Single Dads: Have Child-Custody Laws Improved for Single Dads?
Single Dads: Single dads find that they are disposable in every way but financial under our court system.
Single Dads: Single dads are often "child support" by monetary means only.
Are SingleDads Disposable Dads: Have Child-Custody Laws Progressed? By Rob McLean
At one time a man was expected to be the sole provider of support for his children while his wife provided nurturing and day-to-day care. Although we are supposed to be beyond these limited roles in the 21st century, try being a single dad in a divorce court today.
In most instances, single dads are still defined by the courts as "child support" in the financial sense only.
In other words, our parental boundaries are our work and our ability to make money. As single dads, we are disposable dads in every way but our wallets!
Am I saying single dads should not pay child support?
Certainly not. Every child deserves the monetary support of both parents.
They also deserve the day-to-day nurturing of both parents.
I am saying most single dads have much more to give their children than a monthly support check, augmented by "dad-time" every other week-end and a few holidays.
Custody is awarded for the best interests of the child. Although, there is no definition of these "best interests," every judge awards custody in this manner.
In 1997, according to the National Center for Health, mothers were awarded custody in 69% of the cases and joint custody was awarded in 22%. This means the courts only gave single dads sole custody of their children in 9% of the cases. It’s getting better but single dads and their children need more.
The divorce is final and I have visitation rights to my two sons. No bedtime story each night, no ball game in the backyard each afternoon, and no multiple daily hugs from dad. I have been reduced to two week-ends a month, one night a week, and a large monthly support check. Yes, I feel disposable but more than that, I feel loneliness I don’t think I can stand.
And I know my sons need me and miss me every day. There is no justice for me or best interests for my sons here. Jim C.
Despite my ex-wives contention that she "deserved" sole custody of our daughter and son, the judge ordered joint custody and I feel eternally grateful. Although the way it worked out is not exactly 50-50, I will still be present in my children’s lives. They are so important to me and I know I am important to them, too. Eric D.
Although I can no longer see my son, I keep pictures of him on my refrigerator. For years I cried everyday when I saw his pictures. And, finally, I did not cry anymore. Now I am just hollow inside. Mike W., Single Dad
Even though my wife and I agreed that I was the better parent for our son, the judge awarded joint custody, legally and physically. When I started meeting other single dads, most who did not do as well as I did, I learned to be thankful for small favors. I get to see my son at least half the time, sometimes more, when his mother travels for business. I am a lucky man. Allen H.
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