A dad explains: “Why I don’t see my child.”

Some links below are from our sponsors. Here's how we make money.
As a BetterHelp affiliate, I may receive compensation from BetterHelp or other sources if you purchase products or services through the links provided on this page.

Mention the fatherless epidemic in the United States, and the arguments are polarizing:

Why fathers walk away after divorce

It is either:

  1. Men are irresponsible douchebags who abandon their children to mothers, who are left to raise the children with few resources, or …
  2. Women are conniving, malicious, entitled nut-jobs who alienate fathers from their children while taking all said fathers' money — all of which is supported by the family court system.

How can a father walk out on his 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 of these points of view.

Struggling with not seeing your child? Struggling because you miss your dad? Consider online counseling. BetterHelp is rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau, and offers a free 7-day trial for unlimited text, email, video or phone sessions with a certified, licensed therapist.

Find a counselor now with BetterHelp for rates starting at $35/week, unlimited>>

Ready to take action? Join MomsForSharedParenting.org — an activist org devoted to changing policy, law, culture and attitudes around parenthood. Time for 50/50 default parenting! 

A father's experience with parental alienation

What I haven't reported much is the point of view from the checked-out dads, many of whom have shared with me articulate, thoughtful, and often heart-breaking accounts of why they are not part of their children's lives.

These stories resonate with me, as they have challenged my earlier, blind admonishments that every parent has a moral obligation to fight for their children, no matter what.

I still believe this, but I also believe in empathy, and for recognizing each other's humanity.

Here is one story from a reader:

Related: Parental alienation: A call to change parenting culture — and law

Point of view from a dad who doesn't see his child

From John G:

From my own experiences, I believe it's widespread for women to use children as a weapon to exact revenge against the ex during, and after, divorce proceedings.

During my lengthy divorce, my ex-wife claimed I was abusive, that she was ‘afraid for her safety,’ and tried to get ‘supervised visitation.’

None of it worked, because it wasn’t true, and because, as an educated professional I had enough money to spend six figures on an attorney.

However, it was still a waste of time and money. Even after the divorce, the games continued.

My son was being tutored on what to say to me (did you ever hear a 7-year-old respond ‘I’m not comfortable talking about that’ when asked a question?) and being instructed to call me by my first name and not ‘dad.’ I grew tired of making phone calls that weren’t answered, or of being put on hold and the child not coming to the phone, and of canceled visits.

It was heartbreaking seeing the child slip away from me, little by little.

I went to court on several occasions. There is the assumption that the man will just sit there and take the abuse because he does not want to lose the child.

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.’


Rebecca Zung is a Los Angeles divorce attorney whose 4-hour course How to Negotiate with a Narcissist will teach you:

  • What manipulation tactics to expect from a narcissist in a divorce and how to shut them down​
  • How to develop a winning, foolproof strategy to drive the outcome you want ​
  • How to create strong leverage which will motivate and incentivize the narcissist to want to resolve your issues​
  • How to anticipate what the narcissist will do and be two steps ahead of them at all times 
  • ​How to focus on you, building your strong case, your confidence level, and how to develop a victorious mindset 
  • Membership in NarcSlayers© Facebook group — your built-in support group
  • Bonuses:
    • Communication Section with actual scripts you can use to respond to emails and texts, and what to say to the narcissist to disarm them,
    • 50 Key Phrases to Disarm the Narcissist
    • Questions for Vetting a Lawyer When Dealing with a Narcissist
    • Outline and workbook to help you stay on track and follow throughout the course so you don’t miss any steps.

Get $200 OFF How to Negotiate with a Narcissist with coupon code WSM200 >>

Get $200 OFF How to Negotiate with a Narcissist with coupon code WSM200 >>


Orders of protection as divorce strategy

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. 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. 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.

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. The whole process became a painful sham.

Father refuses to see his child? Not quite …

I eventually reached a crossroads with four paths. Some men commit suicide because they can’t handle the anguish. Others resort to violence and anger against the ex-wife. Others take the difficult road, and sacrifice years of their happiness, battling on a hopeless battle with the ex, just to maintain some sort of contact with the kids. The fourth way, is to simply give up, and decide that the cost to the child through seeing the conflict, and to oneself, is too high.

Consider online therapy to help you through painful challenges >>

I considered all the above paths for a long time and was tempted by more than a few of them. In the end, I walked away from all contact with my child more than two years ago.

Mother keeping child away from father

After I had calmed down, I tried again and contacted the ex. I had hoped she would have calmed down and would be willing to work with me.

But no, she is still the same bitter and vengeful baggage that she always was. Rather than attempting to discuss things and put things on the right track, she is willing to communicate in writing only.

She refuses point blank to let me contact the child. Everything has to go through her.

Some people will say it would be the noblest thing to carry on fighting regardless. ‘I would do anything for my kids!’ they spout.

Frankly, I feel that’s very naive and is almost always a view propagated by women.

Any father here who has been generously granted a weekend every two weeks knows the feeling when you say goodbye.

