My wife and I are in going to divorce. We have one child, and I have a child from a previous marriage. How will having a child of my own to care for affect my child support payments for the other child?
Please be advised that I am barred in Pennsylvania and will answer your question based on my experience practicing in Pennsylvania.
In this state, child support is based on the Pennsylvania support guidelines. Said guidelines calculate support based on the parties’ combined monthly net incomes. The Pennsylvania state legislature has come up with a chart for how much that couple should pay for child support combined each month.
Philadelphia Divorce Attorney Jaimie Collins
The obligor will then be responsible for his or her proportion of that total monthly child support figure, based on his or her percentage of the monthly net income. Once you have determined the base child support obligation for the obligor, certain factors can then decrease or increase that figure.
Such factors include the amount of custodial time the obligor has, whom is covering health insurance for the child, if the child attends private school or has other extraordinary expenses, and if the obligor has another child support obligation.
You should schedule an initial consultation with an attorney barred in your state at the earliest opportunity to discuss the facts of your case and your options for relief in your state.
In generations past, fathers tended to be a source of financial support for their families, but were often emotionally distant. However, research shows that is no longer the case as today’s dads are finding unique and creative ways to connect with their children.
Moreover, modern dads seem to care more about what it means to be a father as their paternal role forms a central part of their identity.
The below infographic shows several interesting statistics about today’s fathers and the roles they play in their families.
Father’s Day is a day in which we take time to recognize the love that our dads so willingly show throughout the year. Throughout much of the year, the daily sacrifices fathers make for their children go either underappreciated or unnoticed.
However, although they do not always get the credit they deserve, dads play a critically important role in raising healthy, well-rounded children.
For fathers who have recently gone through a divorce or separation, things are even more challenging. Father’s Day is undoubtedly different after divorce, and many dads are forced to spend the holiday away from their children. That is a tough spot to be in.
It is important to keep in mind that a divorced dad is still a dad. You might not spend as much time around your children as you would like, but they still need you to play an active role in their lives and to remain emotionally engaged.
No matter what circumstances you find yourself in this year, know that your children are lucky to have a father who is strong, dependable, caring, and compassionate. Happy Father’s Day.
Cordell & Cordell Happy Father's Day 2018 - YouTube
I share joint custody of my two children with my ex-wife, who is the custodial parent. She is dating a guy who has previously been convicted of child abuse.
I really do not want my children spending time around him as I believe it is not safe for them. Everybody I have talked to says I can’t do anything unless something happens to the kids. Is that true? As a joint parent, is there any way for me to be proactive to protect my children?
Please be advised that I am barred in Missouri and will answer your question based on my experience practicing in Missouri. I would suggest contacting a family law attorney in your area.
In Missouri, if we believe there is harm to a child, we can file a petition for preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order. We set out for the court why we believe the children are in immediate danger and need protection from the court.
You will likely need the details of his felony child abuse charge (when it occurred, where, what happened, etc.) to provide the attorney so they can argue your children need protection from this individual. You may not prevail and get the restraining order because nothing has happened yet, but it might be worth a shot to protect your children.
Here are some tips to guide you through your first Father’s Day after divorce.
Talk to your ex
Ideally, your parenting time will fall on Father’s Day and you will be free to celebrate however you please. Sometimes, this is not the case and other arrangements must be made in order to accommodate any festivities you have planned.
She might be the last person you want to talk to, but it is worth reaching out to your ex to work out a plan. If Father’s Day does not fall on your scheduled weekend, ask her if you can work out a compromise. Offer to let her have the kids an extra weekend, so you can have them for the holiday.
It will help your case tremendously if you were cooperative on Mother’s Day. As with all aspects of co-parenting, working out holiday custody arrangements requires clear communication and flexibility.
If, for whatever reason, your ex tries to withhold parenting time from you on Father’s Day, you should get in touch with your family law attorney immediately.
Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
Previous Father’s Day celebrations were probably whole-family affairs. Adjusting to a more low-key holiday is going to be different for your kids as well, so be aware that they also might be dealing with some difficult emotions.
