Divorce Attorney Tips: Proving You’re A Great Father


great father

How can guys demonstrate to the court that they are a "great" father and should continue to play an active role in their children’s lives after divorce?

  Rachel Palmer, Colorado divorce attorney

Guys can demonstrate that they are a great father by being a great co-parent. Include mom in all that you do with the kids, whether that’s inviting her along (if you get along!) on outings, sending her pictures and videos of the kids when you have them or sending her an email at the end of your parenting time to give her an update — all of that will make great evidence in court.

Another tip is to be as involved as you can. This means making sure you are at as many games, dance recitals and parent-teacher conferences as humanly possible. Know the names of their teachers, coaches and friends. The court’s favorite parent is an involved parent.

  Maura Boogay, Pennsylvania divorce attorney

Fathers have to show they play a significant role in their children’s lives. They have to show how they know their children, are involved in their school and extracurricular activities, know who their doctor’s are, any health concerns or special needs of their children, etc.

Any proof that can be provided to show the active participation in their children’s lives is helpful. Evidence such as text messages, photographs, cards from the children to Father can all illustrate a meaningful, ongoing relationship and will give the court the idea that sustaining the relationship is of paramount importance to avoid disrupting this aspect of the children’s lives.

The key is involvement. The courts will sometimes ask parents to describe their children and will give each party a turn. If one parent appears to know their children better than the other, that impacts the court’s decision.

  Rebecca Nelson, North Carolina divorce attorney

The best way to demonstrate that you are a great father is to be one. That may seem obvious to someone who is not in the throws of a separation and divorce, but often people act uncharacteristically while under the pressure of an adversarial process like a divorce.

This means that a guy who is normally a great person may want to cave under the pressure of low blows coming from the opposing party. However, despite the temptation to return every insult, clients in litigation in an adversarial system must realize that they are under a microscope. Every single e-mail, text message, statement and act can end up being admitted as evidence. Every word said may be interpreted differently. Every action by a party can have its motives called into question.

So, detach yourself from your children’s mother and refuse to be baited. Put your children first. Be present in the lives of your children. Take advantage of every opportunity to spend time with your kids. Be sure to share the burdens as well as the benefits of parenting equally. And document everything.

A father who has historically been absent may have a harder sell to a judge. However, whether you have always been involved, never been involved or are just getting involved, it will never hurt to put your children first and to be present in their lives. On the contrary, using a custody battle as an excuse to hurt mom or using the kids as a pawns will always harm your custodial rights.

  Erica Eberle, Tennessee divorce attorney

To show the court that you’re a great father, show them you’re a great person. Openly encourage the children’s time with their mother. Be flexible when things come up and be willing to switch out dates and times. Don’t argue about the little things and keep the big picture in mind.

As soon as you realize that a divorce may be on the horizon, seek counsel. Whether you immediately move forward with the divorce or whether you just get a lay of the land, it’s important to know what your rights are and how to protect them.

Some ways to start preparing for custody litigation is to be very visible in your children’s lives. Attend doctor’s appointments, parent-teacher conferences and as many school functions and extracurricular activities as works with your schedule.

  Anne Scipior, Wisconsin divorce attorney

Dad’s can demonstrate being a great father by taking an active role in their children’s lives. Be knowledgeable about their activities, school and medical information; attend the child’s activities and doctor’s appointments; and participate in parent-teacher conferences and other activities at the school.

It’s important to show that dad is involved in the day-to-day aspects of a child’s life — not just the fun parts.  Also, make sure that when you have your children in your care that you’re engaging with them, doing activities, helping with homework and making sure that they’re bathed and fed appropriately.

The biggest complaints I hear from moms is that dad knows nothing about the child’s school, doctors or activities, and so there is a reluctance to let dad have more placement for fear he won’t be able to handle those aspects of the child’s life. The other complaint I hear is that the children report to mom that when they’re with dad, all they do is something like watch TV. Being integrally involved in every aspect of your child’s life is incredibly important.

  Megan Williams, Tennessee divorce attorney

A father can demonstrate to the court that they are a great father by being a part of every aspect of their children’s lives. A father should be involved in their children’s daily activities, such as doctor’s appointments, extracurricular activities, after school care and responsibilities such as homework.

I tell my clients  to keep a calendar and/or journal to keep up with the children’s daily activities, and to take note of all the times he contacted the mother to see the children or ask about the children and all the times he had visitation.

Keep in mind that should there be further litigation, this calendar could be admissible in court. Therefore, anything he writes should be written with caution because a judge could read it. Further, a father should know everything about their children without relying on any other individual, such as their social security number, doctor’s name(s), teachers and any other major area of their children’s lives.

  Stephanie Horton, North Carolina divorce attorney

It is very important for dads to be involved in as much of their children’s lives as possible. Get to know the people they are surrounded by. Take an interest in their education, extra-curricular activities and health. The best thing any parent can do is show up!

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