When Alcoholism Factors Into a Child Custody Dispute

Few considerations in divorce proceedings are more emotionally charged than the health, welfare and safety of the children. Courts let couples settle the terms and conditions of a divorce but will intervene if  one parent disagrees with the other regarding an assessment of drinking and the ability of safely caring  for the children.

Alcoholism is a large problem in the United States. About 14 million Americans meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse, and one in four children under the age of 18 is exposed to alcohol abuse or dependence in the family. Some states specify alcohol abuse as a factor in determining custody, and others give the courts more discretionary power to deal with it on an individual basis.

Courts consider alcoholism seriously, not just when awarding custody arrangements but afterwards. For instance, a custodial parent wrestling with alcoholism can lose custody when the noncustodial parent proves that alcoholism makes him or her an unfit parent. Proving this can be a daunting task, but any type of police records that support such a claim are the go to resource by lawyers.

Courts in all jurisdictions consider the “best interest of a child” in a custody battle; however, often it falls to the judge to determine the exact weight that alcohol abuse plays in the decision, and thus the onus is on the judge to make a determination. In exercising discretion under the best interest standard, courts generally consider, first, the safety and welfare of the child in balance with frequent and continuing contact with both parents.

For example, in California’s codified policy reinforces legislation that the “perpetration of child abuse or domestic violence in a household were a child resides is detrimental to the child.” Drunkenness becomes a heavy consideration and makes a strong case for sole custody. However, courts consider that when a former spouse helped raise the children, custody or visitation award must consider joint parenting, and thus assure that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. Also keep in mind that supervised visitation is always an option the court may exercise in the custody order.

In such a holding, a court might require independent corroboration, such as written reports from law enforcement agencies, medical rehabilitation facilities or other organizations providing drug and alcohol abuse.

The court can order alcohol testing so long as the court has credible and independent corroboration the accused parent is abusing alcohol or using drugs, and generally lawyers gather this evidence before the hearing and present it to the court through documents and testimony.

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When Only One Spouse Wants a Divorce

Divorce creates situations that tax the wisdom of Solomon. Judges struggle with nearly insoluble questions involving child custody and visitation, but no judge has the answer for the most common problem created by no-fault divorce: the sad reality that it takes two people to make a marriage, but only one to get divorced.

No-fault divorce works like a Doomsday machine because only the person who starts it can stop it. The party who wants out (normally called the “petitioner” or ”plaintiff”) has a right to divorce without permission of his or her spouse. Not wanting to be married to a person (which may be called “irreconcilable differences” or “irretrievable breakdown”) are grounds to end the marriage. No longer do couples have to go to war like the bad old days (the 1950s) where a spouse had to prove fault (such as adultery) in order to extract himself or herself from a marriage-gone south.

Under the law, marriage is a contract and laws protect the one who wishes to break it, not the one who wishes to continue.

In the United States today more than 80 percent of no-fault divorces are unilateral. This means that one party (normally called the “respondent” or “defendant”) objects to the divorce, yet has no say about ending the marriage. “It is easier to divorce my wife of 26 years than to fire someone I hired one week ago. The person I hire has more legal clout than my wife of 26 years. That’s wrong,” says Family Court Judge Randall Hekman.

The party who wishes to remain married has all the chances of success that Gen. Custer had at the Battle of Little Big Horn. The party has no legal recourse. He or she can drag out the action, or make it more expensive, or more unpleasant – but not stop it.

The antecedent causes for no-fault divorce reform happened when judges and divorce attorneys came to view the fault regime as a threat to the integrity of the Family Court System. Judges were tired of watching battling couples perjure themselves in order to receive a fault-based divorce. One longtime Pennsylvania judge called divorce court “liars’ club.”

Needless to say, unilateral divorce makes for great pain and suffering to the unwilling participant who often feels like he or she has tumbled head over heels into the Grand Canyon.

