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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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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.

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Transitioning Your Kids Back To School After Divorce

back to school divorce tipsAs the summer is beginning to wind down a new school year is approaching too quickly. Between living in two different places to trying to figure out the new shared time schedule, your child is experiencing a slew of changes.

Stability should be the most important concern you have for your child as you both take on this upcoming academic year.

These are four tips to help you and your kid wrangle the post-divorce changes before tackling the school year together.

Communicate with your ex and your kids

Instead of living as a family, your kids are splitting time between you and your ex, so communicating with everyone is crucial. This includes staying in contact with your ex. Put your feelings aside and don’t play games, because at the end of the day, the most important person is the child and their well-being.

Share information with each other and coordinate schedules so you can both be in the loop. It is important to keep consistent house rules for the kids to follow. Although one parent may want to seem like the carefree more relaxed parent, this does not benefit your children in the long run. They are experiencing so much change because of the divorce, so consistency and stability is crucial during this time of adjustment.

This separation does not only impact you and your ex, but your kids too. Communicate with your children and make sure they are doing okay. Talk to them about their feelings and how this split could be affecting them. Open communication can better assess how they are handling this change and counsel them through any roadblocks and problems they might be experiencing.

Keep a calendar

Your time is being split between your work schedule and sharing time with your kids, so dates can get confusing. Navigating these different schedules becomes increasingly difficult once the kids go back to school.

Using Google Calendar, smartphone calendars, or a planner can be helpful to organize everyone’s schedule. Dance recitals, science fairs, sports practices, and school assemblies are just a few of the many events dads need to keep track of.

It is important to share this calendar with both parties so everyone has the information they need. Whether it is figuring out the carpool schedule to remembering parent-teacher conference, it is necessary to keep both households in the loop.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Update the teachers

The word family just became a lot more complicated in your children’s lives. Let the teachers know what the situation is. You do not need to give them details, but updating them on the family dynamic and schedule differences keeps the teacher informed of the changes going on in their students’ lives.

They can keep an eye out for behavioral inconsistency or academic problems if issues were to arise. Sometimes teachers might even give the student two sets of textbooks, so they do not have to worry about hauling them to both parents’ houses.

Split the school supplies

It is impractical for both parents to buy two sets of school supplies. Financially, it is unnecessary, and the child will end up with a pile of supplies they do not need. It is best to share the list and the price with your ex. The money will not be split exactly, but this is a good way for Mom and Dad to share and compromise.

It is smart to buy extra supplies of the basics such as pens, pencils, folders, etc., so the kids do not have to carry everything to both houses.

Your children’s well-being and their academic development should be your priorities. Both you and your spouse need to put your adversities aside for the benefit of your children. From focusing on their studies to improving their social development, these four tips will help you and your kids stay organized and maintain healthy relationships.

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Fun Summer Activities For Divorced Dads

divorced dad activities

Divorce is never an easy undertaking. Family bonds feel broken and children are confused. Divorce can strain the relationship kids have with their fathers.

It is important for dads to come up with ideas for activities that allow them to not only have fun, but to stay connected with their children after going through so much change.

Summer is the perfect time for dads and kids to strengthen their bonds while also having fun.

Here are five enjoyable activities divorced dads can partake in with their kids.

Go to a baseball game

Baseball is the ultimate summer sport to watch and a great way for a child to bond with their dad. Whether it’s a ballpark hotdog or some homerun fireworks, there is always something to enjoy.

This can be a relatively inexpensive outing with some cheap upper tier stadium seats and a great view of the stadium. Dads have the opportunity to bond with their kids by teaching them about this old sport. Staying up late and watching your favorite team go into the 10th inning establishes a lifelong memory between a father and their child.

Weekly breakfasts dates

During and after the process of a divorce, a child might have a harder time opening up and communicating how they feel. They are constantly surrounded with change in their developing lives. New routines, new living situations and a change in parenting are a few of the many transitions a child is facing.

Creating a sense of normalness and a routine can be beneficial during this time of change. That is why weekly breakfast dates can be an important activity for a father and child to partake in. This date can be turned into a weekly routine and a way for a child’s life to feel more stable.

