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divorced dad child custody lawyerIf you are a father who is going through a divorce, or if you are unmarried and separated from your children’s other parent, issues related to the custody of your children are likely to be at the top of your mind. In our modern culture, dads are more and more likely to be closely involved in raising their kids, and in some cases, fathers may even act as stay-at-home parents or be the one who is most involved in caring for their children and meeting their needs. If this is true in your situation, or if you believe that restrictions should apply to child custody to protect your children, you may be wondering whether it will be possible for you to be granted sole custody of your kids.

When Is Sole Custody Appropriate?

While the specific laws that apply to child custody vary from state to state, most of the time, courts prefer for both parents to be closely involved in raising their children. Because of this, parents will usually share joint custody. In cases involving joint legal custody, parents will share the responsibility of making decisions about how the children will be raised. In cases involving joint physical custody, children will spend parenting time with each parent.

If the court does choose to award sole custody to one parent, it will usually be for one of the following reasons:

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divorced dad child custody lawyerAs divorced parents, you and your ex may not see eye to eye on a variety of issues, including those related to your children’s health and the medical care they receive. Vaccinations are one issue that can sometimes cause disputes. While the ongoing rollout of COVID-19 vaccines is currently the most prominent example, parents may also need to address the standard immunizations that children receive. If you and your ex disagree about whether your children should be vaccinated, you will want to understand your rights and the steps that you may need to take to resolve this issue.

Parental Responsibility for Health Care Decisions

Most of the time, divorced parents will share legal custody of their children. This means they will both have the right and responsibility to make decisions related to issues such as the education and medical care the children will receive. However, in some cases, one parent may have sole or primary responsibility when it comes to decisions about the children’s medical needs. In these situations, that parent will usually have the final say about whether children will be vaccinated, although the other parent may take legal action to address this issue if they believe their children’s health and well-being are at risk.

If you and your ex have equal responsibility in medical decisions for your children and you disagree about vaccinations, you may be able to work these issues out between yourselves and reach a decision about what would be best for your children. However, if you cannot reach an agreement, you may need to go to court and ask a judge to make a decision on the issue. In these cases, a judge may consider a variety of factors, such as testimony from medical experts about whether children should or should not be vaccinated, the parents’ religious beliefs, and each parent’s level of involvement in addressing their children’s medical issues.

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dad's divorce and child custody attorneyWhen it comes to divorce, many dads worry that they face an uphill battle. Culturally, mothers are often considered to be the parents who are most concerned with childcare and household responsibilities. This means that even when a dad plays an equal role in raising his children, he may need to fight against the assumption the mother should have primary custody. To make matters worse, a father may worry that he will be considered a deadbeat due to his absence from his children’s lives.

Whether you are currently going through the divorce process or have completed your divorce, you’ll want to make sure that you can continue to be the father your children deserve. The last thing you want is for your children to feel that you are not there when they need you. To avoid the possibility of being considered a deadbeat dad, you’ll want to do the following:

  • Pay child support on time - The most common reason that dads are labeled deadbeats is that they don’t pay child support as required. Even if you think that it’s unfair that a large percentage of your income will be going to your ex, remember that the money is being used to provide for your kids’ needs. If you don’t pay child support on time or in full, you will still be required to pay the full amount owed, along with interest on late payments. Failure to pay child support could also cause you to be held in contempt of court, which could lead to a variety of consequences, including time in prison. If you have lost your job or experienced other financial issues that affect your ability to pay, you’ll want to bring this matter to the court’s attention immediately to ensure that you won’t be penalized.

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Protecting fathers’ rights to parenting time during the COVID-19 pandemicUPDATE: As of March 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to affect people throughout the United States. While vaccines are being rolled out, the majority of people have not yet been vaccinated, and people are still taking steps to protect the safety of themselves and their family members, including staying at home when possible and wearing masks and following social distancing practices while in public. In many cases where parents are divorcing or divorced, families have settled into routines that allow children to spend reasonable amounts of time with both parents while ensuring that everyone's health and safety is protected.

