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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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parenting time for divorced dadsIf you’re a dad who is going through a divorce, you’re likely to be worried about spending less time with your kids. Unfortunately, this is an issue that is going to be unavoidable, since the time that your children spend with one parent is time that they won’t be with the other parent. You’ll need to adjust to not being with your kids every day, but you’ll also want to make sure you can spend time with them at every available opportunity. One way you can do so is by making sure your parenting agreement includes a “right of first refusal” clause.

What Is the Right of First Refusal?

Your parenting agreement will include detailed information about when your children will spend parenting time with you and your ex-spouse. A daily schedule will specify the days and times when your kids will be with each parent, and your agreement will also cover holidays, school vacations, and any other days where you will deviate from the normal schedule. However, there may be some days when either you or your ex will not be able to have parenting time with your kids as scheduled. These situations may be addressed by including a “right of first refusal” in your agreement.

The right of first refusal is a clause stating that when one parent will be unable to provide care for your children during their scheduled parenting time, they will be required to contact the other parent and see if they are available to watch the children before making other arrangements, such as hiring a babysitter or having kids stay with relatives. Essentially, the other parent will be given the first opportunity to have their children stay with them, and other arrangements can only be made if the parent refuses to take the children during that time.

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single dad child support lawIn many divorce cases where a couple has children, it is assumed that the father will pay child support to the mother. However, this isn’t always the case. In many modern families, dads and moms play equal roles in caring for their kids, and they should continue to do so after they become separated or get divorced. Depending on the circumstances, some dads may even be named the custodial parent of their children and have the majority of the parenting time with their kids after getting divorced or breaking up with an unmarried partner. In these types of situations, dads will need to be sure to understand their rights regarding child support.

Child Support for Dads Who Have Primary Physical Custody or Shared Custody

The purpose of child support is to ensure that both parents contribute toward their children’s needs. Typically, the parent who the children live with the majority of the time will receive child support from the other parent. This means that if your children stay with you most of the time, you may have the right to receive child support from your ex-spouse. Even if you were not married to your children’s mother, both of you will be required to provide financial support for your children, and as the custodial parent, you can ask a family court judge to enforce these obligations.

Depending on the state where you live, different methods may be used to calculate the amount of child support you can receive from your child’s mother. Some states determine child support using a percentage of the non-custodial parent’s income. However, many states are shifting to an income-sharing model that takes the amount earned by both parents into account. In these cases, an amount of child support will usually be determined based on what both parents would have spent to care for their children if they were still together. This amount will usually be divided between the parents based on the amount of income each parent earns. If you are the custodial parent, your ex will be required to pay her portion of the total child support amount to you.

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divorcing a narcissistGetting divorced is almost never easy, but it can become much more difficult and complicated if your spouse is a narcissist. This mental health disorder can take a variety of forms, but a narcissist will typically act with self-importance and put their own needs and desires ahead of others. They often take advantage of others, refuse to recognize other people’s needs, and demand that other people follow their wishes. Unfortunately, narcissists can also be very charming and persuasive. If your ex has narcissistic tendencies, you may be in for a difficult battle during your divorce. Fortunately, you can protect yourself by understanding the strategies that can expose your ex’s unrealistic expectations and unreasonable demands and make sure you will not be taken advantage of.

Standing up to a Narcissistic Spouse

During your divorce, you’ll need to make adjustments to the behaviors and methods of communication you may have been used to during your relationship with your spouse. What worked (or most likely didn’t work) during your marriage will no longer apply, and to avoid being manipulated, you’ll need to figure out how to put a stop to the strategies your ex normally uses to get their way. As you work to complete the divorce process, you’ll want to do the following:

  1. Stand up for yourself - Your ex may have become used to doing whatever they want and having you agree to their demands. Since you’re no longer in a married relationship, you no longer have to back down in order to keep the peace. Standing up for your rights and interests will let your ex know that you’re no longer going to let them control you and that your needs are just as important as theirs.

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