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February 20, 2009

Mom's Abuse the Divorce Court System

Divorce_Main We all know that divorce can get "ugly" for lack of a better term.  Parents will do almost anything to justify their feelings during divorce.  No one wants to be the one responsible for their failed marriage.  Although the truth is that Mom and Dad are equally responsible, whether we admit or not is another story.

One of the most prominent and most difficult issues in divorce is child custody or as many states now refer to it as Parenting Time and Visitation.  If the parents can not create a mutually agreed upon parenting plan on their own or with the help of their attorneys, the courts have an obligation to determine one in the best interest of the kids. 

This often becomes a losing proposition for both parents.  Worse, the kids are the ones that really suffer.  No one knows the needs of their children better than their parents.  Certainly not a judge that has never met them nor ever will.

Parents getting divorced should be able to put their personal opinions aside, agree upon terms that work best for the kids in order to allow their children a healthy ongoing relationship with mom and dad, but sometimes its just not possible.

In the many cases I have witnessed and researched, Dad loses out. Mom gets the kids the majority of time and Dad becomes a weekend visitor. Sometimes this is a legitimate schedule in the best interest of the kids considering Dad works full time and just does not have the ability to be at home, raising kids especially if they are not in school.  Or Dad is dead beat parent and opts to not be involved on a daily basis. 

But what about the Dad that can work from home?  Or the Dad that has been an equal if not primary care giver because Mom is the one that works 9-5?  What about the Dad that is willing to do whatever it takes to spend more time with his kids for whatever reason?  Why do the courts always favor Mom?

Its not a surprise to most of us that Mom is the primary care giver and thus wins most custody battles in court.  The divorce court system seems to be very sympathetic to "single parenting Mom's" and in many cases appropriately so.  But there are several divorce cases, more than I think we care to realize, when Mom completely abuses the system. Mom's going through a divorce may abuse the system in order to get custody and deny Dad his constitutional right to control and parent his children, when there are no significant reasons why Dad should not have his kids at least 50% of the time.

Some mothers file completely fraudulent claims and testify to the most dramatic fictional stories just to make Dad look bad in front of the judge.  I know of several fathers arrested for domestic crimes that were never committed, spent time in jail, were acquitted in criminal trial or the case was dropped by the DA for lack of evidence. 

Many states have a zero tolerance against domestic crimes.  Whether the father committed the act or not, he's arrested, goes to jail and becomes a product of the system.  He is not innocent until proven guilty.  He is guilty until proven innocent. He loses his rights to parent his kids because the court's victim advocate allows the victim, in this case Mom, to dictate when the father can see his kids and of course she limits the time to some most unreasonable amount.

I even know of attorney's that have advised their client that a domestic violence charge would increase their chances to win their child custody case.  Then Mom sets up a scenario during a parenting exchange where she engages Dad in an argument and calls 911 to claim domestic abuse.  She may fabricate a story of getting pushed, being intimidated or endangering the children.  The police have no choice but to arrest someone and you know they are not going to arrest the parent that has the kids that day. Its Dad that will go to jail.

The domestic violence and child abuse laws have been setup to protect families that experience these very real and unfortunate events.  They happen and many times the aggressor deserves punishment.  But there are increasing numbers of Moms abusing the system just to gain power in the courts decision making about parenting time and conduct unlawful vengeance upon their ex.

Its a no win situation for the innocent father.  It's especially detrimental to the children that need Dad in their everyday life.  All divorced fathers are supposed to have the same parenting rights as all divorced mothers.  Whether it's our patriarchal culture, our opinionated legal systems or manipulative attorneys that are to blame, something needs to change.  The kids don't deserve it!  After all isn't it all about them?

Related Articles:

Should Parents Or The "Village" Raise Children?

In The Best Interest of The Child - today's fathers are more likely to seek custody. Many of them will encounter a child custody evaluation

Banned Dad's Agonizing Loss - barred from seeing his daughter for seven years

This is an original post to Rocky Mountain Moms Blog
Jayson also blogs at http://jaysontcote.com

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