Great guest post offering custody advice for dads, specifically the benefits of a collaborative divorce. It makes so much sense!
A Note To Dads In The Process of Divorce By Ted Hans, CFP, CDFA, Fellow of The Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois
Your kids need you in their lives for all of the ups, downs, and sideways. They need you in good times and bad times. They need you to provide for them, protect them, teach them, make them laugh, lend a shoulder to cry on, coach them, and be there for all the other “dad” things that you signed on for when you became a dad.
None of this changes when you get divorced. The reality is your kids will need you to step up even more during and after your family experiences divorce. Divorce is a traumatic and difficult time for dad and mom and typically it’s even more traumatic for your kids. Their world is changing rapidly and they need dad to be stronger than ever. Additionally, the statistics relating to children without fathers in their lives paint a very troubling picture.
The first thoughts and concerns that I had when my divorce was initiated were: “What happens to my kids? What happens to me? How often will I see my children? Have I failed my children?” There are protections for fathers and their children in divorce and it’s crucial for you and your children that you are aware of these protections and you secure your rights.
The Parenting Plan is a good place to start ensuring that your role as a full time father remains intact after your divorce is final. The term “custody” was rightfully discarded in Illinois on January 1, 2016 when the new divorce laws went into effect. “Allocation of parental responsibilities” is now used in reference to the concept of “child custody.” A Parenting Plan is a legal document and it establishes your rights as a father to your children and protects them legally. This is an important document and one you should prioritize at the top of your agenda.
The collaborative method of divorce is an effective alternative to the litigated method as you create your Parenting Plan. Instead of a judge as the ultimate decision maker regarding your children and your time with them, you and your children’s mother will craft a parenting plan that’s in everyone’s best interests. Your life with your children post-divorce will be less conflicted and the collaborative process will have a positive bearing on your parent-child relationship.
This Plan delineates your decision making responsibilities and provides a parenting time schedule in addition to many other issues that need to be addressed. This is an official court document and it’s designed to protect your rights as a father.
Smart dads know that prudently addressing the family finances are a crucial element in life and divorce. Good dads know that their children need their fathers in their lives and by putting their children’s needs first, dads and kids will be able to live happy, productive, and successful lives post-divorce.
Although we recently celebrated Father’s Day, the reality is that every day is Father’s Day!
Ted Hans is a Certified Financial Planner and a Certified Divorce Financial Advisor. He is also a fellow of the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois.