Dads are very important people. Very important to some really cool little people in this world. We are not say that because Dads are important that Moms are not. Moms are important too. Yet it seems, and maybe it’s just us, that during custody proceedings, the courts have to choose who is the most important to that kid. Then they give that winning parent the most Time. And Time is extremely precious.
In many cases, the most valuable parent award goes to Mom. Sometimes it’s Mom even when Dad has been doing most or the same amount of the caregiving, bathing, cooking, cleaning, homework supervising, and story-time-reading-before-the-kid-will-think-of-going-to-bed work.
Dads, stereotypically, have an uphill battle. So what is a good strategy for Dads fighting for more time with their kids? Dads who will fight to be in their kids lives, because their kids are important to them and they are important to their kids?
Here’s part of our game plan:
- If you are about to get divorced and you are still living in the house with Mom, DO NOT MOVE OUT AND LEAVE THE KIDS TO LIVE WITH MOM ALONE. By doing this you could be conceding that Mom should have the house and kids. In Texas, many counties have standing orders and you can’t move kids from their house or school while the case is pending. It can take a month to get into court and if you are not seeing your kids on a regular basis, she has an argument that the kids are doing fine under the status quo.
- Make sure you are involved in all of your kid’s extracurricular activities. Get a schedule. Go to every game. Work with your kid on it. First off, it’s fun. And second, you now have witnesses to say how involved you are with your kid.
- Don’t bad mouth Mom to the kid. That’s still their Mom and that’s how fights start. Don’t fight with Mom in front of the kids. Always keep your cool even when she doesn’t.
- Be aware of all doctor’s and dentist’s visits. Go to them. If she is not telling you about them beforehand, keep sending her written messages requesting information. It makes her look petty if she doesn’t fill you in or give you a heads up. Also, it helps with the court if you don’t have to get up to speed on anything if you are awarded primary possession.
- Get character witnesses that have seen you with your kids on a regular basis and have them ready to testify if needed how you are with your kids and how you take good care of them.
- NEVER PASS UP AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEE YOUR KID. And get a calendar. Mark on it all of the days you either saw, had possession, or talked with your kid. People’s priorities are shown by how much time they spend with their kids.
- Keep all texts messages and emails from your ex. Even if she has a mouth like a sailor or is just passively petty, these can come into court against her if needed.
- Obviously, DO NOT put your self in a position where Mom can accuse you of assault. This happens. Don’t let it happen to you.
- Also really obvious, if you have any issues with drugs or alcohol, fix it before you start litigation. Seriously, you should fix this before having kids, but there really is no time like the present on this issue. You can’t be the Dad to your kids that they deserve if you are lost on the sauce or high all the time. You could even be a danger to them, and I know that you don’t want that for your kids. You wouldn’t be reading this blog if you did. Get help. You could lose all future time with your kids or have that time supervised. Remember, time is precious.
- Put some money away. This is going to be expensive. She starts out with an advantage and you have to start knocking the veneer off of her case from the moment you hit the ground running. You will probably spend more money than her. You will need an expert, like a counselor or a psychologist, to get involved and testify about how much your kids need you on a regular basis. Start saving up. Your kids and your relationship with them are worth it.
Following this advice will put your case in a good place. We never guarantee results because too many factors are outside of anyone’s control. However, what you get with the Family Law Team at Guest & Gray, P.C. is aggressive, effective, and strategic representation. If you are a Dad fighting for more time with your kids, call us today.