Adapted from "Divorce Full Force"
Congratulations to all you divorced dads!
No matter how difficult or smooth your travels were through divorce court litigation, it’s always nice to breathe a sigh of relief once you have the court-certified copy of your decree in hand and your last attorney bill has been paid.
You may have won some battles, you may have lost some battles, but at least the first part of your divorce is over.
That’s right. Just the first part of divorce has concluded.
The reality is that divorced dads and their ex-wives now have an invisible umbilical cord tying them together the rest of their lives.
Six years after your divorce, did you get a raise? Then it’s likely your ex-wife will file to modify child support. Odds are one of you will remarry, which brings the potential of relocation into question leading to entirely new court proceedings.
Even after your children are emancipated, your child support payments are through, and legal issues can no longer be pursued, it is almost a guarantee that you will still have to deal with your ex-wife.
If your daughter gets married, who pays for the dress? Who is covering the rehearsal dinner cost? How much should each parent contribute for the flowers?
Are the kids and grandchildren spending Christmas with your ex this year? Will they be coming over for Fourth of July? These discussions will be had, and this time there is no court order to settle the issue.
Putting the future on the back burner for a moment, now that your divorce decree is final, what do you do about enforcement issues? Whether you child is 9 or 19 what do you do if your ex-wife does not follow the rules after all the turmoil, tension and time that went into hammering out the details?
You must realize you alone are responsible for enforcing your decree. In order to ensure compliance with your court order, you need to be a vigilant record keeper.
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Continue to keep a child custody calendar showing all the times you had the children, any additional parenting time your ex-wife may have given you when she had to work late, and any time missed by your former spouse.
This custody calendar will be of great assistance to your mens divorce attorney should you wish to file an enforcement motion or a motion to modify child custody in the future.
Don’t just keep a calendar of times and dates; keep a journal as well to document when something "big" happens. For example, if one of your children gets hurt while in her care, and she takes them to the emergency room and fails to properly inform you for days, you need to record the incident and tell your attorney.
Most parenting plans split the financial responsibility for some of the children’s expenses between the parents. Keep a hard copy of any receipts for yourself, and make a hard copy for your ex-wife. Enter the information on a spreadsheet and keep a running balance.
Moving forward, the best way to communicate with your ex-wife is via email as it provides an efficient way to communicate and provides a written record of communication. Any emails back and forth between you and your ex-wife should be saved in a folder on your computer for possible use as evidence in an enforcement motion.
Knowing that all communication is done in writing and saved on a computer will probably make your ex less inclined to deliberately violate the court order or child custody agreements you have reached.
Following this divorce advice for men will help you avoid potential trouble and adequately position yourself for future enforcement motions, if necessary. A little record keeping can go a long way, and your attorney will thank you for it.
This divorce article is adapted from DadsDivorce.com founder Joseph E. Cordell's book "Divorce Full Force: The Guide For Guys." Please visit the DadsDivorce.com store to order your copy of other invaluable divorce resources to aid you in your divorce and child custody case.