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Helton Law Firm, PLLC

Some divorced fathers struggle for time with children

Some divorced fathers in Tennessee may struggle to get the same rights as parents that mothers have. Even having joint legal custody is not necessarily a remedy against this. Often, the mother is still in charge of making plans around school events and doctors' appointments and may not share this information. One father was told by his ex-wife that even though he had explicitly been granted these rights, she did not have to tell him when these events occurred. A father may also feel as though his opinion is discredited in comparison to the mother's even when he is allowed to attend.

Unfortunately, many fathers are not granted joint physical custody due to the stereotype that divorced fathers are lazy or unreliable. They may struggle to get just alternating weekends with their children.

Another issue is that a parenting agreement cannot anticipate every variable that might arise, and the mother may use the parenting plan against the father. For example, a father home on deployment might ask for extra time with his children and be denied because that situation is not specifically addressed. Some fathers have been prevented from spending Father's Day with their children or having their children in their wedding.

One way to address this possibility is to include provisions in the parenting plan for conflict resolution in the event that unforeseen circumstances arise. Parents might agree to reenter mediation if they have a dispute. Parents can also work on developing skills for conflict resolution during the divorce itself. However, these approaches require cooperation, and if one parent is unwilling to cooperate, then it may be necessary to turn to litigation to have changes made in custody and visitation. A parent may want to speak to an attorney about the best strategies for dealing with the other parent who is restricting their access to their child.

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