Having a conversation over a stack of chocolate chip pancakes and a glass of orange juice creates an outlet for communication which is essential in a kid’s evolving life.

Gameday Coffee is a charity organization dedicated to helping dads build stronger relationships with their kids. The organization is based on the simple premise that small gestures from fathers, such as sharing a cup of coffee, can make a profound impact on the lives of their children.

“It’s quality time,” said Cordell & Cordell CEO Scott Trout. “… That’s something that is not just useful, but intentional and purposeful, and I think that’s part of being a great dad. … It is getting into a routine of an intentional and purposeful relationship with your kid.”

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Go to the water park

Summer and water activities go hand in hand. Waterparks are a nice way for everyone to cool off during the heat-filled months of June through August. Whether you float down the lazy river together or race on the waterslides, these heat-quenching activities allow for some fun memories to be made.

If waterparks are not bountiful venues near you, a trip to the community swimming pool or even fun in the sprinklers are some great alternative options. These fun experiences are a good way to tire out the kids while making lasting memories.

Go to the movies

Coming up with new and exciting activities can be difficult. Sometimes the scorching weather can be too much to handle and deters you from wanting to venture outside. That is why the air-conditioned movie theaters are always an easy activity to partake in. Sitting next to each other in the oversized plush theater seats and sharing a tub of popcorn is fun and relaxing.

If you want to save some money, turning your living room into a home theater is a good option. You can always count on Netflix, On-Demand and Hulu to be stocked with the new and old must-see movies.

Go on a bike ride

No matter what age your child is, a bike ride is always an enjoyable summer adventure to participate in. You and your child have the opportunity to explore different bike trails or urban scenery.

If your kid is too young to ride a bike, there are plenty of other options including bike trailers and rear-mounted child seats. Even teaching your kid how to ride a bike without training wheels is a fun and memorable father-child bonding experience.

If your child is capable of riding on their own, biking on trails or sidewalks are enjoyable adventures to engage in. This exercise-enabling activity not only fosters a bond between a father and child, but a positive memory as well. It is also a great way for you to

It is crucial for dads to maintain a healthy and positive relationship with their children. It can be difficult for a child to communicate and open up about their feelings, but with these five fun summer activities, a dad can have a more hands-on relationship with their children.

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3 Ways To Connect With Your Kids After Your Divorce

divorced dadsThe most heartbreaking aspect of divorce for many fathers is the way in which the process destabilizes the relationship they have with their kids.

Far too often, gender stereotypes within the family court system result in fathers getting the short end of the stick in child custody decisions. Even if a dad manages to gain a 50-50 split, that still is much less parenting time than he enjoyed while married.

With many fathers sidelined to a sort of secondary parent role, the relationship they have with their child starts to suffer. This is even worse if the mother attempts to turn the child against the father through the process of parental alienation.

If you feel your ex is strategically trying to turn your child against you, it might be worth contacting your family law attorney to see if there is anything that can be done. A divorce lawyer focused on father’s rights might be able to prove that a child support modification is in your child’s best interest.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

After such a traumatic experience as divorce, the child might have lost trust in his or her dad. As challenging as it is, you must do what you can to rebuild that trust and find ways to connect with your child even though you are sharing custody.

Here are some ways for divorced dads to connect with their kids.

Stay engaged

The most important thing any father can do to stay connected with his child after divorce is to stay active and engaged regardless of how much parenting time you are allotted.

Make sure you ask plenty of questions about what is going on at school and in their everyday lives. Encourage them to talk about their worries and what stresses them, including any emotional turmoil they are experiencing because of your divorce.

Find out when they have big events and sporting events going on at school so you can make arrangements to attend and offer your support.

You might be frustrated with the child custody arrangement you received, but that is no excuse to check out. Your child needs an active and engaged father in their life now more than ever.

Find a new shared hobby

You should avoid the temptation of becoming a “Disneyland Dad” after divorce in which you plan some elaborate trip or outing every time your child stays with you, but the period after a divorce is an opportune time to develop some new hobbies that you and your child both enjoy.

Maybe you have always wanted to take your child fishing, or you could try learning how to cook together. Pick any activity you both have an interest in that will encourage one-on-one time in which you can chat and bond with each other.

