a clear understanding of the money you have coming in and where all your money is going to each month. Once you have a detailed budget put together, you can then determine whether you need to trim some expenses or find a way to bring in more income.

It also is critical to avoid any major purchases before your divorce is final. If you are in a dispute over child support or alimony, your wife’s attorney likely will take note if you were able to drop a bunch of money on a new car and that could decrease your chances of winning.

The post How To Minimize Divorce Damage And Speed Your Recovery appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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divorced dad

4 Things All Divorced Dads Should Do For Their Kids

divorced dad

Divorce is incredibly difficult, but it is important for you to keep in mind how your breakup is affecting your children.

As a father, the best interest of your children is always your top priority. You should never lose sight of that.

With that in mind, here are four things all divorced dads should do to help their kids adjust to their divorce.

Don’t expose them to any breakdowns

Two of the most common emotions associated with divorce are anxiety and depression. There is just so much emotional turmoil to overcome that it is impossible not to end  up a little stressed and sad.

It is critical to your well-being to avoid bottling up these emotions. That is one of the most self-destructive habits you can develop during this challenging time.

However, it is important that you find appropriate outlets to vent about those feelings. Reach out to family members and close friends. It is certainly worth looking into seeing a therapist to help you sort through what you are experiencing.

Do not, under any circumstances, use your children as a sounding board. This is already a heartbreaking process for them, and they should not be expected to talk you through your struggles.

This does not mean you should try to feign fake emotional strength. It is healthy to admit that you are sad to your kids and show your vulnerabilities, so that they know it is OK to feel that way too. But any emotional breakdowns you might go through should be away from their eyes and ears and in the company of a trusted confidant who is more emotionally equipped to help you.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Work with your ex to co-parent effectively

Children of divorce are at risk for a number of negative consequences, but those risks can largely be negated by having two active and involved parents involved in their lives.

Effective co-parenting requires clear communication, flexibility, patience, and a commitment to doing what is best for your children regardless of how you and your ex feel about each other.

This is obviously more challenging if there are hard feelings between you and your ex. A lot of couples are utilizing co-parenting counselors to help figure out this process.

“Co-parenting counseling is a specific kind of counseling intended to teach parents who are separated or divorced to communicate more effectively,” said Cordell & Cordell divorce attorney Jamie Spero. “The purpose of it is to talk about the kids’ best interest in a neutral environment with a neutral third party who has special training, and this person is supposed to help you learn to communicate more effectively, so you can co-parent your children easier.”

You might be in a spot where your ex is just too disagreeable to co-parent with. In these scenarios, it might be worth employing a parallel parenting model, which is designed for high-conflict couples.

Avoid bad-mouthing your ex in front of your kids

It does not matter how terrible your ex is, you should never speak ill of her in front of your children. Kids tend to idolize their parents and love them unconditionally. When they hear you breaking her down, it creates confusion and can result in a toxic relationship and even parental alienation.

Again, keep in mind that the best way for you to ensure your children avoid the negative effects of divorce is by ensuring they have a loving relationship with both you and their mother. The negativity between you and your ex should stay between the two of you.

Encourage your kids to talk about your divorce

Just like you, your children need to have a place to talk about the feelings they have about your divorce. Seeing their parents fall out of love and break up is confusing and can lead to heartache, anger, sadness, and a number of other unpleasant emotions.

You should communicate that it is OK for them to feel all of these things and make sure they know you are always available to talk if they need to. Understandably, they might not be comfortable opening up about some things with you, so you might need to find a teacher or counselor who can listen to your children and help them make sense what they are going through.

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health during divorce

How To Stay Healthy During A Divorce

health during divorceDivorce has a way of impacting nearly every part of your life.

The costs of divorce – attorney fees, child support, alimony, and more – can wreck your finances. Depending on how the division of property goes, your living situation can drastically change. And worst of all, divorce can even change the amount of time you get to spend with your children.

With so much at stake, it is understandable if you start to feel stressed and overwhelmed. That can take a huge toll on both your mind and body.

It is critical to be proactive in taking steps to minimize the physical and mental strain of divorce so that you maintain your overall health.

Go to the doctor

Men face a number of increased health risks in the wake of divorce. The long-term consequences of the stress that comes with the divorce process can lead to some very serious long-term issues, some of which are even life-threatening.

In general, men seem less inclined to take care of their health, even when they are not going through divorce. Men are often more reluctant to go to the doctor, and that almost certainly contributes to a lower life expectancy than women.

At the very least, you should go in for an annual checkup, especially if you have a family history of certain ailments.

Your doctor can provide a roadmap to help lower your risk factor of developing serious conditions and help you deal with any preexisting conditions.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

See a therapist

Looking after your mental well-being is every bit as important as taking care of your physical health. The emotional turmoil of divorce can create a spiral of anxiety and depression that seems unending.