However, some parents have encountered legal issues related to disputes over child custody during the pandemic. These parents will want to understand that most states have issued orders stating that parents should follow existing child custody arrangements whenever possible, and parents continue to have the right to reasonable parenting time with their children. While some state courts are still operating at limited capacity for in-person hearings, most courts will hear emergency matters, which may include cases involving a parent's violation of their court-ordered child custody agreements. Even if a case cannot be heard in person, many courts are also providing virtual hearings held using videoconferencing tools, ensuring that parents can address child-related issues quickly and effectively. If you need to address unreasonable actions by your ex-spouse or co-parent, or if you believe changes to your parenting agreement are needed to protect your children's safety, you will want to work with a child custody attorney to ensure that these matters are resolved properly during the COVID-19 crisis.


COVID-19 has affected the lives of just about everyone in the United States. Even if you or members of your family have not been personally affected by a coronavirus infection, you will still need to deal with school closures, shelter-in-place orders, and social distancing restrictions. This can all be stressful enough, especially if government-mandated business closures have affected your ability to work, but matters may become even worse if you are involved in a child custody dispute during this time. In these cases, you will want to be sure to understand how to protect your rights and the legal measures you can take to address these issues.

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dads divorce law marital homeIf you’re in the midst of the divorce process, you probably aren’t getting along with your spouse very well, and this can make sharing a home very difficult. As you plan for the changes that you’ll be making in your life, you’re probably considering finding new living arrangements. However, moving out could result in legal and financial issues that may affect you going forward, so you’ll want to discuss these concerns with your divorce attorney to make sure you understand your rights, your options, and the best ways to proceed.

Exclusive Possession, Property Ownership, and Child Custody

You may expect that you and your spouse will be selling your home during your divorce. If you’re planning to move out, your ex may wish to continue owning and living in the house. This can ensure that your children can keep attending the same schools while maintaining relationships with friends and others in the community. However, if you move without ensuring that issues related to homeownership and marital property are addressed properly, this could lead to complications that affect your divorce and your finances.

As long as your name is on your home’s title and mortgage, you will have financial responsibilities toward the property. This means that even if you have signed a lease on a new apartment or another type of home, your ex may ask that the court require you to continue contributing to mortgage payments and other living expenses, such as utility bills or property taxes. Before moving, it is best to make sure the proper arrangements are made and that your obligations toward the property are addressed in court. By ensuring that your name is removed from the home’s mortgage, you can also avoid potential conflicts that could affect your ability to buy a new home in the future.

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divorced dad law guardian ad litemDivorce cases can become complicated quickly, especially when children are involved. While some divorcing parents are able to work together to reach agreements on how they will handle child custody, others may find it difficult or impossible to cooperate, requiring them to settle these matters in court. When family court judges are asked to make decisions about child-related issues, they may feel that they do not have enough information to determine what is best for the children, and they may appoint a guardian ad litem to assist in this area. A guardian ad litem may also be appointed at the request of either parent.

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

A guardian ad litem, or GAL, is usually an attorney who has received training in child-related issues. The GAL will act as a representative for the child or children, and their goal is to determine how to resolve child custody issues in a way that will provide for the children’s best interests. After being appointed, the GAL will perform an investigation, which may include meeting with the individual parents, interviewing the children, visiting the parents’ homes, observing the parents while they are caring for their children, and speaking to other people who may have insight into the case, such as teachers, doctors, therapists, daycare providers, or extended family members.

In some cases, a GAL may work with the parents to help them reach agreements about child custody matters, while in others, they may provide a report to the judge that offers recommendations about how these issues should be handled. These recommendations will be based on what the GAL believes is in the children’s best interests, and while the GAL will consider the children’s wishes, they will also weigh other factors involved in the case. If a trial will be needed in the divorce or child custody case, the GAL may be called as a witness and asked questions by both parties’ attorneys.

