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How Divorce Works For Fathers

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 6 May 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Separated Dads Divorce Marriage Decree

Divorce is what legally ends the marriage between you and your former partner resulting in a decree nisi and a decree absolute. It can be simple, or a lengthy, contentious process, depending on the parties involved, and how they agree to divide property and assets.

Concerning children, divorce can be equally straightforward or problematic. You will have Parental Responsibility for the children born in wedlock with your partner. You will have to Pay Child Support, or maintenance, which can be worked out with your ex or a monthly sum mandated by the Child Support Agency (CSA), depending on your income.

Working Out Of Court

This is the easiest way, if you can reach an agreement in direct negotiation with your ex or through mediation. There’s less acrimony and generally a much better atmosphere to the proceedings and you can take the agreement to court, and it becomes legally valid if signed by the solicitors employed by you and your ex.

Be aware, however, that mothers have flouted these agreements in the past, and some will again. If so, you’ll need to obtain a court order to have them enforced, and even then those might be breached. A great deal depends on the goodwill between you and your former partner.

In Court

Some feel it is better if you represent yourself in court, using someone called a McKenzie Friend, who is a person familiar with experience of the legal and divorce processes. Others feel your interests will be better served by employing a solicitor to argue your case for you.

In the case of an acrimonious divorce, you might find your ex making accusations against you. You’ll need to be prepared for this. If you’ve had contact with your children before the divorce hearing, keep a parenting diary with full details of the contacts, dates, etc adding photographs if possible.

Where children are old enough to voice opinions, their wishes are taken into account by the court regarding contact and residence. Another important part of the proceedings is the Cafcass Report, where both parents, other carers, teachers and others are interviewed to reach a determination. Courts mostly follow all the recommendations of the report. However, if you’re unhappy with any part of it, you can challenge that, or even request a new report by another officer.

The tradition in contact tends to be every other weekend and half the school holidays with you, with your children spending the rest of the time with their mother. However, it’s quite possible to suggest other arrangements, especially if that’s what your children desire. Joint residency, for example, is a relatively new concept here, but one which is widely practiced in Europe and gaining traction in America.

Things You Should Do

Keep up your maintenance payments, making them on time and in full. This shows responsibility to your children and eliminates at least one legal hold your ex might have over you. If unemployment or other factors make payment impossible, keep full records and present them to the court.

If possible, create a co-parenting plan with your ex. This can help head off any future problems and means you really are putting your children first.

Finally, never use your kids to pass messages to your former partner. Keep them above the problems you two have.
For more information about the Cafcass family report - see here.

Check out the Separated Dads Forum... It's a great resource where you can ask for advice on topics including Child Access, Maintenance, CAFCASS, Fathers Rights, Court, Behaviour or simply to have a chat with other dads.

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Hello ... Me and wife have come to an end after 19 years. She is under the impression that I cheated on her . I have been kicked out from home and now stay with my parents . She has hidden my house keys therefore no access. Although the mortgage is joint I pay allthe monthly fees (mortgage, utility bills) I have tried to reason with her but not getting anywhere at the moment . She basically wants me to stay away from home, pay all expenses which I'm not keen to do so. I have offered that we put the house for sale and split the profit and we carry on with our lives . She has refused my offer and has come up with another proposition. She would allow me back home and give our relationship another chance on the basis that I file a legal document that I give up all my rights on the house , for example any further problems and we decide to get divorced I don't a penny from the sale of the house which once again I'm not keen to do so. Now my question is do I have the right to return and stay at home until the we resolve the matter. Because she has also made threats to call police and get me arrested although no threats or violence. Also we have 15 year old daughter who is getting badly affected from the ongoing dispute. How would custody work ? My wife is from Cyprus and If we agree to sell the house she would want to take our daughter to Cyprus , would she have the right to do so ? Many thanks
Bobafett - 6-May-18 @ 3:50 AM
My wife left me over a year ago, she has asked to divorce me on 3 occasions i finally agree and she states i have to pay ! so i start the process but she wont let me have the foreign wedding certificate even though she previously had agreed.unless i pay her off when we had no money or assets I'm a good father who has our daughter half the time and pay maintenance. she is awkward at every moment - even after she left me suddenly. I dont know what to do, does anyone have any guidance for me, i just want to move on with my life, she now sees that and has carried on like this.
mrJ - 30-Apr-18 @ 10:50 PM
Bj - Your Question:
I have been separated with my wife for nearly 3 years now, and have asked for a divorce the past years, she has filed for one under the rights that I had an affair, but wants me to sign the divorce papers, I a mother refusing to as she wants to take me off the parental responsibilitys, can she do this , so I don't have no say in my children

