Whether you’re a dad who just filed for divorce or you’re trying to make the most of a shared custody arrangement, your family is bound to face plenty of challenges along the way. Below, Dallas Divorce Attorney Aubrey Connatser shares her top five tips and resources for fathers navigating the bumpy road that often accompanies the divorce process when children are involved.
Tip No. 1: Remember: The kids come first.
According to Aubrey, “During a contentious divorce, it’s natural to feel anger and resentment toward your spouse, but your children’s welfare should be your top priority. Don’t allow anger toward your soon-to-be-ex to overshadow the needs of your kids, entice you to put the children in the middle or let you think it’s OK to use your kids as leverage during a divorce.”
Resource: Check out this past post with video, 5 Big Mistakes Divorcing Parents Make That Harm Teenage Kids, for more details.
Tip No. 2: Stay positive and take appropriate steps to achieve your custody goals.
“One of the first questions I ask clients is, ‘What are your goals?’ If you’re a dad and your goal is to secure an equally shared custody arrangement or primary custody of your children, your odds are better today than in years past. An experienced family law attorney can walk you through the steps necessary to help you achieve the outcomes you desire,” Aubrey says.
Resource: Learn how one father overcame the odds and five steps to take in this past story: 5 Crucial Steps Dads Should Take to Get Custody in Texas.
Tip No. 3: Seek out resources to help kids cope during and after divorce.
As Aubrey explains, “Going through a divorce is a tumultuous time for all parties involved, but kids can take it especially hard. Don’t underestimate the fragility of your child’s mental health during divorce. There are plenty of tools and resources available, including counseling, to help them cope.”
Resource: Read this recent post, where Aubrey shares 5 Valuable Resources to Help Kids Cope When Parents Split.
Tip No. 4: Prepare yourself for child custody modifications in the future.
As a Dallas Divorce Attorney, Aubrey regularly handles child custody modifications. Modifications typically occur when adjustments need to be made to a custody order following a change in circumstances of one parent or the child that occur subsequent to a divorce.
“Parents typically have to wait at least one year following the finalization of the prior custody order to request a custody modification and three years to request a change in child support. These time frames can change in the event of an emergency.
In Texas, there must be a material and substantial change in circumstances regarding the children or parent conservator that requires a modification of conservatorship or possession and access, as well as child support,” Aubrey says.
Resource: You can find the Top 10 Things Parents Need to Know about Child Custody Modifications in Texas here.
Tip No. 5: Get your ducks in a row regarding the divorce in general.
Ask anyone who has been through a divorce and most will say it’s one of the most stressful experiences they’ve ever been through. Seeking out guidance sooner rather than later can help prevent missteps that could jeopardize child custody goals and other aspects of your divorce case.
According to Aubrey, “If you’re thinking about getting divorced, it’s imperative to discuss next steps with an experienced Texas divorce attorney as soon as possible. He or she can guide you through the legal aspects of the process and help connect you with financial, mental health and other specialists to assist you during your divorce.”