DISCLAIMER: The following is NOT legal advice, nor is it a substitute for legal advice. If you are in Family Court you will need legal advice, so please see a lawyer.
As an adult child of divorce, I've realized that there are certain principles that can earn a divorced dad the right to hold Mom, her lawyer, custody assessors/evaluators, Family Court Judges, Appeal Courts and Politicians accountable to the proper standard.
I call this "Divorce 101". Following these principles will ensure that "the best interests of the child", your child, are being met in Family Court. However, dads must FIRST hold themselves accountable to these same standards and principles.
When a family unit ends due to divorce, the "First Principle" is the Four Stages of Coping: denial, anger, grieving and acceptance. Acceptance means acknowledging the loss and being able to move on
Second, Communication is key. This involves learning how to understand and express the emotional pain of divorce without resorting to aggression or violence.
Third, Education is vital. Believe solutions exist and you will begin to see them. Books, tapes, professionals, support groups, self-help resources provide ideas. Learn what to do and not do to avoid losing contact with your children.
For example, never leave the home without a separation agreement or court order that clearly spells out legal and physical custody of your children, detailing the parenting arrangements in specific terms. In many places, leaving the home gives the other parent custody until there is an official separation agreement or court order.
Fourth, expand your Negotiation skills. Most people rely on 1 or 2 negotiating strategies. Long before the family court dates, a divorced dad needs to study, learn and apply the skills required to negotiate. Increase your negotiation options, and you will be closer to a creative win/win solution.
The Fifth Principle is Mediation. A professional mediator can help when the lines of communication break down. Attend sessions, even by yourself, to improve your communication. Use this as evidence of your commitment to your children. Instead of complaining about your ex-wife, give evidence of your ability to persevere and learn all you can to help your kids.
Sixth is the process of Enrichment. Consult a child psychologist to assist with a parenting plan designed to heal your child from the impact of the divorce. They can also evaluate your parenting and co-parenting strengths and weaknesses, and give expert testimony on these crucial areas of parental fitness.
Seventh, Litigation is an absolute last resort. If you have taken the time to methodically work through these previous steps, you can establish that you have the skills and the willingness to work things out for an optimal outcome for your children, and that your wife is engaging in an attempt to thwart your role as Dad.
Most importantly, don't feel overly discouraged or overwhelmed. Every journey begins with one step. By reading this, you've taken that step. There are many more you will need to take as you learn how to plan for your separation and divorce. But with thought and planning, you can save yourself time, money and undue emotional suffering.
During my divorce, I wished for a divorce roadmap. That's why we created a weekly telewebcast, to help men like yourself.
If you've lost in Family Court, don't give up. There is always hope. You've likely lost because you didn't understand that winning requires effectively "waging peace" for your children.
If you base your game plan and strategies upon those of successful fathers, you will improve your chances of success immeasurably. You need help from dads who have done what you are trying to do.
We can help you learn the successful strategies of fathers who have won in Family Court. Join us on our weekly calls at
http://www.DivorcedDadWeekly.com where we will share with you what works for successful divorced dads, so you can be one too.
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