You’re just getting used to having them around, and they are gone. It’s like having a wound that never heals. Like a band-aid being ripped off over and over. The pain never really went away.

During those days, I used to recall these lines from Shakespeare's King John:

Grief fills the room up of my absent child,
Lies in his bed, walks up and down with me,
Puts on his pretty looks, repeats his words,
Remembers me of all his gracious parts,
Stuffs out his vacant garments with his form;

Logically, I have to balance the damage to myself, my life and mental health, the possibility of the conflict damaging the child, against the damage done by my absence.

People who don’t know the situation raise their hands in horror, or pass judgment, assume that this is a choice that is taken lightly and easily. It is not.

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about it. Sometimes I see children in shops that look like my child and find it hard not to break down.

Sometimes I can’t take my eyes away. Even the shoes are the same. I don’t like to watch movies with children of that age in them.

I had to remove all the photographs that I had of my child and every other item and put them in a box. And that’s where all those emotions are now.

In a box, held tightly under control, so that I can try and enjoy some semblance of a normal life. It usually works.

I spoke to my ex recently. She claims that the child is just fine. She doesn’t seem to think that I’m needed and believes that my seeing the child is a bad thing.

She told me that the gifts I had been sending postally were in a box and he never got them. What is the point of trying? Who am I to argue?

She lives with the kid and does the real parenting. All that I could do, once a month or less (she lives a long way from me) would be to visit for a shallow shared visit, a museum trip perhaps – that’s not parenting – that’s just being a Disneyland dad.

I am in despair that many people and the courts expect the impossible. They expect the man to be totally interested, committed, involved with his child’s life – and yet – they make it impossible for that involvement to happen.

How can you remain interested and involved when you are given no information about the child’s everyday life, when even the most basic contact is made difficult or impossible, when you are limited to four days a month contact time if you are lucky?

In far too many cases, the father is merely viewed as a source of income.

The mother is viewed as the ‘real parent’ who almost always gets physical custody of the child. And once she has the child, she is then almost entirely free of the threat of any consequences.

Consider online therapy to help you through painful challenges. Very affordable, convenient and anonymous (no one will see your car parked in front of the counselor's office!), get the help you and your family need via video, phone or text therapy. Find a counselor now with BetterHelp for rates starting at $40/week, unlimited>>

How fatherlessness affects children

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.

I shouldn’t be surprised if more and more men eschew marriage and traditional family values over the next century.

Personally, I refuse to be blackmailed by my better instincts. I refuse to be reduced to the level of a Disneyland dad by some judge, attorney, social worker or indeed his mother.

I refuse to beg for access, or beg for photographs, or ask permission when I can please take him on vacation.

No. They will have no more of me.

One day, I will be able to get in touch without going through her once the child is old enough. Until then, I intend to get on with my life.

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.

Have a listen:


Read more about Emma Johnson's stance in favor of shared parenting, empathy for absentee fathers, and other related topics here:

The real reason your ex doesn’t see the kids

Related books:

Kickass Single Mom, Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children, By: Emma Johnson

Blend, The Secret to Co-Parenting and Creating a Balanced Family, By: Mashonda Tifrere

Co-parenting with a Toxic Ex: What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Tries to Turn the Kids Against You, By: by Amy J. L. Baker, PhD and Paul R Fine, LCSW

Divorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing, By: Dr. Richard A. Warshak

What do you think? Are you a dad who no longer sees his kids? Why? Please share in the comments …

Or, are you the mother of a child with an absentee father? What is your response?

Here is my advice to moms and dads whose other parent is not involved.

If you are tempted to turn your child against the other parent, or not sure what is the best kind of parenting time arrangement, keep it simple, and equal. In fact, there are now more than 60 studies that prove that equally shared parenting is best for children (and, moms and dads!).

While we're at it, have a read about why a simple, fair 50-50 shared parenting time with no child support is the best, fairest, and most feminist arrangement.

Why coparenting is important

To prevent this kind of trauma, here are some tips to how to make co-parenting work:

  • Accept that mothers and fathers are equal. This is a gender equality issue
  • Accept that just because the other person doesn't parent like you do, that is not abuse.
  • Let him fail, succeed and find his own parenting style. Many dads become better fathers after divorce because they have to.
  • When communicating with him, use ‘your house' and ‘my house' … not ‘Home.' Same when you address the kids – “daddy's house” and “my house.” Both places are their homes..
  • Keep him posted on matters large and small. Even if he doesn't show up for the teacher meetings, or make the doctors appointments, keep him abreast of what is happening with the kids.
  • Buy him holiday and birthday presents on behalf of the kids.  

One of the first co-parenting apps, and widely used app, OurFamilyWizard, which features chat, information storage (like pediatrician and teacher contact info, prescriptions, etc.), and financial record-keeping. 30-day free trial,  discounts for military families, and a program to provide OurFamilyWizard free to low-income families. Each parent can add unlimited numbers of other people for free, including children, grandparents, step and bonus parents, as well as attorneys.