Be forgiving

Divorce is a scarring experience, not just for you but also for your ex-wife and your child.

Your child’s heartache might cause them to act out and even say some things to you that hurt you. Understand that this is natural. At their age, it is difficult for them to know how to process their emotions. Encourage your child to talk about their feelings. Let them know that it is perfectly fine to feel angry and upset.

By encouraging them to be honest about their emotions, you are getting them one step closer to making it through this transition.

It also is in your best interest to be empathetic toward your ex. This is understandably difficult, especially if your divorce was not amicable. However, she is the mother of your child and it is best if they can maintain a loving and healthy relationship with her. That is a lot easier if they see the two of you working together to effectively co-parent.

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3 Tips To Help Divorced Dads Get Back On Their Feet

divorced dadThere are numerous challenges facing dads after divorce. Getting back on your feet is a difficult process, to say the least.

Many fathers end up with an unfavorable child custody arrangement that limits their access to their children. They also might be shouldered with significant child support and alimony payments that decimate their finances. And of course, there is the emotional anguish and turmoil of going through a breakup coupled with the breakdown of the family.

The combination of these hurdles result in an enormous amount of stress, which can lead to serious health problems. It is a vicious cycle.

Making sure you retain a family law attorney focused on helping men and fathers can alleviate a lot of these issues, but moving on after divorce still is a process.

During this time, it is helpful to take a step back and breathe to assess your situation. As harrowing as the divorce process is, it is not a death sentence. Life will go on. It might take some time, but you can find happiness again.

Here are some tips to help you get back on your feet after a divorce.

Be the best divorced dad possible

Depending on your child custody arrangement, the amount of parenting time you have with your children might be limited. Nonetheless, it is your responsibility to make the most of it.

Be as active and engaged as possible. (Fortunately, that is something modern dads are especially good at doing.) Do not fall into the trap of becoming a “Disneyland Dad” and trying to plan elaborate outings every time your kids stay with you. Instead, focus on the little but meaningful moments that end up being way more impactful in the long run.

Help them with their homework. Talk to them about how they are doing in school. Learn everything about their interests, passions, fears, and frustrations.

More than anything, being a good divorced dad is about remaining as present as possible when you spend time with your children.


Take time for yourself

Although as a father your No. 1 priority is going to be putting your children’s best interest first, it still is important to take plenty of time for your own self-care.

Self-care means making sure you are eating healthy, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. It also means partaking in healthy activities you enjoy that leave you with a sense of fulfillment. In fact, the days following a divorce present a great opportunity to develop new hobbies and explore new interests.

Find someone to talk to

A lot of guys have the natural inclination to clam up when they are going through something stressful or heartbreaking. They might be hurting on the inside, but outside doing everything to maintain an image of toughness or stoicism.

Keeping your emotions bottled up can have disastrous consequences. You are not weak for asking for help or finding someone you trust to discuss your issues with.

One of the reasons divorce is often harder for guys is because they are not as good as women at developing a reliable support group. If you are not comfortable talking about the details of your divorce with friends or family, you should consider enlisting the help of a licensed counselor or therapist.

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5 Tips To Guide You Through Father’s Day After Divorce

Father's Day after divorceWhen you are first issued your divorce decree, it might not hit you how uncomfortable Father’s Day can be the first year after your divorce.

The major holidays are significantly more complicated after divorce and require careful planning to avoid conflict and hurt feelings. Father’s Day can be especially tough since this day in particular is supposed to be all about you.

Here are some tips to guide you through your first Father’s Day after divorce.

Talk to your ex

Ideally, your parenting time will fall on Father’s Day and you will be free to celebrate however you please. Sometimes, this is not the case and other arrangements must be made in order to accommodate any festivities you have planned.

She might be the last person you want to talk to, but it is worth reaching out to your ex to work out a plan. If Father’s Day does not fall on your scheduled weekend, ask her if you can work out a compromise. Offer to let her have the kids an extra weekend, so you can have them for the holiday.

It will help your case tremendously if you were cooperative on Mother’s Day. As with all aspects of co-parenting, working out holiday custody arrangements requires clear communication and flexibility.

