When you think back on your own childhood, you probably remember quite a few milestone moments. Perhaps you're one of many other men in Georgia who played Little League baseball as a boy. Thinking back to that first time up at bat might be enough to make you nervous all over again!
Chances are, you've overcome many obstacles in life to get where you are right now. If one of the milestone events in your life happens to have been divorce, you might be struggling to "find your groove" when it comes to maintaining a strong and happy relationship with your children.
It's like stepping up to the plate for the first time again
It's funny how a major life change can throw your confidence off balance, isn't it? One minute, you're in control, the next, it's like being at bat for the first time all over again. The last thing you need is for divorce issues to strain your relationship with your children.
Remembering the following ideas may help increase your confidence when it comes to building a post-divorce lifestyle with your kids:
- You did not divorce your children. Some dads mistakenly believe they must distance themselves from their children because they've separated from their spouses.
- Studies show children tend to fare best when provided opportunities to spend ample time with both parents after divorce.
- Just because you may no longer live with your children full time, does not mean you are not a full-time father.
You have rights, and can protect those rights in court when needed.
By focusing on the fact that divorce ended your marriage, not your fatherhood, you can take the first steps toward a successful and happy future.
Tips for smoothing the bumps in the road
Parenting is often a joyful, rewarding experience but is seldom an easy task. Complicated divorce issues may pose obstacles to the new life you're trying to build with your children. It's often best to keep divorce issues and your direct relationship with your children as separate as possible. Since there may be some bumps in the road along the way, you might want to consider the following tips that others have found helpful:
- Your house is your house: You have the right to set rules for your own house, even if those rules are different from the ones your children have at their mother's house.
- You're still "Dad": Your children love you, and, like most children, may adapt better to new situations if they feel loved and cared for by their dad.
- You're not perfect: If you place unrealistic expectations on yourself, you'll merely add further stress to an already difficult situation. If you make mistakes, it's okay; everyone does.
Children are resilient by nature, and you have the right as a father to create a parenting plan that focuses on your children's best interests and allows you to maintain an active role in their lives.
When divorce issues threaten your rights as a father
You may or may not be the custodial parent of your children, or you may have an existing court order regarding visitation rights or child support payments. These are all common issues of divorce; however, if your former spouse refuses to cooperate or has not adhered to a particular ruling, it can obviously have an adverse effect on your ability to care for your children. A family law attorney can provide the following services to help you:
- Act as a skilled negotiator to seek agreeable solutions to unresolved issues
- Clarify state and federal laws regarding your rights as a father
- Aggressively defend your rights in any situation that violates them
- Represent you in litigation, if necessary to obtain justice
The bottom line is that you can be divorced and still be a good father. You have the right to fully participate in your children's lives, and by reaching out for support, you can protect your rights and provide a lifestyle for your children that helps them thrive and allows you to enjoy life together.