When the stress seems overwhelming, there is no shame in asking for help. You might reach a point where it is beneficial to seek the professional guidance of a licensed mental health professional.

Some men might feel hesitant to open up about their feelings. Traditional views of masculinity emphasize the importance of toughness, fearlessness, and invulnerability to pain, but these unrealistic notions are counterproductive and prevent many men from seeking the help they need.

Not only will a therapist allow you to vent about what you are going through, but they are qualified to recognize the symptoms of depression and can determine the best way to treat the disorder.

Divorce is not the time to hold things in. That is only going to make things worse. A therapist can help you manage the negative feelings you are experiencing and help you get back on your feet.

Avoid bad habits

One of the factors contributing to the increased health risks men face during and after divorce is their propensity to fall into bad habits.

With so much stress and frustration, there is a natural temptation to try to drown your sorrows in a case of beer or bottle of liquor, but self-medicating with alcohol is a slippery slope.

Research shows men are more likely to binge drink during divorce. Not only is this a risky behavior health-wise, but it could potentially be used as evidence to paint you as an unfit father during your child custody case.

Another mistake a lot of guys make immediately after divorce is jumping into a rebound relationship too quickly and becoming a habitual dater. Starting a new relationship too soon after divorce makes it more likely that someone ends up  hurt – whether that is you or the person you are dating.

You can find love again after divorce, but it is important to be responsible as you manage your dating life.

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surviving divorce

3 Tips To Survive (And Thrive) After Divorce

surviving divorceSurviving divorce is no easy task no matter how tough you are. According to the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, divorce is the second-most stressful life event behind only the death of a spouse or child.

Divorce recovery is a process that takes a lot of time and meticulous self-care. It is a process that oftentimes takes guys longer to bounce back from than women.

There are numerous factors that make moving on after divorce so difficult. When you get married and start a family, you think you have your future figured out, but divorce flips your plans upside down, forcing you to start from scratch and rebuild many of the most important aspects of your life.

However, surviving divorce is possible, no matter how nasty things get between you and your ex. Divorce recovery is a slow process, but with patience, focus, and really hard intentional work, you can do it.

Here are some tips and strategies that should help you figure out how to cope with divorce and avoid post-divorce depression.

Focus on being a great dad

One of the toughest parts of divorce for fathers is that too often dads get the short end of the stick in child custody decisions. Despite the shared parenting movement’s enormous progress, many judges still default to automatically awarding primary custody to mothers.

This is why it is important at the very beginning of the divorce process to get in touch with a family law attorney who focuses on fathers’ rights. Divorce is uniquely challenging for dads, so you should make sure you hire an attorney who understands what you are facing.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Regardless of what your child custody arrangement ends up looking like, you should use the time during and following a divorce to focus on becoming the best father you can possibly be for your children.

Doing everything you can to ensure your children have an active and engaged father involved in their lives is one of the best things you can do to offset the negative impact divorce can have on children. While research shows that children of divorce are at risk for an array of negative consequences, the root cause of those ramifications has more to do with how the divorce affects their relationship with their parents rather than the event of divorce itself.

Depending on the age of your children, they might initially end up with some hard feelings toward you after your divorce. It is possible they blame you for the breakup and harbor resentment. It is critical for you to acknowledge the emotions they are feeling and give them an outlet to vent, whether that is to you, a trusted family member, or counselor.

By encouraging open communication and honesty, you can start to rebuild trust with your children.

Another big part of being a good father to your children in the aftermath of divorce is working with your ex to establish a strong co-parenting relationship. This can be particularly tough if your divorce was not amicable. Even if you and your ex have hard feelings, you need to agree to put your differences aside so that you can effectively co-parent. Your children’s well-being should be the top priority for both of you.

Effective co-parenting requires clear communication, flexibility, and cooperation. If your ex refuses to cooperate, you might need to consider a parallel parenting arrangement, which is a high-conflict co-parenting model designed to shield children from whatever disagreements their parents might have.

If you are unable to obtain a 50/50 custody arrangement and are only allotted a limited amount of parenting time or visitation, then you will need to do what you can to make the most of the amount of time you do have with your children. With such a limited amount of time, it might be tempting to try to turn every outing into a special occasion, but avoid becoming a “Disneyland Dad” and instead concentrate on building meaningful connections with your kids.

Take care of your health

The stress and emotional turmoil of the divorce process results in some very serious health risks for guys. Divorce increases the rate of early mortality for men by up to 250 percent. Studies show divorced men have increased rates of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, suicide, substance abuse, and cancer.

Divorce is so draining that it becomes very easy to shut down. At the end of the day, you might just want to crash on the couch with some beer, pizza, and Netflix.

There is nothing wrong with taking an occasional night to regroup and veg on the recliner, but don’t make that habitual.

