Some attorneys go so far as to admit that the ‘afraid for my safety’ issue is part of the ‘gamesmanship of divorce.’ I went from the mindset of being a father to the child, to being reduced to the status of a ‘visiting uncle’ or a ‘Disneyland dad’ allied with thinking all the time like an attorney.I was often worried what would happen if she started to make untrue claims that I had (for example) abused the child.
After studying this issue for the four years I’ve had this blog, I understand that the issue is complicated and nuanced, and there is plenty of legitimate room for both points of view, outlined above.
You can read more about my stance in favor of shared parenting, empathy for absentee fathers, and other related topics here: “My kid’s dad isn’t involved and I don’t know what to say” The real reason your ex doesn’t see the kids How to get dads involved in divorced and separated families Close the pay gap? 50-50 visitation and no child support Should you date a guy who doesn’t see his kids?
And once she has the child, she is then almost entirely free of the threat of any consequences.
This is a great shame for the children involved who will probably be involved in divorces of their own or be afraid of marriage because they have seen the consequences when they fail.
When he fell over and scraped his arm when he was with me, I was advised by my attorney to go to all the trouble of going to the doctor, having the scrape bandaged and so on, just to legally cover myself in case she would claim that it had in fact been intentionally caused. Some men commit suicide because they can’t handle the anguish.
While on the lookout for anything that could be used against me, all the while constantly being told I was a bad person, a bad father, and all my involvement with my son was systematically stripped away. Others resort to violence and anger against the ex-wife.
She stuck by the letter of the law, and was able to severely limit my contact with my son by way of orders of protection and maintaining to the courts that he was a ‘danger.’ Of the divorced, professional men that I know, all of them had orders of protection against them by their wives.
This is even a problem that is recognized by the courts.
Please listen to Terry Brennan, co-founder of Leading Women for Shared Parenting, explain why default every-other-weekend visitation leads to absentee fathers.
Note that in cases where ‘standard’ visitation is awarded — every-other-weekend — fathers become depressed and non-involved, and within 3 years, one study found, 40 percent of children in an unequal visitation arrangement had lost complete touch with their non-custodial parents, which are nearly always the father.