Our Response:
Only a court can remove your PR and PR is only removed from a parent by court if there is a very good reason.
SeparatedDads - 29-Mar-18 @ 12:39 PM
I have been separated with my wife for nearly 3 years now, and have asked for a divorce the past years, she has filed for one under the rights that I had an affair, but wants me to sign the divorce papers, I a mother refusing to as she wants to take me off the parental responsibilitys, can she do this , so I don't have no say in my children
Bj - 28-Mar-18 @ 9:30 PM
Deedee79 - Your Question:
Hi my ex has my daughter once a fourtinght for 5 hours, he keeps taking her to his new wifes house, I wasnt told he was getting married not that I care, but I live 30 miles away and he keeps taking her out of my home town without my concent, im only finding out once she gets home she is only 7 and has autisum. What can I do about this I hate that I dont know were she is when she is with him who I dont trust due to the past actions with my daughter , please help someone!!!!

Our Response:
If you cannot agree between you, then you would need to consider requesting your ex attends mediation in order to come to an agreement, please see link here. There are no rules to say what the other parent with parental responsibility can and cannot do, it is something that should be agreed between yourselves. If your ex refuses to agree to mediation, then your only option would be to apply to court. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the child in question. The court will always put the child’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order.
SeparatedDads - 19-Feb-18 @ 1:52 PM
Hi my ex has my daughter once a fourtinghtfor 5 hours, he keeps taking her to his new wifes house, i wasnt told he was getting married not that i care, but i live 30 miles away and he keeps taking her out of my home town without my concent,im only finding out once she gets home she is only 7 and has autisum. What can i do about this i hate that i dont know were she is when she is with him who i dont trust due to the past actions with my daughter , please help someone!!!!
Deedee79 - 17-Feb-18 @ 6:25 PM
Pressured dad - Your Question:
Hi,My wife and I are splitting up. We've been married for ten years and have two daughters (9&6). We both work full time and have similar stature and pay. My question is quite simple really. If/when we decide to live apart how can I be the parent that the children live with? Do the authorities still side with the mother or is it more equal now? I ask as I'm the parent who does most of the childcare, cooking cleaning etc. and I genuinely believe they would be better cared for with me.Thank you

Our Response:
There are no fixed rules, it is a matter which should be agreed between you and your ex, keeping in mind what you both thinks is in your children's best interests as the benchmark. Many parents agree to share the care of the children. However, when parents cannot agree, mediation is seen as the first option to consider, please see link here, which will help you both come to a workable agreement. However, where there is disagreement along the line, and/or if your ex refuses to negotiate through mediation, then court is seen as the last option. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the children in question. The court will always put the children’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application for an order. If, for instance one of you works part-time (to help look after the children) and the other parent works full-time, then the part-time parent will generally be seen as the primary carer, as they are the person that spends most time with the children. The court usually opts for continuity, so if you currently are the day-to-day primary carer of your children, then it is likely the court would allow this to continue.
SeparatedDads - 15-Feb-18 @ 12:49 PM
Hi, My wife and I are splitting up. We've been married for ten years and have two daughters (9&6). We both work full time and have similar stature and pay. My question is quite simple really. If/when we decide to live apart how can I be the parent that the children live with? Do the authorities still side with the mother or is it more equal now? I ask as I'm the parent who does most of the childcare, cooking cleaning etc. and I genuinely believe they would be better cared for with me. Thank you
Pressured dad - 13-Feb-18 @ 8:04 PM
Jack - Your Question:
Hi I am worried me and my wife have been apart for 1 and a half years now and we are living apart. We are in the process of getting a divorce and we agreed that when it comes to are daughter we will share custody and she would let are daughter stay at mine but now she is changing her mind every time we try to work it out but yet she wants me to have so 6 children plus her new boyfriend child to look after almost every week end.I keep a diary but I am worried that I will now not be aloud to see are daughter.What can I do to stop her playing games

