While it is becoming more socially accepted for single dads to be the main custodial parent in Tennessee, statistically if you are the father, it is more likely that you are in the non-custodial parent. Unfortunately, there are many negative stereotypes that rotate around the non-custodial parent, but the reality is that you are just as important of a force in your child’s life as the custodial parent is. According to Very Well Family, staying involved in your child’s life is extremely important. 

The first thing to keep in mind is that establishing a good relationship with your ex-spouse as a co-parent may take time. Especially if the divorce was acrimonious, you may not have very good feelings toward him or her at the beginning. But time does heal all wounds, and it is important to not posit your ex-spouse in a negative light when your child is around. Needing to vent and wanting support is natural, but you should not vent negative feelings toward your child. Remember that your ex-spouse is your child’s other parent and it is going to remain that way. 

Keeping to your visitation schedule is key. As the non-custodial parent, it can even be “expected” that you will not stick to the schedule. But if you want to keep being a positive influence in your child’s life, being reliable is very important! Mark any weekends (or other time) where you will have custody on your calendar and be there constantly.  

In the event that you are trying to obtain custody, try to stay persistent and positive about the process. Even if you end up with an initial denial, you can always try again.