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How Divorce Works For Fathers

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 26 Sep 2019 | 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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@sare-z.the gods truth is I will never talk to the mother off my child again .she might think it’s game it’s no game .and I do think I’m better then her (gods truth ).
C.laurie - 26-Sep-19 @ 12:23 AM
@sare-z.i have never been married and will never marry (gods truth) . There is a chance I might have a daughter (maybe) never got a (DNA test done) .but the gods truth is I don’t want any (contact )with the child that’s why I never went to court for visitation gods truth .the reason I contacted her mother frequently was to pick a fight gods truth .
C.laurie - 25-Sep-19 @ 11:27 PM
@sare-z.after reading your story .i myself use to send vulgar messages to my child mother to pick a fight .(what really bothered me no one come to sort me out gods truth ).now I could afford to go to court for visitation but I think it would be a waste off money and then I would have to look after a child waste more money on buying stuff for her f that .i think she needs to be with her mother children need mothers and if her mother has found some guy or girlto take on her and her children well that’s good for them .because the gods truth is a have no interest in her daughter gods truth .
C.laurie - 25-Sep-19 @ 11:10 PM
So was with my wife for 12 years married 3 I did not have control of any money and she raked up some serious debt. Last year after finally getting the courage to end it (tried before that but always had my son Who’s now 10 used against me) now divorced and moved 180 miles away. I currently am unemployed due to lack of transport (but hoping to rectify this soon) My new partner has been giving me money to travel down and see him plus’s pay some sort of support (just under £500 pcm) which comes straight out of the support money for her daughter. I contacted my ex to explain that I can no longer afford to sustain this arrangement. And offered to reduce her payment in order to continue travel down every 2 weeks or continue with the usual amount and see him only once a week. To no avail she hit the roof telling my son I don’t care about him and have let him down along with wishing me dead in front of him. She continued to send vulgar messages for the next 48hrs and told me I can longer see my son. I have been in touch with CSA to explain my financial predicament and they have stated I do not need to pay anything due to that. I’m now at a loss as to what to do as I can not afford to go to court.
Sare-z - 25-Sep-19 @ 7:19 PM
So was with my wife for 12 years married 3 I did not have control of any money and she raked up some serious debt. Last year after finally getting the courage to end it (tried before that but always had my son Who’s now 10 used against me) now divorced and moved 180 miles away. I currently am unemployed due to lack of transport (but hoping to rectify this soon) My new partner has been giving me money to travel down and see him plus’s pay some sort of support (just under £500 pcm) which comes straight out of the support money for her daughter. I contacted my ex to explain that I can no longer afford to sustain this arrangement. And offered to reduce her payment in order to continue travel down every 2 weeks or continue with the usual amount and see him only once a week. To no avail she hit the roof telling my son I don’t care about him and have let him down along with wishing me dead in front of him. She continued to send vulgar messages for the next 48hrs and told me I can longer see my son. I have been in touch with CSA to explain my financial predicament and they have stated I do not need to pay anything due to that. I’m now at a loss as to what to do as I can not afford to go to court.
Sare-z - 25-Sep-19 @ 2:27 PM
So was with my wife for 12 years married 3 I did not have control of any money and she raked up some serious debt. Last year after finally getting the courage to end it (tried before that but always had my son Who’s now 10 used against me) now divorced and moved 180 miles away. I currently am unemployed due to lack of transport (but hoping to rectify this soon) My new partner has been giving me money to travel down and see him plus’s pay some sort of support (just under £500 pcm) which comes straight out of the support money for her daughter. I contacted my ex to explain that I can no longer afford to sustain this arrangement. And offered to reduce her payment in order to continue travel down every 2 weeks or continue with the usual amount and see him only once a week. To no avail she hit the roof telling my son I don’t care about him and have let him down along with wishing me dead in front of him. She continued to send vulgar messages for the next 48hrs and told me I can longer see my son. I have been in touch with CSA to explain my financial predicament and they have stated I do not need to pay anything due to that. I’m now at a loss as to what to do as I can not afford to go to court.