At the end of day, as is said, if one spouse wants out (call him or her the “dumper”) and the other spouse does not (call him or her “the dumped”), and no one changes his or her mind, there’s nothing to do but let go.

Hard as it is to accept, no one can force someone to love someone. And no one can force someone to stay married.

 

 

 

 

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Stalling a Divorce

An angry spouse may believe otherwise, but he or she cannot stall a divorce by not signing the divorce papers. The court grants the divorce. All jurisdictions now recognize no-fault grounds, so the judge signs the decree, officially terminating the marriage. Thus the filing spouse does not need his or her partner’s agreement or signature.

When one spouse wants to end a marriage, no-fault divorce makes divorce, like death and taxes, inescapable.

Despite the inevitability of a divorce, sometimes the opposing party acts in bad faith when facing an unwanted divorce. This can happen because people sometimes go over the edge when facing a divorce. Realizing they are losing someone they love or time with their children or their money, they become bitter and twisted with anger. Moreover, sometimes overzealous attorneys join in to help the party obstruct the proceedings or use the legal system to punish his or her estranged spouse. Judges call such maneuvers in bad faith.

The most common tactic is delay. Delaying the proceedings drives up the cost of the action for both sides. A party may fail to respond to the divorce petition, and then ask the court for more time. He or she may ignore requests for documentation substantiating assets, so negotiations or the trial might be delayed. Running up legal fees may not be apparent until a pattern establishes itself over time, such as motions asking a judge to address minute details or endless correspondence that cost money to answer. Stalling tactics are usually pretty obvious.

More serious forms of bad faith conduct involve secreting marital assets. Sometimes when someone plans a divorce, he or she hides an asset in advance, which makes it more difficult to detect. Once a divorce is underway, litigants and their attorneys usually try to identify and value marital property. Discovery requests can include documents that date back years. A brokerage account may be transferred long before filing for divorce, but statements going back years may reveal the transfer.

Lying about income is another form of bad faith. A spouse misrepresents income to reduce child support or eliminate alimony. Detecting this deceit may involve checking credit card records or a monthly budget. A self-employed person may siphon off cash receipts, pocketing them rather than depositing them into a business account. A divorcing spouse  may even ask an employer to withhold bonuses until the divorce is over.

Children can become proxies when parents battle over custody issues. The uninvolved parent who demands full custody may be dodging child support. It is not uncommon for a parent to allege domestic violence in an attempt to portray the other spouse as bad parent. Custody issues also drag out court actions.

In the end, bad faith stalling and delaying at best becomes a Pyrrhic victory that costs money and magnifies the pain and suffering for both spouses. Courts have other ways to deal with hiding assets, lying about income, and making false accusations.

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Conflict and Child Custody Disputes

Conflict is the most critical determining factor in children’s adjustment post-divorce, not the divorce itself or the residential parenting routine of custody.

High-conflict custody and visitation cases are often fueled by irrational emotional behavior, and children, exposed to high conflict custody conflicts, suffer tremendously because they are caught in a crossfire between two parents they love.

During the fight for custody the children are pulled from one side to the other and often results in the children feeling emotionally distant from both parents. They become isolated in a time when they need companionship more than ever. This phenomenon is called Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a concept developed by child psychiatrist Dr. Richard Gardner in the 1970s. Dr. Gardner reviewed the scientific and legal literature about adults alienating the affections of one adult from another. When Dr. Gardner studied cases about alienation of children from a previously loved parent, there was ample evidence that this terrible process occurred all too often.

Children rate conflict between their parents as one of most stressful aspects of divorce because conflict is associated with child maladjustment. Children in divorced families, where the parents have low levels of conflict, adjust better than children in intact families with high levels of conflict. Conflict that is hostile, aggressive, lacks a resolution, and is related to the child is more upsetting to children, but this is unfortunately often the case.

