Whether you’re on the brink of divorce or you’re recently divorced, surely one of the hardest parts of breaking up with your children’s mother is not living with your kids, or no longer seeing them every day. For most fathers, it’s devastating.
Our definition of a successful divorced dad is one who maintains an excellent relationship with his children despite the divorce. While each divorce is unique, the more you know what to expect as a single father, the better you can prepare and react to situations as they arise.
Here’s our advice to increase your chances of success as a divorced father:
1. Understand How Children Cope
After going through a painful divorce, it can be easy to forget about how the divorce is affecting your children. A divorce can be heartbreaking for children of all ages, especially as their family life changes completely. You can speak with an expert about the effects of divorce on children or read books on the subject.
2. Consider Staying Physically Close
You may be tempted to move across the country to get far away from your ex or to pursue that job opportunity you’ve been dreaming of, but that may not be a good idea for your children. One of the best ways to stay connected to your children is to stay physically close to them after the divorce. Staying close to your ex also makes it a lot easier to see your children regularly and constant contact is key to maintaining a quality relationship with your kids.
3. Know the Laws About Child Support
If you’re going to be paying child support, it’s important that you understand how the laws work. If you lose your job, you still have to pay. If your ex won’t let you see the children, you still have to pay child support. If you need a downward modification, you must ask the court before your support obligation can be reduced.
If you can’t pay, go to court at once; your obligation does not change until the court says so. If you fail to pay child support, you could face a series of negative consequences, such as wage garnishment and license suspension. If you owe more than $2,500 in arrears, you will be denied a U.S. passport.
4. Stay Connected When You’re Far Away
Perhaps you’re in the military and you have to deploy. Or, perhaps you travel a lot for your job. If you can’t stay close to home, make sure you stay connected to your kids through Skype, Facebook, FaceTime, and similar tools. Find ways to stay close, even when you’re miles away from each other.
5. Dating as a Single Dad
Eventually, most dads jump back into the dating scene (some sooner than others). Will you date online? Will you do it the old-fashioned way and date women you meet at the gym or through friends? In any case, when you do begin dating again, schedule the dates for nights the children are at their mom’s house.
Be honest with your dates about the fact that you’re a divorced father, it’s futile to hide it. If you do find someone you like, try not to introduce her to the kids too soon as this can cause upset for the children, especially for older children whose emotions are still raw.
It is possible to be a successful divorced dad, it just takes a little diligence on your part. If you’re looking for a San Fernando divorce attorney or if you need help with a child support or custody matter, contact Cutter & Lax to work with a board-certified family law specialist!