Sare-z - 25-Sep-19 @ 2:27 PM
I was married for eight years with two lovely boys but sadly divorced we bought house together. In short what I find there is no support for men’s and women can do whatever they want in majority case they keep house and kids and play with your emotions. In my experience everything all systems police, courts everything works for them. I feel I’m honest very good dad and work always hard my ex got anxiety, depression, jealous and very controlling behaviour I can see my kids life ruining I’m loosing them but very helpless.
Immy - 25-Aug-19 @ 1:30 AM
Can anyone help?! So I am currently going through divorce proceedings, me and my ex have separated for over 3 years and we have a son together, since this I have become involved in a relationship which I am very happy with. Me and my ex have a care arrangement in place which has been working well, however i have been abroad with work friends for a few days but still kept my care dates, so my son has spent time at home with my current partner, nice for them to get to spend time together I thought. My ex has found out I am not home and has totally kicked off, and will not allow my son back to my home with my partner because I’m not there. Is this really an issue? Am I in the wrong? My ex is very annoyed to say the least
Shaun - 19-Jun-19 @ 4:01 PM
Seams like we are all in the same boat ever man who was hard working and thought they were doing to right thing is getting hurt and screwed by there wife's now don't love them and fancy the single life but want the money how is any of this fair
Benkite - 15-Apr-19 @ 11:28 AM
You want to know (my plan ex )well here goes get your daughter off social media with my surname and you do it (legally ,officially )like you where going to do back in 2015.you do that for me and I won’t come for you otherwise I will come for you and reclaim my honour( gods truth) .now I want her to (understand) this and be (crystalclear ).the truth I am (Timmy and proud ).so now she knows where she stands with me .
Sam - 19-Feb-19 @ 9:55 PM
@Fu2019.your post reminds me off Someone ?it’s quite( astounding to me ).i am a big fan off technology I love the( brain age ).i keep finding my ex all overthe internet it’s quite remarkable to me this has been happening sence 2015 everywhere I look she is already there .so she must know that she is in the( wrong )and this is the thing that gets me .she still withholds my daughter out off spite .so I like to play games with her because she deserves it .she even copies my hand writing.i personally think she wants it real bad ?
Timmy - 19-Feb-19 @ 12:40 AM
Im currentky struggling,, my wife cannot see any good in me, anything i do or try to do is wrong. I own my own business and work all the hours to provide for out children(2 from her previous marrige 16 and 18) and our own girl whos not even 2 yet. I adore them all but shes been saying she wants a divorce and want to take the kids and and speak to her solicitor about the business. She doeant work, she does the accounts for the business but has started back at college so basically i work and pay for everything including all the holidays she needs every year!!!I dont know what yo do. Im afraid shes going to take all the kids away from me especially my little girl who sits ans watchs for me coming home and want half the business which will make me go bankrupt. Theres credit card bills into 20k and the morgage at over 1k per month and i cannot afgord that all plus finding sonewhere else to stay etc. Sorry if this make no sense im pretty uoset to tonight and heads all ovee the place. Where do i stand and any info?
Fu2019 - 18-Feb-19 @ 11:13 PM
Sad and depressed I am in exactly the same situation as you.3 kids want 3 nights Don’t know where to turn.
Nononono1 - 6-Feb-19 @ 7:56 PM
@sad and depressed.you deserve 7 nights a week mate and the only one at fault is your ex so get yourself to court get bloody good solicitor .then you be happy as Larry .
Bob cat - 8-Jan-19 @ 6:25 PM
Been wife my wife for 15yrs married 10yrs. Have 3 kids which I adore. My wife hasn't worked whole marriage cause I worked hard to keep them. Things started going wrong before last child born about 5yrs ago. Both sides at fault but my wife started an affair with personal trainer. Last straw for marriage. We are happy to part ways but I'm entitled to see them 3 nights a week surely? She isn't allowing this.Need some advice please.
