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Father not involved in child’s life? A dad explains: “Why I don’t see my child”

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Mention the fatherless epidemic in the United States, and the arguments are polarizing. We hear things like “Father refuses to see child” or “Father not involved in child’s life.” These issues can be especially thorny during the holidays.

It’s easy to fall into stereotypes about deadbeat or indifferent dads, but I discovered the issue is quite complicated:

Father not involved in child’s life? A look into 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.

However, as we unpack in this article, the real reasons are more complicated, complex and human. Men after all, are marginalized as inferior or at least secondary parents, a fact that is codified in family court when mothers are nearly always granted primary time with children — a power position that means men and dads are officially a lesser parent. 

Read: My advice to moms and dads whose other parent is not involved

Why do fathers give up?

This post challenges a cultural assumption that men willingly walk out on their children and are irresponsible, apathetic parents. Instead, we all suffer under a sexist culture and legal system that marginalizes fathers, and makes it hard if not impossible for them to be meaningfully involved with their children, for reasons including:

  • Sexist culture that does not value or support dads, or prime boys to grow up to expect to be involved, meaningful parts of their children's lives
  • Family and divorce courts that favor mothers=
  • Parental alienation, in which one parent turns the kids against the other parent
  • One dad's compelling story about why he doesn't see his kids (keep reading)
  • Many dads don't believe the child is theirs or were tricked into fatherhood, or otherwise felt they did not decide to father the child.

853 reader comments and counting on this post tell a story about how prevelant fatherlessness is, how passionate people feel about its reasons and results — and how varied and nuanced those reasons can be.

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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. Men walk out on their child for many reasons, including:

  • They never wanted to be a dad in the first place but were trapped 
  • They have been marginalized by our culture and court system to every-other-weekend parents, which is more painful than walking away and starting a new life that promises more joy 
  • Conflict with the child’s mother is too difficult to navigate 
  • They feel unworthy of parenthood, and feel like walking away is the best thing for the child 
  • The father never had a strong father figure, does not feel competent as a dad nor understand how important his role is.

Not sure where your child's father is — or you are looking for your dad? TruthFinder offers background checks, reverse phone lookup, address and phone number search. A+ rating on the BBB. Get started looking now >>

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, John G:

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

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.’

Related: This is the real reason your ex doesn’t see the kids

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.

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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.

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.

What to do when the non-custodial parent doesn't show up or cancels last minute

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.

Related: What is parental alienation?

Impact on a child’s life when a father isn’t involved

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:

Bottom line: Father not involved in child’s life? Try to make co-parenting work.

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.

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.  

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

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?

Why do fathers give up?

This post challenges a cultural assumption that men willingly walk out on their children and are irresponsible, apathetic parents. Instead, we all suffer under a sexist culture and legal system that marginalizes fathers, and makes it hard if not impossible for them to be meaningfully involved with their children.

How can a father walk out on his child?

After studying this issue for years, I understand that the issue is complicated and nuanced, and there is plenty of legitimate room for both of these points of view. 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. founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, and National Jeweler editor, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, 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. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. Her next book, The 50/50 Solution, is out March, 2024 with Sourcebooks. More about Emma's credentials.


If this is you ?.yeah my violet temper fuck my changes at ever seeing bree though the courts.and I do want to belt Gordon and big Tyson .and I no you would defend them and say Chriso is a nut case should be in jail .i will tell you something else I don’t give a flying fuck what you or (those half man ) think in my book they are little girls who never been in a real fight in there life.they say I have changed you think ?…..well wouldn’t you change if everyone was fuckng your fiancé ?. You are a coward and think your looks will save you ?.you can keep bree and have your wifey raise her she wants nothing to do with me?i am who I am I will change for no one especially a whore like you .im ashamed to have ever called you gods truth but got to say what I wanted though text.and if you ever want to send any of your family friends who ever to sort me out the old way the man way I will be more then happy to accomodate you in that department.yeah I have a abusive mind set 100percent .you see i from the generation where men fight real men fight .you a two bit harlot like you we pass around and have bree loser won her come win the fight how please.

