Some men in Omaha, Lincoln, or the more rural parts of Nebraska may not think about their need to formally establish paternity, and thus legally obtain parental rights, until after they break up with the child’s mother.
Before that point, it may seem that establishing paternity in court is not necessary since the man has the opportunity to spend time with his child when he wishes to do so. However, for a lot of reasons, after an emotional breakup, usually marked by a decline and then end of the relationship, having to go to court to get custody and parenting time established becomes more urgent.
While it’s almost always a good idea for a dad to get a court order spelling out his rights, this does not have to be an acrimonious process. In fact, when it comes to ending a relationship, many experts are now recommending a process called conscious uncoupling.
This process is ultimately one used in the context of counseling or family therapy and not the law, as it basically encourages those facing the end of a relationship to look at it as an opportunity for growth and flourishing and not as some sort of failure or indictment upon one’s self-worth. In other words, those involved are encouraged to think beyond the breakup itself and see it as just one piece of a bigger picture.
Those who use this process are apt to recommend that parents who are splitting, and who will thus have to set out ground rules for parenting their children with each other, to use alternative processes, like mediation or collaborative law, to resolve their disputes.
To summarize, each of these processes has its own advantages and disadvantages, but they both involve parents trying to cooperate outside of court. While these options are not for everyone, an attorney can help a dad interested in conscious uncoupling explore them and other legal options.