Danielsen Westhoff, PC

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Fathers and child custody issues

Most fathers living in Colorado and around the country are deeply committed to their children. Unfortunately, in cases where parents divorce or do not live together, fathers may feel shortchanged when it comes to relationships with their kids.

The frustration these men feel is often tied to one of two things: a lack of time with their children or having difficulty affording child support payments. In the case of child support, there may be very good reason for frustration as child support obligations are not dischargeable in bankruptcy, and the courts have many methods of ensuring compliance at their disposal, including sending fathers in arrears to jail.

Lack of visitation time and unfair custody arrangements are also areas of concern. This is particularly true when one parent has primary physical custody of the children and the other parent has limited visitation. In some cases, the amount of parenting time may not feel as if it is sufficient for developing a strong relationship with the children. In other cases, a father may believe that he is in a better position to have custody of his kids than his former partner.

Experts advise fathers to be careful about the ways in which they assert their rights to visitation as well as how they handle child support payments. If job loss, illness or other circumstances make it difficult to make payments, a father should immediately attempt to go before a family court judge to request a modification to the support order. During this time, the father might also make small payments to demonstrate good faith.

Men who are concerned about support orders and parenting plans may benefit from speaking with an experienced family law attorney. The lawyer may be able to review the client's case and make recommendations regarding the possibility of modifying current child custody and support orders. In addition, an attorney may also be able to facilitate mediation or negotiation so that the parents can come to an agreement between themselves.

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