DAVID PISARRA

Posts Tagged ‘DAD’S RIGHTS’

Father’s Day Special: On Fatherhood and Raising Men

In child custody, Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Paternity Issues, Uncategorized on June 17, 2010 at 9:22 am

I never really knew my father. Well, let me be clearer. I know who he was, he lived with me until I was 12, and then I lived with him on summer vacations and such. I have memories of going fishing once or twice with him. I recall fighting with him as a teenager, and the weekend before he died we had a great conversation, but I was 19 and in Boston for the summer.

My father was a World War 2 vet, but the way he told it, he was on an island in the pacific resupplying ships and it was a blast. He went to college on the GI bill and was salesman. He sold printing presses, then life insurance, and then funeral plans.

He was the 13th child born and the 11th child to live in his family. He was the baby who was raised by his sisters. Which partly explains his life skills, or lack thereof. Alcoholism took a hold of him fiercely, and it effected my family dramatically.

I am the baby in my family. I was the third son born, my parents were in their mid 40’s and by the time I came along, alcoholism was in full bloom and its effects were being felt throughout the family. My parents fought bitterly and viciously. My brothers, who were 16 and 14 years older than me, had more fully seen the terrors that I felt the repercussions of as a child.

So when my parents finally divorced, it brought peace to the household, but there was a cost. My father became sober soon afterwards, but I was a pre-teen, and parenting a pre-teen from afar is nigh on impossible. The job fell to my older brother Chris.

He was an island of calm, mostly, in a household of alcoholism and anxiety. For even though my parents had divorced, the long term negative effects of their marriage remained. My mother was struggling to make it financially, and battling with the bottle herself. My brother Chris took up the responsibility for being a father figure in my life and though he did a great job, and I love and respect him for it, he was only 28, and he had my father as his father. He was denied a good father just as much as I was, probably more.

When I look at my father’s life, I see the pattern of my life. I see how he was raised by his siblings, I see the lack of strong male figures to teach the hard lessons in life.

It is perhaps one of the reasons why I am attracted to the work I do.

As much as a mother can nurture a child, she cannot teach a boy how to be a man. Young boys need their mothers, but the more I think about it, and the more I learn about the way men develop, I believe it is the men who teach boys how to be men.

In the ancient Grecian state of Sparta, boys were raised by their mothers until they were 7 when there were sent to be raised by men. The understanding of boys and men, the ways in which we think and act, versus the manner in which we should act, these are lessons that need to be taught by men because we speak a common language.

Only another man intuitively understands my impulses towards anger, aggression, and sex. Only older, wiser men have been able to show me a better way of dealing with those topics.

Fathers, and father figures, are vitally important to the upbringing of boys. It is a crime in our country that so many men are sidelined by the courts, and their exs, when it comes to the raising of the children. It is the future men who are being denied vital life lessons, and it is our society that will pay the price.

The conventional wisdom that the mother is the better parent in all things is as absurd as hiring a plumber to fix a soufflé. Mothers are vitally important at certain times, just as fathers are vitally important at others, to idolize one, and ignore the other is philosophically imbalanced and illogical.

This Father’s Day I’d like to see an awareness of the important role that men play in raising boys, who in turn become fathers. Father’s Day is a day honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers in society, but to do that, we first have to really understand what they do. It’s about more than just paying child support and every other weekend.

At least, it should be.

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CHILD CUSTODY RULES FOR FATHERS

In child custody, Child Custody Issues, Child Support, Parental Alienation, Paternity Issues, Strategy Issues on April 8, 2009 at 6:50 am

In August of last year I wrote about my belief that parents should be forced to take an equal division of time in their children’s care. I don’t think it’s fair or equitable that the lion’s share of child rearing falls to the mother. Fathers should be required by law to take their children 50% of the time.

Those Republican poster-children, Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston had a child out of wedlock, and are now going through the negotiation process of how much access Levi is to be allowed to his son. He says that Bristol, she of the “Family Values” family, wont let him take his son. We see this type of controlling behavior is all too often in our practice, and it is a detriment to the father/child bonding.

I understand that the Johnston child is only a few months old, but that is no excuse in this day and age for a father to be denied solo parenting time. Frequently the mom claims that the father is not a good parent, or too immature, or too uneducated on how to provide for a newborn. I think those are weak arguments at best and disingenuous at worst. If a man is old enough to father a child, to be required to pay child support, then he should be old enough to take up the mantel of parenting.

Today, as it stands, fathers who want to obtain, or increase, their visitation and custody orders need to keep in mind the following: Proximity, Paperwork and Persistence. They can make or break your chances of getting the orders issued by the judge. Most fathers start out a custody case at a disadvantage. When dad moves out, the children are left with mom, and that becomes the way the court is inclined to keep the situation. The moment that dad moves out of the family home, is the moment that mom gains an advantage in child custody hearings.

Here’s why, the courts don’t want to upset the children’s living environment. They focus on keeping the child stable, and that means in their historical home.

So how then does a man recover from the mistake of moving out of the house? He must show to the court that he can effectively parent the child, with as little disruption to the child’s routine as possible.

PROXIMITY

This means how far or close dad lives to the child’s home and school. This is a major factor in increasing, or acquiring, custody and visitation. The closer dad is to the home and school, the more easily he can be present for the child, and the courts give this great weight. If the choice is for a child to be in a car for five minutes getting from mom’s home to school or a 25 minute drive from dad’s home, the court is going to prefer mom’s home. It is also more likely that the child’s friends and social network are close to the school they attend, which is a factor for the court.

PAPERWORK

Cases are won or lost on documentation. Dads should keep a Calendar or a diary of all the time that they are with their child. In any contested case, mom has something that she will use to show the court how little time dad spends with the kids.

A simple calendar which shows the days that dad took his child, and what they did on those days can make all the difference for a change in custody. If dad keeps the receipts for what he did with his child, it will allow his lawyer to prove that he took the child to see the movie Cars on a day when mom says he didn’t visit. This is a crucial credibility issue, and one that with a little bit of work by dad, can yield big gains. The court will see that dad is truthful, and he’s come a long way towards winning the credibility wars, and that can lead to more time with his child.

PERSISTENCE

The biggest factor that effects whether or not a dad will win more visitation or even equal custody, is his ability to come back, time and time again. The successful dad in family court, is the dad who never gave up, and was willing to do whatever it takes, no matter how difficult it was, or how long it took, to prove to the court that he wants and is capable of being a loving, attentive and present father.

The successful dad who wants to increase his custody and visitation, will live close to his child, keep good records, and never give up when dealt a bad hand.