Sad and depressed - 8-Jan-19 @ 4:54 PM
My wife has racked up over 28k of debt mainly on credit cards and a car loan etc. Things haven't been going too well for about 3 yrs too. A couple of weeks ago we had a big argument over the phone and I said some bad things (which I regret and have apologised for since) My wife left with our 13yrs old daughter and because of the things I said both aren't communicating with me at all. My wife says she needs time to think about things. I've lived in my house 8 yrs before marrying and I pay all our household bills. My wife mainly pays for our daughters things and music/dance classes etc. Our daughter's bedroom is an absolute disgrace due to all the things my wife has bought and every draw and cupboard is crammed full of things that have been there for years. I work part time and earn about 10k a yr. My wife works full time and earns 18k plus gets all the credits etc. A couple of months ago she got a Family protection order on my house (our home) So where does this leave me? I think she will want a divorce. Thanks...
Marky - 1-Jan-19 @ 4:19 PM
My wife wants a divorce. I agreed as there is no way to fix the situation. We have 1 child. Married for over 10y. The mortgaged house is 50/50 base equity although she paid the deposit when we bought it. She wants to keep the house, keep the children and me out ASAP. I am unemployed at the moment although I used to make a very good salary for most of our marriage and I used to pay a lot more than her for the house cost, credit cards repayments, bills, etc but she always paid her half of the mortgage. We want to go through mediation.I want to sell the house, get my share of the house, help her relocate somewhere suitable so we can both move on with our lives. But she just wants everything. What is the likely scenario to happen ? My divorced friends are telling me that as the primary carer and if we go to court ( after mediation fails), she will be likely to keep the house and I will be forced to leave and pay for child maintenance, house cost & mortgage. Is this true ?
Paul S - 6-Dec-18 @ 10:39 PM
I would love to understand if I can take my ex to court because of the alienating reasons
Mich - 21-Sep-18 @ 6:12 PM
I have been divorced for 10 plus Years, my ex wife lives in the family home. We have two children,our son is 21, and our daughter is 18 and has lived with me for 4 years in my flat, she is still in education. Can I not now request that the house be sold?
Jeb - 18-Sep-18 @ 8:59 PM
Dragonex - Your Question:
My estranged wife is saying that if she doesn’t like my new girlfriend she will not let her meet my daughter. She left me 9 months ago, and we are going through a legal separation. I see my daughter often and I’m very devoted to her. However she’s being really horrible and unreasonable, especially seeing as she was initially fine with me seeing someone but found that they have a mutual friend and has accused me of lying to her. There’s nothing wrong with my new partner - she’s been very respectful.I don’t think she has a legal leg to stand on, any ideas? Thank you for your understanding, this is such a horrible position to be in! Any advice very gratefully received!

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. Unfortunately, if your ex wishes to be awkward then she can be. The link here, will tell you all you need to know regarding the process required. Our dads on the Separated Dads forum may also help you further, as they can advise from personal experience.
SeparatedDads - 17-Sep-18 @ 11:30 AM
My estranged wife is saying that if she doesn’t like my new girlfriend she will not let her meet my daughter. She left me 9 months ago, and we are going through a legal separation. I see my daughter often and I’m very devoted to her. However she’s being really horrible and unreasonable, especially seeing as she was initially fine with me seeing someone but found that they have a mutual friend and has accused me of lying to her. There’s nothing wrong with my new partner - she’s been very respectful. I don’t think she has a legal leg to stand on, any ideas? Thank you for your understanding, this is such a horrible position to be in! Any advice very gratefully received!
Dragonex - 15-Sep-18 @ 9:43 PM
Tommo87 - Your Question:
I have been married for 3 years and have a daughter, my wife is pregnant again and due in December but I don’t think our marriage will last that long as have ongoing issues with her son. Where do I stand with rights to seeing my daughter who is 2 and then the baby when they are born? I’m so frustrated as my wife doesn’t work and I basically pay for everything. She’s going to leave me because she says I don’t treat her son the same way as treat my daughter. Help please

Our Response:
There are no laws governing this - much depends upon the parents. Please see the link here .
