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How Can a Father Advocate for Himself During a Divorce?

Do not allow sexist assumptions to keep you from having your fair share of parenting time with your child after your divorce. You have as much of a right to your child as your former spouse has. Although the American family has evolved in recent decades and fathers now perform much more hands-on parenting than they did in previous generations, some courts and lawyers still hold to the outdated notion that mothers are somehow more capable of caring for their children and therefore, should have greater shares of parenting time.

Your child’s custody arrangement can impact other parts of your divorce settlement, such as what happens to your marital home. If you do receive a substantial amount of parenting time, you also have the right to seek child support from your former spouse. Know your rights and work with a lawyer who can be a strong advocate for your interests.

Show the Court You are Involved, Capable Parent

Do not give up on your goal of having at least half, potentially more, of your child’s parenting time. It is in your child’s best interest to have a consistent relationship with both parents after your divorce, and as a father, you might need to fight to reach this type of agreement. To show that you are involved in your child’s day-to-day life, use evidence like testimonies from your child’s teachers and other adults or data from a custody evaluation. This can demonstrate that your child could suffer emotional harm if you do not continue to have a regular relationship with him or her.

Prove any False Accusations Wrong

If you are accused of committing domestic violence, engaging in substance abuse or illegal activity, or simply being an uninvolved or bad parent, you need to prove those accusations wrong. Use or obtain evidence to do this, such as documentation showing your relationship with your child, a clean drug test, or the results of a psychological evaluation. Sometimes, simply demonstrating your lack of a criminal record is enough to show that your partner’s accusations are false.

If Necessary, Establish Paternity

In some cases, particularly cases in which parents were not married when their child was born, a man might not be listed on his child’s birth certificate. If your former partner alleges that you are not your child’s biological father or if your name is not on your child’s birth certificate, take steps to establish your child’s paternity as soon as possible. This may require genetic testing.

Work with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer

If you are a father currently going through a divorce or considering filing for divorce in the near future, you might have specific concerns that a mother would not have. To discuss these concerns and have your questions about divorce and family law issues answered in a nonjudgmental, knowledgeable environment, contact our team of experienced divorce lawyers at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. today to set up your initial legal consult.

Published April 13, 2017
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