Acknowledge that Father’s Day feels a little different this year and let them know that it is OK to feel sad. You can admit that you are feeling a little down about things too. Make sure you reinforce that even though things are different, you and your kids still love each other.
Help them out with gifts
In years past, your wife probably helped the kids pick out a gift for you for Father’s Day. Depending on their age, your children might not know what to do now that Mom is not around to help out. This could be a source of anxiety for them if they are worried about you being disappointed on Father’s Day.
You might consider enlisting the help of a relative or close friend to help them figure out a gift idea. You can even supply them the money to pay for it. This is not about making sure you get a Father’s Day present but rather ensuring that you and your children are able to happily enjoy the day together.
Celebrate on a different day
The worst-case scenario is that you have to spend Father’s Day separated from your kids. In that case, just celebrate Father’s Day on a different weekend.
The most important thing to do on your first Father’s Day after divorce is to take everything in stride.
Keep in mind that the sad emotions you are feeling are entirely normal. It is OK to feel that way.
“It’s normal for a dad to be experiencing some sadness, some anger, some feelings of loss and just the sense that this isn’t what I wanted to have with my child,” said author, speaker, and teacher Laura Petherbridge. “Just knowing that those emotions are normal and that he’s not losing his mind or weird or something because he’s experiencing that is three-fourths the battle.”
Even if the day is a bummer, remember that it is just one day on the calendar. Even if you do not get the ideal Father’s Day celebration, the role you are playing in the lives of your children is crucial. Nothing can change that.
The period immediately following your divorce is a critical time for your relationship with your kids. Depending on the circumstances of your divorce, you might need to devote considerable time toward rebuilding a level of trust with them.
Here are several ways divorced dads can build back trust with their children.
Repressing emotions is extremely harmful and can lead to long-term mental and physical health issues. Let your children know that it is OK to express whatever they are feeling. Be aware that this might mean you hear them talk about feeling anger towards you, but that is better than letting them harbor hidden resentment that festers.
It is important to be considerate of the emotional turmoil that your children have experienced and encourage them to talk about what they are feeling. Click To Tweet Be a good co-parent
The major dilemma children of divorce face is that they love both of their parents, even though their parents no longer love each other. Maintaining strong, healthy relationships with both parents is a challenge due to the inherent complications of divorce.
With that being the case, the onus is on you and your ex-wife to put your personal differences aside in order to find a way to effectively co-parent. This involves swallowing some pride and acknowledging that your children are better off having their mother involved in their lives, even if she is a person who has wronged you.
Good co-parenting requires clear communication, flexibility, and cooperation. Co-parenting takes effort from both sides, so you only have so much control if your ex is particularly disagreeable. If that is the scenario you find yourself in, consider parallel parenting, which is a high-conflict co-parenting model.
If you have done everything you can think of to get your ex to cooperate with you and she is still starting arguments and failing to live up to her end of the deal in your co-parenting arrangement, you should contact your family law attorney. An attorney who focuses on men’s and father’s rights can determine whether there are any legal remedies available that could improve your co-parenting situation.
Always keep in mind that co-parenting is about doing what is best for your kids. That should give you more than enough incentive to find a co-parenting system that works.
Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
You are now sharing custody of your children, which means it is critical to make the most out of the parenting time you do have. It is not enough to just spend time with your kids. You need to ensure that you are actively engaged and present every second you are together.
“Being present is really about how much of yourself you really give to your kids,” said Han-Son Lee, who runs DaddiLife, a website and community for modern dads. “We see a lot of parents who are sometimes on the phone and there physically in the same space as their kids but not emotionally or mentally there. I think being present is about really being there for our kids and making sure there aren’t those digital distractions and various notifications and beeps and buzzes so that way you can really be present in the time that is most necessary for Dad.”
Divorce is a tough process for everyone, but it can be especially brutal for dads. There are a number of societal, cultural, and legal factors that seem to conspire to make life for divorced dads difficult.
The good news is there also are some upsides to the divorced dad life, but there are some obstacles to overcome first. To get to that healthy place where you can enjoy your newfound freedom and quality time with your children, it is imperative to find a divorce attorney who focuses on fathers’ rights, whom you can trust to keep yours and your children’s best interests in mind.