If, for whatever reason, your ex tries to withhold parenting time from you on Father’s Day, you should get in touch with your family law attorney immediately.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Be honest with your children

Previous Father’s Day celebrations were probably whole-family affairs. Adjusting to a more low-key holiday is going to be different for your kids as well, so be aware that they also might be dealing with some difficult emotions.

Acknowledge that Father’s Day feels a little different this year and let them know that it is OK to feel sad. You can admit that you are feeling a little down about things too. Make sure you reinforce that even though things are different, you and your kids still love each other.

Help them out with gifts

In years past, your wife probably helped the kids pick out a gift for you for Father’s Day. Depending on their age, your children might not know what to do now that Mom is not around to help out. This could be a source of anxiety for them if they are worried about you being disappointed on Father’s Day.

You might consider enlisting the help of a relative or close friend to help them figure out a gift idea. You can even supply them the money to pay for it. This is not about making sure you get a Father’s Day present but rather ensuring that you and your children are able to happily enjoy the day together.

Celebrate on a different day

The worst-case scenario is that you have to spend Father’s Day separated from your kids. In that case, just celebrate Father’s Day on a different weekend.

Just because you are celebrating on a day that is not designated as “Father’s Day” should not make the day any less special. The holiday is about acknowledging the special bond fathers have with their children, and that is something you should be able to celebrate on any day.

Take everything in stride

The most important thing to do on your first Father’s Day after divorce is to take everything in stride.

Keep in mind that the sad emotions you are feeling are entirely normal. It is OK to feel that way.

“It’s normal for a dad to be experiencing some sadness, some anger, some feelings of loss and just the sense that this isn’t what I wanted to have with my child,” said author, speaker, and teacher Laura Petherbridge. “Just knowing that those emotions are normal and that he’s not losing his mind or weird or something because he’s experiencing that is three-fourths the battle.”

Even if the day is a bummer, remember that it is just one day on the calendar. Even if you do not get the ideal Father’s Day celebration, the role you are playing in the lives of your children is crucial. Nothing can change that.

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How Divorced Dads Can Reestablish Trust With Their Children

divorced dads reestablishing trustOne of the greatest challenges divorced dads face is the process of rebuilding trust and maintaining a positive, healthy relationship with their children.

As a father, your children tend to look to you as a source of protection and stability. When they see their parents argue and then divorce, that secure foundation is rocked.

Depending on the age of your child, they might blame you for the divorce and side up with their mother. That can be even worse if your ex-wife engages in the process of parental alienation, which should be considered a serious threat to the child’s overall well-being.

The period immediately following your divorce is a critical time for your relationship with your kids. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, you might need to devote considerable time toward rebuilding a level of trust with them.

Here are several ways divorced dads can build back trust with their children.

Encourage open communication

It is important to be considerate of the emotional turmoil that your children have experienced and encourage them to talk about what they are feeling.

Repressing emotions is extremely harmful and can lead to long-term mental and physical health issues. Let your children know that it is OK to express whatever they are feeling. Be aware that this might mean you hear them talk about feeling anger towards you, but that is better than letting them harbor hidden resentment that festers.

You also should offer to answer any questions your kids have about your divorce. You do not necessarily have to tell them all the details about your breakup, but you should not be secretive either.

Your children might not feel comfortable discussing everything with you. They might feel like that means they are taking sides with you or their mother. If that is the case, you should consider whether your kids would benefit from seeing a licensed professional therapist or counselor who can help them work through everything they are going through.

It is important to be considerate of the emotional turmoil that your children have experienced and encourage them to talk about what they are feeling.
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Be a good co-parent

The major dilemma children of divorce face is that they love both of their parents, even though their parents no longer love each other. Maintaining strong, healthy relationships with both parents is a challenge due to the inherent complications of divorce.

This is problematic because having two active and engaged parents is the best way to offset many of the risks children of divorce face.

With that being the case, the onus is on you and your ex-wife to put your personal differences aside in order to find a way to effectively co-parent. This involves swallowing some pride and acknowledging that your children are better off having their mother involved in their lives, even if she is a person who has wronged you.

Good co-parenting requires clear communication, flexibility, and cooperation. Co-parenting takes effort from both sides, so you only have so much control if your ex is particularly disagreeable. If that is the scenario you find yourself in, consider parallel parenting, which is a high-conflict co-parenting model.

