4 Steps Dads Should Take When Addressing Child Custody Disputes

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Dads and child-related disputes during divorceThe divorce process is pretty rough for everyone, but it can be especially difficult for dads. No matter how involved you are in your kids’ lives, you’re probably going to feel like you’re at a disadvantage, since people tend to think of moms as the parents who are most focused on taking care of children. Fortunately, the divorce laws in most states recognize that both parents are equally important, and this means you should be able to share in the responsibility of raising your kids and have reasonable amounts of parenting time with them.

During your divorce, you and your ex will work to create a parenting agreement that will address all legal issues related to your children. If you can’t reach an agreement on some or all of these issues, your disputes may need to be settled in court, where a judge will make decisions for you based on what is in your kids’ best interests. To ensure that your parental rights will be protected when these decisions are made, you’ll want to take the following steps:


  1. Stay closely involved - While divorce-related issues will likely be commanding a great deal of your attention, you need to be sure you’re still making time for your kids. You should understand what is going on in their lives, their interests, and the issues they’re dealing with at school, and make sure you know the names of their teachers, doctors, and other important people in their lives. By showing that you’re a fully involved parent, you can demonstrate why you should be able to maintain this level of involvement after your divorce is complete.

  2. Keep your kids out of any disputes - Make sure your kids are not exposed to any disagreements between you and your ex. This doesn’t just mean that you should avoid arguing in front of them; you should also refrain from discussing the details of your divorce with them, asking them to send messages to your ex, or sharing information about your divorce on social media where they might see it. 

  3. Be aware of parental alienation - Even if you take steps to protect your children from the fallout of your divorce, this doesn’t mean your ex is doing the same. If your kids’ mom has told them you are to blame for the divorce, attempted to win them over to her side of divorce-related disputes, interfered with your parenting time, or otherwise tried to harm your relationship with them, you’ll want to take immediate legal action to address this alienation and protect your parental rights.

  4. Contact a divorce attorney - As soon as divorce enters the picture, you should speak to an attorney and discuss the best ways to protect your rights and address child-related issues. Your lawyer can inform you about how your state’s laws affect your case, advise you of your options for resolving disagreements, and provide you with representation as you work to resolve your legal issues and finalize your divorce.

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