Our Response:
Your only options are to try to resolve the matters you both have through mediation, please see link; Mediation: What is it and is it For Me? here . If your ex refuses to attend mediation, then your only option is to apply to court for a child arrangement order, please see link here .
SeparatedDads - 12-Feb-18 @ 11:50 AM
Daddy - Your Question:
Hi I am worried me and my wife have been apart for 1 and a half years now and we are living apart. We are in the process of getting a divorce and we agreed that when it comes to are daughter we will share custody and she would let are daughter stay at mine but now she is changing her mind every time we try to work it out but yet she wants me to have so 6 children plus her new boyfriend child to look after almost every week end. I keep a diary but I am worried that I will now not be aloud to see are daughter. What can I do to stop her playing games

Our Response:
Mediation is the first option you should consider if you cannot agree between you, please see link here.
SeparatedDads - 12-Feb-18 @ 11:07 AM
Hi I am worried me and my wife have been apart for 1 and a half years now and we are living apart . We are in the process of getting a divorce and we agreed that when it comes to are daughter we will share custody and she would let are daughter stay at mine but now she is changing her mind every time we try to work it out but yet she wants me to have so 6 children plus her new boyfriend child to look after almost every week end . I keep a diary but I am worried that I will now not be aloud to see are daughter . What can I do to stop her playing games
Daddy - 11-Feb-18 @ 1:57 PM
Hi I am worried me and my wife have been apart for 1 and a half years now and we are living apart . We are in the process of getting a divorce and we agreed that when it comes to are daughter we will share custody and she would let are daughter stay at mine but now she is changing her mind every time we try to work it out but yet she wants me to have so 6 children plus her new boyfriend child to look after almost every week end . I keep a diary but I am worried that I will now not be aloud to see are daughter . What can I do to stop her playing games
Jack - 10-Feb-18 @ 1:56 PM
aDAD - Your Question:
I need some legal help. I am currently married but close to separation/divorce. Me and my wife currently have a joint mortgage in place and no prior financial agreement. My wife put a considerably higher amount into the house than me. However, I have a 6 year old child from another relationship whom stays at mine every other weekend, on the basis she is in a comfortable safe environment with her own room which she has.Should I get separated/divorced I will not have the fiance to afford a two bedroom property close to my child to maintain access over night.I'm actually sure how I would house myself. My wife earns more than me and we have no children. What rights do I have to the property / potential capital ? What options ? As getting divorced and losing access to my daughter will be a huge blow. HELP.