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divorced dad attorney children's health COVID-19While the coronavirus pandemic has affected us all, the ongoing rollout of vaccines has provided some hope that there is an end in sight to this difficult situation. Even though it may still be several months before vaccines become available to many people, planning to address these issues can help families minimize their risks. While parents will want to determine how to handle vaccinations for themselves and their children, divorced parents may face additional complications when addressing these issues. Since they will want to be sure they, their children, and their extended family members will be protected from potential infections, parents will want to work with each other to determine how to approach vaccinations while also keeping each other informed about health issues that may affect their children.

Vaccinations for Parents and Other Family Members

While COVID-19 vaccines are currently being distributed, the limited quantities available mean that certain people will have priority for receiving vaccinations. Currently, health care workers are being vaccinated, since they are at the highest risk of exposure. People who are at the highest risk of suffering severe illness due to a COVID-19 infection are also being prioritized, including the elderly and people who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that people receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as it is available to them. While receiving the vaccine will provide a person with protection, everyone should continue to follow the CDC’s recommendations for preventing the spread of infection, including wearing masks, staying at least six feet away from others, avoiding crowded or poorly-ventilated areas, and washing their hands frequently.

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divorced dad child custody lawyerAs a father, divorce can be a frightening prospect, since it will most likely mean that you will have less time with your children, and you may worry about whether you will be able to be as involved in your kids’ lives as you were during your marriage. However, ending your marriage does not mean that you will have to take on a secondary parental role. As you and your spouse determine how you will handle the custody of your kids, you should be sure to understand the steps you can take to protect your parental rights. By making sure you will be able to share in parental responsibilities, you can continue to be a fully involved parent and the great dad your kids need.

Sharing Custody and Parenting Time

In the stereotypical divorce, the mother is awarded primary custody of the couple’s children, and the father is relegated to only seeing kids on a limited basis, such as every other weekend. However, this idea is a relic of the past based on old attitudes toward families and parenting. Many of today’s marriages are different than they were in previous generations, and when both parents are closely involved and play equal roles in their children’s lives, child custody arrangements should reflect this.

While the divorce laws are different in each state, in most cases, they do not favor either mothers or fathers when addressing child custody. Instead, they usually state that all decisions that are made should be based on what is in the children’s best interests. If you and your spouse worked together to make decisions about how your children should be raised, you should both continue to have the right to make these decisions following your divorce, and you should both have reasonable amounts of parenting time with your kids.

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dads divorce law parenting agreementEven though divorce can be a difficult and emotional process, parents will usually want to do everything they can to protect their children and make sure their needs will be met both during the divorce process and in the years to come. If you and your ex can agree to work together as co-parents to do what is best for your children, this can help you avoid a great deal of stress and conflict. A well-crafted parenting agreement is key to successful co-parenting, and you will want to make sure your agreement addresses your family’s needs and protects your rights as a father.

Elements of a Good Parenting Agreement

Your parenting agreement, which may also be referred to as a parenting plan, should clearly describe how you and your ex will handle matters related to your children going forward. It should include terms addressing:

  • Legal custody - Your agreement should fully detail how you and your ex will share in making decisions about how your children will be raised. Some states refer to legal custody as the “allocation of parental responsibilities,” and different areas of responsibility may be addressed, such as education, healthcare, and religion. You should be sure your parenting plan specifies each parent’s rights and responsibilities in making these decisions for your children.

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Myths about child custody and child support for dadsIt has been a commonly repeated idea for decades that women generally receive custody of children more frequently than men do. There are several reasons why this has been historically true. However, societal perceptions and state laws are both changing, and in most cases, these changes are to the benefit of the children. There is a significant amount of misinformation that persists when discussing the rights of fathers, and it is important to understand why some particularly pervasive myths are just that—myths.