I hope she uses these threats against you in court. I wouldn’t feel safe leaving a child with you either. You need to control your temper.

atlease you where honest with me and said you don’t no if I’m the father .i respect it no what I’m dealing with now .yeah bree is all yours keep hiding loser.fuck the gods where looking out for me I beat every charge you ever throw at me and walk away .karma you see .there is always beds at penny’s and Gordon’s are a dim witted women.

For starters I don’t have a ex wife just ex girlfriend fuck she use to fuck all my family and hide my child .you don’t have a soul I no that much even if you think I’m broken .go bat your pretty eyes at some other up good will ha ha .gordon would love for you to be with him he moved all the way to cairns for you because you are a catch .he would love to have you and the kids .the kids angry at me ha ha .gordon is her father.

Gods truth my psychiatrist told me became a business man with my disorder it would really suit me .i can be ruthless cunning make money destroy my competition legally .and go home and be a loving on the right track now therapy is good for me I have tools to help me to became a better me .

John G.s article has many hallmarks of a person with an entitled and possibly abusive mindset. We get only his opinions and no facts of the marriage and life from his ex wife’s perspective. He does not say who did most of the caretaking before they split and what specifically his wife experienced as abusive. Actually The main reason it is more women who get custody in divorce is because it reflects the pre-divorce parenting arrangements and caretaking not because courts are biased against fathers
Red flags in his comments are as follows…
…her clams he’s abusive didn’t work because as he says he had enough money to spend six figures…. clearly sees his money as a means to out litigate and over power his ex
…sees self as victim…blames ex for everything, sees the system as out to get him, sees his status as reduced which conveys a sense of power and ownership of his child
….when he didn’t see himself winning, some visits i.e. every second week end weren’t enough and made him feel like he lost so he abandoned his child instead…. note this is all about him and his feelings, not at all about being there for his child in the fullest way possible, even if limited by his ex or the courts
….refers to lawyers who say protection orders are gamesmanship…most protection orders are to protect women and children from a hostile and abusive ex… it is well documented that false accusations occur in fewer than 2 percent of cases….again this comment that plays up stereotypes, diminishes abuse, and or denies its reality is in fact a sign of someone with an abusive mindset…
…comments are very dramatic…he chooses not to see his child for 2 years but says he is in so much pain that he took down all of his child’s photos…again self focused… focused on his pain, never mind the fact he has denied his son any relationship at all because it didn’t happen the way he wanted it to
…finish article saying he isn’t going to “beg” for time….another sign of win, lose mentality and inability to put in perspective of best interests of his child
…all this is obvious from one article, it is pretty safe to assume his ex wife’s claims were fair
….if he looked at the split and custody as best interest of his child he would have taken responsibility for himself, accepted the court ruling, worked hard to co operate with his ex and be diligent with his visits, he would have built good will, gained her trust, shown he’d changed and over two or three years probably earned himself as much time as he wanted instead of fighting her to win

Worked hard to cooperate with ex .well she changed her number her state her address .and the court said you are violent and can’t have any what do you do then Wonder Woman tell me wise me ?…..?.now you bitch because you get no money come on you wonder why you women get hit and murdered.

Hi All,
I have been with my husband since I was 18. We have 3 wonderful children. It’s been 20 years, and I have finally made him leave our home. Emotional abuse is no crutch or manipulation tactic for all women. I was brainwashed, controlled and manipulated the entire marriage. It became our normal. He even told horrible lies to my children to turn them against me. It worked, but not for long. This man has crushed the very being of my soul, but guess what… I still love him. It is unconditional. Not all men are created equal, nor are women. The men and women who manipulate their families are doing the best they can. I’d put my life savings on the assumption these men and women suffered abuse and trauma in their childhood. I will always love my husband. But he is toxic for me. I have an open door policy with him in our home. He is welcome in our marital home anytime and I will graciously leave. He never comes to see the kids. Never. He is a broken man that is blind to his own treasures. He does not love himself, therefore cannot love anyone around him. Regardless, my shared love of our children will keep my door open to him. I will never keep them from their father. It took me almost 20 years in blind love before I felt the pain. The wisdom I have gained is enormous and a gift. My children are not stupid. It may well take them 20 years to see the broken in their dad, but that is their path. It is my job to guide them support them and unconditionally love them through any and all of their relationships. Love, accountability, and empathy.

