Fathers are often on the receiving end of unfavorable societal and court-ordered judgments. Many fathers already see the decks stacked against them; a development visible with the many divorce cases around them. Not only are fathers often made out to be bad parents by their soon to be ex-spouse, but they also have to contest for continued relationship with their children after divorce.
As a father going through a divorce in Oklahoma, there may be no easy way to go through the painful process of a contested Oklahoma divorce. However, there are steps you can take to maintain a loving relationship with your children and get the most time and/or custody in your Oklahoma divorce. This article walks fathers through some of the steps and decisions that can facilitate a favorable outcome in divorce.
#1: Don’t Move Out
Many men feel the right thing to do is give their spouse space and time while their divorce is being processed. While this decision and thought process may be from a good place, it robs you of valuable time with your children. Additionally, moving out of the marital home prior to a court order increases the likelihood of the court granting your spouse temporary possession of the marital home.
Sometimes, your children see you as the father that moved out or left them with mom, an unfair misconstruction of your intent. You’re also sending a strong message to the Oklahoma family court. To avoid this, find a way to live as peacefully as possible under the same roof and with your children until a temporary court order addressing temporary custody and temporary possession of the marital home is entered. If you cannot bear the heat at home, consult with your Oklahoma divorce attorney before moving out of the marital home.
#2: Keep Detailed Record
A divorce in Oklahoma, or any state, is a life-changing event that will affect the dynamics of your existing relationships. If you haven’t been, now is the time to begin keeping a detailed record of everything. Record how often you see your children, what you buy them, your interaction with your partner, and others.
Write down everything you can find out about your children. You may or may not have been the primary parent responsible for your children’s school and extracurricular activities. However, your ability or inability to relate this information to the family law judge will impact your case. The following is a starting point for the information you should be able to collect in a journal:
- School or schools your children attend;
- The name of every Teacher, Doctor, and Babysitter;
- Location and date of medical appointments, tutoring, and lessons;
- Knowledge of all allergies, medical conditions, health concerns, and when they each began;
- Childcare providers, hours, instructors/teachers at child care facility;
- Interests: hobbies, favorite things, activities, favorite foods;
- Dislikes: things your children won’t eat; and
- Anything else you can think of about your children.
All of these may come in handy later during your Oklahoma custody or divorce case. Protecting your interests and rights should be the most important goal, especially your relationship with your children.
#3: Don’t Expose your Divorce Dirty Laundry
It is important that you take the high road when dealing with a divorce in Oklahoma. While it is understandable that you are hurting, try your best to avoid discussing the details of your divorce with others, especially on social media. Focus on working out the issue with your attorney and seek advice on every step you’re to take.
Social media is a great outlet for friends and community to discuss good and bad news; however, it is never an appropriate forum to discuss your divorce. Social media records are generally never deleted and your spouse’s Oklahoma divorce attorney may be able to obtain and present your hateful or in poor taste social media posts to the judge.
The same goes for text messages, I cannot tell you how many custody cases have been impacted by poorly chosen statements in text messages. You should proceed in all forms of communication leading up to and especially during your divorce as if your words will be displayed to the judge deciding custody of your children, because it happens every day.
#4: Be on Your Best Behavior
Being reckless with your life and behavior is the worst thing to do when you feel the world is against you. The court knows that divorce is difficult and that it will certainly negatively impact your judgement. However, whenever the conduct has the potential of negatively impacting the children, it can hurt your custody claim. You must maintain your cool and calm during your divorce. Always remember your decisions and actions may aggravate the stress of divorce on your children.
You may need to lay off on public drinking, new relationships, and other questionable behavior. I repeat, do not say it, write it, social media it, tweet it, unless you are okay with it being read by the family law judge that will decide the custody of your children.
#5: Make Time to See Your Children Often
Building a strong and healthy bond with your children can improve your relationship after the divorce is finalized. If you have moved out of the house, make sure to see your children as often as possible, establish a relationship with them, and fulfill any meeting promises you make.
As a father, giving up your rights before your divorce proceeding sends out a bad signal. If you wish to remain in your children’s lives, contact Cannon & Associates for help. Complete the CONTACT FORM ON THIS PAGE NOW or CALL at 405-657-2323 for a free confidential case evaluation.