If you have done everything you can think of to get your ex to cooperate with you and she is still starting arguments and failing to live up to her end of the deal in your co-parenting arrangement, you should contact your family law attorney. An attorney who focuses on men’s and father’s rights can determine whether there are any legal remedies available that could improve your co-parenting situation.

Always keep in mind that co-parenting is about doing what is best for your kids. That should give you more than enough incentive to find a co-parenting system that works.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Be engaged

You are now sharing custody of your children, which means it is critical to make the most out of the parenting time you do have. It is not enough to just spend time with your kids. You need to ensure that you are actively engaged and present every second you are together.

“Being present is really about how much of yourself you really give to your kids,” said Han-Son Lee, who runs DaddiLife, a website and community for modern dads. “We see a lot of parents who are sometimes on the phone and there physically in the same space as their kids but not emotionally or mentally there. I think being present is about really being there for our kids and making sure there aren’t those digital distractions and various notifications and beeps and buzzes so that way you can really be present in the time that is most necessary for Dad.”

This should not be an issue for most fathers. The latest fatherhood research tells us modern dads are finding new and creative ways to stay active in their children’s lives more so than previous generations of fathers ever did.

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5 Challenges Divorced Dads Must Overcome

5 Challenges Divorced Dads Must Overcome

5 Challenges Divorced Dads Must Overcome 8Divorce is a tough process for everyone, but it can be especially brutal for dads. There are a number of societal, cultural, and legal factors that seem to conspire to make life for divorced dads difficult.

The good news is there also are some upsides to the divorced dad life, but there are some obstacles to overcome first. To get to that healthy place where you can enjoy your newfound freedom and quality time with your children, it is imperative to find a divorce attorney who focuses on fathers’ rights, whom you can trust to keep yours and your children’s best interests in mind.

If you are at the beginning of the divorce process, a divorce lawyer for men can help you understand what you are up against and figure out realistic goals you want to achieve.

Here are five of the biggest challenges divorced dads must face.

System that seems predisposed against them

The frustrating and sad truth that many dads discover is that at every turn, the family court system seems to be predisposed against fathers.

The shared parenting movement has gained a lot of momentum in recent years, as more courts are recognizing the importance of fathers, but the child custody statutes throughout the United States still do a poor job of promoting the equal involvement of both parents.

There still are too many gender stereotypes that stem from the traditional nuclear families of the 1960s, where the father supported the family financially while the mother stayed home to take care of the kids. This is unfortunate because society has evolved drastically and it is no longer safe to assume that the wife is taking on the primary domestic and childrearing responsibilities.

Data from the Pew Research Center shows that the employment rate of married mothers increased from 37 percent in 1968, to 65 percent in 2011. At the same time, an increasing number of dads are quitting their jobs and staying home to raise their children while Mom advances her career.

Not only are divorced dads less likely to get custody of their kids, but they also are more likely to get saddled with alimony and child support, which is a whole other challenge.

Many dads hit the pause button on their own careers for the good of their families and then feel shame about asking for alimony, even when it is deserved and necessary.

These double standards make divorce seem like a lose-lose proposition for many fathers. With so many factors working against you, it is especially important to get in touch with a family law attorney who focuses on men’s divorce. They will understand the unique challenges dads face during the divorce process and can guide you through the steps needed to take in order to ensure your rights are protected.

The frustrating and sad truth that many dads discover is that at every turn, the family court system seems to be predisposed against fathers.
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A broken child support system

Since divorced dads are less likely to gain primary custody of their children, they are thus more likely to be ordered to pay child support. In theory, child support would ensure all the necessary expenses required to raise a child are taken care of. The items your monthly payments can be used on should be limited to only those items that contribute directly to your child’s upbringing and well-being.

In practice, the system is flawed, archaic, and tends to take a disproportionate toll on low-income fathers.

This is how the system ends up working for many fathers: They are given a monthly child support order that is based on their current income (or, in some states, that income is imputed, which is a whole other issue). However, life changes and a man’s employment is fluid, so perhaps that dad is laid off and temporarily out of work.