If this you ? Those messages where spam messages 90 percent .the other 10 percent about co parenting and visitation on my weeks off was me .call my home number .

What I’m picking up is your broke busted .i said a lot of nasty things to you and threatened you but I would never hurt you .but there is one question I never got answered from you this is no game is bree my child like 100 percent?.i no you cheated on me all the time its cool I don’t care honest don’t feel bad that is you like I said be a swinger in a open relationship that would work for you and it’s not a bad thing .ineed to no the truth sam I need prove will you give me a DNA test if you give me the test without lawyers and she is mine I will back pay you and pay you right up to she is 18 I promise .if you don’t I will never fight to see her and I will never give a cent I promise that to. And for the record I not going to take her off you ifshe is mine I’m a Fucking Rig men I will be working in port moreby 14 day on 7 off if she is mine on my 7 off I would like to see her and take her with me for couple days just to off us travel around.this is no game Sam I want the DNA test.grow a pair off balls and talk to me on the phone stop been a coward I no everything there is to no about you .all my mates and family members have told me they where having sex with you so don’t be shy .

you can call me a deadbeat dad whatever .i love bree and only bree I’m sorry that’s how it is .if she wants to be apart of my life and be my daughter she is going to have travel with me I will pay for all flights .and for you Sam you need a man like Gordon buy house play happy family’s raise kids as a family .and I hope you get that one day .but that is not how I want to live my life I want to see things experience life grab it bye the balls.and I want bree to experience it with me if she wants I will not make her or fight in court .i hope your wishs comes true Sam like mine has take care and if I don’t hear from you again goodbye .

I split from my husband a little over a year ago. He drained our joint accounts, then refused to give me any support even though he made 7x what I made a month and I was taking care of our 4 kids 80% of the time. He instead, spent his money on the kids to make himself look like the best dad in the world. New clothes, new shoes, arcades every time he got them. Still, no support to maintain the house that was still in his name and where his children lived the majority of the time. Fast forward five months. The divorce is finalized, he’s now responsible for paying child support. He somehow got out of paying any sort of back child support to me. I find that bewildering. He also lost his very well paying job. He said it was due to New Management, might have been the fact that he had an assault charge pending on him for threatening me, and the fact that he called in frequently. And suddenly, he slowly starts checking out on being a dad. It started with dropping them off at noon instead of the 5 time on Sunday. No call to me, they just show up on the door. Picking them up late, because he has errands, or appointments, you name it. Skipping his overnight day with the kids during the week because his girlfriend is sick, or again, he has an appointment, or his electricity got shut off. Now let’s go forward an entire year since we split up. I got a phone call only a few weeks ago at about 8:30 p.m. The call was to tell me that he decided that he was going to move three states away to where his girlfriend’s family was. His excuse, was that he didn’t have any options here. He got behind on child support and couldn’t find a good enough paying job to make ends meet. Didn’t once make an attempt to drive out to tell his kids himself, to say goodbye, to explain why. Just left. I see all these posts about single moms but these moms have one or two kids. I have four children from my ex-husband. Four children and absolutely no help at all. I don’t have in-laws that live nearby to take the kids, I don’t have a mom that loves taking the kids overnight, no siblings close to me to help or so much as offer to help. I am seriously depressed. My entire life is with my children. I don’t have anyone to take them when I’ve had enough, or when I just want an evening out. No one. I love my kids more than anything. I know I can raise them better than my ex-husband ever thought of. But is a huge, huge task. I am completely overwhelmed. I have so many friends and family members that can tell me why I shouldn’t be depressed. But not one of them, not one of them has offered to help me at all.
So maybe the dad IS a complete douchebag. A complete deadbeat dad. Throughout all of this, I’ve never said one bad word about their dad to them. I never will. I’m quite sure they’ll figure it out eventually.

