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If you're a dad, do you have to move out before divorce is final?

When you got married, you took your role as husband and (down the line) as father quite seriously. You wanted to do your part to create a happy, healthy marriage and home life. Like most New Hampshire spouses, you expected your marriage to last a lifetime. When your spouse filed a petition to divorce, you were shocked and saddened. You wondered how you would tell your kids and how the news might negatively affect their lives.

Many fathers have been caught off guard in similar situations. If you believe that your spouse is going to give you a hard time in court, it's critical that you know your rights and how to protect them. The court often awards shared custody or even sole custody to fathers nowadays. Knowing what to expect in court and where to seek support if a particular legal problem arises is key to accomplishing your divorce-related goals.

Remember these facts

No two divorce cases are exactly the same. The New Hampshire judge overseeing your case has your children's best interests in mind. The following list includes helpful tips to remember as you prepare for custody litigation:

  • Just because your spouse filed for divorce, it doesn't necessarily mean you have to move out of your house right away. In fact, staying with your children shows that you wish to retain your active role in their lives.
  • Getting divorced doesn't mean you are abdicating your rights or obligations as a father.
  • If there's a custody battle, you can expect to have to establish paternity at some point.
  • No matter how unfair or mean-spirited you think your spouse is, you will not help your kids any by bad-mouthing their other parent.
  • If you believe your ex is a detriment to your children's well-being, you must be able to show evidence that supports the claim.
  • Unless there is a court order in place, you'll want to think long and hard before you start handing over cash to provide for your children's financial needs.

Dads often get a bad rap when it comes to divorce and custody issues. The fact is, unless the court has restricted your ability to spend time with your children, you have the same rights as any other parent. Most children fare best in divorce when they have ample opportunity to maintain active, healthy relationships with both parents, even if the parents in question do not get along with each other.

Be proactive

Talking to a trusted friend or family member who was also blindsided by divorce can be helpful as you prepare to enter a new lifestyle. Don't let anyone tell you it's a lost cause to hope for shared custody. There is no way someone can predict such a thing because the court has discretion to make decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Many New Hampshire fathers try to build strong support networks from the start by connecting with experienced family law attorneys before heading to court.

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