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Father's Rights: More than Just Child Support Payments


Father’s Rights: More than Just Child Support Payments

“The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature.”

- Abbé Prévost, Manon Lescaut

When a married couple goes through a divorce, one of the most contested issues is often their children.

As a mediator and divorce attorney for more than thirty-five years, I have seen countless custody disputes. For many years, courts ruled in favor of the mother, as the parent who retained full custody of the children, while leaving a lot of good fathers with the short end of the stick.

In a portion of those cases, I found that the children were the ones who suffered the most. Children need and deserve the love and support of both parents.

In recent years, I have observed that because of the changing family dynamic where both parents are in the work force full time and because the contributions of fathers are becoming more appreciated, the legal system has started to give fathers joint or even full custody in a variety of cases. But many dads are not aware of this and have little knowledge of their parental rights.

What’s a father to do?

First, it is a good idea to be aware of what the word “custody” actually means. Custody is not necessarily about the physical location that the children live at; rather it is about the right to make major decisions in the children’s life, such as:

  • Where the kids will go to school
  • The religion of the children
  • The medical care the children will receive

For fathers who want shared custody of the children (and this goes for mothers as well), it’s better not to fight about it through the legal system. The best thing you can do is use the skills of a professional mediator, as well as a therapist, who will talk you and your soon-to-be former spouse through the logistics of making decisions and compromises where there are no losers—especially not the children.

Fighting through the legal system is messy, expensive, and unpredictable. Judges can make decisions about the future of your children without having all of the facts or a true understanding of the psychological dynamics.

Additionally, fathers going through a divorce have not only the right but the responsibility to make sure they are able to preserve and nurture a healthy relationship with their children.

Divorce is a life-changing event and a dad can better prepare his children for this by speaking to a therapist. By seeing a professional counselor, fathers can examine issues surrounding their children who will need extra emotional support during and after a divorce. The age of the children at the time of the divorce is also a critical factor here.

There are numerous self-help and legal books including Getting Your Share which can help fathers learn more about their parental rights and prepare them and their children for what lies ahead during a divorce.

If the heart of a father is truly a masterpiece of nature, then children will thrive from his care and love.

As a psychologically-trained mediator I help couples arrive at parenting agreements that will keep you both out of court and your children happy too.

Consider this process to stay sane and help your family remain whole.

I can help you!

Call 212.734.1551 to find out how a solid parenting agreement and custody arrangements work.