Myth: Fathers Almost Never Get Custody

It depends on the applicable definition of “never,” but generally, this is untrue. The most recent available Census statistics show that fathers represent around one in five custodial parents—an improvement over the 16 percent of custodial parents reported in 1994. However, studies indicate that dads simply do not ask for custody as often as mothers do, and courts generally do not award what is not asked for in that regard.

A Massachusetts study examined 2,100 fathers who asked for custody and pushed aggressively to win it. Of those 2,100, 92 percent either received full or joint custody, with mothers receiving full custody only 7 percent of the time. Another study where 8 percent of fathers asked for custody showed that of that 8 percent, 79 percent received either sole or joint custody (in other words, approximately 6.3 percent of all fathers in the study). 

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Dad's Divorce LawyersFor many parents, fall represents a time when strict routines kick in after a more relaxed summer. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has caused many families to be worried about children’s safety while they are in school. This is especially true for parents who are separated or divorced, and dads who share custody of their kids may be concerned about the safety procedures followed and the methods used to minimize the risks of infection. Fortunately, divorced fathers can work to put their minds at ease while ensuring that their children will receive a good education by doing the following:

Review School Safety Procedures

Your first priority will likely be to understand what your children’s school is doing to protect the health and safety of students and their families. Experts have recommended that schools enforce social distancing by keeping students’ desks spaced apart, holding classes outdoors when possible, enforcing one-way traffic in hallways, and grouping students and teachers into “cohorts” that stay together throughout each school day. Masks should be required at all times (aside from lunch), and students and teachers should wash their hands and clean surfaces regularly. Schools may also minimize contact between students by reducing class sizes through the use of staggered schedules in which students spend some days at school and some days learning at home.

Cooperate to Help Kids Learn at Home 

In many cases, children will be on an alternating schedule where they spend some days at school and some days at home. However, parents may decide to keep children away from school altogether during the pandemic, requiring them to do schoolwork from home full-time. Whatever approach your family will be taking, you will want to work together with your ex to figure out the best ways to meet your children’s needs. This may involve one of you working from home so you can supervise your kids during the day, or you may use babysitters or get help from extended family members to make sure your kids are completing their schoolwork and receiving any assistance they need while they are at home.

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Naperville fathers' rights lawyer for parental relocationAs a divorced dad, you may struggle with the fact that you get to spend less time with your children that you did while you were married. Even if you share custody and have a significant amount of parenting time, you may not get as much time with your kids as you would like, and you will probably do everything you can to make the most of the time you do have with them. Because of this, you will want to make sure you address any issues that could affect your relationship with your children.

One concern that many dads face is the possibility that their ex will decide to move to a new home in a different city or state. If your kids’ mom is planning to move a significant distance away from you, this could limit the amount of time you are able to spend with them, especially if you end up spending a large amount of your parenting time transporting your children between your homes. You will most likely want to prevent major changes like this so you can continue being a primary parental figure for your kids.

Fortunately, you do have legal options in this type of situation, and you can take steps to protect your parental rights. With the help of a DuPage County family law attorney, you can file a petition in court seeking to prevent a move by your ex-spouse, and you can take steps to show why this relocation would not be in your children’s best interests. 

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St. Charles father’s rights attorneyToday’s fathers are often much more involved in raising their children than those from previous generations. Married couples or unmarried parents are more likely to share in family responsibilities, and in many cases, both partners work full-time jobs, make decisions together, and cooperate on chores and household tasks. Unlike the stereotypical dads of the past who left most child-related duties up to moms, modern fathers will often play a vital role in caring for their children.

Unfortunately, when married parents choose to get a divorce or unmarried parents decide to separate, many dads feel that their role as a parent is minimized, and they may struggle with concerns that they will not be able to continue to be closely involved in their children’s lives. After years of changing diapers, making sure kids are properly fed and clothed, attending children’s activities and doctor’s appointments, helping with homework, and myriad other parental responsibilities, fathers will want to keep up this level of involvement and be the great parent their children deserve.

