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How to be the best divorced dad you can be

With Father's Day coming up soon, many divorced fathers are dwelling on the areas where their parenting can stand some improvement. Others are trying to be the best possible dad despite not having primary custody of their children.

If you're going through a divorce, it's certainly preferable to seek joint custody of your children. Judges are generally in favor of this as long as there's not something in your life or your history that would cause concern.

If you don't get the custody agreement you'd like or you're simply not able to spend as much time as you want to with your kids, make the most of the time you have with them. Thanks to technology, men can video chat, text and email their kids regularly no matter where they are.

Following are a few other tips for being a good divorced dad:

-- Remember that you're still your kids' parent and not their buddy. That means providing structure when they're with you. As much as you may want to be the "fun house" for your kids, consistency is important. If you and your ex can work out rules that your kids are expected to follow at both homes, it's best for them. It's also essential that they think of both residences as theirs, and not to feel like they're just visiting you.-- Don't let your feelings of anger toward your ex interfere with your relationship with your kids. Don't use your time with them to criticize your ex or make them feel guilty for not spending more time with you.-- Be cautious about new relationships. It's best to wait until after the divorce is final to begin seeing someone else. That can complicate the proceedings. When you do begin a new relationship, don't rush into introducing the new person to your kids. Remember that they're going to be impacted by any new person you bring into their lives. Even if their other parent is seeing someone, don't do the same just to get even.

Parenting is challenging under the best of circumstances. However, parenting after a divorce brings an entirely new set of challenges. If you don't believe that your custody arrangement is fair or you feel that you need a change to your visitation arrangements or parenting plan, your New York family law attorney can work to fight for your rights as a father.

Source: Statesman Journal, "14 ways to be a good divorced dad," Kim Hoey, May 15, 2016

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