Try OurFamilyWizard for free for 30 days now >>

Read OurFamilyWizard review on Wealthysinglemommy.com >>

But the bigger challenge is to change our culture, from one in which it is presumed that fathers are incompetent, and mothers are the default primary parent. Terry Brennan of Leading Women for Shared Parenting, and an equality activist. Listen to our podcast conversation:

For more on co-parenting communication, and reasons for better shared parenting, read: Co-parenting rules–even with a difficult ex

Are you a child of a father who is was not around? What do you say to this dad?

Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.

561 Comments

I am father of a one year old.I can’t even imagine my life without my child but at each and every step my wife threatens me of abandoning me and taking away the child. It kills me every day, every night, even the thought of not being able to see him. Life is hell now, will be hell then. So I am just living.

I’ve been through this situation. It’s horrific. A decade on and I still haven’t had any contact with my now just turned teenage son. False allegations (proven in my case) are soul destroying. Falsely accused parents often take their own lives. And for all those deniers who claim #ParentalAlienation isn’t real, or is made up by abuse men, just remember, there are alienated mothers too. In the USA there are lots of them. #ParentalAlienation is real, and is nothing short of DA/DV. It is also a form coercive control – pay me more child support or you won’t se your child again!

This is my story, albeit in a pen name.

https://www.amazon.com/Parental-Alienation-Loving-Fathers-Years-ebook/dp/B078HWF3GC/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=parental+alienation+a+loving+father%27s+lost+years&qid=1601930014&sr=8-1

This is a UK dad (or what is left of the term). I’ve been separated from my ex for 5 years. Before this we split childcare and financial responsibility 50/50. When we split up she said that it would be best for the kids if they had a stable home and so wanted to keep the family home with the kids (This is pretty much apart of the course as I was told). Actually I agreed in principal, and decided to agree for her to stay in the family home giving my a massive deficit in my ability to buy another home to have the kids to say with me. After a year of hard work and stress I managed to buy a home for me and the kids to stay. I was overjoyed.. seriously… The happiest day since my kids where born. The last few years have been troublesome. Changed dates for visits so I don’t get to see the kids… the usual stuff I think most divorced dads face. Until this year….

After 5 years of not going on holiday.. I decided to book a blow out break as I was burning out at work and the kids had started to notice my impatience and “grumpy dad”. It worked I had a refresh and loved having the kids around every other weekend and some of the school holidays which I could do with my annual leave. Then for court order landed. As fair disclosure I had refused to give my permission for my ex to take the kids abroad as she was talking to me and school about he not coping (I won’t going to the history). But to cut a long story short school et al said their was no issue so I agreed and gave my consent. So the court order wanted a “lives with order” and extra time for the kids to spend with me. Great I don’t actually have a massive issue the this order… but I have limited annual leave and due to history I would like the opportunity for the kids to live me me if needed. I decided to contest the hearing. I did not have a solicitor and she did. I hoped that the British court system would see my simple plight but unfortunately they did not. I have been ordered to see the children more (GREAT! really… work may not be so happy) and the kids will “live” with their mother (Great this was happening anyway… but what if needs change).

So I’m left as a dad with the parental responsibility but with no power to shape the children life. I can live with than I guess. Until she starts making the usual demands or changes to access. Then I have one of the 4 options mentioned in the above post. I’m not a violent person (and to the dad that are.. dude.. it’s your kids mum.. grow up). Other options have been thought about but the most preferred is that I quit giving the kids a hard time via proxy and I just move on. The reason for my post is not for up and down votes but an honest evaluation of what the people on here think of my situation and if I’d suddenly become selfish to say bye to me kids until they are adults… not only to give them a happy childhood but also so they are adult enough to see the politics that happens in these situations. My mum and dad have been married all their lives and still are. My ex mum and dad are bitter individuals who have separated and don’t talk. I’d like to me more like my mum and dad. More importantly I don’t want my kids turning out like my ex. Please if you have the golden answer to how I do that… let me know

I’m a male and you just described my ex-wife. I found your site on Google hoping to find some useful information, but I am really distressed by the gender bias in your message and the gender bias of the overall system, which demonizes fathers, even good fathers. I’ve been the victim of donestic violence, but because I’m a man, people like you call me a wimp for complaining about my wife battering me, but if I was battering my wife (which I don’t), you’d call that domestic violence and call her a victim. My wife gaslights me and the kids, trains me 4 year old daughter to call me by my first name and not Dad, alienates me from the kids, and that doesn’t even scratch the surgace. There are some great attorneys in the world, and there are ghouls who feed on the misfortune of others. I don’t think you’re a great attorney. You’re part of the problem. Not the solution.