Tell bree and Flynn if they want to get to no me I’m here and still at the same house but you must bring them to me Sam .and tell the kids at my house we eat rib fillet and go out all the time and have fun .i bet they only get sausages and mince at your house ha ha ha .

And tell the kids when they come on holidays with me we still in classy hotel and have fun .no camping in a tent for me ha ha .

and I got the job and my role is assistant driller with training to be a driller .you no what its massive money when I’m a driller .im no deadbeat or bum I got the by myself and I will make something of my life and bree to .i bet your sorry you cheated on the best man you ever get .

I don’t have your number any more .how can we get in contract with each other .i want bree my job is to weeks on one week off.i start in 4 weeks.ring my home number it’s in the book.

if this is you ?.im leaving in a couple of weeks for a rig job In port moresby it’s a life changer money wise.if bree wants to meet me now is the time because I’m not coming back on my week off I’m going to travel the world .fuck buying a house I’m doing it my way I define me not my old ass family or old ways .this is my life and I want to live life .if bree wants to travel with me on my weeks off she can and she will want for nothing .my home number is in the book under owls name.this is your last chance and my last message.

Tell the kids that I love them and we will see each other again I swear and think the time is close I’m feeling well these days and it’s lasting .i got a interview next week for a job on the rigs again .they are drilling again .it will be happy days again for me.these time I spend money for the kids build bond more partying .

My marriage was really nice until our third child was born and my husband took to the bottle. Then cheated on me. I should have left him then but I cared about our marriage and wanted to keep trying. A few years of ups and downs and one night my then husband came home drunk and got me pregnant without knowing what he was doing. I promised God right afterwards that if I had a baby from that event, I would love and care for her with everything I had no matter what.
He was physically abusive during that pregnancy and when she was a newborn. I tried to get away with her but he would block the doior or car. The police were at the house a few times and one night he was jailed.
This went on for years and I couldnt figure out how to escape.
Long story short, things slowly escalated until he one night terrified the children. That was the last straw. I threw him out and got a restraining order. I told him he couldnt return to our home until he went to rehab.
He followed up by filing for divorce.
Now I have full custody but he has almost all the money. I have been raising our four children on my own though with alimony and child support taken from his salary directly. Since he refused to pay and cut off our health insurance the state got involved.
He works and lives far away. He left us when I had to throw him out. Over the years he has perfected his story and many of my former friends seem to half believe his stories depicting him as the victim of a vengeful wife who withholds the children out of spite. He must read stories like ones depicted here. But I never kept my children from visits with him. I tell them the truth about their father though. We are close and I dont want to confuse them.
The lies are worse than the battering. He is very convincing and people feel sorry for him that his evil wife keep him from his beautiful four children. I would rather he hit me than lied.
Now he quit his job so the newest thing is we are facing eviction while I look for more work. The kids are finally ready for me to be gone more so I can pull in more income. But before that good luck getting work when people know you are exhausted raising four children entirely on your own.
I feel badly for anyone who misses their children. I feel badly for my ex. He looks awful. But in our case a lot of his pain is from the consequences of how he has conducted himself and inability to make necessary changes.
Be careful what you believe. If people want you to feel sorry for them – ask yourself what responsible healthy adult would want your pity.

Hey Sam yes I do read stories like these and you did keep my children from me and you are evil I’m a victim of alienation and a victim from your serial cheating ways that destroyed my confidence and self respect as a man.bring bree to me I love her

You ever want some real action I’m in we are made for each other you no it girly and want it bad don’t you .

