6. Be careful about post-divorce relationships.
Be aware that any person brought into your child’s life will affect him. Hopefully, if you and your ex-partner begin dating other people or decide to remarry, your new partners will have a positive influence on your child. However, if you are in doubt of your ex’s new partner, don’t hesitate to check his credentials by searching the Internet or asking others about his character. Your children’s well-being must always be a priority.
If you decide to remarry and have more children, keep in mind that merging your families may cause issues you did not expect. First and foremost, communicate your legal obligations from your first marriage to your new partner.
7. Remember that your financial obligations to your child extend beyond child support payments.
A common misconception is that a divorced father’s financial obligations begin and end with child support payments. But many expenses may arise that the court order did not anticipate, such as summer camp or dental braces. Do not deny your child if you can afford it. If such expenses are raised to bait you into an argument, think of the value it gives to your child rather than the anger it causes you.
8. Request to alter your child support payments if need be.
Some fathers are unable to pay child support due to unforeseen circumstances. These fathers are not “deadbeats,” they are dead broke. This in turn may cause your ex-partner to interfere with visitation. Remember that you can petition the court to seek lower child support payments when financial circumstances change.
9. Don’t believe the joint custody misconception.
I am a strong advocate for joint custody. In fact, I co-authored the Illinois Joint Custody Act. However, many fathers feel that it is too much of a hurdle to get joint custody and do not even try to seek it. Although there may be obstacles, divorced dads have a good shot at obtaining joint custody, as long as you do not have anything in your history that would cause the judge to be skeptical of the arrangement. Don’t lose hope, ever. Your children are worth the fight.