You right Jeff,
I’m in a similar situation with my ex washing mind of my 12yo daughter;
my little girl use to adore me, to look at me all the time for to take her out to park, cinema, buy toys, sweets.. all those things now are gone because her mother and above all my ex mother in law a very vicious person.

do you know a solicitor dealing with parental alienation ?

thank you

How dare you as a woman make excuses and support this narrative bs excuse men use. Stop blaming the mother for PROTECTING her child from an emotional and mentally abusive parent! It’s disgusting! This entire article is disgusting! Excuses are tools of uselessness and those that use them are masters of nothing. Most men that think like this go off and procreate again and again with the same cycle of blame. No accountability whatsoever. If you don’t want to be a father just say that. Don’t blame the mom for not doing YOUR JOB FOR YOU! She has a job to nurture and she’s watching you HURT her child. I don’t blame her. Fathers that show up for theirs do it without talking. They just show and prove. This is about the dads bs emotions he caused on himself?! What about the damage being done to this child?! What about the extra work the mom has to do?! Men are little bitches!

I’m going through everything the article talks about .I tried, and tried to be a part of my daughters life and was shut out by my x wife.The only time I ever get to see her is for Christmas for about an hour .Im not perfect and never claimed to be .I would never in a million years do this to another person .Today I can barely hold a conversation with my daughter because it’s awkward for both of us .We used to be so close .All she wants is my money for support.All I want is time with my daughter .Its been 6 years since I have spent a weekend with her .I have tried everything and the only reason my x wife isn’t in jail because of this is because I wouldn’t ever want to see the pain in my daughters eyes when they tell her that your daddy put your mom in jail .I wouldn’t want her to be without her mom .

Kicked him out after 21 years, Why did I wait so long? I played the fool for my FAMILY! Remember that word men? FAMILY? Maybe you didn’t have a good family but isn’t that more of a reason to make the best of your own family? Maybe without creating other families around town?
Well, I’m ready now. But he’s not. He won’t communicate and he’s definitely not financially supporting his four kids with me! I pay it all! Well, I’m certainly not asking! He knows where we live. He knows what we need. I allowed him to stay in our lives even when he “went to work” and came “home” every three days! My kids would always ask “ When is dad coming over?” not “When is dad coming home?” How pathetic. Even they knew. For a man to constantly dote on his wonderful children and then choose not see them for three weeks is strange…even for him. I guess one of his other families is still under his spell.

How dare you for saying all men are like this. My partner is an incredible dad, but unfortunately he’s forced to be a Disneyland dad because the mother is a selfish person and only allows him to see the kids every other weekend. He is aware that he doesn’t do the majority of the parenting but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to because he does. SHE is the one that does not allow him to even prove himself to be a good parent. SHE is the one that is neglecting the children’s emotions by depriving the kids of their fathers everyday love. …And that goes for the same woman in this article. There’s no excuses here, it’s plain as day.. the father tried and tried and tried but the mother’s selfish actions and lack of actual REAL care for her child is what caused the outcome of this. She’s not protecting the child or nurturing them by alienating the father. Sure she does hard work being a single mother and taking on everything on her own but guess what? She didn’t have to do that. She chose to. She chose to remove the father gradually through her bs actions. So don’t go around calling this article garbage with your “all men are trash” attitude. I gotta say though Dee, it really is such a shame to see that there are still such small minded people out there that think like you do… I wish you the best.

You absolute idiot. How about the Father’s that try absolutely everything to be 50/50 care of their child, but the Mother due to her controlling behaviour refuses to let the Father be involved in jointly making important decisions concerning the future and welfare of their child. You are nothing but part of the problem. Women like you are total control freaks who believe it’s their right to control the child. They have no idea how to CO-PARENT!!!

This man sounds like he’s putting his pride above his child and making excuses for it. I didn’t turn my kids against my ex but our situation is I talk to my ex as little as possible and we split when I was pregnant so he has never lived in the same house as the youngest, the youngest is 6 years old now and he still sees them every other weekend, a week in Christmas, Easter and summer breaks. My ex doesn’t pay any child support.

I want so badly to believe this is true for most men. Honestly for years I believed this about my husband and his son from a previous relationship. I believed everything he said about the mother being crazy, using their son as a pawn, etc. UNTIL, we had a child of our own. Now I’m literally seeing him do to me exactly what he did to her, abandon me and his child. If I don’t force him to spend time with him or his oldest son it doesn’t happen. The days he’s with me he won’t even call, and I have to be the one to pick up the pieces and stumble through answering questions about why their dad isn’t present. It’s heartbreaking. So yeah, I just can’t accept this as true. I’m the most agreeable person ever, I want them to have a great relationship! But he’s shown me that he clearly is not interested in being a father to either of his kids. Shame on me.

what the FUCK was the point of this article? Even if you don’t have every day with him you can still parent the child. Calling himself a disneyland dad and saying why even try is the exact reason why all of this is probably fake LOL. wah wah i’m a shitty dad to my kids ok loser

Im really struggling and cofused with this. My father left my mum when she was pregnant with me and now after 24 years I came into contact with him. I just cant accept it he tells me my mum kept me away from him but I remember him going to courts when i was young and saw me for abit but after that he left again and said he was waiting for when I grow older. I have one side telling me that its not his fault because men eventually walk away when the mother makes it hard but I just feel he could have done more? or is that just not realistic? I feel as a society we always make excuses for men. Women are empathetic humans and we let them get away with alot.

