Whether you are married or divorced, you, as a father, want to be an active part of your children’s lives. You want to be there to wake them up in the morning, just as you want to be there to tuck them in at night.
While the desire to be a hands-on parent is noble and achievable, aspects of the child custody schedule and how it intersects with the interpersonal relationship with your co-parent can deter that. Family courts can have an effect on the money and time spent.
If you are a father who is not a custodial parent, that reality can be harsh and can set limits for how active you are capable of being, as a parent. In order to improve that reality, it is important that you contact your family law attorney. They are equipped with necessary skills to help you and other fathers who face challenges in their divorce and child custody situation.
As part of your child support responsibilities, the money you spend on your children may be something that you are willing to do. Countless fathers who do not have primary custodial responsibilities or who make more money than their co-parent are content with paying child support, but many have questions regarding the amount, the frequency, and what the money is actually being spent on.
A recent study, done by Maureen R. Waller of Cornell University, Allison Dwyer Emory of Rutgers University, and Elise Paul of the University of Leipzig in Germany, examined fathers who do not have custody and their ability to informally and in-kind provide for their children.
This study, published in the Journal of Family Issues, examined 1,381 separated parents. The results of the study showed that in-kind and informal support represent the same construct in the child’s life. However, this construct differs both from a formal child support perspective and a fathers’ time with their children perspective.
This means that gifting a good or a service to your child directly, as well as informally financially contributing to an aspect of their life have the same effect on a child. However, this effect is different than the effect of child support and the time you spend with your child.
In-kind support and informal child support indicated quality time spent, as well as quantity of time spent with the child, according to the study. This displays the qualities of an involved father and also were more predictive of a close relationship between the father and child, even though they did not live together. The study also showed that the emotional closeness in the father-child relationship was more emotionally significant in cases of low income families.
What it means
The emotional significance of the father-child relationship cannot be understated. You are their parent, and that is an identity that no parenting plan can dictate. While you may not get to spend as much time with your child as you previously did during the course of your marriage, you still have the opportunity to form a strong and loving relationship with your child.
Additionally, you still have the opportunity of providing for your child. While you may have concerns regarding child support, the end goal between you and your co-parent should be that your shared child is provided for and is able to live a normal life.
While the financial recovery process of post-divorce life may require you to contact your family law attorney and modify your child support, that action has nothing to do with how much you love your child, nor your desire to see your child have the best life possible.
Your child cannot thrive with a parent in poverty, and any co-parent with their child in mind would not send you into poverty by weaponizing child support. Whether you have a favorable child custody arrangement or not, you should not be subjected to bankruptcy entirely based on providing for your child.
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.