There is a very strong relationship between body and mind, and exercise is proven to be one of the best reducers of stress and anxiety. So hit the gym, go for a bike ride, walk around the park, or even jump into a pick-up basketball game with some buddies. Just make sure you are staying physically active, even when you do not feel like it.

You also will want to make sure your diet doesn’t tank. According to a study published in Social Science & Medicine, male nutrition tends to decline after breakups. If your wife did all the cooking in your relationship then you will need to learn how to cook healthy meals for yourself.

Just as important as keeping yourself physically fit is looking after your mental health. Many guys battle depression and anxiety after going through a divorce. These are issues that can spiral if you fail to get the support that you need.

Some men really struggle opening up about their relationship issues, so it might be worth enlisting the help of a licensed mental health professional. You also might consider taking up practicing mindfulness and daily mediation, as it is widely considered one of the best ways to cope with stress and anxiety.

Personal development

Striving to become a better parent and taking care of your physical and mental health all tie into the larger picture of overall personal development.

When you were married, your relationship with your spouse probably formed an enormous part of your identity. That all changes after divorce, but it also presents an opportunity for you to really focus on self-improvement.

Now that you are single, you likely have more time to take up new hobbies that you always wanted to try. In addition to doing everything possible to become a better dad, you also can devote tremendous energy to advancing your career and putting yourself in a better financial position moving forward.

The key to personal development is identifying specific areas of your life that need improvement and then coming up with a realistic strategy to make progress. So if career success is a goal of yours, maybe there is a promotion you can work for. If you feel getting into better shape is important for you, then set a weight-loss goal. Just make sure you are taking steps to keep your life moving in a positive direction.

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child support budget

How To Fit Child Support In Your Budget

child support budgetOne of the biggest challenges divorced dads face in the days following a divorce is figuring out how to budget responsibly.

Divorce is often very expensive. Even after the case is settled, there are lingering expenses such as child support and alimony that can affect your finances for years to come.

Many single parents have a tough enough time paying the bills and making ends meet. Court-ordered child support stretches your money even further.

If you find yourself stuck with payments you cannot afford, it is best to check with your divorce attorney to see if a child support modification is possible. It is common for financial circumstances to change after the child support order is issued, and if that is the case then it might be possible to lower the amount you are paying each month.

If a child support modification is not in the cards, then you may need to adjust your household budget to make child support more bearable. Here are some pointers that can help you organize your budget so you are not crushed by child support arrears.

List your fixed expenses

Write down your expenses that are consistent month to month. Fixed expenses typically include bills like your mortgage or rent, car and insurance payments, and utility bills.

Once you finish listing all your monthly fixed costs, you should search for expenses that you can eliminate. Maybe you don’t watch much TV and can do without cable

Reduce discretionary spending

After determining fixed expenses, you need to look at your variable costs. Come up with estimates that you spend each month on things like gas, groceries, entertainment, etc. These are areas where you might be able to save some money with some discipline.

For example, you can carpool to work or use coupons to cut down on your grocery bill. This is probably your best opportunity to cut your spending, so get creative and really think of ways you can reduce these costs.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Create a budget you can stick to

Once you determine where all your money is going each month, create a monthly budget that includes your monthly child support payments. Before your month even begins, figure out where your money is going to go. Also factor in an amount for unplanned expenses such as car repairs, emergency health bills, and other odds and ends that invariably pop up.

Once you create a budget, stay disciplined and stick to it. Once you keep at it for a few months, it will start to get easier as this will become the lifestyle you are used to.

Find additional income

Unfortunately, even after trimming expenses and creating a monthly budget, many dads still find themselves with less money than they need to make their child support payments. In these instances, if you are unable to modify your child support order, it might be necessary to find additional sources of income.

If your schedule allows it, you might check into picking up a second job. Some fathers are just too busy to commit to a full-time second job, but there are opportunities within the “gig economy” to earn additional income. Websites like Fiverr provide an online marketplace for freelance services. You could also drive for a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft. These services allow you to work whenever you want so you can keep your schedule open and earn additional money when you have some free time.

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The Biggest Child Support Mistakes To Avoid

child supportDivorce is often complex, and even more so when children are involved.

Depending on you and your spouse’s financial situation, you might be required to pay child support. Divorce is expensive enough on its own, but the addition of a monthly child support payment is enough to ruin many guys’ finances.

There are a lot of misconceptions about and flaws with the child support system, and it is easy to fall behind on your payments and into arrears. When child support debt starts to accumulate, it might be worth checking with your divorce attorney to see if child support debt consolidation is a possibility.

To avoid child support debt, it is important to educate yourself on the intricacies of the system so that you avoid common child support mistakes.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Failing to report changes to your income

Perhaps the most common child support mistake dads make is failing to report changes to their financial circumstances.