No girl. He could have ALWAYS done more, sent cards everyday, called everyday, tried to talk to you more, sent gifts, E-GIFTS, contacted you through social media, He knows your full name and *probably* address. Boyfriends do this … so why can’t dads? he could have tried more. Remember that he’s the adult he had his chances, not having “enough time to parenting and only be a ‘disneyland dad’” is about control more than actual parenting when you think about it :)

I sent my daughter something through the mail, the mother didn’t like it, got in big trouble, why would you stop dad from sending cards or presents, woman, not all, are strange.

I’m really struggling with this issue as me and my husband are recently separated. Our son was 8 months at the time. My ex had a decent bond with our baby but he was completely attached to me as the main caretaker. I would take him to his dad’s for the weekend but not overnight. He also didn’t see our boy for a whole month during this separation because he was in a bad place. Our son’s separation anxiety peaked and he basically cries the entire time he is with his dad now. He is 11 months and spending time with his dad went from hanging out the whole day alone to me having to stay and meet at a public place for a few hours. It’s really hard to spend time with my ex every weekend but I’m doing it for our son. Reading all these comments is so depressing and i would hate for my ex to walk away from our son.

Hi Olivia- I really appreciate your devotion to your son, and humility in asking for guidance. Without knowing the details, I urge you to start increasing one-on-one time between your son and his dad. So much research supports that this is what is best for all of you, and I believe your instincts tell you that already. You can start here, and read more of Linda Nielsen’s research on this: https://ifstudies.org/blog/10-surprising-findings-on-shared-parenting-after-divorce-or-separation

Ugh! My ex- husband just sent a link to this article to my 15-year-old son… complete with all the Google ads about seeking counseling etc.

It appears to me that he is using articles like this to make excuses for his own insecurities or shortcomings.

To start the article off stating that a parent is either one of two things is pretty rough.

What about a mom who got divorced almost 5 years ago and they creepy ex has been harassing her with info and articles like this for 5 years..one who needs to be accountable and not take his own insecurities or shortcomings out on her or his kids….pushing away his own kids on his own by sending his 2 teens stuff like this about their mom… please reread what you put on number 2- as what the mom probably is- so upsetting to be honest with you.

Please thoroughly reread what you wrote. Now imagine a kid reading it.

Some people can get divorced and move on with their lives and share parenting responsibilities… others, play the blame game for their own insecurities and/or shortcomings.

Personally, I think this article was to stock the ego of someone who wanted and excuse to walk away as it was suggested at the end.

What a shame. Imagine a kid reading and article like this… one that called their mother things he knows she isn’t… this puts a kid right in the middle… and some times, probably more often than not, that isn’t what truly happens… Behind closed doors…

I am not going to share my personal info here, but clearly, since this article was sent to my 15-year-old son who could really use a great father figure right now, from his father, it to me, looks like he just sent my son a farewell letter and blamed me for him not participating in his life. I think it is pretty mean.

I came to this post because I’m seriously considering doing the same. My situation is as follows. I live in Texas. My ex decided shortly after we got married that I was her punching bag. She was physically and emotionally abusive. She had sexual relationships outside of our marriage. I actually have copies of emails she left up going back and forth with her lover from 2007 to 2008. After her oldest child who was not mine graduated from college she filed for divorce. I had stayed in the marriage for the sake of the kids because I knew that the courts would give her custody and child support. Yes, she played the victim card claiming she was afraid of me, that I was abusive, and even tried to have me arrested by pretending that I had hit her. We had even paid a court appointed therapist to make a custody evaluation that recommended I get the kids due to her anger and violence towards the kids. She even had a CPS case against her for bruising up her oldest child. I spent thousands in court and had a very good case. None of that mattered. The judge gave her primary custodian and 30% child support for three children. They also make me pay the children’s medical premiums. The judge also awarded her the visitation schedule of her choice. This turned out to be me picking up the kids during the school year every Tues and Thurs and bringing them to school in the morning. Also I pick them up every other Friday and take them to school on Monday. Over the Summer I get them every other weekend beginning Friday evening and ending Sunday evening and the entire month of July. Only in July does she pick up the kids for one weekend. If you do the math I have them 49% of the time. See what they did there? My cost of raising the children is more than half due to medical premiums and traveling back and forth to her home every other day. Additionally they are taking 30% of my after tax income. I also cannot claim a dime of what I spend on my children for tax relief. Child support is taken out of my check but somehow I owe $2k plus interest to child support. I owe the irs $3500 for the first year alone. Last month while I had my kids my electric and water usage almost tripled. I am now in the position of having to think rationally vs emotionally. I love my kids, even the youngest who I now believe is not even mine biologically (after seeing pics of the guy she was cheating with and how they look like twins). But I can’t afford to pick them up every other day, the groceries, medical expenses, and all the costs involved in raising kids anymore. So for my own sanity and health I’m thinking about just cutting my losses and moving on. Oh, and the attitude change of the youngest is spot on with what is described by the writer. My 12 year old actually said those exact words on several occasions! She told me last month after I disciplined her by taking her phone away (she had slapped her older sister in the face for just touching her) that “Mom is getting better and you’re getting worse!”. A little background on that is that Mom had grabbed her by the neck on the first day of school choking her before we got divorced. While the divorce was in process she told her school counselor that she wanted to kill herself due to her mother yelling at her all the time. She’s been in therapy. Anyway I’m seriously considering just emotionally walking away. It’s in His hands now because I’m about done. If you are religious, pray for us.

