Father's Winning Custody More


The Increase in Custody Wins for Dads Shows Embrace of New Family Roles

Divorce lawyers in Dallas and Texas generally have commented recently on a growing trend toward a more even viewing of single dads winning primary custody. Fathers are more involved in their children’s lives and mothers have increasingly entered the workforce, making is more common for fathers to seek and gain primary care of their children. Although Texas law doesn’t provide for an equal split of time with parents, more judges are willing to consider a 50/50 arrangement in the right fact situations. (Texas law provides a standard possession schedule that accommodates the splitting of weekend, but leaves the children in one parent’s house during the week.) This trend bears out nationwide, according to an article by Bloomberg. Single fathers now account for 8% of all American households with children. Between 1965 and 2000, men more than doubled the time they spent playing with and teaching their children, from 2.5 to 6.5 hours per week, according to a 2007 study by the Russell Sage Foundation, a New York based social science research organization. Mothers spent 12.9 hours per week in 2000.

Read source article: Single-Dad Courtroom Wins Show Greater Embrace of New Families


Fathers Really Do Have Rights

Posted by Michelle May O'Neil on July 25, 2011

Like the gay rights ("Marriage Equality") movement, black civil rights movement, and feminist movement, the Fathers' Rights movement is grounded in constitutional rights and imperatives. It has grown out of the very real changes in men's traditional roles in Western society, and the current generation's more egalitarian attitude towards shared parenting, which has resulted in gender neutral custody laws in virtually every state of the United States. Despite the changing laws on the books, there is still a perception that there is a gender bias in family law, and that fathers are discriminated against in custody decisions.

As family law attorneys in Dallas, TX, we regularly see custody disputes first hand. Although we represent mothers and fathers in equal number, we are no longer surprised when fathers are awarded custody rights. Sole custody agreements are a vanishing breed in the family law practice. Today, most fathers we meet with are seeking at least some form of joint custody, whether it is decision making or shared parenting.

A semi-typical case where a change of custody to the father may happen could be when a teenager declares that he/she'd rather live with Dad. (Those cases are usually resolved pretty quickly -- in most courtrooms, teenagers get what they want.) Judges, law guardians, and forensic psychologists are more enlightened these days about the rights of fathers, and the rights of children to be raised by their fathers. The fact is that fathers who are active and involved in raising their children are almost always given the opportunity to continue that role post divorce.

The value of fathers cannot be denied. But neither can the economic incentives that play a major role in custody disputes. For every father that has a good faith motivation for seeking primary custody (he is more bonded to the children, or the mother is mentally ill or drug addicted), there is a father who hasn't seen his children in months but declares upon being served with divorce papers that he should have custody. After all, he can do as good a job as the mother, and so why shouldn't he receive child support?

Recently, Jacqueline Harounian, Partner at The Law Firm of Wisselman, Harounian & Associates, did a radio program about fathers' rights. Many of the callers were men who felt victimized by high child support payments, and harsh child support enforcement measures, including wage garnishments, and incarceration. While the Family Court can grant relief in limited cases, the truth is that the government is unyielding and unsympathetic to so called "deadbeat dads" who owe child support. The sad reality is that many of these fathers do not even have a relationship with their children. Statistics show a strong correlation between active and involved fathers and those who willingly pay child support. (It must be mentioned that the system is just as punitive to mothers who owe child support, and more and more, mothers are being jailed for contempt for violating custody orders.)

Advice to those fathers who are concerned about child support? If you are seeking financial relief from your child support obligations due to a change of circumstances (such as job loss, or illness) run -- don't walk -- to Family Court. Do not let arrears accumulate, because there is very little that can be done to address it retroactively. But more importantly, be an active and involved father for your children. Children need mothers and fathers. They need financial and emotional support from both parents. Raising children costs money --- lots of it. But the non-monetary rewards to both children and their fathers are incalculable.

Hat tip to Jacqueline Harounian for her May 13, 2011 post                                                                                                                                                                                           

Feelings of a Father in Song -- Highway 20 Ride

I wanted to share with our readers a very special song I heard today by the Zac Brown Band called Highway 20 Ride about a father's visitation with his son.  Here's the video and lyrics.  Hope this is as meaningful to you and it was to me:


Highway 20 Ride:

I ride east every other Friday
But if I had it my way
A day would not be wasted on this drive
And I want so bad to hold you
Son, there’s things I haven't told you
Your mom and me couldn't get along

So I drive and I think about my life
And wonder why that I slowly die inside
Every time I turn that truck around
Right at the Georgia line
And I count the days
And the miles back home to you
On that Highway 20 ride

A day might come you'll realize
That if you see through my eyes
There was no other way to work it out
And a part of you might hate me
But son, please don’t mistake me
For a man that didn’t care at all

And I drive and I think about my life
And wonder why that I slowly die inside
Every time I turn that truck around
Right at the Georgia line
And I count the days
And the miles back home to you
On that Highway 20 ride

So when you drive
And the years go flying by
I hope you smile
If I ever cross your mind
It was the pleasure of my life
And I cherished every time
And my whole world
It begins and ends with you
On that Highway 20 ride....