I have a very, smart manipulative ex that has weaponized my son against me. I won’t go into great detail, but I got to the same point as the author. Where even trying to see him was leading to harm to everybody.

So, I made a very hard decision. Children won’t be children forever. The battle for my son doesn’t need to be fought and won tomorrow, next week, or next year. We’ll all be around for a long time. Right now, there’s not a lot I can do but my ex can absolutely ravage me in the court system. So, I take the little I can get, which is just barely enough for me to let him know that I haven’t forgotten him.

But, the day will come when my son will no longer be a child. He can already see her craziness and manipulation. I feel awful I can’t get the kid out of that asylum and that he has to live with her, but I know once he’s 18, then this will go from a battle that I cannot win to a very different situation.

I feel awful that I have to bide my time until then. And in the interim, I’m trying to do my best to build a good, new life. Burning down my life just to show I’m fighting doesn’t help anybody. Martrydom does your child no favors. Instead, I’m marshaling my strength, resources, and my health. When I am able to bring him fully back into my life, I want to be able to show him all I have built and will be ready to share. But, yeah, knowing that I have to wait such a long time is absolutely brutal.

My son turned two. I am a idiot who signed an agreement that I was told can be changed easily now I beg. I’m told that I’m a threat to my son.
I was a victim of domestic violence taking kidney shots while scooping my infant up and dashing to the crib. It got to the point if she raised her voice I would try to escape. I would threaten suicide to her so I could spend the night at the VA for a few days.
I told this to one of my fellow veterans he said restrain her you have to defend yourself needless to say the VA called cps twice and a investigation was started she claimed I was abusive because I would restrain her after she hit me. She eventually moved out and took my son since then my life has degraded to tears and emptiness.
I did my best to get a lawyer it was hard to come up with the money to just fight for 4 more days. I’m told that joint custody is impossible and this is the best I can get.
My parents and family have never seen my son I’ve never got the moment to show my grandmother her greatgrandson it hurt I felt anger i even cursed her for dying she promised I felt helpless I put my own mother to tears about it and go on lengthy tirades. I feel there is no Justice for me and I’m told not to pursue Justice for myself
I justify my feelings with the next guy isn’t gonna care about my son.
My ex has bad health and no job I have veterans benefits and the same two bedroom apartment that she left I’ve traded one hell for a new one. I miss the love he showed me when I carried him outside late at night.
I’m no longer in the picture I’m just a weekend daddy that can’t afford to keep hot water running much else be apart of my son’s life I made a choice now I have to make another one I have to let him grow up without me and hope his step father doesn’t get her bad side if he ever gets a step father. this shit is depressing heck I was told to just move on and have more kids by one guy some civ psychologist. Who also asked if I had killed someone.
My son’s birthday is tomorrow I don’t know what he is into I dont go to her mother’s apartment without a escort incase something happens. It’s gotten very expensive just 120 dollars to pay for the escort to go there with me to pick him up. When I do have him I try to bring back what we used to do. But he cusses and crys his first words were fuck and shit. Now he says phrases go away gogogo and by by. He hates being left alone. He crys when I drop him off. I don’t know how to parent him. I don’t cuss but he sure does. His mothers said that my parents have to come here to see him Wich doesn’t work as my father has a brain tumor he’s now blind his legs swells till the skin splits open bending his leg to get into a car or bus isn’t gonna happen. I’m at a loss and want to escape this reality of my life.
I want my son as much as she does I don’t smoke or drink yet she has my son and uses him to get me upset scared angry fustrated and helpless anyone got advice on how to get my son and not play the games

First off, it should be noted that each situation is different and ALL circumstances should be considered WITHOUT an understanding 50/50 custody is automatically the best. While everyone has similar situations – I.e. Divorce and children- circumstances MUST be considered.

Stop with the excuses of parent alienating! Some parents are trying to protect the children and continue trying to instill morals and character instead of accepting compromise.

If a parent is not willing to act like an adult and owe their own problems, how can set an example?

