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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Fathers often wary of the legal system

Divorced or separated fathers in Tennessee and around the country sometimes feel that the court system is stacked against them. Groups advocating on behalf of fathers say that accusations made by mothers during child custody or support proceedings often carry substantial weight even when the evidence is flimsy, but they warn that failing to respond to court papers or legal documents can have serious consequences.

When fathers fail to respond to legal notifications in a timely manner, it prevents their voice from being heard and their opinion from being taken into consideration. However, responding promptly ensures that they will have their day in court. A court decision also establishes firm boundaries and may prevent similar conflicts in the future. Fathers hoping for a positive outcome should prepare thoroughly before they enter court. They may be asked about their employment situation and living arrangements and questioned about any claims of abuse or neglect leveled against them.

Fathers may feel the urge to react immediately when served with legal papers, but angry phone calls or scathing emails are likely to prove counterproductive. Words spoken in haste can be extremely damaging when repeated in the sober atmosphere of a courtroom. Fathers should instead approach child support disputes or custody proceedings proactively and seek advice from advocacy groups or family law attorneys.

Experienced legal counsel could explain to fathers how Tennessee child support guidelines work. Attorneys could also advocate on behalf of fathers who are seeking to modify child support arrangements. When divorcing spouses are negotiating child custody or visitation matters, family law attorneys may urge them to reach an amicable agreement whenever possible to avoid the uncertainty of protracted litigation.

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