We all have deep-seated fears.  Spiders (my wife).   Heights (me).   Eating meat (my vegan daughter).

There is one deep-seated fear in all newly separated fathers: he will not be an important part of the lives of his children.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard this worry.  Sometimes it is the very first thing that a client tells me.  Even some of the best and most involved fathers have openly raised this issue as their greatest fear.

So, I am sending out this post not to reassure fathers.  That is like trying to convince someone who is afraid of flying that air travel is statistically safe.  The fear is real, whether realistic or not.

I am sending out this post to the mothers who may be dealing with their first separated Father’s Day.  I have some tips:

  •  Try to find the time to craft a handmade Father’s Day card.  I still keep mine, including the paper necktie!   Your former spouse will know that the kids did not come up with this on their own.  You are sending a very important message that you value his involvement in the life of the children;
  • This may be the first Father’s Day with you in a new relationship.  But the father of your children is worried about being replaced.  A short card or note from you reassuring your former spouse that he will always be their  father will create long-lasting goodwill;
  • If, by any chance, the kids are waking up with their father in a different residence, then have the children face time their father.  The earlier in the morning, the better.
  •   That being said, there is no reason why Father’s Day should not be spent between the children and their father.

These are a couple of tips that I think will help.  But I wasn’t born in La-La Land.   Some of these things may be hard to do, especially if Mother’s Day was not respected.  But we have been told time and time again that nothing is more damaging to children than a less than respectful relationship between mom and dad.  So, bite your tongue, and it may bleed.  But take the step.

If you have questions about child custody and access, or about managing family dynamics following a separation or divorce, call 519-973-1500 or contact us online. We serve clients in Windsor, Essex County and throughout the region.

 

The holiday season can be a difficult time for families experiencing separation and divorce, especially when there are children involved. No matter which holiday you may be celebrating, there is an increased pressure at this time of year on all families for the holiday to be ‘perfect’. But even if you think you can’t muster any holiday cheer, it is important to maintain a sense of normalcy for your children. This may be the first year that your kids won’t be celebrating and sharing things with both parents at the same time, and that can be incredibly difficult for them. Here are some tips that can make this time of year easier for your children:

Maintain the traditions. Children and even teens love the fantasy and ritual of the holiday – and the excitement and traditions that make the holiday special. Try to maintain the most meaningful traditions that your children are used to, but use your judgment. Some traditions might be too painful to continue. Instead, try something new. Involve the children in creating new traditions.

Allow your children to grieve. If this is the first holiday since the divorce, you and the children may feel sad. It is okay to cry. Be there with your child, and let them know that it is all right to feel what they are feeling.

Be supportive of your children’s family relationships. This means relationships with family members from both sides of the family. Never make your child feel like he or she must choose between you and the other parent’s family – it’s not fair to them to make them choose.

Take time for yourself and use your support system. Don’t get caught up in trying to achieve perfection. Reach out to your friends and relatives if you are feeling lost in grief. Surrounding yourself with loved ones – even if you think you would rather be alone – can help you feel better than you think.

If you have questions about your divorce or separation, please contact family lawyer Jason P. Howie, online or at 519-973-1500.

The decision to get a divorce can be one of the hardest decisions you ever make. Once you have actually made the decision, you must face the equally daunting task of telling your kids, family, friends, and all of the other people in your life. But talking about your divorce can be a minefield for both personal and legal reasons. It is important to be aware that there can be serious consequences. Things you say or write in the heat of the moment can be used against you in court. Here are some tips

1. Decide Who You Will Tell

Not everyone needs to know about your divorce, especially not right away. But it is important that the people closest to you hear about your divorce from you. You don’t want your parents to find out from the neighbour down the street, or your spouse to hear it from a distant relative. Make a list of the people you are going to tell and how you’re going to tell them. You will also need to take a different approach depending on whom you are talking to.

2. Watch What You Say In Front of the Kids

It is important to discuss the issues that will affect your children with them directly, in an age-appropriate way. But you should be careful to keep the kids out of adult conversations and to be especially cautious when you are talking about your kids and what might happen to them. Kids can be very good at eavesdropping and there are some conversations they do not need to hear.

3. Keep It Out of the Workplace

You may want to tell one or two trusted colleagues if you are very close to them, but in general it’s best to keep your divorce out of the workplace until it is finalized. If everyone at work knows what is happening in your personal life, it might affect how your professional work is interpreted, even if it isn’t affecting your work.

4. Don’t Post Anything on Online

This is a big one. Assume that anything you post online is effectively public and will be used against you in court. Even if you delete it later, someone could have taken a screenshot of your post or comment. Once you put something on the web you have no control over where it goes. It is a good idea to keep your social media privacy settings on high during your divorce. To be safe, don’t mention anything about your divorce on social media at all. If you are feeling emotional and need to rant, call your lawyer or therapist – posting a rant online can have serious negative consequences.

5. Nothing In Writing

Assume that anything you put into writing will be read by a judge. If you wouldn’t want something to be read out loud in court, don’t put it in writing. Even a private Facebook message or an email to a friend could end up being circulated in the public domain.

To speak to an experienced family lawyer, please contact Jason P. Howie, online or at 519-973-1500.

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