The amount of money you are bringing in dictates how much child support you are expected to pay. So if you lose your job, receive a pay cut, or experience some other change in income, you might be able to file for a child support modification.

Child support modifications can be tricky, however, so it is best to discuss with your family law attorney to make sure you understand what you need to do. It also is critical to act with a sense of urgency. Child support is not adjusted automatically when your income changes, so the onus is on you to take action.

Child support modifications also are not retroactive. Changes to child support orders only go back to the date the request for the change was filed.

Making payments outside court-approved methods

When issuing a child support order, the court will list the various ways child support payments should be made. Even if you and your ex divorce on friendly terms, it still is in your best interest to make the payments through a court-approved method to protect yourself.

For example, you initially might agree to pay your ex-wife child support directly. That might work fine for a while, but down the road you might have a disagreement and she would be able to take you to court for missed payments since you did not pay through a court-approved method.

Paying past the age of emancipation

Many divorced dads mistakenly assume their child support order will automatically end once their child reaches the age of emancipation. Unfortunately, that typically is not the case, and the payments will continue unless you take action to end it.

Furthermore, your overpayment is very hard to get reimbursed if it has been spent by the receiving parent.

The age of emancipation varies by state, so make sure you know what the age is where you live. Then, when that date approaches, contact your divorce lawyer to make sure you understand the process for terminating your child support order.

If you have any questions about your child support order or are worried about making a mistake that could lead to child support debt, it is a good idea to get in touch with a men’s divorce attorney as soon as possible.

The post The Biggest Child Support Mistakes To Avoid appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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divorced dad

5 Ways For Divorced Dads To Utilize Their Time Away From The Kids

divorced dadThe split of a marriage means splitting time with the kids. You are going to have at least some time to yourself while they are with their mom.

This can be a lonely and difficult adjustment, so filling this empty void with new hobbies and fun activities can help boost your moral and your social life.

Here are five ways divorced dads can use their time away from the kids.

Develop New Hobbies

Developing new hobbies can be an exciting and rewarding accomplishment. From volunteering at local organizations to learning how to cook unique foods, hobbies can give you a feeling of achievement.

Whether you have always wanted to take up photography, learn to fish or play an instrument, this is your time to finally take action and do the activities you have always dreamed of but continued to put off.

DIY, known as do it yourself, has become a trend that people of all ages are interested in. Rather than going out and buying certain things you need, it can be fun to do it yourself and create those items. This can consist of small crafts to home improvement projects to handmade objects.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Work on your Health and Exercise

People are becoming more aware of how important exercise is to maintaining proper health and fitness.

This newfound free time can enable dads to partake in a healthy lifestyle by going to the gym, going on bike rides or even going on a run. Joining a recreational team such as baseball, soccer or basketball can be a fun way to not only exercise, but to meet new people too.

Join the City Dads Group

If you are a dad who wants to boost his social life but does not know how, join the City Dads Group. This organization is located in a multitude of cities from Anchorage, Ala., to Orlando, Fla. Meetups include educational workshops, special events and dad’s nights out to movies, sporting events and more.

This group creates a supportive atmosphere for dads from all backgrounds. Whether you are divorced, married, a stay-at-home dad or a full time worker, City Dad’s Group has a goal of bringing dads together with or without the kids for support and social time.

Get Back into the Dating Game

It’s time to put your best foot forward and leave the complications of your divorce in the past. Your kids should remain a priority, but this does not mean you do not deserve happiness with someone else.

You should not rush into a relationship, but by no means should you fear moving on with someone else.

Getting back into the dating game can be difficult, especially if it has been a while. That’s OK because the 21st century is an evolving period for technology and social media. Online dating sites are the new way for single people to meet. Sites such as OkCupid, Match and eHarmony have created thousands of lasting relationships.

Prioritize Me Time

Self-care is crucial for happiness. This means giving yourself a period to recharge and rest. The University of Michigan found that a lack of “me time” is a large cause of unhappy marriages. This gives you the necessary time to reboot your brain, help you unwind and make you more productive.

As the age-old saying goes “time is money.” Most people do not have the time to spend on me time. That is why the quality of your me time is better than the quantity of it. Use your me time to explore new hobbies, unplug from devices you feel addicted to and invest in experiences rather than material goods.

With these five tips, time away from your kids does not have to be lonely, rather it can be a way for you to invest your time into new activities and passions as well as take the necessary time for yourself.

Of course, while some time apart from your children after divorce is probably unavoidable, you still want to do whatever you can to make sure you get as much parenting time as possible. To ensure you receive a fair and balanced child custody decision, contact a divorce attorney who focuses on protecting the rights of fathers.

The post 5 Ways For Divorced Dads To Utilize Their Time Away From The Kids appeared first on Dads Divorce.

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