If you are at the beginning of the divorce process, a divorce lawyer for men can help you understand what you are up against and figure out realistic goals you want to achieve.
Here are five of the biggest challenges divorced dads must face.
System that seems predisposed against them
The frustrating and sad truth that many dads discover is that at every turn, the family court system seems to be predisposed against fathers.
There still are too many gender stereotypes that stem from the traditional nuclear families of the 1960s, where the father supported the family financially while the mother stayed home to take care of the kids. This is unfortunate because society has evolved drastically and it is no longer safe to assume that the wife is taking on the primary domestic and childrearing responsibilities.
Not only are divorced dads less likely to get custody of their kids, but they also are more likely to get saddled with alimony and child support, which is a whole other challenge.
Many dads hit the pause button on their own careers for the good of their families and then feel shame about asking for alimony, even when it is deserved and necessary.
These double standards make divorce seem like a lose-lose proposition for many fathers. With so many factors working against you, it is especially important to get in touch with a family law attorney who focuses on men’s divorce. They will understand the unique challenges dads face during the divorce process and can guide you through the steps needed to take in order to ensure your rights are protected.
The frustrating and sad truth that many dads discover is that at every turn, the family court system seems to be predisposed against fathers. Click To Tweet A broken child support system
This is how the system ends up working for many fathers: They are given a monthly child support order that is based on their current income (or, in some states, that income is imputed, which is a whole other issue). However, life changes and a man’s employment is fluid, so perhaps that dad is laid off and temporarily out of work.
Child support arrears quickly start to snowball, and suddenly, there is a mountain of debt. If he falls too far behind, he can be sent to prison for contempt of court. While he is locked up, those child support payments keep coming, unless he acts to stop it. This crushing cycle goes on and on.
If you find yourself in a situation where you cannot afford your child support payments, it is critical to get in touch with a family law attorney as soon as possible to see what you can do to modify the order. The cost of the lawyer pales in comparison to the debt that can add up by failing to act.
This punitive system is largely the product of the myth of the deadbeat dad. There is an assumption in society that there are a bunch of dads out there who are capable of making child support payments but refuse to do so. This stereotype originates from a 1986 CBS report that profiled a man named Timothy McSeed, who bragged about having six children who he refused to support financially.
While there certainly are irresponsible fathers, and mothers, out there, it is dangerous to generalize based on anecdotal evidence. Empirical data paints a much different story about dads in the child support system.
Cordell & Cordell Founder and Principal Partner Joe Cordell has been helping men and fathers through divorce and custody issues for more than 25 years, and he says it is wrong to paint with such a broad brush.
“I know most of these men are not bad people; they love their kids, they want what is best for their kids, they want to be there for their kids,” Mr. Cordell said.
Dads frequently are the butt of jokes in marketing campaigns and often relegated to the second-string parent. Just a couple years ago, Amazon sparked an online protest for naming its parent-focused program Amazon Mom instead of the more inclusive Amazon Family. Old Navy also sneered its nose at dads two years ago with the release of this Father’s Day T-shirt that read “It’s Father’s Day,” but with the words “It’s Her Day” bolded.
Popular culture also tends to treat fathers as bumbling doofuses. The images of Homer Simpson and Peter Griffin would lead you to believe dads are crude, unintelligent brutes capable of little more than lounging on the couch and annoying their wives.
There also is a stigma against men displaying any sort of emotional vulnerability, which can lead to a harmful suppression of emotions and feelings. If you are struggling with divorce, do not try to be a tough guy. The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale lists divorce as the second-most stressful life event behind only the death of a spouse or child.
There is a natural tendency to shut down in the wake of divorce. It is tempting to wallow around in your apartment with beer bottles and pizza boxes strung all over the place, but this is not the road to divorce recovery.
Reach out for the help that you need. If you cannot find support from friends and family, contact a licensed therapist or counselor.