Our Response:
Much depends upon how long you have been married for regarding what the division of capital/assets will be. If you have been married for under five years, then it is likely you will both financially take out of the marriage what you put into it percentage wise. The fact you have a child from another relationship will not be factored in, if the matter goes to court. Your best option is to decide amicably between you both, as if you disagree court will cost and has a habit of sucking up in legal costs any financial benefits you could hope to accrue. Hopefully, you and your wife can come to an agreed arrangement between you that will satisfy you both, allowing you both to comfortably move on.
SeparatedDads - 6-Feb-18 @ 11:48 AM
I need some legal help. I am currently married but close to separation/divorce. Me and my wife currently have a joint mortgage in place and no prior financial agreement. My wife put a considerably higher amount into the house than me. However, I have a 6 year old child from another relationship whom stays at mine every other weekend, on the basis she is in a comfortable safe environment with her own room which she has. Should I get separated/divorced I will not have the fiance to afford a two bedroom property close to my child to maintain access over night.I'm actually sure how I would house myself. My wife earns more than me and we have no children. What rights do I have to the property / potential capital ?What options ? As getting divorced and losing access to my daughter will be a huge blow. HELP.
aDAD - 5-Feb-18 @ 7:11 PM
Adviceforpartner - Your Question:
My partner and his wife split 2 years ago. He continued to pay everything (mortgage, all house bills, her car, her phone bill, internet everything) for almost 2 years. He’s been trying to get her to come to a financial settlement but she keeps avoiding the conversations. They are now divorced but still no financial settlement. My partner now pays the mortgage in full (which is almost £300 more than his child maintenance costs would be) in lieu of child maintenance at her request as she has chosen to become self employed and doesn’t qualify to take over the mortgage. Her car is also in my partners name and she is still avoiding getting rid of it or buying it off him to get him out of the lease agreement. They both have a lot of debt and my partners Dad lent them £20k as a deposit on the house which he now wants back. My partner has suggested selling the house, paying the debt off, paying his dad back and then giving her 60% and him taking 40%. She is refusing to do this. She wants to stay in the house forever and have him continue to pay the mortgage in full. They have 3 kids who live with her. Where does my partner stand? It doesn’t seem fair that he has to stay tied into a mortgage for a house that he doesn’t live in until the youngest leaves school (another 9 years) or have this car in his name. He’s paying more than he should. He’s a great dad and a wonderful person who is being taken advantage of. What are his rights? Can he force a sale of the car or house? He suggested selling the house in 13 months time which gives her plenty of time to sort work and living arrangements out. He’s trying to compromise but she won’t budge. It doesn’t seem right than she can be ‘self employed’ with no stable income when she wasn’t ever before and demand he keep paying the mortgage? He can’t afford solicitors and court, any advice?

Our Response:
Unfortunately, your partner has found himself in a sticky situation, as it is highly unlikely a court would rule to ask his ex to leave the house when there are children involved. As in all cases, the court’s main concern is the welfare of the children in question. The court will always put the children’s best interests first and this main issue will determine the outcome of any application. Your partner would really have to take legal advice here (he may be able to get some free advice via the Citizens Advice Bureau) in order to see if he has any recourse to get his ex to come to a financial agreement. Court is the only option where mutual agreement or mediation will not be considered. He can represent himself in court if he cannot afford legal fees, please see link here. However, he would have to see whether he has a case to answer before he should consider court.
SeparatedDads - 12-Jan-18 @ 3:16 PM
My partner and his wife split 2 years ago. He continued to pay everything (mortgage, all house bills, her car, her phone bill, internet everything) for almost 2 years. He’s been trying to get her to come to a financial settlement but she keeps avoiding the conversations. They are now divorced but still no financial settlement. My partner now pays the mortgage in full (which is almost £300 more than his child maintenance costs would be) in lieu of child maintenance at her request as she has chosen to become self employed and doesn’t qualify to take over the mortgage. Her car is also in my partners name and she is still avoiding getting rid of it or buying it off him to get him out of the lease agreement. They both have a lot of debt and my partners Dad lent them £20k as a deposit on the house which he now wants back. My partner has suggested selling the house, paying the debt off, paying his dad back and then giving her 60% and him taking 40%. She is refusing to do this. She wants to stay in the house forever and have him continue to pay the mortgage in full. They have 3 kids who live with her. Where does my partner stand? It doesn’t seem fair that he has to stay tied into a mortgage for a house that he doesn’t live in until the youngest leaves school (another 9 years) or have this car in his name. He’s paying more than he should. He’s a great dad and a wonderful person who is being taken advantage of. What are his rights? Can he force a sale of the car or house? He suggested selling the house in 13 months time which gives her plenty of time to sort work and living arrangements out. He’s trying to compromise but she won’t budge. It doesn’t seem right than she can be ‘self employed’ with no stable income when she wasn’t ever before and demand he keep paying the mortgage? He can’t afford solicitors and court, any advice?
Adviceforpartner - 11-Jan-18 @ 9:27 PM
My partner and his ex wife have been separated 2 years and filed for divorce. They have a 5 year old daughter and share joint custody currently. No CSA has been paid as they have both had her in equal measure. She is now requesting CSA as he has moved on with me his new partner. He wishes to have his daughter 3-4 nights a week. What rights does he have once the divorce goes through can she stop him seeing his daughter? Can she request back payments of CSA if they have always shared equal custody previously? I am worried she will take his daughter away. Can a contract be drawn up even if it is not legally signed by a solicitor detailing what both parties can agree on? As long as it is signed by both parties would it then become a legal document? Help!
Stephy - 13-Dec-17 @ 6:48 PM
rosered - Your Question:
My sister and her ex-husband are both very religious. They are divorced 2 years, 1 child in early teens. The divorce was paper only no court and ex-husband will not tell me if there are any settlements. My sister and my ex-brother-in-law have had a rocky marriage and she shows signs of domestic abuse - no confidence, not worked for 8 years, no money of her own. My sister cut herself off from us her family 2014-2017 and ex-husband invited us back into their lives. The ex-husband is now re-marrying and wants to move new wife into family home, under religious banner as all belong to the same religious persuasion. I am very unhappy at this turn of events. My sister will be humiliated and degraded if new wife moves in. Can her ex-husband do this?

