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dad's divorce law domestic violenceIf you are a devoted father, there are few things worse than being accused of committing violence or abuse against your spouse or children. In some cases, these types of claims can arise out of misunderstandings or arguments that get out of control, but sadly, there are many situations when a spouse or a current or former partner accuses a father of domestic violence in an attempt to gain an advantage in a child custody dispute. If you are facing accusations of domestic violence or abuse, you will want to do the following:

Follow the Court’s Orders

If your children’s other parent has obtained an emergency restraining order or order of protection against you, it is important to follow all of the requirements and restrictions in the order. Even if the order was based on false accusations, you will be required to follow all of its terms while it is in effect. Even though it may be difficult, you may need to move out of your home temporarily, and you may be unable to see or communicate with your children until these matters are resolved. If you violate a protective order, you could face criminal charges, as well as additional restrictions that affect your parental rights.

Gather Evidence to Support Your Side of the Story

As you prepare to defend yourself against accusations that you have committed domestic violence or abuse, you’ll want to gather as much evidence as possible to explain what actually happened and show that you are not a danger to your children. You may be able to provide an alibi to show that you were not present at the date and time the abuse allegedly occurred, or copies of communication with your children’s other parent may show that they have behaved unreasonably in the past. If necessary, you can provide records related to treatment for mental health or substance abuse issues, and you can obtain statements from friends or family members regarding your character and fitness as a parent. If child protective services are looking into claims of abuse, you will want to cooperate with them, provide any information they request, and follow their recommendations.

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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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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 dads lawyer mental illnessMental illness is an issue that has been on many people’s minds over the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people and families to experience extreme levels of stress. Those who were already struggling with mental health concerns may have found it difficult to deal with additional problems related to safety issues and economic concerns, and political issues, widespread protests, and other events certainly haven’t helped. Even those who have never experienced issues such as depression or anxiety may have found themselves struggling to deal with everything that has been happening, and in some cases, this has led to the breakdown of relationships between married spouses.

While divorce can be difficult in any situation, it is likely to be even more complex if either you or your spouse has a mental illness. Whether these issues were the primary reason for the end of your marriage or are just one of multiple stresses on your relationship, you’ll want to be sure to understand the role that mental health may play during the divorce process.

Divorce Considerations Related to Mental Illness

Mental illness can take a variety of forms, and depending on whether a person is receiving treatment and managing their symptoms, these conditions may or may not play a significant role in a divorce. In some cases, a spouse may raise concerns about the safety of themself or their children, especially if the other party is acting erratically or has been unable to provide the proper care during their parenting time. In other cases, a spouse may exhibit narcissism, leading them to prolong conflict, act manipulatively, or even make false accusations of domestic violence or abuse.

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parenting agreement divorce order enforcement lawyerGetting through the divorce process definitely isn’t easy, but once you’ve signed the final divorce papers, you’ll probably breathe a sigh of relief and be ready to move on to better things. Unfortunately, if you’re a parent, the end of your divorce may not be the end of the problems with your former partner. Since the two of you will need to maintain contact and work together as co-parents to your kids, you may encounter new disagreements regarding parenting issues. If these disputes involve your ex’s refusal to follow the terms of your parenting agreement, you may be unsure of how to proceed, but you should know that you can take steps to enforce the terms of your divorce decree.

Options for Post-Divorce Enforcement

Before taking any drastic action, you may want to contact your ex-spouse to discuss your concerns. In some cases, a violation of your parenting agreement may have occurred because of a misunderstanding or miscommunication, and you may be able to work things out between the two of you and avoid these types of problems in the future. If either of you believes that modifications to your parenting plan are necessary, you may be able to use mediation to come to an agreement regarding changes to issues such as child custody or parenting time.

If, however, your ex has violated your parenting agreement on purpose, attempts to reach a peaceful resolution to the situation may not be helpful. Your ex may be committing parental alienation by trying to limit your time with your children, or acting out of spite and attempting to make your life as difficult as possible. In these cases, you may need to take legal action and ask the court to require your ex to comply with your parenting plan. If you can show that your ex purposely tried to interfere with your parenting time, you may be able to make the case for consequences including parenting time restrictions. Repeated violations could result in your ex being held in contempt of court, which could result in penalties such as fines or even time in prison.

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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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