As a mother of two special needs kids who father just walked out on us. Who made plans with his mistress to leave us and never come back. I’m disgusted you would even give most men on here any excuse.
Most men who leave their children as I’m finding out are Narcissistic, who are pathological liars, and so of them borderline sociopaths.
By you even giving a excuse to these types of men shame on you.
There a special place in hell for women like you. Who actually turn villains into hero’s. Abusers into nice guys. Abandonment actually is emotional, and mental abuse and trauma on the children.

i”m sorry. I don’t agree with this post. I am reading between the lines about this so called “good dad” that mother is just keeping him from his kids.

I am a brother to a wonderful mom of 3. The dad says all the same things as above and guess what, He is being kept away because he’s not good for the kids. And a kid that says “I’m not comfortable talking about that” sounds like a healthy minded child with good boundaries. What was this guy asking the child that made the child have to say that in the first place?

Stop saying good dads are kept away. There are more bad dads and abusive dads claiming to be good dads then good dads claiming to not see their kids. As a dad, I have acquaintances with the same sob story above and guess what. They aren’t good dads!

Wealthy Single Mommy you need to stand by other women and not merge the issue. Kids need good dads but if a dad is a narcissist then they are better off with no dad. Ask most kids with bad dads. they would agree with my statement.

Just take what I’m saying.

This is false. It’s a tactic and games played by opposing divorce attorneys and family law court judges. Don’t play into it. Most states will NOT remove father’s rights even if he ends murdering children’s mother. Children will be required to visit him in prison. Custody support vs custody and visitations are not the same thing. If father does not visit his children nor provide besides the most basic and minimum, then it could be considered “abandonment”. We see fathers who violate protective orders, pass supervised visitations to only endanger his children as leverage to NOT pay child support, steal property and harm his entire family.

Fathers who WANT to be with their family and children, it shows. Judges will see through those antics as most states do want children to have both parents involved. However, both need to be present and involved. Most judges are males – so they’re not going to give their own parenting rights – trust courts do not play into any antics. If anything, in more affluent counties, children are removed from their mothers who are the primary caretakers and alienated. There’s financial abuse as their mother sacrificed to be the stay at home care taker. It’s unfortunate. Don’t let opposing greedy attorneys get the best of either of you. In the end, they all have drinks together afterwards and conspire. They all campaign fund for those judge’s reelection. You might be entering their courtroom the first time but for the rest – they grew up together, play together and conspire with one another as they have built relationships. It extends into criminal court, DA offices and other. Do what’s in best interests of your children. Refuse to play into those antics. They also have relationships w law enforcement agencies which is why in some states and/or counties, government employees and attorneys are acting as sovereign citizens. It doesn’t have anything to do with you – they’re going to take what they can from you. Delaying is another tactic to drain your retainer. They scare the mothers with exact same tactic as they do fathers.

Good luck and don’t read above articles as it could be from a family judge like Alicia franklin York who used to be a court-appointed CPS attorney. She billed government and tax payers 23/24 hours daily for a whopping over $800,000 salary. She does not have any children and her spouse Douglas York is the dirtiest divorce attorney (past “dirty cop” in Houston) known to that city. Their peers testified and will state their disdain for this couple who victimize all their clients. Douglas York – as a former “dirty cop” – will send criminals and convicts to stalk, harass and steal your property. He has a long record of fraud financial institutions from his own clients. With their exposure, comes with many in their testimonies in federal courts nationally. Ultimately – they still have to have a willing participant – so will use opposing client if he/she is willing to commit crimes they’re setting them up for. It’s important to report these attorneys and judges to their State Board so others are no longer victimized. Everyone’s children are used as leverage – it’s the only thing they have as they’re minors and keep them held as custody of the “court”. What they can’t do, is take away your civil and constitutional rights. Don’t commit crimes nor offenses. Don’t listen to antics of this attorneys who are combatting you both against one another. Record and document. In the end, both want a divorce and none of you won a thing for your children.

As for these articles of alienation – halt the divorce attorneys from playing these games to delay divorce process in family court. Otherwise, as an author, I suspect you know nothing of how courtroom antics really work. There are no alienation of father’s rights. Once family law attorneys and those judges/DA offices stop acting as sovereign citizens, justice is restored.

This was horrible (speaking as an ex-father), but I can empathise to the letter what these accounts have gone through. My ex was a horrible person to me – mentally abusive and occasionally physically (Never to the child) to the point where had to leave. I saw my 2 yr old daughter every other weekend on a Saturday. To start with I saw her for an afternoon or morning – within the first month or so of splitting up our bond was as close as ever, but as the months went on that gradually disappeared from my child’s eyes – times we spent got shorter because she wanted to go home, she no longer knew me as dad but by my first name whilst ‘dad’ was my ex’s new partner.

