Monday, September 24, 2007

Distant Dad

I just finished reading this article and am somewhat horrified. The piece describes the international custody battle one Boston area father is fighting with his wife in Brazil. He lives in the states. She lives in Brazil. She refuses to move back--even at the expense of her daughter's relationship with her father.

After reading the piece, I am haunted by the notion that this is the way things have turned out for this man. I am well aware that custody disputes can become incredibly convoluted and complicated and that judges often have to make decisons that essentially "split the baby" and make no one happy. But this situation is under my skin. In part, I am bothered by the unjust way most family courts favor mothers. But I am even more bothered by the incredibly selfish decision this mother is making. How can she deny her ex-husband the opportunity to be more involved in his child's life? Do couples really end up hating eachother that much?

I have to assume that unless I thought R had somehow become an unfit parent, I would do everything in my power to ease the transition for my child. I have a hard time imagining what kind of person (mother) would use the legal system in such an incredibly self-serving way. As mothers we do not "own" our children anymore than fathers do. To behave otherwise is as sick as it is selfish. I hope that sometime in the near future, the legal system will catch up to the idea that the fathers and mothers of this generation are parenting (almost) equally and that the laws have to change to reflect that.

In the meantime, I really hope that the subject of this article is able to carve out a meaningful relationship with his daughter--even 3,000 miles apart.

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