Example: cheating on your partner is lying, stealing, cheating and abuse – and not only to the partner, which is basically inhuman and criminal. If you think your children should simply accept it’s okay to treat your own family and blood with this type of behavior and accept the new person should become their “new mom or dad” – you have not only set the standard via example that – it’s okay to cheat, lie, steal, abuse others, you have shown them how to compromise and distort without expecting consequences.

It’s like seeing the 6:00 news top story where someone is caught in action robbing a bank screaming “what did I do wrong? It wasn’t me? I’m innoncent”. We all sit and shake our heads thinking how ridiculous – when in reality it’s what society has accepted and compromised.

A child that does not have stability, security and a place to call home is already at a disadvantage. Living out of a suit case week to week with 50 million different sets of rules is confusing enough.

Instead of mothers rights and fathers rights blogs, boards and blasts there should be one called save the children – it’s the next generation after all!

I feel sorry for the situation of your kids Beth. All I can say is that you should keep the door open and ensure that he is able to communicate with them when he wants to. His attitude will probably change.

From a man’s perspective, after the divorce, both parties want to heal and forget about it and move on. However, that process takes a long time. For a man, seeing the child under such constrained circumstances often is a constant reminder of that failure and I can see that it helps the healing process in a selfish way to give up and walk away. When I was engaged with the system, I was consumed with rage and hatred for my ex. Now that I’ve walked away and had no contact for several years, I no longer wish that she was dead and I have once more been able to look at photographs of my child and even my ex-wife without the same degree of emotional turmoil. I personally would re-engage with my ex and the child at this point, if she were to let me, so I would just recommend that you keep the door open. I think many men experience that sort of journey.

I feel so bad for the Dad’s trying. I have an ex that just doesn’t try at all. Won’t call them, misses visits. I’ve even gone as far as driving both ways so that he will see them. We’ve been back to court to try mediation asking him to parent. Nothing works. I’m open to advice if any one has anything constructive. I hate it that he doesn’t show up to anything even when I send him information weeks in advance. The looks on their faces kill me. I keep telling him they will only have one Dad. They’re getting older and starting to treat him like they have been treated. I am at a loss as to what to do.

I had a good long-distance relationship with my daughter initially after my divorce. But once I got involved in another relationship, the ex became bitter, nasty, and vowed to make sure ‘the karma that is due to you comes to bear’ (exact quote. Funny how she didnt think that when reconciliation was still on the table). Once there was someone else, everything I did was wrong and my ex fed my daughters feelings about the divorce. I was to blane for absolutely everything, with none of the reasons for the divorce falling on my ex. Tens of thousands of dollars on court and travel but any progress made in the time with my daughter was undermined the moment she walked back in the house with my ex. It felt like emptying the ocean with a teaspoon while my ex stood with a garden hose refilling it. Worst part? I’m now being accused of being the worst kind of Father: the one who chooses a woman over his kid. Trying to guilt me into ending this relationship with the hope of things possibly getting better. Not falling into that trap from a manipulative, narsicistic ex. Choosing to be happy and praying one day my child will undertsand. But the ex still gets to cash the checks every othet week. “When a fathers money is demanded but his presence is refused, the Family Court system has failed”

This is Parental Alienation. It’s horrible and heart wrenching and it happens to both mothers and fathers. It is happening to me right this moment. Most of the courts and a good percentage of therapists do not recognize PA. Normally there is no reason for this, the alienating parent is a narcissist and just wants to hurt the other parent.