If you are getting divorced, or if you are an unmarried parent who needs to address the custody of your children, you will want to be sure you take the right steps to protect your father’s rights. By working with a Kane County family law attorney, you can gain a better understanding of your rights as a parent, the decisions you will need to make, and the best ways to reach an outcome that will provide for your children’s best interests. Some of the issues that you may need to consider include:

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Dating tips for single fathersWhen you get divorced, you may have been ready to move on from your marriage for some time, or you may still be reeling from the changes you’ve experienced in your life. Whether you’ve taken some time to reorient yourself or are still adapting to your new normal, you may be wondering when you should start looking for a new partner. But how do you really know when you’re ready to begin a new relationship, and what steps should you follow as you begin dating again after your divorce?

What Do I Need to Consider as I Get Ready for Dating?

You may not relish the prospect of re-entering the dating scene, but you will probably be looking to find a new romantic partner at some point. Building a new relationship can take work, but it can provide many benefits, especially when you’re able to find the right person who you love spending time with and you can rely on to be there for you. 

Unfortunately, the desire to be in a loving, committed relationship might lead you down the wrong path. By making sure you are ready before you begin dating, you can help avoid some of the issues that may have led to the breakdown of your marriage. It is a good idea to take some time to think about what did and didn’t work in your previous relationship(s) and what you want and need in a new partner. 

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Parenting time tips for divorced fathersFor many divorced fathers, transitioning from married life to single fatherhood can be difficult, and this change can be hard on children too. If you and your kids are used to spending time together every day, you might struggle to adjust to being with them only part of the time. However, this doesn’t mean your relationship with your kids will need to suffer. By focusing on your children’s needs and staying connected with them, you can make sure the parenting time you have is a positive experience for everyone. Here are some tips getting the most out of the time you spend with your children after your divorce:

  1. Maintain consistency - Kids do best when they have regular schedules and routines in their daily lives. While you and your ex won’t necessarily need to follow the same schedules in both of your homes, you can do your best to stay consistent in how you handle things when your kids are with you. Your children will be comfortable in your home if they know when they can expect to eat meals, do homework, go to bed, get up in the morning, or any other regular activities.

  2. Keep kids informed - You can help your kids transition between your and your ex’s households by making sure they know which days they will be at which parent’s home. Using a calendar to mark the days they will spend at each home will make sure they know what to expect, and giving them reminders before they go to the other parent’s home can make sure they are prepared to make the transition. If there will be any changes to the parenting time schedule, tell your kids in advance so they are not disappointed about these adjustments.

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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:

 

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Interference with parenting time after divorce

As a divorced dad, your time with your kids is precious. While you were once a constant presence in their lives, this usually isn’t possible following divorce, because they will be dividing their time between you and their mom. Adjusting to new parenting schedules can sometimes be difficult, but once you have settled in to your post-divorce lives, you can get used to the new arrangements and make the most of the time you have together. Whether you and your ex share equal custody or not, your time with your kids will be limited, and you’ll want to make sure to address anything that would limit or take away that time. If your ex has deliberately withheld parenting time or otherwise interfered with your visitation, you should take immediate action to protect your parental rights and avoid causing harm to your children.

Interference With Parenting Time Is Illegal in Most Cases

Unfortunately, your relationship with your ex might not be especially rosy after your divorce. The two of you are likely still feeling the emotional fallout of your breakup, and even if you have done your best to put this conflict behind you, disputes may still flare up, leading either of you to attempt to hurt the other. One way ex-spouses may try to inflict harm is by refusing to allow their former partner to see their kids or otherwise interfering with their parenting time. 

While withholding of parenting time is sometimes overt, with one parent stating that the other parent is not allowed to see or spend time with the kids, interference with visitation is often much more subtle. Your ex may regularly be late when dropping off your kids, or she may invite herself along on outings with your children. She may regularly schedule children’s activities or appointments during your parenting time, or she may constantly be calling them or attempting to monitor your whereabouts and what you are doing. Regardless of how it happens, interference with parenting time is not acceptable, and you may need to take legal action to address it.

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