Article of the Month
Dads and Divorce
In my years of practicing family law, I have learned to appreciate the importance of dads. The father/child relationship is just as important, if not more so, than the mother/child relationship. But somehow as a society we have come to accept the concept that the children live with mom and visit with dad.
That is starting to change. More and more, dads are fighting back. Father's rights advocates are everywhere on the internet. Some valid, some not. But, no matter what, it brings across the point that dads want to be heard and want to be a part of their children's lives. And they should be.
I have been fortunate to have represented a number of very dedicated fathers. It is not unusual for me to see dads who will sacrifice just about anything to have primary custody or equally shared custody of their children. Specifically, it is usually the father that will sacrifice time with the children to avoid dragging the children through a custody battle.
As I write this, I am thinking about one particular former client. He and his wife had married quite young and had children right away. A few years into the marriage the wife decided she missed her young adult years. She began going out frequently, spending less time at home. She was having a good time. She wasn't so much a bad mom, as she was an immature woman who put her needs before those of her children. We filed court documents seeking primary physical custody, and prevailed on the issue, at least on a temporary basis. A custody battle ensued. If there is a custody battle it is quite common for there to be a psychological examination of the parents and children. It is not an enjoyable process and my client recognized that immediately. After his initial meeting with the child custody evaluator, and learning more about the process, he decided he did not want his children to be put through the examination. Although it was personally detrimental to him, he wanted to protect the children. He immediately withdrew his request for primary custody and we were able to work out a shared custody plan with the mom and her attorney. Although he deserved to have primary custody of his children, he knew that the children needed both parents.
If you are divorcing, consider the needs of your children. If you are the mother, recognize the importance of fathers in your children's lives. If you are the dad, embrace your relationship with your children and put their needs before your own. And most important this month, if you are a dad have a HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!
Pamela Edwards-Swift, Certified Family Law Specialist, 2010-2015 Southern California Super Lawyer