Just because he is unemployed, his child support does not automatically pause. He must file a motion to modify that order, which usually requires the help of an attorney – an additional cost for someone who already is struggling financially. The process is so confusing that a lot of guys do not even bother with it.

Child support arrears quickly start to snowball, and suddenly, there is a mountain of debt. If he falls too far behind, he can be sent to prison for contempt of court. While he is locked up, those child support payments keep coming, unless he acts to stop it. This crushing cycle goes on and on.

If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot afford your child support payments, it is critical to get in touch with a family law attorney as soon as possible to see what  you can do to modify the order. The cost of the lawyer pales in comparison to the debt that can add up by failing to act.

Unfair stereotypes

Part of the reason that the child support system is so harsh on divorced fathers is because for years, there has been an overemphasis on collecting payments. The system priorities enforcement over fatherly involvement in children’s lives.

This punitive system is largely the product of the myth of the deadbeat dad. There is an assumption in society that there are a bunch of dads out there who are capable of making child support payments but refuse to do so. This stereotype originates from a 1986 CBS report that profiled a man named Timothy McSeed, who bragged about having six children who he refused to support financially.

While there certainly are irresponsible fathers, and mothers, out there, it is dangerous to generalize based on anecdotal evidence. Empirical data paints a much different story about dads in the child support system.

According to a U.S. General Accounting Office Report, 66 percent of all child support not paid by fathers is due to an inability to come up with the money. A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that most economically disadvantaged fathers still did what they could to provide non-monetary contributions, such as baby products, clothing, and food.

Cordell & Cordell Founder and Principal Partner Joe Cordell has been helping men and fathers through divorce and custody issues for more than 25 years, and he says it is wrong to paint with such a broad brush.

“I know most of these men are not bad people; they love their kids, they want what is best for their kids, they want to be there for their kids,” Mr. Cordell said.

Dads frequently are the butt of jokes in marketing campaigns and often relegated to the second-string parent. Just a couple years ago, Amazon sparked an online protest for naming its parent-focused program Amazon Mom instead of the more inclusive Amazon Family. Old Navy also sneered its nose at dads two years ago with the release of this Father’s Day T-shirt that read “It’s Father’s Day,” but with the words “It’s Her Day” bolded.

Popular culture also tends to treat fathers as bumbling doofuses. The images of Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin would lead you to believe dads are crude, unintelligent brutes capable of little more than lounging on the couch and annoying their wives.

However, the emerging field of fatherhood research shows that modern dads are finding unique and creative ways to emotionally engage with their kids more than ever before. These fathers are doing a lot more than providing financial support. An enormous part of their identity centers on their roles as fathers, and they are committed to doing whatever possible to make sure their children’s emotional needs are met.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Tougher to find a support group

For a number of reasons, recovering from divorce is harder for men than it is for women. The emotional devastation of the divorce process hits everyone, but men and women mourn the end of relationships differently and research shows guys take longer to get back on their feet.

One of the primary reasons for this is that men tend to get more of their identity from their spouse. Couples usually share the same social circle, and when the relationship ends, their friends usually choose sides. Often, the guy will feel like his friends are abandoning him and it can be tough to develop a support group.

There also is a stigma against men displaying any sort of emotional vulnerability, which can lead to a harmful suppression of emotions and feelings. If you are struggling with divorce, do not try to be a tough guy. The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale lists divorce as the second-most stressful life event behind only the death of a spouse or child.

There is a natural tendency to shut down in the wake of divorce. It is tempting to wallow around in your apartment with beer bottles and pizza boxes strung all over the place, but this is not the road to divorce recovery.

Reach out for the help that you need. If you cannot find support from friends and family, contact a licensed therapist or counselor.

Health risks

All the stress that is thrown at dads during the divorce process often ends up having an impact on their overall health.

Not only are there health risks in the present, but men face an increased risk of developing long-term problems. Divorce increases the rate of early mortality for men by up to 250 percent. Other studies have shown greatly increased rates of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, suicide, substance abuse, and cancer.

It is so easy to get caught up in the financial and familial challenges that divorce presents, but the physical health problems that can develop are just as important. Understanding these risks can help you take action, so that your chances of developing any problems are mitigated.