Parents often divorce after unsuccessful attempts to resolve spousal conflict, and after a divorce, much of the conflict is related to issues of custody and visitation. This is further complicated when parents express their anger at their former spouse through the issues related to the child.

Children caught in the crossfire of custody conflict appears to be the factor that most accounts for associations between parental conflict and children’s adjustment problems after divorce. Children’s psychological reactions to their parents’ divorce depend on 1) the quality of the parent-child relationship before the divorce; 2) the intensity and duration of the parental struggle; and 3) the parents’ ability to prioritize the needs of the children.

Children learn at home how to resolve conflict and how to relate to others. The more conflict there is between the divorcing parents, the longer children hold on to the notion of their parents’ reconciliation is possible. Hence, healthy, constructive conflict resolution skills and processes such as collaborative divorce or divorce mediation benefit the divorcing parents and their children during and after the divorce.

While there are many well-intended parents, divorce is a difficult and stressful process. From the point of view of the child’s development and well being, the parents’ focus is clear: maintain a focus on the child’s best interests when they are vulnerable to disappointment, confusion, anger, anxiety, and guilt.

The children of divorcing parents can overcome their parent’s separation and learn to form healthy relationships as long as their parents demonstrate constructive conflict resolution skills and create workable co-parenting schedules, responsibilities, and priorities.

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Loneliness and Divorce

Divorce loneliness is part of pain and suffering of a failed marriage. “I feel so empty and alone” is the theme and refrain that the mourners know when burying a marriage that has died. This deep aching loneliness can seem unbearable. Man or woman, the leaver or the left, adulterer or faithful partner, loneliness infiltrates the heart and soul, and it hurts.

The crushing loneliness often inundates people who find themselves single again.   A song from the past happier times, the sight of a couple walking arm in arm, the overheard conversation of loved ones greeting each other at the airport – all can trigger a suffocating loneliness.

According to the Rev. Pastor Reydon Stanford, the emotional and mental pain that often accompany divorce can be unbearable.  It is not uncommon for these types of emotional strains to lead to further destructive behaviors — substance abuse or other addictions, alternative ‘soothing relationships,’ severe depression or anxiety…and sadly, even suicide.

Divorce is one of the most internally damaging experiences a man or woman endure because it is one of the greatest losses in life that can be experienced.

Almost no one handles divorce alone.  Divorce means the loss of an intimate relationship, the loss of a life-long dream, the loss of trust, the loss of security, the loss of self-esteem and the loss of loved ones.

Many professionals as well as anyone who has personally experienced divorce agree that the “loss of a partner through divorce is worse than loss of a partner through death.”  Death ends a marriage in the natural way; divorce ends marriage in an unnatural way.  Most times when death ends a marriage, the deceased did not want to die and both spouses still love and comfort each other.  In divorce, love is lost and that knowledge haunts thoughts and emotions for many years to come.

A person can cope with the loneliness of divorce by facing it. After acknowledging the pain, he or she can wait it out, fight it, or embrace it.

Waiting it out enlists the Great Physician – Time. For many, time heals the wounds of divorce. Some experts say it can take somewhere around 3-4 years and the healing process begins immediately. The divorced do not forget about former spouses several years after separation, of course, but most of the healing work for a spouse who’s gone through a typical divorce is complete within about 3 years. Some people simply endure the loneliness they feel, and some people decide to live with it, knowing that it won’t last forever and though painful is not fatal.

For some time helps them forget just how miserable they were in the wake of the divorce and some people resolve to fight loneliness.

Grief counseling helps in dealing with loneliness. A therapist helps analyze the loneliness and understand how threatening it is. Counseling works because shared pain is half the pain, shared joy is twice the joy.

Ernest Hemingway said loneliness can be very productive. Some people turn to volunteer work at a homeless shelter or visiting people in a nursing home. There are any number of other places to use the free time of divorce in a useful way.

