DAVID PISARRA

Posts Tagged ‘custody issues’

FATHERHOOD DENIED – The REAL Cause of a Father’s Pain

In child custody, Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Paternity Issues, Strategy Issues, Uncategorized on April 29, 2009 at 9:54 am

      I was walking my dog in the park last week, when I struck up a conversation with one of the city workers. He’s a young man who was so happy and proud that he just landed a full time position with the Parks and Recreation department. Now he could support his children better. He’s a young man with a couple of kids that he raises with his ex-girlfriend. Together they have worked out a system for childcare and sharing the responsibilities of parenting. It was a pleasant change from what I normally see.
      I was reminded of a day when I had two separate appointments with men, who were trying to work our co-parenting problems with their exes, and were coming to me after the fact to learn the effects of what they had done.
      One man was an older gentleman who’d raised his first son by himself. In this latest marriage the child was conceived by in vitro fertilization, in the first months, after his wife had left him once and returned, because she wanted a baby, and he thought that would fix their problems. As soon as she was definitely pregnant, she left him for good. It was eleven months into the marriage.
      The second man was a youngster, who was in his early 30s and had just been informed by his non-live-in girlfriend that she was pregnant. She told him that she didn’t really want him to be an active father. She did expect him to pay child support, but didn’t think he should have much to do with the pregnancy or the child afterwards. Though she was fine with him paying for her pregnancy classes.
      Neither of these men were stupid, teenagers or generally impulsive. Both seemed like genuinely decent guys who were just caught up in a relationship dynamic that caused them pain. Neither of them thought they had made a mistake, and both men genuinely wanted to be fathers. The younger one, was actually quite excited to be a father, as it would be his first child.
      I think I understand what drove these women to pick these men. Both were intelligent and good looking. One had a good history as a father and was a strong earner. The other was a good genetic catch in his physicality and emotional makeup.
      Each of these men will eventually get to see their children every other weekend, and once or twice a week for dinners. They might get to share holidays and every other birthday.
      If they pay their child support on time, they can avoid being on the latest Lifetime reality show, “Deadbeat Dads.” A show that is under fire from many quarters for its depiction of dads as uncaring and selfish.
      From where I sit, these guys are getting the short end of the stick. They were used as sperm donors and are now being used as ATM’s. But they don’t see it that way. They see that they are being denied the opportunity to be an active participant in their children’s lives; that they are being denied the rights of fathers for millennia to raise their children. They are cut out of their role as father, and then blamed for not being there.
      Which is a crying shame, because both of them would make great dads given half a chance for more interaction with their children.
      It’s ironic that men like these are the ones who are called selfish and uncaring, because it strikes me that the mothers who deny these men the pleasures of fatherhood, also deny their children the benefits of having a devoted and loving father in their lives. It is those women who so desperately want a child that they will deceive a man into impregnating them, without thinking that he might actually want to be a father, that are the most selfish.
      Which is not to say that there aren’t men who want nothing to do with their children, there are. But for those men who actually want to be a father, and there are a lot of them, when they are used as sperm donors, it’s really painful, and selfish. And the crime of it all, is that the child is the one who loses the most in that situation.

David Pisarra is a Divorce Attorney who specializes in Father’s Rights and Men’s Issues with the firm of Pisarra & Grist in Santa Monica. He can be reached at dpisarra@pisarra.com or 310/664-9969.

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Changing Child Custody – The Uphill Battle

In Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Strategy Issues on September 18, 2008 at 12:53 pm

Here’s the deal – the Courts are lazy. Especially Family Law courts dealing with child custody and visitation matters. The Family Law courts here in Los Angeles, Riverside, Orange and Ventura counties are very slow to act unless there is a true emergency.

Not that they don’t want to work, but they don’t want to change things too much. They like the status quo, the situation as it stands, keep things calm and even. There’s a reason for this, and it almost makes sense. They know that kids need to have stability, and if you’re in the middle of a divorce or a bitter child custody battle, changing things all the time is not good for the children.

The court in general does not want to interfere in the lives of the people in front of it more than it has to. The more specific an order has to be, the harder it is on the judge, but also, it takes away from the realities of life. When an unexpected situation occurs, and it always will, the court wants the people involved to be able to cooperate and be flexible, to find a resolution that will work, without the court involved.

Sometimes that is possible, sometimes not.

This is why in some child custody cases, we have very short Parenting Plans, and other times, every possibility is covered, and it is still not enough.

So what does it take to change Child Custody? Generally it takes a “material change in circumstance.” That means something big has to have changed in either the child’s life, or the parent’s life. For example, Mom got a new boyfriend and they moved in together and he’s a violent alcoholic, or little Bobby is switching up to high school and it’s closer to Dad’s house.

Many times the child wants to live with dad, and depending on their age, that may be enough, if the situation is a healthy one and they are not simply rebelling at mom’s discipline.

But the bottom line is it is an uphill battle, because as mom’s custodial time goes down, so does her child support, and that is frequently her reason for fighting a change in custody. That, combined with the courts resistance to change, makes changing child custody an uphill battle.

This is also why some moms use Parental Alienation to increase their hold over their kids. It’s a brutal, emotionally traumatizing action, and it effects the child as much as it effects the dad.

Child custody battles are not right, fair or even intelligent, but they are the way they are. And men need to know the facts about changing custody and visitation, and to fight for their rights on those grounds.

How Men Get SLAUGHTERED In A Divorce

In Child Support, Property Issues, Spousal Support, Strategy Issues on August 5, 2008 at 12:11 am

THE CAREER TRAP FOR MEN

             “Men always take it in the shorts, in court” – this is a very common sentiment among the husbands and fathers who are entering into the arena of battle called Family Court. It is an extremely unfamiliar playground for most men, because the rules of the game run contrary to what we as young boys are taught.

            As a child, a boy is taught to be tough, don’t let your emotions show, and conquer the other side with overwhelming strength. In the adult world of business and careers, those are exactly the skills that one needs to succeed.

            As a new husband and father, men are taught to be a good provider, which means to bring home a big paycheck to buy a big home, to pay for daycare and after-school activities like gymnastics, ballet, little league and soccer. This drive for career success provides men with a sense of accomplishment as they become the stereotype of ‘American Dad’.

            Then the divorce comes. Custody battles start, and the fight over money to support the child begins.

            This is where most men lose the battle before they even go into court. Not because the court is inherently against them, but because they don’t know the rules, and more importantly the goal of the game. Read the rest of this entry »