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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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Protecting fathers’ rights to parenting time during the COVID-19 pandemicCOVID-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.

Can My Ex Refuse to Allow Me to See My Child?

During the coronavirus pandemic, some parents may try to restrict the time their ex-partners spend with their children, or they may attempt to withhold parenting time or visitation altogether. For some parents, these actions may be taken due to a legitimate concern for children’s safety, but unfortunately, some parents may attempt to use this opportunity to gain the upper hand in a child custody dispute or act maliciously against their former partner.

If your ex-spouse or ex-partner has attempted to withhold or restrict your parenting time with your children, you will first want to determine how your state is currently addressing these matters. In many cases, state government officials have stated that parents should continue to carry out the orders specified in divorce or child custody agreements, and even when non-essential travel has been restricted, transportation of children between parents’ homes has been allowed. 

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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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