I have spent innumerable hours fighting for the ability to stay an active father in the lives of my children. My ex wife has always believed that children are the property of the mother and as such they belong exclusively to her. She treats them as property, to be used for her own purposes instead of human beings, little children. This opinion of hers and many others, has over the years necessitated my need to fight to ensure that my children’s rights are not trampled, especially in relation to them having a relationship with both parents.
As a result of these behaviors I have been very vocal about my feelings with regards to the rights of children. They are too often overlooked and discounted in the process of separation and divorce. States such as Utah have a very antiquated idea in the opinions of children and the rights of children in divorce. The mother is granted custody 100% of the time in Utah unless otherwise contested by the father. Even when custody is contested by the father, the mother still ends up with custody 85% of the time. These statistics in the Utah courts only fuel the opinions and ideas that people such as my ex have towards their children. The maximum parent time in Utah for non custodial parents allowed, unless otherwise agreed to by both parties is the non custodial parent receives one 4 1/2 hour visit per week and alternating weekends and holidays. This results in a child spending a total of 120 total hours per month, with a minimum of 16 of those hours spent sleeping. This is the equivalent of only 5 days a month.
Many of the problems our youth face are a result of the father not being a significant enough role model in their lives, and fathers not being in the home with their children.
- One in 3 children in the U.S. live in homes without a father.
- Children in fatherless homes are 4 times more likely to live in poverty.
- Youth in fatherless homes have a significantly higher incarceration rate.
- Father involvement in school has a direct impact on their grades
We see continual benefits for our children when fathers can play an active role in the lives of their children. Study after study supports this, yet we see the blatant disregard for this within the family court system. Our laws and our societal opinions actually contradict the value of fathers in society. Take for example the maximum visitation for primarily the father in a family friendly state like Utah. The laws protect the mother while forcing distance between the children and their fathers. Mothers can deny visitation to the father in Utah with no real consequences as the courts view them as the preferred parent as is evidence in the custody rulings. When visitation is denied, the father is informed it is a civil matter and must go back into court to correct at their cost. In court, the mother is told not to do it again and the process repeats itself.
On a national scale, abortion is considered the woman’s right to choose. No thought is ever given to the rights of the child or the father in this matter, thus eliminating from society the role of a father and their importance. We have in essence, in our society determined by our laws and our actions that fathers are of minimal importance. We wonder why so many fathers end up moving on with life and leaving behind the children, yet we force a father to fight daily just to maintain the ability to be of significance in the child’s life. Limited time with the children and countless obstacles to make visits possible are at times overwhelming and deeply discouraging.
We have proven that the role of the fathers is of utmost importance to the future and success of our children, yet pass laws that are counter to these studies. After we have by our laws and legislation made the role of fathers insignificant, why would we then question why our children show aggressive tendencies and behavior? Why they struggle in school? why they commit crime at a higher rate? It is crazy to think that we can correct the problems without addressing the deeper causes behind why many fathers are absent. They are absent not by choice, but by our laws that take no interest in preserving and protecting their role as fathers.
Our children deserve BOTH parents equally in their lives. Our future depends on it.