Very little about divorce is good, but it does offer the chance to embrace loneliness, which can be a life changing discovery. A healing person can learn to make a friend of himself or herself through the battle in dealing with loneliness.

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Termination of Parental Rights (TPR)

Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) is taking away a parent’s rights and he or she is not legally a child’s parent anymore. When a parent’s rights are terminated, that parent looses all right to visit or even talk with the child. The parent can no longer have any input as far as how the child is raised and the child can be adopted without any input from the parent whose rights have been terminated.

Courts may take away parental rights as a way to protect a child or children who are in a bad situation with the parent. It is rare that a parent can start a process to take away the parental rights of another parent, but parental rights sometimes are terminated during a divorce or as part of stepparent adoption.

Termination of parental rights can be voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary termination means a person agrees to terminate his or her rights as a parent because the parent agrees it is the best thing for the child and there is a good reason to do it. This is often the case in a stepparent adoption. Parental rights termination can also be used if a child has been in foster care for a long time and there is no reasonable means to place the child back with his or her biological parent or parents. Parental rights cannot be terminated just because the parent does not want to pay or is unwilling to pay child support.

Involuntary termination is when a parent does not agree to give up his or her rights as a parent. In this instance, the court will decide the parent’s rights should be terminated. Courts do not often terminate a parent’s rights through involuntary termination. The court uses this type of termination where the child may be in danger if in the parent’s care or the parent cannot properly take care of the child. Some instances where parents rights have been involuntary terminated are when the parent abandons the child or children, if the child is neglected, if the parent is unfit to take care of the child, or if the child is in egregious harm.

Mom cannot simply have Dad’s parental rights terminated (nor can Dad have Mom’s parental rights terminated).  Courts believe the child or children are better off with both parents in the child or children’s lives and would rather not terminate a parent’s rights unless there is a very good reason or extreme case of abuse. This is true even if both parents agree to the termination.

Normally, in the case of a remarriage, a parent’s rights may be terminated when the stepparent wants to adopt the child or children. If the other parent agrees to the stepparent adoption, usually one party will ask the Court asking to terminate the other parent’s rights so as to allow the new spouse to adopt the child or children. The parent whose rights are being terminated must consent to the termination of his or her rights; and do so in writing.

Terminating parent’s rights is not easy. There are only certain circumstances where termination may happen. If a parent does not want his or her rights terminated, those rights cannot simply be taken away.

Removing a parent’s rights also takes away their responsibility to support the child or children. If there is any chance a parent can afford support, the state is unwilling to terminate parental rights if it means the other spouse or the children need public benefits.

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How Joint Physical Custody Arrangements Effect Children

Is there an association between joint physical custody and psychosomatic problems in children?

In many Western countries, an increasing number of children with separated parents live in a joint physical custody arrangement, that is, live equally (or close there to) as much in their parent’s respective homes. In Sweden, joint physical custody is particularly common; between 30 percent and 40 percent of the children with separated parents live in joint physical custody regimes. Some believe that the frequent moves and lack of stability in parenting may be stressful for these children, but a new study, published in April 2015 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, suggests that children fare better when they spend time living with both of their parents.

Children in a joint physical custody arrangement suffered from fewer psychosomatic problems than those living mostly or only with one parent but reported more symptoms than those in non-broken families. Satisfaction with their material resources and parent-child relationships was associated with the children’s psychosomatic health but could not explain the differences between the children in the different living arrangements.

Regarding the well being of kids with divorced parents, the debate over what kind of custody arrangement is best rages on, but the Swedish study goes against some current thinking that kids in shared-custody routines are exposed to more stress due to constantly moving back and forth and the social disruption that can come along with it. Children are best in an environment with consistent routines. The lack of routine can cause instability, which is result from moving from one house to the other.

“Child experts and people in general assumed that these children should be more stressed,” says study author Dr. Malin Bergström, a researcher at the Centre for Health Equity Studies in Stockholm, Sweden. “But this study opposes a major concern that this should not be good for children.”

