Not too long ago - around the mid 1970's - fathers who divorced had to accept
the fact that their relationships with their children would be limited to every second
weekend, if they were lucky. More importantly, they also had to come to terms with the
fact that with their divorce, they also lost all of their parental rights. In other words, up until
recently, divorce generally resulted in mothers getting sole custody with fathers being
legally cut out of their children's lives.
The implications of fathers not having custody of their children go far beyond just having limited access.
In essence, not having custody actually means that a noncustodial parent is no longer the "legal" parent or guardian.
This means that a noncustodial parent has absolutely no say in any major decisions regarding their children's
upbringing which includes issues pertaining to their education, medical care and religious upbringing. It
also means that the custodial parent is free to relocate without having to consult with the
other noncustodial parent. In cases where the custodial parent is reasonable and understanding of the role
the noncustodial parent plays in the children's lives, these limitations may not prove to be critical. However,
in many other cases, noncustodial parents may find themselves at a terrible disadvantage. In fact, many noncustodial parents
who find themselves at the mercy of an unreasonable and vindictive ex-spouse may find themselves basically cut out of their children's lives forever.
In the most extreme cases, a noncustodial parent may never see their child again.
How to Protect Father's Rights in Custody Battles
Being faced with a custody battle is no fun and it can be extremely expensive both financially and emotionally. However, unless a father is prepared to accept being
cut out of his children's lives, then it is important to fight to maintain your rights as a father. One thing you need to know is that children are entitled to have a relationship with both of their parents even when the parents are no longer married or living together.
It is also important for you to know that in most jurisdictions, joint custody is becoming the norm. In other words, unless there is
cause, there is no reason for any father to give up their custodial rights.
This of course does not stop the other parent from wanting sole custody. And because of that, fathers are placed in a position of
having to defend their rights as parents. There are a few key issues to keep in mind. They are:
It is important that you do not wait until things get really bad. If yuou are starting to feel as if your spouse is becoming unreasonable and does not appear to value
your role as your children's father, don't wait too long for her to become more reasonable. Generally, people who engage in this conduct, typically get worse over time and their tactics will just escalate.|
Although most attorneys are trained to negotiate settlements out of court (and that makes good sense in most cases), when dealing with an unreasonable spouse, negotiating may not be a good first approach. Unfortunately, in
many of these difficult cases, the "hammer" approach may get more results and may actually pave the way for negotiations later.
Find an attorney who is not only skilled in custody disputes but someone in whom you have confidence. There is no need to work with someone
you do not believe can do the job. Because custody battles can be nasty, lengthy and stressful, many attorneys may give more
attention to their "easier" files. You will need to work with someone who can give your file the attention it deserves no matter what.
There is much to know about the fathers rights and getting help with coping custody battles.
The good news is that there is considerable information about the divorcing process and
lots of available divorce an custody resources. The important thing is to find reliable divorce information and resources. Using the divorce resources on the Internet is a good starting point.
Click on the book cover to download a FREE copy of
"The Divorce & Custody Resource Handbook"
To learn more about
how to end a marriage
To learn more about
how to avoid making divorce mistakes
Dr. Reena Sommer,
M.Sc. (Family Studies),
Ph.D.(Psychology & Family Studies)
Divorce & Custody Consultant
League City TX. 77573
Dr. Reena Sommer
For more information on divorce and custody
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