What are the do's and don'ts for New York dads in a divorce?

Manhattan dads going through a divorce can feel like they are already behind the eight ball when it comes to getting custody of the kids in a divorce. Below are some do's and don'ts to increase your chances for a good outcome in the case.

Do make sure that you:

-- Move your financial records to your attorney's office or other location off-limits to your wife.

-- Close joint accounts and cancel credit cards and accounts to which your wife has access.

-- Change your mailing address to a post office box or other secure location.

-- Claim tax exemptions on the children you support.

-- Keep a notebook or weblog about all events that are germane to the divorce. Include date, names and all pertinent details.

-- Talk to your children in an age-appropriate manner about the divorce so that they realize it's not their fault and that you will always love them.

-- Make sure that your lifestyle doesn't include any inappropriate elements that could be a barrier to custody or visitation.

-- Attend all of the court appearances and depositions in the case.

Avoid doing any of these things:

-- Giving your attorney original documents. Make copies of everything and submit those.

-- Voluntarily surrendering any of your legal rights.

-- Bringing the kids into any of your arguments with your spouse or speaking ill of their mother to them

-- Moving out of the house unless it is court-ordered.

-- Failing to retain separate counsel to protect your rights.

-- Voluntarily over-paying support or alimony.

-- Failing to exercise your right to visit with and remain in contact with your children.

-- Making any extravagant purchases or engaging in questionable behavior, such as setting up housekeeping with another woman until custodial issues have been settled.

-- Signing any documents until reviewed and approved by your own attorney.

-- Agreeing to child support that doesn't factor in your spouse's income as well.

While there is no guarantee that you will be awarded custody of your minor children, your chances may increase when represented by a qualified New York City divorce attorney.

Source: Fathers For Equal Rights, "A Divorce Checklist" Dec. 17, 2014

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