Our Response:
This is a difficult question to answer regarding your sister as you don't say whether any financial agreement was made with regards to making sure your sister is provided for. If your sister thinks her ex husband has sidelined money or part of the family estate which is rightfully hers, then she would have to seek legal advice about taking the matter to court. Most long marriages work on a 50/50 share basis of financial assets and savings. Her ex is entitled to move who he wishes into the house post-divorce, if he is living there (you don't say). If your sister is living in the house, she can refuse to move as she is as equally entitled to live there. Much depends upon who is living in the house and who your sister's son is living with. Priority will usually be given to the primary carer of the child to remain in the family home (with the child if they are already living there) until the child finishes full-time education.
SeparatedDads - 12-Dec-17 @ 11:39 AM
My sister and her ex-husband are both very religious. They are divorced 2 years, 1 child in early teens. The divorce was paper only no court and ex-husband will not tell me if there are any settlements. My sister and my ex-brother-in-law have had a rocky marriage and she shows signs of domestic abuse - no confidence, not worked for 8 years, no money of her own. My sister cut herself off from us her family 2014-2017 and ex-husband invited us back into their lives. The ex-husband is now re-marrying and wants to move new wife into family home, under religious banner as all belong to the same religious persuasion. I am very unhappy at this turn of events. My sister will be humiliated and degraded if new wife moves in. Can her ex-husband do this?
rosered - 11-Dec-17 @ 9:59 AM
My son's marriage has come to an end with him walking out after a year of frustration. Both parties have said they no longer have feelings for each other. You They have a joint mortgage which my son has always paid for and continues to do so. His wife has an expensive car in her name but again he pays for. He pays his daughters nursery fees and also contributes £400 per month towards her upkeep.his wife denies him and us as grandparents access to his daughter apart from the occasional visit when she has to be present. What are his and our rights with regard to his daughter and does he have to keep paying in full for the mortgage, her car nursery fees as well as maintenance?
Grandpa - 23-Nov-17 @ 12:16 PM
@ The flash - you can leave whenever you want to. If you have kids then you would have to pay child maintenance to your wife once you leave.
BeNjd - 13-Nov-17 @ 11:33 AM
Me and my wife are no longer happy together. But we have dept and I am the only one that works full time. Have we got to wait till the divorce is finally settled before i can leave and start a new
The flash - 12-Nov-17 @ 5:40 PM
Mez - Your Question:
Hi,I've recently split with my wife and I'm after some advice on how best to move forward with the divorce. I have two children, aged 5 and 18 months. I'm trying to keep the split as amicable as possible although my ex is pushing for mediation/court proceedings. Thanks in advance for your help.