Not only are there health risks in the present, but men face an increased risk of developing long-term problems. Divorce increases the rate of early mortality for men by up to 250 percent. Other studies have shown greatly increased rates of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, depression, suicide, substance abuse, and cancer.
It is so easy to get caught up in the financial and familial challenges that divorce presents, but the physical health problems that can develop are just as important. Understanding these risks can help you take action, so that your chances of developing any problems are mitigated.
“Men are naturally looked at as strong, impenetrable and pride-driven creatures who build their worth on how much the can ‘bear’ or handle, so it’s perceived by many men as weak for needing to take care of themselves or take downtime that doesn’t make them seem lazy,” Eliza Belle, a psychologist who focuses on men’s health, told Mel Magazine. “[That’s why] it’s taken society a long time to outwardly recognize the need for male self-care.”
Although you have a lot on your plate, it is essential to carve out time for daily exercise, even if it is just a brisk 15-minute walk around your neighborhood. Exercise is proven to fight against depression and many other health issues, and is a great way to clear your head and make sure you stay in the right frame of mind.
The reason he is struggling is a simple matter of his mother not spending enough time with him to help him with the subjects he struggles with. Could I take her to court to get the child custody order modified this year?
While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and am unable to give you legal advice, I can give you some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.
Where I do practice in Virginia, to modify child custody requires a two-step process.
First, you must prove that there has been a substantial and material change since the entry of the last order, and then, you must prove that the change you are requesting would be in the best interest of the children.
Virginia Divorce Attorney Charles Hatley
Regarding the children’s desires, that would come in under the best interest of the child. The child’s desires are just one element of a multi-element standard.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on these matters, so please contact an attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws of your state and how they impact your case.
To arrange an initial consultation to discuss rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Virginia divorce Lawyer Charles D. Hatley, contact Cordell & Cordell.
Children of divorce are forced to adjust to so many dramatic changes. As difficult as your divorce might be for you, at least you have the prospect of starting your life anew and escaping an unhappy relationship.
On top of all that, children of divorce must deal with a new living situation, new routines, potentially a new school, and much more. Divorce turns their entire world upside down and puts them at risk for many different negative life outcomes.
All these changes can result in behavioral problems that can lead to larger issues if they are not addressed. How your child responds to your divorce can vary depending on their age, but here are some common behaviors to look out for that might indicate they are struggling and need more help.
Of course, the best way to make sure your child has a healthy adjustment to your divorce is by ensuring that both you and their mother remain actively involved in their life. Shared parenting is proven to be the best post-divorce arrangement for children.
With that in mind, the impetus is on you to do everything you can to make sure you receive a fair child custody decision and the best way to achieve that is by making sure you have a family law attorney fighting for fathers’ rights in your corner who will keep your child’s best interests in mind.
Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
Some children of divorce tend to shut down, especially in social settings. In situations where they used to be lively and active, they suddenly appear shy and timid. This might be because they are feeling depressed.
It also is common for otherwise friendly children to suddenly start acting overly aggressive with their peers. This could be because they are hurt by your divorce and struggling to come to terms with those feelings of anger.
Keep an eye on your child when they are around other children. Ask close friends, family members, and your child’s teachers to be on the lookout for unusual behavior, so you can address the problem before they develop into a larger social issue.
Another common problem children of divorce often deal with is trouble sleeping. This is understandable considering the amount of stress they are under.
In addition to all the heartache of seeing their parents break up, they are trying to adapt to new routines and a new living situation. You and your ex need to work together to co-parent and establish regular routines as much as possible. Regular times to do homework, eat dinner, and get ready for bed can go a long way toward ensuring your child gets plenty of shuteye.
If your child persistently fails to get enough sleep, the problem could snowball into trouble at school and lead to other health issues.
Make sure you plan ahead and prepare healthy, balanced meals for your child. (Teaching them how to cook also is a great opportunity for bonding time with Dad.) If your child tries to push away their plate, set rules so that they must eat finish their veggies before moving on to another activity.
What you can do
The most important thing you can do as a dad is be observant and conscious of how your child is acting so that you immediately recognize any abnormalities. Communicate with your child and encourage them to speak up about how they are feeling both physically and emotionally.
