MISTAKE 1: Not spending enough time with your children
Whether you are happily married, about to divorce or already separated, spending as much time as you can with your children will do nothing but benefit them (and you). This can be anything from helping with homework, eating dinner together, fixing a bike tyre, helping them clean their room, taking them to a medical appointment, shopping for their needs etc. Statistics show that children who have a lot of time with both parents excel academically, socially and personally. If you wind up in a custody contest, your track record of constant contact may save you in court.
MISTAKE 2: Leaving the marital home
For those fathers who are married, leaving the marital home and leaving the children and Mother behind (before you have consulted a solicitor) can impact upon your chances for custody. Every day that passes in which you are separated from your children can potentially damage your case, not to mention your children. It's better to see a family solicitor first so that a plan/contact agreement can be developed before you leave.
MISTAKE 3: Doing nothing
There are many legal benefits to filing an application in respect of children matters first. Often, waiting until the other parent files is waiting too late when things become tense and hateful. Don't wait - consult your solicitor as soon as possible!
MISTAKE 4: Telling the children everything
The everyday goings-on of your case and your negative feelings for the child’s mother are not the children's business. They have their own everyday problems which are equally important to them no matter how trivial. There is a minimum of vital information you should tell them, but this is tricky business. You should talk to a solicitor first before you discuss the details of the legal side of your case with your children.
MISTAKE 5: Getting personal
Once you decide you are in for custody or divorce proceedings, you must adopt a new personality with the mother (whether you like it or not). Getting angry and malicious (even after you receive it from your ex) is not going to help your case.
MISTAKE 6: Not realising how important HONESTY is.
Be as honest as you can with your solicitor and the Mother of your children.
MISTAKE 7: Sounding the "Fathers' Rights" Horn.
It's not what you say in court, but how you say it. The Judge needs to be made aware of the psychological studies about how keeping children away from a fit parent is harmful to the child. This often seems to get their attention!
MISTAKE 8: Thinking that you're the only Dad being abused by the system
It is disheartening to fight so hard to obtain a basic parenting schedule and a fair Contact Order. Men grow frustrated and think no one understands them. Possibly attend a parenting group to share your views with other father’s in a similar position; you aren’t the only one in this situation.
MISTAKE 9: Not turning up to Court
Your children’s future, welfare and their right to exercise contact with you is paramount – remember your Court hearings and appointments with your solicitor. Time keeping is key.
MISTAKE 10: Giving Up - Only the Persistent Fathers are Successful!
by Karis Jones