North Carolina fathers headed for divorce may be prepared to share parenting equally with their ex-spouse, but the reality of the situation might be very different. Often, fathers struggle to get joint custody. The stereotype of divorced fathers as lazy still persists, and some courts still favor giving primary physical custody to the mother. Fathers may only get to see their children on just two visitation weekends each month.
On the other hand, the father might be granted joint legal custody but still fight to get information from the mother. One father who had a right to attend school functions and doctor’s appointments was told by his ex-wife that she still did not have to inform him of their child’s schedule for those things. Some fathers report that they are treated by school officials and doctors as though their input is less valued than that of the child’s mother.
Fathers might also have trouble persuading mothers to be flexible when it comes situations not covered in parenting plans. For example, soldiers might return from deployment and want extra time with their children. Fathers may want their children to participate in their weddings, or they may want to see their children on Father’s Day.
The best defense for fathers may be to develop a cooperative relationship with their former spouse. This can begin during the divorce if the two can work together to create a parenting agreement through mediation. Although even high-conflict couples can sometimes arrive at a solution through mediation, this is not always possible. The next step is turning to litigation. In either type of resolution method, fathers might find it helpful to work with an attorney.