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Dads, don't make these child custody mistakes

Divorce is an emotional experience just as much as a legal one. If you have kids, you understand just how true this is. As a father, you want to remain actively involved in your children's lives, but you might be worried about how some judges in Pennsylvania treat fathers in matters regarding child custody. This means that you could possibly lose out on precious parenting time, even if it is not in the best interests of your kids.

During divorce, it is very important to avoid certain behaviors. A judge might interpret what you think are innocent or mostly harmless behaviors much more harshly than he or she would for a mother. While this is unfortunate and certainly unfair, your careful actions can help secure a better child custody agreement for both you and your children.

Leave the kids out of it

You might be angry, frustrated or sad about the end of your marriage. Understandably, you may even feel like "getting back" at your soon-to-be ex. One of the easiest ways to do this is to vent to your children about everything you think their mother did wrong. While you might think this will hurt your ex and turn your kids to your side, this behavior is more likely to harm your children. Judges also do not look kindly upon a parent who tries to influence his or her children's feelings toward their other parent.

Even if you keep your thoughts about your ex to yourself, you still need to keep your children out of the middle of your divorce. This means you cannot treat your children like messengers. Having children carry paperwork back and forth or relay messages between parents creates a huge emotional burden for them to carry.

Your behavior is under scrutiny

Just because you are not bad-mouthing your ex to your children does not mean that you have free reign to do so elsewhere. Posting about your ex on social media is usually a mistake, and one could even use posts like that against you during child custody proceedings.

You should also be conscious of your behavior when your children are not around. As a recently separated father who is dealing with the pressures of divorce, letting loose and partying can seem like the perfect outlet for your emotions. However, should pictures of extreme partying find their way into court, your chances of securing enough parenting time could be in jeopardy.

Remember, child custody is about the kids

You and your ex were unhappy, and it was the right decision to end your marriage. Even if the two of you are perfectly content in your choice to divorce, your children may feel quite differently. It can be difficult for a child to watch his or her parents divorce.

In all child custody matters, you should focus on the best interests of your children. In most cases, you will find that children truly benefit from having roughly equal access to both their mothers and fathers. Unfortunately, since family law still perceives fathers as less competent caregivers, it might be helpful to speak with an attorney who can provide personalized insight on this difficult issue.

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