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.


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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How to Create a Successful Parenting Plan

How to Create a Successful Parenting Plan

A more comprehensive and detailed parenting plan will help parents avoid future battles so that parenting disagreements will not escalate into conflicts. Like a peace treaty, a good parenting plan cannot anticipate every possible conflict, but it can identify likely issues and provide a roadmap for handling issues that are not easily resolved.

The post How to Create a Successful Parenting Plan appeared first on Divorce Magazine.


age by age guide to divorce

An Age-By-Age Guide For Helping Children Through Divorce

age by age guide to divorceResearch tells us that children of divorce face many risks. It is a major challenge for kids to cope with the drastic change that is inevitable after their parents split and that adjustment is even tougher if they are exposed to the conflict of divorce.

How children of divorce respond to news of their parents’ split can also vary wildly depending on their age. Your 4-year-old toddler is probably going to take the news of your divorce a whole lot differently than your 15-year-old who is about to get their driver’s license.

Below you will find an age-by-age guide walking you through how children are likely to respond to your divorce. You also will find tips for how you can help ease this difficult transition for them.

No matter your child’s age, the best thing you can do to ensure a healthy adjustment after your divorce is ensuring that they have a strong and loving relationship with both you and their mother. Unfortunately, that is not always possible if your child custody order pushes you out of the picture. That is why it is so important for you to find a family law attorney who focuses on men’s divorce and protecting the rights of fathers.

As soon as it is apparent that your marriage is heading for divorce get in touch with a divorce lawyer for men, so that you have an advocate in your corner looking out for the best interests of both you and your child.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Toddlers (18 months to 3 years)

The cognitive ability of toddlers is very limited, which makes divorce very confusing.

They also have yet to develop the coping skills needed to adjust to such a dramatic life change. That leaves them particularly vulnerable to emotional problems later in life.

The younger a child is, the more self-centered they are and the more likely they are to personalize your divorce, meaning they may end up feeling like your divorce is their fault. When a toddler’s parents divorce, it is not unusual to see them regress and return to behaviors such as thumb sucking and bedwetting, and they might struggle sleeping alone at night.

Easing the transition: As much as possible, work to establish a predictable routine that is easy for your child to follow. Focus on spending plenty of time with your child and offer extra attention anytime you notice them acting scared or lonely.

Be patient with your child if they show any behavior problems. Keep in mind how confusing this adjustment is for them and show compassion and empathy anytime they act out or express sadness about the situation.

Preschoolers (3 to 6 years)

It is difficult for a preschooler to grasp the concept of divorce and they will want their parents to stay together regardless of how unpleasant the home environment is.

Children in this age bracket might be more likely to believe they are the reason their parents are separating. Feelings of anger and fear about the uncertainty of their lives are common.

Easing the transition: Children this age tend to reflect whatever moods their parents are in, so try to handle your divorce in a positive and respectful manner.

Although your preschooler will probably be too young to fully understand what is happening, you still need to be there to talk to them and answer questions they might have.

There also are children’s divorce books written for preschoolers that can help them relate to what is happening.

How children of divorce respond to news of their parents’ split can also vary wildly depending on their age.
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School-age children (6 to 12 years)

Since school-aged children are a little older, they might have gotten used to the nurturing environment you raised them in. Now that their parents are suddenly splitting, it is natural for them to experience fear of abandonment.

How much your child understands about divorce still will vary depending on how old they are.

Kids ages 8 and younger are less likely to grasp what is happening and more likely to blame themselves for their parents’ breakup.

Children age 8 to 11 are prone to blaming one parent in particular and choosing sides. Boys often lash out aggressively against siblings or classmates, and girls tend to withdraw and become anxious or depressed.

Easing the transition: Since your child is likely struggling with feelings of loss and rejection during your divorce, you need to focus on establishing a sense of security for them and rebuilding their self-confidence.

The best way to do this is by makings sure both you and your ex-wife spend plenty of quality time with them and encourage them to discuss their feelings. Reinforce that neither of you are abandoning them and that the divorce is in no way their fault.

As with the younger age groups, a steady routine can go a long way toward helping your school-age child adjust after your divorce. Regular times to eat, do homework, and go to bed are critical.

It is important to help your child maintain a healthy social life, so encourage them to get involved in extra-curricular activities they have interest in. This is a great way for your child to rebuild their self-esteem and connect with other kids their age, rather than withdrawing from the world.

If you notice persistent unusual behavior from your child in the wake of your divorce, regardless of their age, it might be worth enlisting the help of a professional counselor or therapist. They can gain valuable insight into what is going on with your child and can help give you the tools you need to guide them through this difficult transition.

Teenagers (13 to 19 years)

A child’s adolescent and teenage years are developmentally crucial, and a parental divorce has the potential to disrupt their maturation and harm the relationships they build as adults.

At this age, your teenager is more likely to understand the complexities of divorce, but teens also tend to be more judgmental and are quicker to assign blame.

Teenagers are often intelligent and might seem like adults, which causes many parents to make the mistaken assumption that they are more mature than they actually are. Science shows their brains continue developing until age 25 or 26.

Easing the transition: Just because your teenager appears mature, do not use them as a confidant during your divorce. That throws more pressure on them than they deserve.

Avoid insulting your ex in front of them as it is important for their development to have loving relationships with both you and their mother.

Offer to let your teen vent whenever they need to and encourage them to be honest about what they are feeling, even if that means they end up expressing anger towards you.

Take steps to establish a wider support network of family, friends, and teachers so that your child knows they have plenty of loved ones behind them. Sometimes it is easier for them to open up to someone other than a parent.

The post An Age-By-Age Guide For Helping Children Through Divorce appeared first on Dads Divorce.