I tried to see her during the week after work, but I’d be half way to her house (I lived 40 mins away) only to then be told my daughter had gone to bed because she was too tired (so me ex told me).

I struggled mentally – to reiterate what one of the above accounts said it I became more of a ‘Disney land dad’ (never heard that phrase before reading this). Seeing my child for sometimes 2 hours a month where my ex made it purposefully difficult for me to increase that time was heart breaking. In the end, my daughter had a closer relationship with the living in partner than me, and every time me daughter asked to go home after seeing her for an hour or so broke me.

In the end, I had to weigh up the stability she had through my level of contact vs the ‘normal’ life she’d have with constancy, and my own mental wellbeing.

I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. Making the decision to stop seeing her was the hardest thing I’ve ever done to the point where I too had to store all her photos away to keep my emotions separate. I now live 3 hours away from her. Anytime I see a little curly haired Child that looks like my daughter I find it so hard to swallow the lump in my throat. I feel awkward around friends‘ children Because I feel like I’ve let my own down.

I’ll never know if I made the right decision or not, and will always feel ashamed for having to walk away – like I’ve failed. But at the same time the only thing I’ve been able to do is rebuild my life rather than staying stuck in the present, miserable which was how I felt when I my ex limited my contact time because she was the primary carer. I was a devoted father, And I loved my child more than anything. I can’t even admit to having a child anymore in the fear of being judged by any new friends I’ve made since because they might. It understand and tarnish me with the “deadbeat dad” label, so now I’m left living with a huge secret.

I certainly don’t agree with shaming mothers or fathers, but I do feel like a lot of the time there’s next to no empathy for fathers, so reading this article was so reassuring to know there are cases out there which aren’t the simple “get up and run” moments you hear about when fathers don’t see their kids.

I am a dad, my 3 year old boy is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I tell him that all the time. I used to be his hero, when tumult came I encouraged him to be strong, to be happy when you can, and he listened.

The eroding of my image as his hero, someone he could look up to, someone he could trust to be calm in the face of the storm seemed to erode almost overnight.

My boy was born with narcotics in his system and mom had a child welfare case for it. I resolved to work through it with her for the sake of the family. That was over three years ago and I have been brought to my knees, like the writer said I’ve contemplated suicide.

My awesome son is three and a half and he went from being in awe of me and being influenced greatly by me, to not wanting to even see me anymore, consistently. He is suffering and I can see it in everything he does and it breaks my heart like nothing ever has or ever will.

Everything changed when I had to ask Mom to leave after nearly a week straight of her screaming, cussing, and yelling at me in front of him at two years old, right in front of him. My pleas to not do this in front of our child actually made her get louder. I gave her 30 days to find a place, she was working, and I said she could have more time if she needed it. She told me I had to leave my own home which I had done countless times before, slept in my car etc. This time I said no, not in the angry condition you are in, my stuff would have been destroyed and my home potentially burned to the ground it was that bad.

She claimed to mutual friends that I threw her out on the street, cheated on me with someone I thought was my friend, was using hard drugs and began to attempt to distance me from my child. When one too many barriers had been erected I reported her to child services for suspected emotional abuse (kid told me that his mommy hates him and he wants to DIE, before he was 3 years old), and drug addiction. Even with the history she refused a drug test and they didn’t make her take one.

After child services and a wellness check he changed overnight. She can’t stand the eyes of the state on her and expressed such contempt for me doing such a thing. She has a bad temper and anger problem. Now he does also. She takes legitimate concerns I have with how she is influencing him and ignores them by saying “you think it’s all my fault.” One of the worst times I can struggle do remember is when her phone called me on accident while I was going through a very rough patch. For three minutes it recorded without her knowledge, it recorded the man who she cheated on me with (who she supposedly didn’t see at all anymore knocking on the door. She immediately started bawling in his arms that I’m going to kill myself, that I need rehab.

My ex-partner took my child and moved back to her/our (I have duel nationality) home country (Northern Europe) and I have made the decision to cut off communication for the immediate future and not provide her with child maintenance but to open an account for my daughter and deposit money monthly. I don’t know if it is the right decision but wanted to write down my reasons as to why I made this choice.

When I met my ex, I had just gone through a difficult divorce and custody battle and I have another child in my country of origin (Mediterranean) that I still currently live in. I ensured that I have very regular contact with my first child and went through hell to obtain this. I pay child maintenance for my first child and was paying regular maintenance to my second until very recently when I made the decision to stop payments and save it in an account instead.

I foolishly rushed into a relationship with an old friend of mine who came to this country on holiday every year after my divorce and very stupidly had unprotected sex with my now ex. Before becoming pregnant, my now ex wanted to move to my country of origin as she had come here on holiday many times and we believed that we were madly in love and that we could make it work. When she told me that she was pregnant I asked her if she wanted to continue with our original plan of moving out here as I wanted us to be a family but told her that under no circumstances would I move to her country as I have a child here and I can never leave her. My ex chose to move out here.

