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Fathers, custody and coparenting

Parents in Tennessee who are getting a divorce may need to make decisions about child custody. There is a stereotype that divorced fathers are not involved in their children's lives, but it is not accurate. Many fathers who are divorced want to spend time with their children, and during the divorce process, they can take steps to ensure that this is the case. There are a number of options fathers can pursue, including sole custody, shared custody and visitation. The final plan needs to work with parents' schedules while being what's best for the children.

The parents also will need to work out a parenting plan. It is important that they create an effective plan to avoid having to return to court to get it modified. There are a number of things parents should consider when creating this plan, including how they will communicate about matters pertaining to the children. The parenting plan may address who will be responsible for school visits, doctor appointments and extracurricular activities.

It also should be flexible enough to allow for changes over time. One thing it might address is whether there will be changes if one parent remarries. For example, at this point, there also might need to be a change in pickup and drop-off procedures.

Parents might have to go to court if they are unable to negotiate a child custody agreement. By doing so, they might lose some control over the final outcome, but a judge will focus on a decision that is in the child's best interests. A father may increase his chances of being awarded custody or getting more visitation time by demonstrating an active participation in the child's life. For example, attending parent-teacher meetings and the child's extracurricular activities may help show involvement.

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