- Keep Records of Everything
Keeping a record of everything that happens during the divorce process is always a good idea. Keep records of when you see your children, what you buy them, how much you're spending etc. If your wife decides to slander you via social media, record that as well but don't relatiate. If she won't let you see your kids or is threatening to do so in the future, absolutely record it. Essentially, document everything that you can, especially if you foresee an upcoming parenting dispute with your spouse.
- Be on Your Best Behavior
During the divorce process, it is very important to be aware and in control of your actions and emotions. This is an extremely stressful time and it's perfectly normal to feel like you're in over your head, but maintain your composure as much as possible and try to think of the bigger picture. You don't want to do or say anything that's going to hinder you in accomplishing your real goals down the line. Avoid jumping into new relationships during the divorce process, it will only further complicate the process as well as likely confuse your children. Being on your best behavior includes staying sober, especially in public and during parenting. Additionally, it is a good idea to lay low on social media and try your best to spare your wife of any insults or derogatory comments, especially in front of your children.
- Focus on Your Children
One of the best ways to prove yourself to be a competent and responsible parent is to do just that; parent. See your children as often as you can, don't fade out of their lives. Take them to their events, get excited about what's going on in their life, do whatever you can given your schedule but it's important to remain as involved as you can. This divorce is likely turning your family's world upside down and you want to be someone that your children can turn to and confide in, a stabilizing figure rather than the reason for all this turmoil.
- Know Your Rights as a Father
Family court has had somewhat of a long-held reputation for favoring women in matters involving children, custody, and visitation. Recently, these assumptions have been renounced by judges and courts across the country, affirming that fathers have equal rights and opportunity to assert their roles in their family and be a large part of their children's lives after a divorce. Courts will objectively determine the best situation in every given case, regardless of gender. Advocate for yourself and decide what your goals are and strive for them. Be as calm and respectful as possible during these proceedings, you don't want a bad impression to affect your relationship with your children moving forward.
- Hire the Best Possible Lawyer
Though this one is obvious, it cannot be stressed enough. You need to find an attorney with a proven track record of dealing with couple's during a divorce before you make any rash or life altering decisions. Before you take any large steps such as moving out of your house, seek legal counsel and learn how your next potential move may affect your goals in the future. Look for an attorney who can help you constructively solve your disputes and keep you out of Court if at all possible.
Our attorneys regularly speak on family law and parenting plan matters. Elise has extensive experience in high-conflict parenting disputes. If you have any questions about Washington state divorce law, mediation or child custody, please contact us at [email protected] or 206-926-9848.