Divorce And Families: What Newly Single Dads Need To Know
No matter what events or situations lead up to the decision to get a divorce, the entire process can be incredibly complicated and stressful. This is especially true once children get involved; custody, visitation, child support, and more can all factor into the many decisions that need to be made. To help you make the right choice for your well-being and the safety of your family, here are a few tips to navigating the world of divorce if you’re a father.
Get Your Finances In Order
While divorce may ultimately be the best choice for you, your spouse, and your children, it can still be a very difficult process. In fact, you can expect divorce to disrupt every arena of your life. That’s especially true when it comes to your finances. While you may need to find new housing, try to avoid making any other big purchases during this time.
As soon as possible, get a clear accounting of your financial situation and start planning for the future. This may be a process you can go through with your spouse, but it’s important to take an independent look at your accounts. Get a clear picture of your assets, property, and debt. Eventually, you will need to go over these particulars with your attorney, especially if your former spouse is seeking child support or alimony payments. Unfortunately, that may require downgrading your lifestyle in the short term.
Find A Family Lawyer
When you start your search for a lawyer to help with your divorce, you might originally start looking up lawyers that exclusively practice divorce law. However, not all divorce attorneys are at the same level of expertise when it comes to cases involving children. Look specifically for an attorney that can help you manage the needs of the divorce, including determining custody and taking care of your children. In 2012, 1,268,011 people in the U.S. practiced as licensed lawyers, meaning there will be a large number to select from in your area even if you’re a bit picky with your criteria.
Negotiate With Your Spouse
If you and your spouse are on good or at least civil terms, try working with your spouse before you get into divorce proceedings to see if you can negotiate a solution regarding your children. In 29% of custody cases, the decision was made without any third party involvement. Obviously, this solution will only work if you and your spouse are on at least decent terms. If you’re not sure you can trust your spouse with your children or there’s a potentially messy situation, you might want to be ready to have legal backup.
Talk To The Kids
Depending on how old your kids are, you’ll want to see what their take is on the situation before you make any binding decisions. Even children of young ages will have opinions on how much time they want to spend with each of their parents, and while having that conversation can be uncomfortable, it’s important. If your child is old enough, they may be able to have their opinions heard without having to have that difficult conversation with their parents. If children are 12 or older, they are able to speak with the judge privately regarding their post-divorce, living situation preferences. Still, it’s best to discuss the plans with your children before any decisions are made. This helps ensure that what you think is best for them is something they’ll be actually comfortable with.
What About Adoption?
Not all families are biologically related. After all, one of every six couples of childbearing age is struggling with infertility. So does the fact that your children are adopted have any impact on custody decisions? Generally speaking, as long as both you and your spouse are legal guardians of your child, the custody issues will be handled the same way as a biological child. How your family was formed doesn’t matter legally as long as guardianship is the same, and adoption shouldn’t be a problem when it comes to settling a divorce.
Divorces as a father can be incredibly challenging, from both an emotional perspective and simply when it comes to navigating legal systems. However, taking the right steps to protect your children and ensure they’re taken care of can help make the process a bit more simple and easier on every member of the family.