There was a time when single fathers only saw their children on alternate weekends and some vacations. The term “Disney dad” came about as a culture of weekend fathers developed in the wake of rapidly rising divorce rates in the 1970s and 80s. Things have changed, and now single fathers want more out of parenting than just a Sunday afternoon at the park.
As a father, you should know your rights. According to Florida statute, fathers have a right to maintain meaningful contact with their children. If your ex does not comply with a time-sharing plan for the children or creates obstacles to visitation arrangements, speak to an attorney.
Here are some tips for maintaining frequent and continuing contact with your children:
- Minimize distance between you and your ex. Parents who live physically close to their former partner spend more physical time with their children. As children mature, they are more likely to travel between parents on their own if the distance is reasonable.
- Keep conflict at a minimum, or at least out of earshot of children. The more peaceful your relationship with your ex, the more flexible you both will be in terms of time-sharing.
- Value the role of the other parent and treat them respectfully. Never trash the other parent in front of your kids, no matter how great the temptation. In the end, your kids will likely respect you more and choose to spend more time with you.
- Do some of the dirty work. Kids tend to appreciate fathers who engage with them in the more mundane aspects of their lives. Go to parent-teacher conferences and dentist appointments. Drive the carpool. Know their friends’ names and arrange social events that include them.
- Impart life skills and wisdom. Teach your kids to swim, ride a bike, whistle, blow bubbles, climb a tree or whatever it is that you enjoyed mastering as a kid.
If you are divorcing, take charge of single fatherhood by being an involved and loving dad. Your child custody attorney can help you create a working parenting and time-sharing plan. Call the Law Office of Kenneth C. Gallagher at 407-897-1119, or contact us online.