Five Tips for Newly Separated Fathers
January 2, 2023
DRC helps single fathers prepare for challenges they may face.
January is known as “Divorce Month” and many unsuspecting fathers are not ready for the worst-case scenario. Studies show that women initiate divorces as much as 69% of the time and the Dads’ Resource Center helps to prepare single fathers for the possibility that access to their children may be in jeopardy if their separation turns contentious.
“Most fathers assume that custody of children will work out in a reasonable manner,” said Dads’ Resource Center Executive Director Jeffrey Steiner. “That is not always the case, and with the way court, county, and human service systems tend to work against fathers they can very quickly find themselves in a deep hole that is nearly impossible to get out of, which most hurts their children.”
A 2019 Dads’ Resource Center study of 700 contested custody cases found that judges awarded full or primary custody to mothers in 496 cases, fathers in 100 cases, and joint custody in 104 cases. The Dads’ Resource Center has investigated the use of protection from abuse orders to gain advantage in matters of custody as well as a lack of standards for the hiring and supervision of guardian ad litems assigned to represent children in family court matters.
With potential barriers such as these ahead of them newly separated fathers should:
Trust their gut – While most fathers are deferential to their children’s mother, if your intuition is telling you she is making business decisions you should resign yourself to doing what you believe is in the best interests of your children.
Consider staying in the family home – If the decision of custody of your children is placed into the hands of the court, a judge is very likely to grant an initial order to keep custody as it currently exists. This will then be the baseline moving forward. Unless absolutely necessary, don’t move out before there is a court order.
Document, Document, Document – Record everything such as time spent with the children and keep files or screen shots of texts, emails, and social media posts.
Find good legal counsel – Understand there are good, average, and bad attorneys. Costs for contested custody battles can skyrocket very quickly, and many fathers find themselves out of money with no resolution to their situation.
Be Your Best – Anything can be used against you if your custody battle is contentious. Think and act accordingly.
Media Contact Only
Jeffrey Steiner, M.Ed., Executive Director
[email protected] / 814-777-7874 (Cell)