Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Dads Do Too Get Custody

This got a little lost in all the lockout/decertification news out of the NFL.   There are other sports you know (I have just learned this).  

Dwayne Wade of the Heat was granted custody of his two sons on Friday.   Full physical custody.   They arrived to live with their father in Miami on Friday.   His teammates gave him a standing ovation in the locker room when he shared the news.

It was sadly a very long and nasty custody battle.   The final opinion of the Judge was 102 pages, the longest in Cook County history.    That is a long opinion for any case, let alone a family law case.    According to the article, Wade's ex-wife made several baseless allegations against Wade and his fitness as a parent.  

That is just wrong.   Parents should not be tearing each other down just to gain an alleged advantage.    Leaving aside the fact that this often does not work (Courts aren't stupid, they know when someone is trying to put something over on the court), it only hurts the kids.   The kids become pawns in the divorce.   Whoever gets the kids "wins."    It becomes about winning, not the best interest of the kids.

Most courts have done away with maternal preference for custody and the "tender years" exception.   The "tender years" exceptions means that young kids should be with their mother.   The law has caught up with reality -- dads can change diapers (if I figured it out, anyone can), dads can feed the children (okay breast feeding is a problem but no kid died from being a bottle baby that I know of), dads can get up in the middle of the night when the kid is cranky.   In other words, either parent can provide a loving, caring environment for the child.

It used to be that for dad to get custody, he had to prove mom was unfit.   This lead to a lot of baseless allegations against mom.   Thinks like "mom has a boyfriend, she shouldn't have the kids,"  "mom has a drink after dinner, she is an alcoholic and shouldn't have the kids."    This led to mom fighting back.   And a horrible double standard.   Mom having a boyfriend was considered bad because who knew what that guy would do to the kids.   Dad having a girlfriend was good because there was a woman there to help him care for the kids.   REALLY???????    It all got very insane for dads trying to get custody of their kids.

Now the standard is Best Interest of the Child.  No more showing the mom is unfit.   It means showing which parent is better for the child in this particular case.   Dad may love helping the kids with homework and getting them up and out the door for school.   Mom may want to scream everytime she thinks about having to make dinner.   Mom may love all the projects associated with Girl or Boy Scouting.   Dad may prefer root canal without anesthesia to attending one more PTA meeting.    Doesn't mean either parent is bad.   Just means one is a little better at parenting than the other.   The perfect solution would be each parent caring for the kids according to their strengths.

Well, that's the perfect solution.   In the real world, it rarely works that way.   Dads still have a heck of a fight on their hands to even get joint custody.   Many courts still assume mom is the best parent until proven otherwse.  Mr. Wade had the money to fight his ex-wife for several years.   Not every dad has the money or the energy to fight that long.   All I can say is Dads, don't give up.    Your kids are worth it.   Just ask Mr. Wade.  

1 comment:

  1. I have had Custody of my two Kids For 17 years. I am not saying there mother was bad she just had her priorities wrong. She let the person she was seing influence her. Not the person she is married to now. The person she was seeing felt it was better for me not to be in the picture, so give dad the kids. That way i would not be around. I even over heard this conversation while she was on the phone with him. I was supposed to get temperary custody of my two kids but I told My Attorney that I wanted Permanent custody, and since she wanted the divorce she had to sign first. She did I got permanent custody. Two years went by and she said she had gotten her life back on track and wanted the kids back. I told her no that was not going to happen and that she should read her divorce papers, as she went into her home i told the kids get into the car cause i knew their was going to a confrontation and as i pulled away she was screaming that i screwed her over. I never got Child support. I asked friend of the court but they kept telling me give her more time. She had another child with her now husband, I waited like six weeks before I took her to friend of the court and the refferee said we will give her another six weeks. now if I had a broken arm or leg I would have gone to Jail. Now that the kids are older. My exwife has told me that when the youngest turns 18 she wont have to deal with me. Thats fine cause i am planning on running away from Home. Just because a man has custody doesnt mean the laws will change for us men. We still have to fight for child support especially when us so called middle class dont play for the NBA. I lost a few jobs in the last 18 years and as i look back they were well worth it. There should be better laws in place for the single parent both male and female that we have to drop kids off at the sitter, then go to work and not lose jobs so we can take care of our children.