By Julie Garrison
Special to DadsDivorce.com
It is seemingly universal that divorced dads want to have more parenting time with their children than what the court has "awarded" them.
While a child custody modification proceeding may seem daunting, there are steps you can take now to build a case for more parenting time with your children. It takes time to build a case, so be methodical, document everything, and above all continue to be a great father.
Oh, and remember the 6 Ways To Deal With Your Ex-Wife In Order To Increase Parenting Time:
1. If your ex-wife is attempting to turn the children against you through manipulation, begin to document every instance that you observe or experience. At the point where you retain an attorney to help prove your case, your list will help him or her in providing the court with compelling evidence. (See: articles on parental alienation.)
2. Take a step back from your ex-wife's rancor and bide your time. Do not engage with her because she wants to throw you off balance and make you react emotionally. Document her bad behavior.
3. Don't say negative things around your children about their mother. Even if she says bad things about you, document what you hear from her or what your children indicate that she has said. Be the bigger parent, even when it hurts.
4. Be respectful to your children's mother. Do not discuss family issues with her in front of the children. Call or email her later to discuss.
5. Be involved and co-parent. One thing that a family law judge is going to be interested in is a dad’s involvement with his children. If telephone and e-mail privileges are allowed between you and your children, are you utilizing these modes of communication to connect with your children while they are with their mother? Do you present a "united front" with your ex-wife when conflicts arise between the children and their mother, or on issues where co-parenting is strongly needed?
6. Always exercise your visitation or parenting time. Be reliable and offer to pick up and drop off the children to show your ongoing interest and desire to spend time with your children. Quality time is found in ordinary activities, such as stopping for ice cream before dropping the kids off at their mom’s or going to the public library on the way to your house during your visitation or parenting time. Money will never win a child’s heart, but time spent doing enjoyable activities together will.
Once you feel you have a case, your next step is to hire the best divorce attorney you can to convince the court to modify parenting time. A child custody lawyer will advise you further on other actions you can take.
If you think you have a case for a child custody modification and more parenting time, contact the divorce lawyers for men at Cordell & Cordell.
Julie Garrison has been writing articles and short stories for the past 10 years and has appeared in several magazines and e-zines.