When you are a divorced father, you hope to be as present in your child’s life as possible. You want to remain active and devoted to them and their needs. You want to be able to help them with their homework and help them study for an upcoming test. You want to be able to shoot hoops with them and go to their games, cheering loudly from the stands.
When Father’s Day rolls around, you want to be able to spend as much time with your child as humanly possible. Unfortunately, expectations do not always match up with the unfortunate reality that can come with managing a post-divorce child custody situation.
Whether it is Father’s Day or not, what you, as a father, wish to do with your child on any given day and what you may be allowed to do, depending on the child custody agreement and parenting plan, can be two entirely different things.
Fighting for your child
When it comes to child custody, fathers often are given the short end of the stick, which is why when the divorce process starts, it is vital that you contact a family law attorney that focuses on the rights of men and fathers and understands their unique needs.
Law firms, like Cordell & Cordell, are known for advocating fathers and their rights to be parents in the lives of their children. In addition to the initial divorce and child custody agreement, they are able to address modification on aspects like child support or parenting time and help you and other fathers fight for your future with your children in mind.
Limited custody and parental alienation
If you are a father without custodial rights or with limited custodial rights, your expectations of what it means to be a parent and to be a part of their child’s life are limited and have been tapered by litigation rulings. You want something as simple as a phone call or an email on the day designed to promote your place in your child’s life, but unfortunately may not get it.
Your child may have fallen victim to parental alienation and may no longer see you as the father they love and cherish. Your co-parent may have decided that they are the only parent your child needs and have decided to sway their opinion of you, in order to cut you out of your child’s life.
You and your child are forced into this trauma, and it can take time to recover from. There are forms of therapy designed to combat the unhealthy and harmful effects of parental alienation, so that one day, you and your child may be given the opportunity to celebrate Father’s Day properly. Do not give up hope.
Fighting for your child can force you to reassess your lowered expectations and allow yourself to acknowledge a sense of hope; that you will get to spend some time with your child on Father’s Day.
This can be a difficult hope for some fathers to wrestle with, given the amount of time that they have lost with their child, as well as the amount of times they have most likely been promised time with their child, only for that time to be taken away.
However, you may have a better report with your co-parent than those fathers. You may be able to be civil and have a mutually polite conversation, where the emotions and history of the past do not dictate how the conversation goes.
Your co-parent may have a better grasp of what spending Father’s Day with your child means to you and is willing to work on ways of making that happen.
You may not be there quite yet with your co-parent, but you both can recognize how the other feels about your shared child. You can treat your co-parent like a business partner and avoid conflict, especially in situations where the child is present. Through behaving with a sense of respect for one another, you and your co-parent will be able to communicate better and facilitate the needs of the child more efficiently.
Having this type of relationship with your co-parent will allow you to set a normal set of expectations for Father’s Day, giving you the opportunity to spend the holiday with your child worry-free.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.
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