My ex did not like life in my country of residence at all and there are aspects of life here that are more challenging than in her home country. The year was incredibly tough, both financially and emotionally as I was the sole provider for the majority of our time together and a newly divorced dad so savings were non-existent. On top of that, my own family were not happy with our relationship but once our daughter was born and with stern words from myself that I would not have them disrespect my ex and new family, they came around. I managed to get my ex a job but after a few months she decided to quit as she was not happy and really just wanted to move back. She continued to give it a good try here and was able to find a much better-paying job that she was due to start later in the year. I hoped that with a better income and change of scenery that my ex would start to enjoy the finer things this country has to offer. It is a very Mediterranean lifestyle and does definitely have its perks. Our daughter was going to a good nursery, had good medical provision and most importantly had both her parents who loved each other,

However, if someone just doesn’t like the place they live in, there’s no changing that I guess. My ex decided to leave early this year and not come back. She left the job prospect she had and moved back to her mum’s and is now struggling to make ends meet as she still hasn’t found a job, in large part due to Covid I guess. Considering that one of the big reasons she decided to leave was the idea of better job prospects in Northern Europe and better pay, the situation seems quite ironic now. We did not separate on bad terms and I believe we still genuinely loved each other. I did not stop her as I knew from past experience that a desperately unhappy partner will inevitably lead to a break-up down the line.

When she left and took our baby, I was obviously devastated and felt a part of me being ripped out. She really is the most beautiful and innocent baby with so much character and joy. I gave regular maintenance payments until now as it is clearly the right thing to do. I hated being a Skype dad, it is so heart-breaking to see your baby girl and not be able to cuddle and kiss her. I went from being involved in every part of her life to being some guy on a screen. At first I called daily, then my ex told me that she wanted me to call only on Sundays as she needed to heal and get over me. I refused and we compromised on every other day. Then I decided on only Sundays and this is why:

My ex started asking me for money to pay her credit card debt while she lived out here. We used card sparingly and only when absolutely desperate when I literally had no money left at the end of the month (I covered all rent, bills, nursery fees etc while she lived here). I even had to ask my parents from some money at times just to get through the month. She decided to bring up the debt during my Skype visits with the baby and when I disagreed, she would go into hysterics and close the call. This only happened twice as I told her from now on I will only call on Sundays because it was too emotionally straining having the fear that the call might be cut off if she was unhappy with any way. My only contact with my daughter was completely supervised by me ex and her mother who gave her ‘two cents’ every now and gain as well.

She gave passive aggressive jibes every now and again questioning how much I cared and how my ex didn’t want me to forget about our daughter like her father did to her. I felt that there was a narrative that was created about me and my ability as a father was repeatedly questioned. This was too much for me and I felt that I was ‘damned if I do and damned if I don’t’. She was upset that I didn’t go chase her to her home country despite me clearly telling her that I cannot leave where I live as I will never choose to leave either of my daughters. My ex created that ultimatum.

Because of this, I started feeling strong resentment towards her. First of all, she left me ad took our child when we could have had a very good life here, My eldest daughter lost her sister and still asks if she’s coming back. She moved back to her country on the idea that life will be better for our daughter but that is simply not true. Our daughter now has a worse quality of life then she had here and I do not have the income to rectify that. Her mother needs to get a job and I appreciate how hard that is for a single mum. Our lost conversation was my ex crying about how broke she is and how I send money to help clear ‘our’ (the Credit card is solely in her name) debt. I agreed to help provide for my child, not financially fix my ex’s poor decisions (quitting a paying job and using a credit card to go on holidays to your home country when you have a child to care for are not reasonable decisions imo)

Anyway, I apologise for this mammoth comment and will wrap it up. After seeing where this ‘co-operation’ was heading I proposed either a bank account in our daughter’s name and when the baby needed anything I would withdraw from the account or my ex could work out monthly costs of the baby and I would provide half. My ex refused both options and continued going on about her debt and basically insinuating that it was all my fault that she was in the position she currently finds herself. I then decided to open the account and she won’t see another cent from me unless she produces valid costings of what she needs. I also decided on no further Skype calls for the immediate future and left it open because it is eating me up inside not seeing my daughter, even if the Skype meeting are nowhere near ‘quality time’. I will only be able to afford to see my daughter a few days a year as my ex made it clear that she won’t be coming back here on holiday and of course the baby can’t travel on her own. She won’t let me come and get the baby so that’s out of the question also.

The baby is so young and I’m just a Disney Dad (without being able to afford a Disney trip!), why go through all of this? The age where my daughter will be able to really get the best out of this kind of ‘parenting’ seems so far away, better to cut things loose right? It doesn’t feel like the right decision and I already know that I will very soon re-establish contact but the psychological impact of long-distance parenting really can’t be understated. I’m just mentally exhausted from it all and can empathise with the writer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *