Naturally, divorcing dads worry about maintaining close bonds with their kids, but what if you were never married to their mother? Without a legal tether to your children, your parenting rights could be in jeopardy during a conflict or dispute with your co-parent. It helps if you have taken steps to establish your paternity, which gives you legal parenting rights.
Beyond that, maintaining strong and loving bonds with your kids is another way to preserve your rights. Here’s how.
Stay present and available
Demonstrating that you are a consistent and healthy presence in your children’s lives can strengthen your position if a custody dispute arises.
Always make time for your kids, even when life gets busy, and show them they are your top priority. Even small moments of focused attention can create lasting memories for you and them.
Do not skimp on communication
Regular conversations (calls, texts, etc.) with your kids show that you have built a stable relationship that must be preserved. Talk to your children about day-to-day life. Ask how school is going, share your feelings with them or just tell each other silly jokes. Frequent, meaningful communication builds trust and fosters a strong emotional bond.
Be a role model and a dad
Demonstrating that you are a positive and responsible influence on your kids can help courts decide to preserve or increase access to your child. Your children are constantly watching and learning from you. Show them what it means to be kind, compassionate and responsible. Modeling the conduct and mindset you hope they absorb gives them a sure-footed lead.
If you face resistance from your co-parent when exercising your rights, learn more about Tennessee child custody laws. Guidance from a legal representative can offer another layer of protection.