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Video Transcribed: I’m a Tulsa Men’s Divorce Lawyer, and today, I want to talk about some unique concerns for custodial dads. So you won the argument, you’re the primary custodian. That’s great, but there are some things you need to be careful of.
The first one I want to talk to you about is visitation with mom. It is really important that you keep visitation going with mom. Make sure you’re making the effort. If she doesn’t want to follow through, you can’t control that, but you want to make sure you’re making the effort.
You don’t even want to set her up into a situation where she can try and say you’re alienating because I’m going to tell you right now a judge is more than likely going to come down harder on you as a custodial dad than they will on mom is she’s custodial. It isn’t fair, but this is a reality. You probably are at a higher risk of losing custody over that kind of behavior. So don’t do it.
Now, if you do find yourself in a situation where there is a legitimate problem that justifies putting a stop to visitation before you do anything, that’s a very, very fact-specific scenario and you need to talk to a lawyer immediately. Do not resort to self-help. Do get a lawyer.
If your child makes some kind of disclosure or if you see something that’s troubling or whatever, talk to a lawyer. Don’t just sit on your hands because I’m telling you right now that is a dangerous proposition or I should say talk to a lawyer, don’t resort to self-help because if you do, you put yourself in jeopardy of losing your kids.
Make sure that you are keeping track of stuff that the kids need to be doing. This is probably an obvious one, but if they have medical appointments, keep on top of that. Extracurricular stuff like that, keep on top of that.
Again, you don’t want to give her an argument for taking your kids away and stuff like that will be held more stringently against you than it probably would against mom. The fact of the matter is with family courts, moms are given a lot more leeway than dads.
If you have a significant other, especially if they live with you, I don’t care if you’re married to them, be very careful about letting the kids use the M-word toward your significant other. You know what I mean. Mom. Judges will take real offense to that.
I had a client lose custody over this exact issue, and this was a woman by the way, not a guy, who lost her kid because she was having her live-in boyfriend, she was having the kid call her live-in boyfriend dad.
The judge took serious offense to that and stripped her of custody. So that’s a big deal. Don’t do that not unless you have direct consent from the mother, biological mother. You know what? You better have that notarized and in triplicate, my friend. That’s really dangerous territory there. Generally speaking, it’s better to encourage the kids to call her something else, especially really young children. Be careful.
A couple of other things. If you have girls, you probably want to be a little bit overcautious about privacy issues, especially as they get around the older elementary to middle school ages. You want to be really conscientious about that.
The last thing you want to do is have that girl, have your daughter go back and tell mom, and it may be said in an offhanded way, but it could still lead you down a real nasty path, that you were in the bathroom with her while she was showering or anything of that nature. You need to be really conscientious about that, guys. It’s an unfortunate fact of life that we live with. Again, women get a lot of leeway in that area.
We do not. There’s a tendency to assume that if you hear something that sounds funky involving a little girl and her dad, that it’s inappropriate behavior and it’s sexual. So you know what I’m talking about, guys, and I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong.
You’re not, but just be very conscientious about that. Be careful because you don’t want to get accused of that. That’s a really, really difficult situation to find yourself in and it happens more often than you think.
If the kids tell you they don’t want to go to mom’s house, they need to go to mom’s house for visitation whether they want to or not. Now, the younger children, I think it’s more or less, “You’re going,” and the only exception to that rule is if they make a specific disclosure to you about something that constitutes abuse or neglect. If there’s a specific disclosure that gives you pause, call a lawyer. Don’t just, “Oh, you don’t have to go.” Understand if they’re not going, you have a legal issue.
You need a lawyer. So don’t go it alone in that situation. If they do make a disclosure, in addition to calling a lawyer, you need to call DHS and you need to call the police. You need to call DHS. You may need to call the police depending on the nature of the disclosure. Again, you cannot drag your feet with that because if you wait around and don’t report it right away, it’s going to be a lot harder to convince a judge that you’re not acting maliciously. So be aware of that too.
So those are some things to be aware of as a custodial father that you definitely want to be. That can bite you in the ass and cost you your custodial rights if you’re not careful. If you have questions about any of those things or if you’re dealing with a unique situation, go to dads.law where fathers are not disposable. If you are looking for a divorce attorney for men, go to dads.law.