After a divorce, both parents have certain rights and responsibilities to their kids in the vast majority of situations. Each spouse may also have responsibilities and obligations to each other as well. If you are a father who has been through a divorce, you may be especially concerned about divorced fathers rights and about how you can make sure you are protected.
Divorced Fathers Rights
Most custody agreements, whether you arrive at the agreement yourself or whether the court orders an agreement for you and sets the custody and visitation schedule, involve providing both parents with access to the children. Courts will almost always try to achieve some type of shared custody arrangement because of the belief that is in the best interests of the child to have a relationship with both mom and dad. Therefore, as a father, after a divorce, it is likely that you have some type of custody rights to your kids.
Once a court orders a custody decree or signs off on the custody arrangement that you and your spouse have made, it becomes legally binding. This means that if your spouse tries to deny you your custody rights, you have recourse under the law. You may be able to:
- Get police to enforce a custody order by requiring your spouse to turn over the kids
- Go back to court and have your spouse held in contempt for violating the judges orders. The judge may even be willing to change the custody agreement if your spouse is repeatedly denying you the access to your kids that you are entitled to.
- Have your spouse arrested for kidnapping in rare instances, depending on the circumstances of what she has done.
You also have the right to have any and all other aspects of your divorce decree followed after divorce. This means if your former wife was ordered to pay you child support, ordered to pay you spousal support, mandated to pay you certain dollar amounts in exchange for community property (such as the family house) or otherwise required to be responsible for debts from the marriage, your spouse has to comply with these orders. If she fails to do so, you may again go to court to have the court order enforced.
Protecting your divorced fathers rights after divorce is just as important as protecting your rights during divorce. If your spouse is doing something wrong or not following the custody agreement or other court orders, you need to get help from a qualified attorney. Your lawyer can assist you in taking any and all legal steps necessary to fully protect your rights.