Cultural and societal factors devalue the importance of self-care for men. Just take a look at all the self-care sites on the Internet. They are largely focused on the needs of women. Meanwhile, men are much more reluctant to go to the doctor for regular check-ups, which likely contributes to their shorter life expectancy.

“Men are naturally looked at as strong, impenetrable and pride-driven creatures who build their worth on  how much the can ‘bear’ or handle, so it’s perceived by many men as weak for needing to take care of themselves or take downtime that doesn’t make them seem lazy,” Eliza Belle, a psychologist who focuses on men’s health, told Mel Magazine. “[That’s why] it’s taken society a long time to outwardly recognize the need for male self-care.”

Although you have a lot on your plate, it is essential to carve out time for daily exercise, even if it is just a brisk 15-minute walk around your neighborhood. Exercise is proven to fight against depression and many other health issues, and is a great way to clear your head and make sure you stay in the right frame of mind.

It also is key to make sure you are eating healthy. This can be difficult if your wife did most of the cooking, but you need to take the time to meal prep and avoid eating pizza and fast food every night. This is doubly important when your kids are with you because proper nutrition is vital to their healthy development.

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children of divorce

3 Ways Children Act Out During Divorce

children of divorceChildren of divorce are forced to adjust to so many dramatic changes. As difficult as your divorce might be for you, at least you have the prospect of starting your life anew and escaping an unhappy relationship.

Children of divorce must reconcile the fact that their parents do not love each other anymore. Sometimes, one parent will demonize the other and attempt to engage the child in parental alienation, a serious threat to the child’s well-being.

On top of all that, children of divorce must deal with a new living situation, new routines, potentially a new school, and much more. Divorce turns their entire world upside down and puts them at risk for many different negative life outcomes.

All these changes can result in behavioral problems that can lead to larger issues if they are not addressed. How your child responds to your divorce can vary depending on their age, but here are some common behaviors to look out for that might indicate they are struggling and need more help.

Of course, the best way to make sure your child has a healthy adjustment to your divorce is by ensuring that both you and their mother remain actively involved in their life. Shared parenting is proven to be the best post-divorce arrangement for children.

With that in mind, the impetus is on you to do everything you can to make sure you receive a fair child custody decision and the best way to achieve that is by making sure you have a family law attorney fighting for fathers’ rights in your corner who will keep your child’s best interests in mind.

Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.

Problems socializing

Some children of divorce tend to shut down, especially in social settings. In situations where they used to be lively and active, they suddenly appear shy and timid. This might be because they are feeling depressed.

It also is common for otherwise friendly children to suddenly start acting overly aggressive with their peers. This could be because they are hurt by your divorce and struggling to come to terms with those feelings of anger.

Keep an eye on your child when they are around other children. Ask close friends, family members, and your child’s teachers to be on the lookout for unusual behavior, so you can address the problem before they develop into a larger social issue.

Trouble sleeping

Another common problem children of divorce often deal with is trouble sleeping. This is understandable considering the amount of stress they are under.

In addition to all the heartache of seeing their parents break up, they are trying to adapt to new routines and a new living situation. You and your ex need to work together to co-parent and establish regular routines as much as possible. Regular times to do homework, eat dinner, and get ready for bed can go a long way toward ensuring your child gets plenty of shuteye.

If your child persistently fails to get enough sleep, the problem could snowball into trouble at school and lead to other health issues.

Loss of appetite

Some kids struggling to adjust to their parents’ divorce will experience a loss of appetite. This is important to be on the lookout for because a proper diet and nutrition is critical to a child’s healthy development.

Make sure you plan ahead and prepare healthy, balanced meals for your child. (Teaching them how to cook also is a great opportunity for bonding time with Dad.) If your child tries to push away their plate, set rules so that they must eat finish their veggies before moving on to another activity.

What you can do

The most important thing you can do as a dad is be observant and conscious of how your child is acting so that you immediately recognize any abnormalities. Communicate with your child and encourage them to speak up about how they are feeling both physically and emotionally.

If you notice persistent problems in their behavior, it might be worth seeking the help of a licensed counselor or therapist. You can ask your family law attorney if they have any recommendations as it is common for them to have working relationships with mental health professionals.

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