Father’s Rights: 5 Things Not to Do With Child Custody

The past has shown that fathers tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to divorce, and that’s simply not fair. However, recent times have proven that fathers do have rights, especially knowing that children benefit more from having both parents involved in their upbringing. If you are a dad recently going through divorce, then you want to ensure you don’t make the following mistakes to give you a better chance of getting what you want.


  1. Don’t let your ex be the dictator.

A child’s mother will typically feel as if she has more rights than you, and that’s not the case. Do not allow your ex to let her opinions or ideas be the dictatorship in your relationship. Instead, be sure you have voiced your own opinion and do what you can to give you ample time with your child. Be sure to hire a lawyer who will also fight for your rights.


  1. Don’t worry about money.

If your ex is being difficult, the cost of legal assistance can add up. However, if you want to be actively involved in your child’s life, then you need to continue to fight for your rights instead of allowing the financial possibilities to be the determination. There are plenty of child custody assistance programs out there that can help alleviate the costs of legal assistance or fight for your rights for you. Be sure to do your research and find the ways you can adequately receive the rights you want without the financial burdens.


  1. Don’t be greedy.

A child benefits from spending time with both parents, so it’s important you acknowledge this and don’t fight for rights you don’t deserve or that will be detrimental to your child. Try to be reasonable with your ex and get as much time with your child that you can actually agree to. For instance, if your job requires you to travel more often than not, you don’t want to fight for full custody if that time will be spent away from your child. Opting for mediation is a good way for you and your ex to try and agree to a timeline and child custody agreement that works for both of you.


  1. Don’t take the law into your own hands.

The court will do what they can to ensure the best decisions are made for your child, but sometimes you may not agree with these decisions. However, there is no benefit to trying to take the law into your own hands. For instance, if you are asked to pay child support, forgoing to make these payments out of spite will not be beneficial. In addition, taking your visitation for granted can also be detrimental to your parenting agreement and your child, so don’t do what you want just to do so.


  1. Don’t assume you’re stuck.

The court understands your situation can change over time, so don’t assume your initial child custody or divorce agreements are set in stone. If your situation changes, then don’t hesitate to go back to court and find the best solution for your new situation. For instance, if your financial

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Unwed Fathers: What Dads Need to Know

Whether you’re in a serious relationship with someone or maybe had a one-night stand, finding out you’re having a child will be a game changer, especially as the father. In most states, the law says unwed mothers have legal custody over the child, but that doesn’t mean you should just take what the law says. Instead, you need to make it a point to be in your child’s life, and this requires some work on your part, especially if you and the mother aren’t going to get married. If you are an unwed father, here are some things you need to know.


Get a paternity test.

Even if you’re 100% sure the child is yours, it’s still necessary for the courts that you get a paternity test. This gives the courts proof that you are the child’s legal father and will help you get the rights you deserve. This is done by swabbing your mouth and having your DNA and the DNA of your child run together. Once your paternity is proven, you can take the next steps to ensure you get the rights that belong to you.


Fight for your custody.

Even though an unwed mother will be granted legal custody, that doesn’t mean you can’t file for joint custody of the child. Having joint custody means you and the child’s mother get to split time equally with the children. It also means you’re both financially responsible for the child and also means you both get equal say in the rights and decisions of your children, such as their medical care, where they go to school, what religion they’ll be raised in, and more.


Fighting for custody means finding an attorney who will help you get the custody agreement you want. You will want to talk with a legal professional to see what your rights are and what you need to do to help you achieve those rights. Once you’ve talked this over, be sure to do whatever your legal representative asks of you, such as finding the financial records you need or the paperwork you need to help prove your case and get the arrangement you want.


If you and the child’s mother have a good relationship, getting your version of custody shouldn’t be that difficult to do; however, if you have a strained relationship, know that she may want to fight you on the custody, and this can turn it into a battle.


Pay your dues.

Regardless of what the courts may decide, know that your child is your financial responsibility, and it’s up to you to help support them so they can have every opportunity that’s necessary for them. The courts may require you to pay child support, and if they do, know that you need to pay this to help your child get the resources he/she needs to grow. Also know that your child support payments are a legal agreement, and not paying them could put you at risk of serving jail time.


Spend time with your child.

Children need their fathers for better development, and whether you get joint custody or only have visitation, it’s important you spend as much time with your child as possible. Be there for him/her when they need you, find fun things to do with one another, and be sure to get involved with school and activates as your child gets older. Even though you and their mom may no longer be together, that doesn’t mean there needs to be a strain on your relationship with your child.


