When you got married, you likely assumed you'd be with your spouse for the rest of your life. As time passed, however, some of the very things you liked about your partner to start may have become irritations or problem issues that you were unable to resolve. If that's the case, you might be one of many Minnesota couples who are currently preparing for divorce.
As a father, you undoubtedly place your children's best interests above all else. If you're feeling worried or anxious about child custody, visitation or child support, you're definitely not alone in your struggle. Most dads have similar concerns when they decide to sever their marital ties. A key to successfully adapting to a new lifestyle is building a strong support network early on.
Keep these tips in mind
While you may be able to relate to other dads who are going through divorce, no two situations are exactly the same. There are numerous types of child custody, including physical custody, which addresses where your children will live. There's also legal custody, which has to do with decision-making authority.
If the court hands down a custody ruling, you must adhere to it. In some cases, if you believe the ruling is unfair or that someone violated your parental rights, you may be able to file an appeal. Unless and until you win the appeal, however, the initial court order still stands, and the judge overseeing your case can hold you in contempt of court if you disregard it.
Your ex is a co-parent, which means worthy of respect
You can choose to divorce; however, you can't take away your ex's role as a parent. Your kids love both of you, and the court believes most children fare best if they maintain active, healthy relationships with both parents after divorce. Showing respect for your ex lets your kids know you're a team player and have their best interests in mind.
If you're a team player and your ex isn't, that can be a big problem. You can bring any legal issue that arises to the court's immediate attention. It's always best to avoid parent-to-parent confrontation.
Resolving paternity issues
Perhaps your intent is to seek sole custody of your children. It's likely the court will want you to establish paternity first. Even if you were married to the kids' other parent, your paternity is not necessarily an assumption.
It also happens at times that non-biological fathers seek visitation or custody of their step-kids or adopted children. Such cases are often complex and can be difficult to resolve, which is why most fathers rely on experienced family law attorneys to provide guidance and support.