How children of divorce respond to news of their parents’ split can also vary wildly depending on their age. Your 4-year-old toddler is probably going to take the news of your divorce a whole lot differently than your 15-year-old who is about to get their driver’s license.
Below you will find an age-by-age guide walking you through how children are likely to respond to your divorce. You also will find tips for how you can help ease this difficult transition for them.
As soon as it is apparent that your marriage is heading for divorce get in touch with a divorce lawyer for men, so that you have an advocate in your corner looking out for the best interests of both you and your child.
Cordell & Cordell understands the concerns men face during divorce.
The cognitive ability of toddlers is very limited, which makes divorce very confusing.
They also have yet to develop the coping skills needed to adjust to such a dramatic life change. That leaves them particularly vulnerable to emotional problems later in life.
The younger a child is, the more self-centered they are and the more likely they are to personalize your divorce, meaning they may end up feeling like your divorce is their fault. When a toddler’s parents divorce, it is not unusual to see them regress and return to behaviors such as thumb sucking and bedwetting, and they might struggle sleeping alone at night.
Easing the transition: As much as possible, work to establish a predictable routine that is easy for your child to follow. Focus on spending plenty of time with your child and offer extra attention anytime you notice them acting scared or lonely.
Be patient with your child if they show any behavior problems. Keep in mind how confusing this adjustment is for them and show compassion and empathy anytime they act out or express sadness about the situation.
Preschoolers (3 to 6 years)
It is difficult for a preschooler to grasp the concept of divorce and they will want their parents to stay together regardless of how unpleasant the home environment is.
Children in this age bracket might be more likely to believe they are the reason their parents are separating. Feelings of anger and fear about the uncertainty of their lives are common.
How children of divorce respond to news of their parents’ split can also vary wildly depending on their age. Click To Tweet School-age children (6 to 12 years)
Since school-aged children are a little older, they might have gotten used to the nurturing environment you raised them in. Now that their parents are suddenly splitting, it is natural for them to experience fear of abandonment.
How much your child understands about divorce still will vary depending on how old they are.
Kids ages 8 and younger are less likely to grasp what is happening and more likely to blame themselves for their parents’ breakup.
Children age 8 to 11 are prone to blaming one parent in particular and choosing sides. Boys often lash out aggressively against siblings or classmates, and girls tend to withdraw and become anxious or depressed.
Easing the transition: Since your child is likely struggling with feelings of loss and rejection during your divorce, you need to focus on establishing a sense of security for them and rebuilding their self-confidence.
The best way to do this is by makings sure both you and your ex-wife spend plenty of quality time with them and encourage them to discuss their feelings. Reinforce that neither of you are abandoning them and that the divorce is in no way their fault.
As with the younger age groups, a steady routine can go a long way toward helping your school-age child adjust after your divorce. Regular times to eat, do homework, and go to bed are critical.
It is important to help your child maintain a healthy social life, so encourage them to get involved in extra-curricular activities they have interest in. This is a great way for your child to rebuild their self-esteem and connect with other kids their age, rather than withdrawing from the world.
A child’s adolescent and teenage years are developmentally crucial, and a parental divorce has the potential to disrupt their maturation and harm the relationships they build as adults.
At this age, your teenager is more likely to understand the complexities of divorce, but teens also tend to be more judgmental and are quicker to assign blame.
Teenagers are often intelligent and might seem like adults, which causes many parents to make the mistaken assumption that they are more mature than they actually are. Science shows their brains continue developing until age 25 or 26.
Easing the transition: Just because your teenager appears mature, do not use them as a confidant during your divorce. That throws more pressure on them than they deserve.
Avoid insulting your ex in front of them as it is important for their development to have loving relationships with both you and their mother.
Offer to let your teen vent whenever they need to and encourage them to be honest about what they are feeling, even if that means they end up expressing anger towards you.
Take steps to establish a wider support network of family, friends, and teachers so that your child knows they have plenty of loved ones behind them. Sometimes it is easier for them to open up to someone other than a parent.