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Summer vacation parenting time tips for single fathersWhether you are currently going through divorce, were recently divorced, or have been a single father for some time, you’ve probably struggled with the events that have affected our lives in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our personal and professional lives due to stay-at-home orders, economic difficulties, and school closures. Now, just as summer vacation is about to begin for many children, the wave of Black Lives Matter protests across the country has led to outbreaks of violence and curfews in many cities. Whether you had made plans for the summer with your kids or were simply planning to enjoy spending time with them, events may be throwing everything into confusion, and you may be unsure about how to proceed.

Depending on your parenting agreement, you may have more time with your kids over the summer, and you will want to make the most of your parenting time during these months. Here are a few tips to follow as you make your summer plans:

  1. Find ways to show solidarity - Your kids may express a desire to participate in protests, or they may want to do what they can to express and share their beliefs and opinions. While it may be appropriate to take older children to protests or demonstrations, you should be sure to discuss this with the other parent first to address any safety concerns. You will also want to have a plan for staying together, avoiding any violence, and getting home safely. As an alternative, you could work with your kids to find ways you can show support from home, such as posting pictures or videos on social media, writing messages in chalk on your sidewalk, or donating to causes you believe in.

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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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Domestic violence and orders of protection during the coronavirus pandemicMany families are struggling with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Job losses have caused significant financial difficulties for many people, and requirements to stay at home have caused some family relationships to suffer. The different forms of stress that people are experiencing in their homes may lead to serious relationship issues between family members. Based on trends from previous disasters, some are concerned that the rates of domestic violence will increase as the crisis continues. If you are a father who needs help addressing family violence, or if you have been accused of committing abuse or violence against a family member, you should be sure to understand your legal options and the steps you can take to protect yourself and your family.

Addressing Domestic Violence and Abuse

Domestic abuse and family violence is an issue that can affect both men and women. While one third of the women in the U.S. have experienced violence by an intimate partner during their lifetime, one fourth of men have also experienced this type of abuse. While the jury is still out about whether domestic violence has increased during the coronavirus crisis, the requirements imposed on families during the pandemic may cause a family’s existing problems to intensify, which can lead to dangerous situations.

The isolation that many families are experiencing is likely to be a major factor in domestic abuse cases. A person who commits abuse will often seek to control their partner by cutting them off from other forms of support, such as friends and family members. Stay-at-home orders that limit contact with others may end up increasing the cycle of abuse experienced by a victim. When combined with the stress families are already experiencing, financial difficulties, and the high potential for substance abuse, this situation may turn a relationship that is already experiencing problems into an environment where family members’ safety and well-being is threatened.

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Modifying child support after losing your jobThe coronavirus pandemic has affected nearly everyone in the United States, and in addition to concerns about how an infection can impact your health and well-being, you may also be experiencing financial difficulties. Stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders have forced many businesses to close, and many people have lost their jobs or seen reductions in the income they earn. In fact, unemployment rates have risen to levels that have not been seen in the U.S. since the Great Depression. If you have lost your job or experienced a reduction in income, you will likely be concerned about how this will affect your child support obligations.

Requirements to Pay Court-Ordered Child Support

If you have been ordered to pay child support following your divorce or after separating from your child’s other parent, these orders will remain in effect, regardless of your employment status. This means that even if you lose your job, you will still be required to pay child support owed, and if you miss any payments, you will be required to make them up in the future, and you may also owe interest on late payments.

However, even though you will still have the obligation to provide financial support for your children, family courts will most likely recognize that changes in the income you earn have affected your ability to pay. You may be able to pursue a modification of your child support order based on your new circumstances. Any changes to child support may take other forms of income into account, including unemployment benefits you earn, government stimulus payments, or other assets you own that could be used to meet your children’s needs. If your ex-spouse has also experienced a job loss or employment issues, the child support modifications may also take these factors into account.

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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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Adultery and divorce issues child custody alimonyFew things are more hurtful than realizing that your marriage is coming to an end because your spouse has cheated on you. In these cases, you’re likely to feel a great deal of sadness and betrayal, as well as anger about how your impending divorce will affect your children and anxiety about the changes you’ll be experiencing in your life. All of these feelings can seem overwhelming, and you might want to lash out at your spouse for bringing this turmoil into your family’s lives. However, as you proceed with the divorce process, you’ll want to take a step back, consider things from a legal perspective, and understand how infidelity will affect the decisions made.

Addressing Adultery When Filing for Divorce

Depending on the laws in your state, you may or may not need to address infidelity when filing a petition for divorce. Some states recognize fault-based grounds for divorce, allowing a person to state that their marriage has ended because of adultery or other actions taken by their partner. However, most states allow for “no-fault divorce” in which a person simply needs to state that the marriage has failed due to “irreconcilable differences,” and in some states, this is the only option available. While you may feel that you should make it understood that your spouse’s infidelity is the reason your marriage has ended, blaming her for your divorce could make the process more contentious, leading to disputes that take a great deal of time and money to resolve.

Infidelity and Financial Issues

If you believe that your spouse is to blame for the end of your marriage, you may feel that she should be penalized or that matters related to finances should be decided in your favor. However, most state laws do not take adultery or other forms of marital misconduct into account when addressing matters such as the division of marital property. In most cases, assets and debts that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage will be divided in a way that is fair and equitable. However, if your spouse dissipated or wasted marital assets when committing adultery, such as by spending money to buy gifts for her lover, this could affect the decisions made about how property will be divided.

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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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