Father's Day for the Divorced Dad
Father’s Day is upon us and for many divorced dads it can be a really difficult time, especially in the first few years after separation. It can be a harsh reminder that the greatest loss that often follows the breakdown of the relationship is time with the children. Father’s Day can often take on special significance after parents separate, especially for the father who is not the parent with whom the child lives.
It is important to remember that divorce can hit children just as hard. It might be the time to rethink Father’s Day and what you want it to mean to your children and make Father’s Day a special occasion for children as well as for Dad. It can be an opportunity to show children that Dad is an important part of their lives.
There is no specific law that says that fathers get to see their children on Father’s Day. The best way to ensure that you get to see your children on the day is to have a parenting agreement or order in place. Getting an agreement about when you see the children can make all the difference.
Most people reduce the agreement to a parenting plan or parenting order. A parenting plan is different from a parenting order, which is made by a Court. You should get legal advice when choosing which approach is right for you, as parenting plans are not legally enforceable. If you reach an agreement about when you spend time with the children, then you can ask the Court to make it an order to give you some certainty.
When making arrangements for the children, it is important to include special occasions such as Father’s Day to reduce the potential for conflict. Unlike occasions such as Christmas Day, where time with the children is usually shared between parents, Father's Day provides the opportunity to secure a special day for Dad to spend with his children. An experienced family lawyer will help you achieve a comprehensive agreement that provides for issues you may not have considered.
If you need to go to Court to get time with your children, then you need to know what the Court will consider. In making a parenting order, the main consideration for the Court is whether the arrangements are in the ‘best interests of the child’. In deciding what is in the best interest of a child, the Court’s primary considerations must be the benefit to the child of having a meaningful relationship with both of the child’s parents and the need to protect the child from physical or psychological harm, and from being subject to or exposed to abuse, neglect or family violence.
If you have any concerns about the time you spend with your children, then please contact our office and speak with an experienced family lawyer.