Friday, November 4, 2011
Emotion can be a father’s worst enemy
Emotion can be a father’s worst enemy
By Jeffery M. Leving
Too often, fathers go into a divorce with the wrong attitude. Sometimes it is out of anger due to victimization and sometimes it is out of surrender driven by depression. Divorce is driven by individual emotions so it is not surprising. But controlling your emotions is a key to insuring that fathers’ rights are protected.
Many fathers are far too willing to merely sign-off on a divorce. In far too many cases that I have seen, a spouse will seek legal advice from a divorce lawyer, and then present her husband with a proposed legal settlement.
Wanting to be as supportive as they can, many fathers will “trust” that their rights have been protected by their spouse’s attorney.
But that is rarely the case, if ever.
The spouse’s attorney is vested with the responsibility to do what’s best for his or her client. That means not only trying to get a fair and equitable division of the marriage assets for their client, but also getting more. “More” often includes excessive child support and maintenance for the spouse. It may often include custody issues involving children, if there are any in the marriage. More often than not, it will involve property rights with the balance going to the spouse. Unfairly. Wrongly. And unequitably.
In order to protect your rights, a father must stand up first for his rights, the rights of his children and the rights to property and assets. You cannot take anything for granted.
That means never – I repeat never – accept and sign a divorce agreement without having your own lawyer carefully examine the contract’s details and the circumstances of the marriage dissolution. Otherwise, you can become a target looking for an arrow.
Too often, fathers believe they are doing the best for their family, even divided, by simply surrendering in a divorce and by not contesting divorce demands from the spouse.
Too often, fathers will surrender their rights without even knowing what rights they have surrendered, or how the divorce agreement they are signing will impact their lives and their relationship with their children.
You must get competent legal assistance. Although many people believe that settling using one lawyer, often times the spouse’s attorney, will save them money and reduce the cost of a divorce, in almost every case, the costs soar and the complications that are caused by an unfair agreement drive those costs up even more. Not to mention the stress and mental trauma that will accompany signing away one's rights without even knowing what they signed away.
Always consult a lawyer. It can’t hurt as much as not consulting with one.
Fathers’ rights can only be protected when a father makes the conscious decision to do what’s right for his family. An equitable divorce settlement will pave the way for better future relations, less stress and an environment that will be most conducive for the development and growth of the children.
Oftentimes, it will also save both sides money.
You need to find an empathetic attorney to represent you who understands these issues and challenges. You need an attorney who can help you stay in control of your emotions, recognize and avoid unfavorable custody arrangements, and protect your relationship with your children.
Shared parenting agreements are manageable when the father has professional and proper representation.
Don’t let your emotions drive you into an agreement that you will realize later was wrong, unfair and not in the best interests of your children or yourself.
It is when you are getting a divorce that you have the most control of your own future and of your fathers' rights.
(Named one of “America’s Best Lawyers” by Forbes Radio, Jeffery Leving is the author of two ground-breaking books, Fathers’ Rights and Divorce Wars. He can be reached at www.DadsRights.com.)