Divorce FAQs for Dads

FAQs for divorcing fathers

Answering Frequently Asked Questions About Divorce and Child Custody for Fathers

Q:How Can Dads Be Treated Fairly During Divorce?

Even if you feel like you're at a disadvantage during the divorce process, it's important to understand that you have rights as a father. During your divorce, both parties should be treated equally in the eyes of the law. This means you should be able to make child custody and visitation arrangements that are similar to how you and your ex cared for your children while you were married. You also have the right to an equitable share of your marital property, the right to request spousal support if your ex earned the majority of the family's income, and the right to receive child support if you will be the custodial parent of your children.

Q:Can Infidelity Affect the Decisions Made During Divorce?

There are a wide variety of reasons for divorce, but in most cases, the factors that caused a marriage to break down won't affect the actual divorce proceedings. When filing for divorce, most states allow a person to state that the marriage ended because of irreconcilable differences rather than arguing that either party was at fault. In addition, most state laws won't consider infidelity or other forms of marital misconduct when making decisions about issues such as property division, spousal support, or child custody. However, infidelity may play a role during divorce if one spouse dissipated or wasted marital assets while pursuing an extramarital affair. You'll want to consult with your attorney to determine the best ways to address asset dissipation or other related issues.

Q:Can My Ex Deny Visitation if I Do Not Pay Child Support?

Even if you get behind on your child support payments, your ex is not allowed to deny your court-ordered parenting time with your children. Child custody and child support are two separate issues, so your ex can't punish you for failing to make payments on time or in full. However, if you do have trouble paying child support, you could face a variety of legal consequences. If you've lost your job or suffered a setback that affects your ability to pay child support, you'll want to take action as soon as possible to have your support order modified to fit your ability to pay.

Q:Can I Withhold Child Support if My Ex Doesn't Follow Requirements for Child Custody?

Just as your ex can't punish you for failing to pay child support, you can't punish her for refusing to follow your parenting time schedule. If she has refused to follow the court's orders regarding the time you spend with your children, or if she has not allowed you to participate in making decisions about how your children should be raised, you aren't allowed to withhold child support payments in response. Instead, you should work with a family law attorney to enforce the court's orders. If you can show that she unreasonably refused to allow your children to spend time with you, the court may place restrictions on her own parental responsibilities or parenting time.

Q:Should I Move Out of Our Marital Home?

During the divorce process, you might be ready to find new living arrangements and prepare for your new life after your marriage is over. However, before doing so, you'll want to be sure to understand your rights and responsibilities. Since you and your ex will continue to own your home together until other arrangements are made, you could still be required to pay expenses related to the home, including mortgage payments, utilities, and maintenance. You should consult with an attorney and determine the best ways to protect your rights and your finances as you move out and make arrangements for how you will handle ownership of your marital home.

Q:What Is Parental Alienation?

In some divorce cases, a parent may attempt to harm their children's relationship with the other parent, such as by blaming them for the divorce or claiming that they do not love the children or want to spend time with them. This could be part of a calculated effort to influence decisions about child custody, or it could be something a parent does due to a mental illness or narcissism. If you believe your ex-spouse has committed parental alienation, you'll want to act immediately to address these issues in court and protect your relationship with your kids.

Q:Can Men Be the Victims of Spousal Abuse?

Even if men are less likely to be physically harmed by their partners, they may still experience multiple forms of domestic abuse. In some cases, this takes the form of emotional abuse, such as manipulation, gaslighting, negative comments, or withholding of affection. A wife may also exert control over her partner by constantly monitoring where he is and who he is with, forcing him to cut off contact with friends or family members, or not allowing him to access information about the family's finances. If you or your children have suffered any form of abuse, you should speak to an attorney about your options for receiving an order of protection and escaping an abusive relationship.

Q:Can I Get Sole Custody?

In most cases, family courts prefer for parents to share custody of their kids. However, if you've been the primary caretaker for your kids throughout their lives, or if your ex has abandoned the family and shown little interest in parental responsibilities, you may be able to pursue primary or sole custody. You may also ask the court to place restrictions on your ex's parental responsibilities or parenting time if she has problems with mental illness or substance abuse that would threaten your children's safety and well-being or if she has committed domestic abuse or parental alienation. During your divorce, your lawyer can advise you on whether you should pursue sole custody and the likelihood that the court will rule in your favor.

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