Joint-custody parenting has risen dramatically in Sweden in the past few decades; 25 years ago, only 1 percent of children of divorced parents lived in joint-custody arrangements, but that number increased to 40 percent in 2010. These types of child custody arrangements are less common within the United States, says Dr. Ned Holstein, founder and acting executive director of the National Parents Organization.

Dr. Holstein estimates that shared/joint physical custody arrangements make up less than 20% of all custody orders. Still, he says that the research in favor of shared parenting for kids is overwhelming positive. “You’ll hear opponents say, ‘You’ll turn them into suitcase kids; they don’t want to be dragged back and forth,’” Dr. Holstein says. “Clearly, taking the suitcase back and forth once or twice a week so that you spend a lot of time with both parents is way better for the kids than the alternative of basically losing an intimate and closely loving relationship with one parent.”

 

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Custody in the Face of False Abuse Allegations

Often fathers are involved in custody battles where they are falsely accused of child abuse. False accusations against fathers can and sometimes do affect their rights as far as custody is concerned.  It may be confusing to the father why the mother of their child is making such outrageous allegations. There are no perfect answers when it comes to issues of fathers (or mothers) accused of child abuse.  What motivates one parent to make false accusations is one for the therapists and/or courts to sort out.  However, in high conflict divorces or custody matters, the parent who makes the accusations appear to come out with an advantage over the other parent who is accused of these horrible acts.

If you are a father (or mother) falsely accused of child abuse, physical, sexual, or even neglect, it is important to demonstrate to the court that these accusations are false. Gather as much information as you can and provide witnesses showing your relationship with your child; this will ultimately help in a custody matter.

As a parent falsely accused of child abuse, you might just want the allegations to go away, and resume the old custody routine; or you may believe it is better for the child or children to take custody away from the other parent. Judges sometimes look at false accusations and may restrict custody of the parent making the accusations. Sometimes a judge may change custody, or parenting / visiting time to avoid further false accusations.  In any event, make sure that you do not fall into the same routine of talking bad about the other parent.  This will not help in a custody matter.  A judge can order supervised visitation for an accusation of sexual abuse of the child. Actually a judge can order supervised visitation for any abuse allegation.

Parents who are falsely accused of child abuse may want to consider monetary sanctions against the other parent as well as primary custody and even sole legal custody. There is a real good chance the parent making false accusations is attempting to alienate the child or children as well so make sure you talk to your lawyer, or if you don’t have one, now is a good time to get one.

It is beneficial to demonstrate to the court the parent making the false accusations is doing so willfully and without proof of any child abuse or neglect. If the parent can show to the court that the other parent is making false accusations, the court may indeed sanction the parent making the accusations and if the parent is represented, the attorney represent the parent can be sanctioned. If others are involved in making false allegations, i.e., grandparents, other family members, friends, the court can also sanction those individuals.

Making allegations of abuse against the other parent is also child abuse. Mom (or dad) who tries to take away dad’s (or mom’s) time with the child or children only hurt the child or children.  Parent’s don’t realize that if they make false accusations against the other parent, the parent making that accusation is abusing his or her own child. It is up to both Mom and Dad to protect their child. Mom is no more important than Dad when it comes to the love and relationship with the child or children.

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Keep Infertility From Ruining Your Marriage

It is next to impossible for infertility to not cause stress on a marriage. Let alone the thought on not being able to have children, you also introduce the added stress of the decision making and medical challenges that a couple may face. Unfortunately, few physicians advise couples in regards to the the emotional impact of infertility will most likely have on there relationship. In the grip of infertility, the deterioration of a marriage can happen without the couple realizing it until it reaches a point where saving a relationship is no longer possible.

