Suffer the little children
Many men do not want to walk out of unhappy marriages because of their children. I have often explained to them the best Dad is a happy Dad. Children adapt. No person is left unscathed by a divorce, but neither do the children who grow up in marriages full of strife and spite. I have met children who literally begged their parents to divorce.
It is true that primary residence is often granted to the mothers. Some women tend to think this implies that the children belong 90 percent to the mother and 10 percent, or less, to the father. They regard the father’s visitation to the child as a cumbersome irritation in their lives, as if the child is her puppy, and he is only allowed to play with her puppy when it suits her, or worse, when he pays her for the privilege.
They will make it most unpleasant and sometimes virtually impossible for the father to visit the child. Some move to other towns, some just don’t answer the phone when the father calls, some organise sports, family events or sleepovers on the father’s weekends.
I agree that some fathers do the same. One father would arrange expensive luxury vacations abroad during the mother’s allocated vacation and invite the children. The mother felt bad depriving her children of these opportunities and forfeited many of her vacations.
She had to work, because she was one of those women who got the raw deal in the divorce settlement and often that would mean the children would just have to accompany her to work during their vacations. She lost out with the divorce settlement and she lost out on her time with her children. Children grow up and eventually they uncover the truth. Now they adore their independent, gorgeous, mature mother and soon enough they will treat her to vacations abroad.
When children are denied access to a parent this can constitute Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). I have testified in a court case where the mother attempted to alienate their son from his father. The judge ordered the lawyers to fetch the child from his mother’s home and have him relocated to the father before 8pm that night and for the mother only to see the boy under supervision, henceforth.
Take note. I have also testified in a case where a father battled for five years with very expensive court costs to regain access to his daughter, after the mother made a false allegation of sexual abuse. This is called SAID (sexual allegations in divorce syndrome). The little girl had thought her father had abandoned her, because restraining orders prevented her from having contact with him. The allegations were totally false, but it took five years to disprove.
Read more about: Parental Alienation Syndrome
I am astounded that many divorcing couples have not been advised by their lawyers to read the Children’s Act. For example, it is not just a parent who has a right of access to a child, it is the child who has a right of access to the parent, and to the extended family of that parent.
It is not up to the mother to decide whom the child will see, where and for how long. The courts will decide this. Mothers who use children as weapons by sabotaging the father’s access, do not realise in her petty attempt to spite the father, she is CONTRAVENING THE CHILDREN’S ACT.
Some mothers tend to reason if he is not paying maintenance or enough maintenance, she has the right to withhold him from seeing the child. Again, this is a contravention of the law. The child has a right to the father.
She cannot sell that right. I agree it is a contravention for him not to pay maintenance, as well, but that issue is not linked to access. It is a separate issue, for which she can sue him, or attach an order to his salary. In both cases the child suffers.
The mother may be the holder of the primary residence, but she does not own 90 percent of the child. If the child has sports activities on a weekend, the father can still fetch the child on the Friday night and take her to the hockey match on Saturday. There is no reason for him only to pick her up after the hockey match. There is no reason either for a father to return the child shortly after lunch on a Sunday because the child has to do homework for Monday.
The father can supervise the homework over the weekend. If the father arrives 10 minutes late in collecting the child and the mother withholds the child “because the decree said 17h00”, is she honestly acting in the best interest of her child, who has rights, or is she manifesting her bitterness, to the detriment of her child?
One woman delighted in telling me how she punishes and humiliates her ex- husband before she allows him to see their son. He had finally divorced her after having had a long standing affair, which she never knew about.
I could understand her resentment and anger towards the man, but demanding he send her an SMS explaining in graphic detail what a “low down, s**t, bast***, son of a b***, useless slug of a father he is,” every time he wants to speak to or see their son, is spiteful, childish and unlawful. This is a typical example of a child being used as a weapon to punish another parent.
One man explained: “When I am married, my wife and children are family and I will protect them and woe to any enemy who tries to threaten them. When I divorce, my children remain my family. I will protect them and if the ex-wife tries to take them from me or prevents me from seeing them, she becomes the enemy.”