As a father, it’s up to you to use these tips and have a successful relationship with your child.


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The Results Are In, You’re a Dad…Now What?

In most cases, you have many months to let the idea of being a father sink in.  In the case where paternity is questioned or when a father does not know that they have a child, things can be completely different.  In fact, these father’s might not find out that they have a child until that child is much older.  Many worry that they will not have the same rights as a father who knew that they had a child from birth.  The law is not in favor of keeping fathers away from their children, even if they do not find out that the child exists until later in life.


Understanding the New Definition of Family


In cases where the parents have never been married, it can be more difficult for the father to make sure that all of his rights are being upheld.  Today more than 40% of all children are born to unwed parents.  As this number continues to rise, more and more fathers need to be aware of what rights they have when they have never been married to their child’s mother.


Sometimes children are born to unwed couples that are fully committed to one another.  In this case, the child is still growing up in a home where they have two parents who are living under the same roof.  In far too many cases, the children are growing up in homes where they are never able to meet or get to know their father.  In some of these cases it is because the father has not wanted to be there, but in others it has been the mother who has kept the father in the dark about even becoming a father.  In these cases, the father can request paternity tests and once established, he can request that he have rights to have visitation with the child.


What You Need to Know When You Find Out You Are the Father


If you have been in a situation where you have not known if you were the father or not, there are some things that you should be made aware of.  Once you have established paternity, you are going to start being held responsible as the child’s father.  You are also going to want to work with the mother in order to have some paternal rights so that you can get to know your child.  Now that you have established paternity, you can move on to securing your rights for visitation and possibly even shared custody of the child.


First Things First, Get on the Birth Certificate


If paternity was established after the birth certificate was issued, then you will have to file to have the birth certificate amended.  If the paternity test was done prior to the birth, you will be able to secure your name on the birth certificate at that time.  It is important that you make sure that your name is on the birth certificate.  If you do not then should something happen to the mother, you will not have the same rights that you would if your name was on it.


Understand Your State’s Legislature


Each state is different in the rights that a father has.  However, there are some states where you can be placed on a registrar so that you are notified should anything legal take place with the child.  This could include someone trying to adopt the child, the mother waving her rights, or in the event that your child’s custody is questioned in court for any reason.


Fight for Custody Rights or Visitations


When you have finished with this, you should take the time to make sure that you have the rights that you deserve.  This includes fighting for some form of custody or visitation.  It is important that you are aware of the rights that you have and that you are able to see your child on a regular basis.  In some cases, you might be able to get awarded certain types of custody.  However, if you are not make sure that you take up all of the visitation time that you are offered.  Doing this will give you the basis that you need to fight for custody in the future.


Be Prepared to Support Your Child


Once you start fighting for rights, you must be ready to hold up the responsibilities.  Make sure that you are prepared to support your child by paying child support and helping cover expenses for things that your child needs.  While you might not feel that what you are asked to pay is fair, do it in good conscience that you are doing what is right for your child to be raised in a healthy and stable environment.


Being a father takes time and effort.  It can be quite a shock when you find out that you are a father after having not known that your ex was pregnant.  Regardless of how you find out.  Once you know that you are a father, there are certain rights and responsibilities that you should have.



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Custody is Not About Winning or Losing, It’s About What’s Right for the Children

One of the biggest mistakes that parents make when they are going through a divorce is that they think that they can “win” custody of their children.  Far too many parents think that custody is a game that they are playing.  The thing is that it is not a game.  When child custody turns into a game the only real loser are any children that are involved.

Why You Can’t “Win” Custody

 When people are talking about divorce and child custody cases, they generally refer to issues with custody as winning or losing.  The problem is that you cannot really win custody in any case.  It seems that no one is able to realize that child custody is actually a very serious issue that is going to affect all involved for many years to come.  You should be taking extra notes during this time as to how things are affecting the children involved.  You will want to ensure that your children feel supported and that their opinions and thoughts matter as far as to where they are spending their time.  If you see any type of negative impact on your child or their behaviors, then you will want to be sure that you take note and try to avoid the situations that are causing the children to act out.


Where the Internet Goes Wrong

A simple Google search will yield thousands of web pages that discuss how you can win your custody battle.  Instead of looking at the situation as a battle that requires winning, you will find that things go much better when you take a new perspective.  The goal should be how two parents are going to be able to work together to successfully raise the children in two homes.  Doing this is something that is going to help you to ensure that you have their best interest in mind.  No parent should ever set out with the goal of hurting the other parent by using the children.