Most couples take it for granted that they will be able to have children when they choose. However, one in six couples trying to conceive experiences problems. When couples begin trying to have a child, they expect that becoming pregnant may take time but that it will eventually happen. When conception fails to occur in the usual or expected time frame, one or both partners become worried. Typically, it is at this point  the couple decide to seeks the consultation of an infertility doctor to explore their options.

The Step to Getting Treatment

A diagnosis of infertility creates upheavals similar to those associated with a death in the family. Denial, shock, disbelief, anger, grief and depression are common. Some people may rush into treatment without assessing the diagnosis. The impact of infertility differs greatly and is influenced by the couple’s cultural background and the importance a person places on having children. Since infertility is usually unexpected and almost always disappointing, infertility introduces greater unexpected uncertainty into the life and family planning process.

Once a couple has been diagnosed as infertile they are typically referred to a specialist.  In general in cases of infertility about one-third of the time the problem is with the man, about one-third of time the woman, and about one-fifth both partners. About one in ten couples experience unexplained infertility.

While treatment is stressful for both partners, there are qualitative differences in the stress each partner experiences.

Women may feel angry and resentment towards pregnant women. They may also have feelings of guilt, regarding their infertility as punishment for putting a career above motherhood, for using contraception or for previously aborting a pregnancy.

Some women become uncomfortable around children and isolate themselves from family and friends with children. This isolation leaves women without social support networks to help overcome depression and frustration associated with infertility. Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s Day often become painful reminders of their infertility.

A woman may develop feelings of inadequacy, perceiving her body as dysfunctional. Similarly, a woman’s sense of femininity is often closely associated with fertility. Infertility may therefore have a serious impact on a woman’s sexual identity, leaving her feeling less sexually attractive or asexual. A diagnosis of infertility often leads to feelings of grief associated with the loss of control over reproductive capabilities, plans and goals. The woman may think of herself as barren or inadequate.

Infertility and treatments can lead to a loss in perspective. Women may put everything else in their lives on hold, focusing all their energy and time into getting pregnant. They may delay making changes in everything from their careers to their current housing situation, deciding to wait until after they have ‘had the baby’.

Many of the medical treatments for infertility focus on the woman’s body, which leaves a man feeling helpless and left out of the process. These feelings of exclusion may escalate because of intrusive testing or treatments. If the couple’s infertility is a result of sperm dysfunction, the man may feel inadequate and feel that his sense of masculinity is challenged. The strong societal link between fertility and virility causes many men to keep their infertility a secret, in turn increasing their feeling of isolation.

Infertility strains on a relationship, particularly where the diagnosis relates to only one partner. The infertile partner may fear being left for a fertile person; the fertile partner may blame or feel anger towards their partner. Differing levels of enthusiasm for treatment can occur, particularly in couples where one partner already has children. Agreeing on what fertility tests to perform, which treatment options to pursue and when to stop treatment can all cause conflict. If one partner does not want to begin or continue with treatment, the other partner may feel they are being denied the chance to have a child and become resentful.

Treatment for infertility also frequently interferes with a couple’s sex life. The initial discussions to identify possible fertility problems involve disclosing details regarding sexual activity. Similarly, the loss of privacy associated with tests such as sperm counts and the post-coital test can destroy feelings of intimacy. Timing sex around ovulation can make it feel like a chore rather than something pleasurable.

Family, Friends and Support

Family and friends can make the situation worse. Families, in particular prospective grandparents, may place added pressure on people by announcing their expectations for grandchildren. Questions by in-laws can feel intrusive and be stressful. Friends may seem unsympathetic and offer unhelpful and thoughtless suggestions. Friends and family with children may avoid announcing their own pregnancies.

Employers may not fully understand the issue of infertility and therefore be unsupportive. It can be difficult to arrange time off work for those undergoing diagnostic tests or pursuing treatment. In addition, employees may not feel comfortable revealing to their employer why they need the time off.