Custody Battle: Dad's Story

A New Generation of Fathers is Fighting for Custody -- And A Fair Shake In Court from Working Mothers Magazine.

By: Philip Lerman

“Yes, but who’s going to cook them dinner?” When Ben Oshman got that question from a judge hearing his request for custody of his three kids, he was furious. Because whatever new challenges moms have these days, when it comes to custody, things haven’t changed much for dads—especially the gender-based stereotypes that render them the second most important parent.

But now, dads are fighting back, demanding custody where custody’s due. Their motivation is simple: “I wanted to have kids. I wanted to have the family,” says Oshman, who ended up getting joint custody of his three girls. To him, divorce “didn’t mean I should have to give up my family.”

A groundswell of support is rising up for dads seeking custody, as evidenced by the increasing number of groups like dads rights (dadsrights.org), Custody Warriors (custodywarriors.com) and dadsdivorce.com. “Fathers increasingly want to be more deeply involved with their children”—a desire that doesn’t disappear after divorce, says Danny Guspie, executive director of Fathers resources international, a group that advises divorced dads. “When you see some dads have success, it encourages others.”

Thirty years ago, dads never litigated for custody, says Jeffery M. Leving, a Chicago lawyer at the forefront of the fathers’ rights movement. “Men didn’t place fatherhood at the top of their priorities. Now, if they face a divorce, their children are their main priority, and they will fight to avoid being kicked to the curb.”

Bottom line: dads say they’ve become better parents, so they deserve a better chance. “They’re demanding more fairness,” says Leving, “and sometimes they’re getting it.”

Philip Lerman is the author of Dadditude: How a Real Man Became a Real Dad.


More Fathers Are Getting Custody In Divorce

Illustration by Barry FallsThe New York Times reports today:  More Fathers Are Getting Custody In Divorce by Lisa Belkin.

Working Mother Magazine published a package of articles on Tuesday called “Lost Custody,” about the new reality of divorce and child custody for working mothers.

It is filled with tales of women who were the primary earners in a marriage, and who watched their husbands gain primary physical custody of their children when the marriage ended. There are now 2.2 million divorced women in the United States who do not have primary physical custody of their children, and an estimated 50 percent of fathers who seek such custody in a disputed divorce are granted it.

As the writer Sally Abrahms describes it:

Not long ago, men usually paid the child support and doled out the alimony. Moms (working or not) almost always got the kids in messy divorce wars. Years of changing diapers, wiping noses and kissing boo-boos gave them the edge. But now the tide is turning.

The “tender-years doctrine,” a court presumption that mothers are the more suitable parents for children under 7, was abolished in most states in 1994. And, in large part because of the recession, women are poised to outnumber men in the work force for the first time in American history. Job layoffs affecting more men than women have yielded a burgeoning crop of Mr. Moms.

“Men are now able to argue that they spend more time with the kids than their working wives do,” says the veteran New York City divorce attorney Raoul Felder. “This is one of the dark sides of women’s accomplishments in the workplace — they’re getting a raw deal in custody cases, while men are being viewed more favorably.”

Or is it a raw deal? Is it not, in effect, the same presumption — the parent who works harder, parents less — that men have faced for years? You could make that argument, Abrahms says. You could also argue that working women are held to a higher parenting standard than working men, paying a price for not conforming to the cultural expectation that mothers be more hands-on than fathers.

Either way, the percentage of fathers with primary custody will likely increase, one more example of shifting social views about parenting. And there will be more stories like the one Abrahms tells of Julie Michaud, who ran her own business, which supported her family, while her unemployed husband cared for the couple’s 7-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter. As Abrahms writes:

Julie sat helpless as Mark’s lawyer argued that he was the one who arranged the playdates, took the kids to the pediatrician and volunteered at their schools. Affidavits from teachers and neighbors attested to his hands-on involvement in their daily lives. Meanwhile, Julie’s long hours at work meant that people in the community didn’t witness just how much parenting she did out of view. No one saw the lunches she packed every morning, the all-nighters she pulled when the kids were sick. “If I could have done things differently,” Julie says today, “I would have made myself supervisible.”

If a mother works more, and a father less, is that a logical reason for the children to live with him? Have you felt the swing of this pendulum in your own life?