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Custody and visitation challenges for fathers

The end of a marriage brings a wide range of changes for all involved. For Connecticut spouses who share children, there is a lengthy period following the divorce in which everyone must adjust to the realities of moving from one household to two. This can be a difficult transition for all, but can be especially trying for fathers, who are statistically more likely to receive visitation as a result of the custody and visitation agreement or court determination.

Going from living within the same home as one's children to seeing them only on specified days is upsetting to most fathers. In some cases, lingering issues with the other parent can further complicate the matter, and many divorced dads find their access to their kids limited even further by the actions of their former spouse. Unfortunately, parents in this situation often find few resources to assist them in gaining time with their children, and are forced to return to the legal system to ask for help.

Ironically, the law has excellent resources in place to address parents who fail to meet their obligations to their children. If the same father who is desperately trying to be a part of the lives of his children failed to make his child support payments, the repercussions would be swift and severe, including court appearances and even the risk of jail time. That reality can leave many fathers feeling as if their role in the lives of their children is framed solely in their ability to provide financial support.

Family courts can help Connecticut fathers who are not receiving the parenting time laid out in the custody and visitation agreement. However, in order to access this assistance the parent has to either hire an attorney or attempt to navigate the legal system on their own. While the struggle to enforce or modify an existing custody arrangement can be difficult, the outcome is increased involvement in the lives of their children, which is beneficial to both parent and child.

Source: Huffington Post, "Disparity Between Child Support and Custody Enforcement," Joseph E. Cordell, May 3, 2013

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