by Iris Snowe
Brief opinion piece written on behalf of all men who find themselves in a custody battle
| Of all the single parents in todays society, how often do we think of the men and how they feel while going through court case after court case? We don't often see what goes on behind closed doors, most of the time all we see is that the mother gets awarded custody no matter the situation. But what about the fathers who want to be a part of their child's lives full time? There are of course plenty of dad's who don't care enough to be more than just a dead beat dad, but how is it the mom can be also be at fault for the failed relationship yet she is the one that wins hands down almost every single time?
Think of this, imagine the wife cheats on the husband, he finds out but in the best interests of the children decides to let it go and try working it out. They seek counseling and things don't change. She repeatedly has many affairs, finally the husband has had enough and leaves. Meanwhile the wife moves on with someone new and you agree to share custody, half and half, seems fair right? Next, the wife completely blindsides the husband with a custody paper drawn up by her attorney, he gets the short end of the stick. She is taking him for child support, lessening his time to the bare minimum and he can't afford an attorney to fight it. Sadly, enough if roles were reversed the woman would still come out fine without an attorney, the man not so much. He didn't want this, but in the end, he is forced to work more than one job just to afford to live while the mom is able to take away his basic means to survive.
Something needs done to change the statistics. Every family going through a separation should have to retain a mediator and determine why shared custody is not feasible. Shared custody should be the normal, not the rare occasions. Child support should factor in cost of living for both parties involved. The statutes on child support leave men paying most of their income to the custodial parent. Both parents should be responsible for providing the necessities for the children while they are in their care as well. With this being said and especially in divided homes where there are children from previous marriages the children's best interests should be to spend equal time with both parents and the other half siblings. The fathers should not have to be fighting a losing battle. There are plenty that want to do right by their kids and are not afforded the opportunity. Marriages don't always work, and men shouldn't have to stick around a failing unfaithful marriage or relationship just so they do not have to lose out on time with their children. Attorney fees should also be adjusted, payments towards the retainer should be allowed, everyone deserves to have fair representation regardless of their income levels.