Our Response:
If neither of you can agree on particular issues, mediation is a good way to attempt to iron out those issues and come to a joint arrangement regarding your kids, please see link here . Unless you have both explored mediation first, neither of you will be able to apply to court (unless one of you refuses mediation or the mediation process breaks down).
SeparatedDads - 29-Aug-17 @ 12:34 PM
Hi, I've recently split with my wife and I'm after some advice on how best to move forward with the divorce. I have two children, aged 5 and 18 months. I'm trying to keep the split as amicable as possible although my ex is pushing for mediation/court proceedings. Thanks in advance for your help.
Mez - 28-Aug-17 @ 11:02 AM
I have removed myself from the family home due to separation. We have a joint mortgage and I am paying half that and also paying child maintenance. I have agreed to pay half mortgage for 12 months to let her sort herself out and then we are going to talk about the house/mortgage then. She has just called and said; she has looked into the mortgage and I'm legally required to pay half until my children have left full time education? Is this true and is there away to remove myself from the mortgage if she isn't willing to sell or buy me out?
Barry - 13-Aug-17 @ 9:16 AM
@LP - You can refuse to sell and then your ex would have to take the matter to court and the court would decide what it thinks is in the best interests of your children. It would be more straightforward if you were the primary carer, then the court wouldn't force you to sell and would let you stay in the house until your youngest was 18. It might be a different story if you have shared care.
NickU - 26-Jun-17 @ 4:25 PM
Hi, i am the farther and have shared residency of our 2 children, 10yrs (boy) and 14 years (girl) and remain in the matrimonial home whilst my ex resides in a large house with her new partner. My ex wants me to sell the matrimonial home asap to release her share of the equity.If i were to do this i would only be able to purchase a 1/2 bed property which would obviously be a problem bearing in mind the sexes of my children. I am of the opinion i should be allowed to remain in the property until my youngest is 18years and then sell as my ex's housing needs are catered for. Can anyone shed any light on this for me?
LP - 25-Jun-17 @ 11:41 PM
vjay - Your Question:
HiI have been divorced from my x wife now for 2 years she is living in our house with her fiancé now for 4 years she also has joint guardianship with my little brother who now lives with me after she decided she did not want him there anymore However my youngest son is soon to turn 18 and I want her to either buy me out or sell the homeShe shafted me in the divorce she was an adulterer however I did not site this as I did not want to upset my sons I ended up paying her legal fees I lost everythingHow do I stand getting my share of the house ??

Our Response:
If you cannot agree between you on how you should split the house, then you would have to seek legal advice. There are many factors to consider such as whether the house was in both your names, how long your marriage lasted, whether you have continued to pay the mortgage etc.
SeparatedDads - 4-May-17 @ 11:36 AM
Hi I have been divorced from my x wife now for 2 years she is living in our house with her fiancé now for 4 years she also has joint guardianship with my little brother who now lives with me after she decided she did not want him there anymore However my youngest son is soon to turn 18 and I want her to either buy me out or sell the home She shafted me in the divorce she was an adulterer however I did not site this as I did not want to upset my sons I ended up paying her legal fees I lost everything How do I stand getting my share of the house ??
vjay - 3-May-17 @ 1:57 PM
Separated nearly 2 years ago, we agreed 50/50 split of our son however I have him around 80% min as she constantly says she's busy etc. Throughout this time I have continued to support financially despite her earning more than me and the fact that I have our son more. As well as I get the child benefit in my name. I always have full responsibility for his Drs appointments etc as well as I take him on holidays etc but she does not. I need to know if all of this classes me as main career (for info we are still married and I was married when son was born) Thanks
Calhel - 5-Mar-17 @ 9:00 PM
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