SeparatedDads - 3-Sep-18 @ 11:35 AM
I have been married for 3 years and have a daughter, my wife is pregnant again and due in December but I don’t think our marriage will last that long as have ongoing issues with her son. Where do I stand with rights to seeing my daughter who is 2 and then the baby when they are born? I’m so frustrated as my wife doesn’t work and I basically pay for everything. She’s going to leave me because she says I don’t treat her son the same way as treat my daughter. Help please
Tommo87 - 1-Sep-18 @ 4:12 PM
Niniansman - Your Question:
Hi.I've been married for 4 yrs, and have a joint mortgage and three stepchildren aged between 10 & 15, I also have 3 slightly older kids which come over every 2 weeks, anyway things aren't working out, and can't see this marriage lasting, I've tried mediation etc but she refuses to co operate, would I be correct in assuming that she has the right to live in the marital home until the youngest is 18?not sure I can handle 8 years of misery, what advice can you give me?

Our Response:
Unless the children are yours, then your ex doesn't get automatic residence of the house as she would if you had children together. Much depends upon whether she can afford to buy you out or keep the house on. In this case, you may wish to seek legal advice.
SeparatedDads - 10-Jul-18 @ 12:38 PM
Hi...I've been married for 4 yrs, and have a joint mortgage and three stepchildren aged between 10 & 15, I also have 3 slightly older kids which come over every 2 weeks, anyway things aren't working out, and can't see this marriage lasting, I've tried mediation etc but she refuses to co operate, would I be correct in assuming that she has the right to live in the marital home until the youngest is 18?...not sure I can handle 8 years of misery, what advice can you give me?
Niniansman - 9-Jul-18 @ 11:33 PM
Steven - Your Question:
My wife dropped a bomb shell over three weeks ago and said she want her space and wants to break up we have a joint mortgage and a young son aged 14, I have done everything to persuade her to make it work for our child's sake so not to affect him in anyway,we are doing things amicabley and have come to terms and agreed to the split and plan to sell the house and split the proffet equally,but she's turning so bitter as Iam playing it her way and I don't think she expected my actions to be so cool about the situation Iam at my Witt's end with worry as Iam unsure of how this is going to go leagaly.i have not done anything wrong and she said she will try and buy me out but but only offered me a small amount of the proffet and said she will stay in the house and pay me the rest in a few years is this write? I don't no if she is planning something else how do I stand in this situation can she dictate to me and is this her Wright's because our son is 14 years old I refused her term's as I have to find somewhere else to live and safe hard my self and my son futer please help.Thank you.

Our Response:
I am sorry to hear this. As a rule, if the matter went to court, the resident parent is usually allowed to remain in the house until your child has finished full-time education. If you took the matter to court, the court will always put your child first in making any decision. Court will also cost, so if you can it is best to agree between you or via mediation so that you can come to a more formal mutual agreement.
SeparatedDads - 11-Jun-18 @ 2:37 PM
My wife dropped a bomb shell over three weeks ago and said she want her space and wants to break up we have a joint mortgage and a young son aged 14, I have done everything to persuade her to make it work for our child's sake so not to affect him in anyway,we are doing things amicabley and have come to terms and agreed to the split and plan to sell the house and split the proffet equally,but she's turning so bitter as Iam playing it her way and I don't think she expected my actions to be so cool about the situation Iam at my Witt's end with worry as Iam unsure of how this is going to go leagaly.i have not done anything wrong and she said she will try and buy me out but but only offered me a small amount of the proffet and said she will stay in the house and pay me the rest in a few years is this write? I don't no if she is planning something else how do I stand in this situation can she dictate to me and is this her Wright's because our son is 14 years old I refused her term's as I have to find somewhere else to live and safe hard my self and my son futer please help.Thank you.
Steven - 9-Jun-18 @ 4:19 AM
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
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