Expenses

Infertility treatment can be extremely expensive. Often times, most if not all, is not covered under medical insurance and the taxing financial burden on the couple can be next to impossible to substantiate or afford. The decision to pursue or continue is not easy. Couples can struggle to  agree on how much they are willing to sacrifice financially and/or how long they want to continue the process. Saying on the same page is no easy task.

Personality Changes

Infertility treatment can take a physical toll on a woman and is often quite painful. Hormonal changes that occur will almost always cause severe moodiness. The longer treatment continues without a sign of success, the greater the level disappointment, anxiety, and a sense of failure tends to occur.

It is vital for couples to focus on other things besides procreation. Regular date nights and romantic weekends can balance the often intense process of trying to have a child. It’s also a good idea to decide on a time line for pursuing treatment.

Although infertility can demolish a marriage relationship, some couples also report that going through the experience has made their relationship stronger.

Considering Adoption

The couple should be ready fro the fact that treatment may not work or be an option after all.  The most common alternative is adoption, becoming more involved in the lives of the children that surrounding themselves, like nieces and nephews, or deciding not to have children at all. Making peace with infertility can be very demanding.

Adoption remedies childlessness, not infertility, but some couples accept it as a next step. But for others it is not. They yearn to see their genes in the next generation and they want pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. They want some degree of control over their child’s intrauterine environment and genetic makeup. For them, parenthood is more than simply parenting; in short, they simply want what comes so easy for most people.

In addition, some infertile couples find satisfaction in what is called “social parenting,” which crosses adoption with childfree living. These childless people become very involved with the children around them: nieces, nephews, godchildren, or friends’ children. The children love their social parents, who become special grown-ups and influence their developing values and skills even as the children can confide in them. The parents love these routines because they get a break from their kids, and social parents benefit enormously because they love and are loved by the children. A child who is loved always finds room in this or her heart to love to love one more person.

 

 

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Understanding Father’s Rights in Divorce

What is called “fathers’ rights” is movement in the service of the idea that custody decisions should not discriminate against fathers. Support groups, including Fathers for Equal Rights in Miami and Fathers Are Forever in California, provide support for fathers who feel unfairly treated by the legal system.

The sparks start to fly when the custodial mother decides to move with the children, especially an extended distance from the non-custodial father. ??Also keep in mine that the courts generally awards at least physical custody of children to the mother unless is is proven in court that she is not capable. The problems really begin to occur when she needs or wants to relocate. With or without the approval of the court, the children now live a greater distance from the noncustodial father and it instantly increases the difficulties of nurturing or maintaining a relationship with the child. Under these circumstances, desperate fathers may kidnap children, and divorced parents start playing the game of accusing each other of causing parental alienation.

Many scholars believe that the current system of child support payments often leads mothers to deny fathers access to their children until they have paid what they owe, thus souring the relationship between all three. Indeed, the study found that fathers who did not visit their kids gave only about half as much in-kind support as those who spent at least 10 hours a month with them.

How much involvement each parent has had is the most critical factor in determining both the amount of visitation that each parent will have as well as the amount of child support he or she will be obligated to pay. It is uncommon for household duties to be split 50-50, Even in dual income households, one spouse typically bears a disproportionate level of the parenting responsibilities.

The courts do not arbitrarily favor mothers over fathers. The spouse who is the primary parental figure remains that after the divorce. This is the case regardless of the gender of the primary custodial parent.

The court seeks to maintain what is closest to continuity for the children. ?? The primary thing a court will look at is consider is whether or not the  father is as involved in the children’s lives and takes a vested interest on a daily basis in parenting by taking the children to school events,, extra curricular activities doctor visits and other daily routine events.

A divorcing parent should also do all he or she can to maintain a strong and meaningful  relationship with the child(ren). If one does not focus and nurture the relationship, a child will often end up being treated like a piece of property. Fighting over children should never be negotiated along with property: when it comes to determining custody, visitation and child support, the primary focus should be to build the most effective co-parenting relationship possible as children are not ever to be co.

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