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Fathers: Planning for the unplanned in your divorce

Surprises are a part of parenting and being married. Unfortunately, they can also be a big part of divorce.

For example, let's consider the split between actress Megan Fox and actor Brian Austin Green. The pair filed for divorce last year, but recently it was confirmed that Fox is pregnant. This, like many other aspects of a high-asset divorce, was reportedly a surprise.

Of course it can be impossible to plan for every scenario that may arise in a divorce, but let's at least examine a few from the perspective of a father in a situation like Fox and Green's.

To begin with, establishing paternity is essential, especially when it comes to an unplanned pregnancy. In most cases, if you are still married to the mother when the baby is born, you will automatically be named as the legal father. If you and your ex were separated and you have reason to believe that you may not be the father of the baby she is carrying, you can take a paternity test when the baby is born.

Financial matters should also be addressed. Property division can seriously impact child support payments, whether you expect to pay or receive them. Acting fast to freeze certain accounts or set temporary rules for paying certain bills can certainly help to prevent some unfortunate and costly surprises later on.

Finally, avoid making any rash decisions. For instance, you might feel like you should just move out of your house to give your ex and your kids some space. However, this can be seen by some courts as abandonment. If you are a father seeking custody, the decision to move out voluntarily could ultimately come back to haunt you.

Considering how high the stakes are in any high-asset or high-profile divorce, avoiding surprises should be a top priority for fathers in a situation similar to the one we've discussed in this post. Consulting an attorney as soon as possible can help you assess your options and try to expect (or plan for) the unexpected.

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