What the Goals Should Be

Instead of worrying about winning and losing, there are some goals that you should have with the other parent of your children.  Having these goals helps to set up a secure and stable environment for your children.


Creating a Successful Co-Parent Relationship

 The first thing that you will want to do is work with your ex to create a relationship that is successful at co-parenting.  There are so many ways in which you can co-parent successfully.  One of these is that you will want to learn how to talk to one another in a way that is respectful but does not give any false intentions.  Talking to one another in a toned down version of a business relationship is generally best.


Set Clear Boundaries

While it would be nice to have both parents with your child as much as possible, this can only be done when both parents have clearly moved on and want no further relationship with each other.  If one parent would like to still be with the other parent, then it is going to be nearly impossible to do things together as a family unit.  Instead have clear boundaries as to when things are appropriate and when they are not.


Work on Expectations and Punishments Together

It can be tempting when your child has gotten in trouble with the other parent to be the “cool” parent or the “nice” parent and to not force them to follow through with these punishments.  While this might feel like a win for you when your child appears to want more time with you, it is actually a fail!  Having the same expectations and punishments in place in both households helps your child to adjust more easily as they are traveling between the two homes.


Always Put Your Child First

While you might want to spend more time with your child, you should look at what is best for your child.  If coming to your house on a school night is harmful or does not work out well for one reason or another, then maybe look at other times that could be more accommodating to your child and their schedule rather than being selfish with your own.

In conclusion, learn how to comfort your children through a divorce or custody battle. Not all divorces need to be nasty either. There are things you can do and consider to get a healthy divorce.  You cannot “win” a custody battle, but you can “win” at successfully co-parenting your child together.

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How to Stay Involved in Your Children’s Education When You’re Not the Custodial Parent

One of the most important and rewarding things that you can do for your child is be involved in their education.  Even if you are a non-custodial parent  after a divorce or separation, you should strive to be involved in different aspects of your child’s education.  By being involved in your child’s education, you are helping to support them and helping them to have higher success rates in school.  Being involved actually is more important than other factors like socioeconomic status or your own personal level of education when it comes to having successful educational experiences for your child.


What You Can Do at Home

When it comes to having children who are successful in school, it is important that you know the right things to do at home.  One of these is that you should be talking to your children daily about their education.  Even if you do not have custody of your children, you can use your daily phone calls to discuss their education and what they have been doing at school.  If you do not get daily phone calls, you can ask them what’s been happening at school each time that you see them or talk to them.  Even one short question of interest can be enough to show your child that you care and how important their education really is.

Taking the time to discuss and check homework when you are with your children is also very important.  Looking over papers, having knowledge and understanding of projects, and learning about your child’s teachers through them is important to help them have a successful school career.  In addition, you should have routines in place for your children for their homework and should work together to ensure that these routines are followed.


What You Should Be Doing at the School


Even if you do not have custody of your children, there are things that you can do at their schools that can help them to have higher levels of success.

During elementary school, it is essential that you build relationships with your child’s teachers.  You want to have an open line of communication with them.  Write notes about questions that you have, volunteer opportunities that you would like to be involved in, and more.  In addition, call teachers if you are not getting the answers that you need or take time to stop by and formally introduce yourself.  You might also want to set up a time to visit the classroom and check out the learning environment where your child is spending their time.  In addition, make sure that you attend all conferences and meetings so that you can get involved on the level that you want to be.

During middle school it is not as easy to be involved with your child’s education.  Children are given more responsibility for themselves at this age.  Make sure that you are participating at any level that you can and if your child wants you to participate, make sure that you are taking the time to do so.  It is also important to note who your child’s guidance counselor is and to have an open line of communication with them.  Resist the urge to discuss matters concerning the other parent, unless the counselor asks questions or brings something up to you.


Consider the PTA

 Many non-custodial parents miss their opportunity to get involved with the PTA at their child’s school.  Being a part of the PTA or parent group that is in place is very important.  You will be able to work together to solve problems that the school might be facing.  Plus you will know the ins and outs to different teachers, workshops, special educational opportunities, and the needs of the school or classrooms.

Being involved as a non-custodial parent might take a little more effort on your part.  However, when you take the time to be involved, you are showing your child that you care and that his/her education is important.


Lastly, it’s important to remember that the courts like you to co-parent so keep the lines of communication open with your Ex about your child’s education and well being. After all, it’s not about you or your Ex, it’s about the children.

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