Fathers often feel inherently disadvantaged in the family court system, and navigating a complex divorce can be incredibly difficult for any father. However, once the divorce is over, they may look forward to starting a new chapter of their life. Nevertheless, divorce can present many long-term problems, and all fathers in this situation should know a few best practices that can potentially make post-divorce life a bit easier.
All recently divorced fathers need to know a few important things they must address after divorce and the potential situations that may compel them back to family court in the future. These incidents can be frustrating and distressing, but reliable legal counsel can make them easier to approach and address.
Develop a New Routine
If you are a divorced father with a custody order, your relationships with your children should be your primary concern after divorce. Adhere to the terms of your custody order to the letter and try to maintain amicable communication with your children’s mother to the best of your ability. Every custody order will include different terms, and most fathers will end up with joint legal custody and some measure of physical custody.
Once you understand your new custody terms, you should begin building a new schedule for yourself and your kids based on these terms. Divorce may have been hard on you, but it was probably much worse for your kids, and they may still not fully understand what has happened to their household. Developing a new routine can help your children find a renewed sense of normalcy from this challenging situation. A solid routine can keep you engaged with your children’s lives and help you improve your relationships with them.
Create a New Budget
Divorce can easily impose various financial concerns on any father. If your divorce involves a child support determination or terms pertaining to alimony or spousal support, it’s vital to understand what these terms entail and what you can expect as your case unfolds. In addition, if you have any ongoing financial commitments to your children and/or your ex, you must meet these obligations or face penalties from the court. If you are struggling in the face of your new financial concerns, it’s worth discussing your options with a financial advisor. You may have opportunities to reduce expenses and increase savings that you overlooked. Building a solid budget can be a significant step toward building the next phase of your life.
Review Your Estate Plan
If you have any will, trust, or other estate plans in place, it’s vital to review them after completing your divorce. If you want to ensure your children are your primary beneficiaries, you need to verify that your ex-spouse has been removed as a beneficiary both in your estate plan and in each account you hold that has any type of payable on death terms. This ensures your ex will not have any legal claim to your property if you die. Many people who divorce completely rewrite their estate plans shortly after finalizing their dissolution proceedings. A divorce is likely to impact your personal finances in several ways, and you must account for this in your new estate plan.
It is vital to seek reliable legal counsel for adjusting your estate plan. If your plan is legally unenforceable, it will proceed to the probate process and unfold along the state’s law of intestate succession. Disputes may also arise among your children and other beneficiaries, or even from your ex-spouse, depending on the details of your estate. Therefore, it is almost always best to develop an entirely new estate plan after divorce that fully addresses your new circumstances.
Understand the Modification Process
Finalizing your divorce may seem like the end of a tremendous ordeal, but your interactions with your ex-spouse and the family court system may not be complete. Many divorced fathers must return to family court to address recent life events that impact their custody and support orders. The modification process allows anyone under a family court order to request reasonable changes to the order’s terms when these unexpected events occur.
For example, if you must pay child support but suffer a severe workplace injury that diminishes your earning capacity, you can petition for a reduced or terminated support obligation. Similarly, if you discover any evidence that your co-parent has been abusive or neglectful to your child, you could petition for sole custody and to hold the other parent in contempt.
An experienced attorney is a valuable asset for any modification petition. Your legal team can help you compile your petition and gather any supporting documentation you must submit to the court for consideration. Once the court receives this petition, a hearing will be scheduled, and your attorney can prepare you for your courtroom appearance. All parties involved in the family court order have the right to speak on the issue. The judge will consider evidence and testimony from all parties before approving or denying the petition. If approved, your petition for modification could take immediate effect.
Know the Value of Legal Counsel
Whether you are approaching a divorce case or need to revisit some aspect of your divorce through a modification, the right attorney can make a tremendous difference in the quality of your experience in the family court system. Fathers often mistakenly believe they can never win custody of their kids, or that they will face grossly unfair and unreasonable support and alimony terms, and many fathers struck by these notions learn they have far more flexibility than they expected once they secure reliable legal counsel.
Experienced Fathers’ Rights Attorney
If you need guidance and support for a divorce in the Midwest or need to address recent life events through a modification petition, contact our firm. An experienced fathers’ rights attorney is the ideal asset to have on your side. If you are unsure of your legal options in your situation, contact a trustworthy fathers’ rights attorney to begin working on your case. Our team can help you at every step of the way.