Yes. There was no point in discussing parental alienation with the court. It made no difference in my case and I have zero interest in engaging with the corrupt legal system further. I agree with the above posters that the family court is at fault. The presumption that a man can adequately parent with a couple of weekends contact time per month is at fault. And the game-playing by women and their attorneys around claims of domestic violence is also at fault. I know four other divorced men, all professionals and decent people. They were all subject to orders of protection because their ex-wives claimed that they were ‘afraid for their safety’. My ex-wife tried the same gambit. The problem with the domestic violence laws is that the standard of proof is too low. The woman does not need to show injury, or a record of her husband’s arrest or indeed any proof at all. She merely needs to claim that she is ‘afraid for her safety’ and the court is likely to grant an order of protection. This has impact on the relationship with the child – in my case I was forced to video record hand-overs to defend against claims that I had spoken to her, I was forced to drop the child off fifty feet away and watch him walk across the no-mans land between my ex and I, and I was forced to constantly be on my guard against false abuse accusations. There is something deeply sick with the family court system.

This isn’t even a gender issue…this is a Family Court Issue. Our family court system is failing all of us. But especially our children. Not every case makes sense to go 50/50. I wish it were that easy. Abuse is real. Alienation is real. It can come from either the mother or the father. The family court system itself needs a complete overhaul. And it starts with looking at what is best for the children. Not what is best for the mother or father. And if domestic abuse or other types of abuse are brought up…all evidence should be looked at. The Family Court mediator said to me “Our red line for abuse is when a parent basically beats a child to death”. Domestic violence was not even accounted for. Even with a 911 phone call with my 10 year old son calling in a panic asking for help for his mother. The female judge told my lawyer while he was holding the CD of the dispatched recording…”David, I don’t want to hear it!”

Well said and shame on that judge, that’s a disgrace….you and your son probably suffered hundreds of incidents before ever finally calling 911…

My boyfriend has been the victim of this twice. His daughter who is 6 we haven’t seen in over a year. Even before that he caught 3 years in court for rights because she fiscally claimed he beat her which was far from true. His sons mother refused to let him see his son for almost two years after the spilt unless it was supervised by her. He refused because she knew the toxicity of their break up was not good for his son to see. Now he basically has no contact with his daughter and we don’t have the financial means to fight her for contempt of their court order. And his son was so young when him and his ex split he has pretty much no relationship with him. We tried but the mother was so controlling down to how often we were to change his diaper. Mind you he’s a 3 year old, She doesn’t even try to potty train, we think he’s autistic and she won’t get him help and the child has no discipline and is out of control. She can’t get anyone to baby sit him because he’s out of control. We try but we have a disabled son and an adhd daughter and this kid is almost more work than the two we have full time. We asked her to get him some help and she won’t so we stopped contact. All situations are different. I know he is looked at like the dead beat dad but he caught for his kids and both crazy ex girlfriends were vindictive and used the children against him. Even if one did have a change of heart it was to late by time she did he had no bind with him by then.

I beg every other weekend for my ex to show up for the kids. Send him game schedules. I understand it is not easy and his guilt of breaking the family is huge. Alcoholism. Even the best of people with the potential to be even great weekend dads is harmed by the struggle of the feeling of failure.

I think I’m fortunate from the male standpoint that my wife basically was forced to give me the kids because she knows she will get destroyed in court. There are no words to describe the hell our relationship has been the past 4 years because of her drug addiction. Even our daughter was born addicted because of her.

However there is still a human being there that is broken. I’ve tried many days thinking the courts were still going to find a way to ruin me. I was the single breadwinner and a health care professional who provided everything and some and it wasn’t good enough to keep the marriage together and her to be able to find coping skills for her problems. She just stopped coming home one day and I found out from my 5 year old that she was playing “kisses” with another guy. Awesome huh?

We just went to mediation and she practically gave me everything. I feel bad for my kids. She fits the stereotype of the dead beat parent who has a son who asks where she is and every day I take him off the school bus, his sadness crushes my soul. I’ve run out of excuses. To make matters worse he has high functioning autism.

I had so much anxiety because of the thoughts of the sexist courts ruining my relationship with my kids and her ability to be “rewarded” with high amounts of alimony and child support for her bad behavior. While the order hasn’t been signed yet, I’m still elated that she and I agreed on everything in my favor. I will be nervous until the day it gets signed by a judge which is hopefully soon. The anxiety has been so bad I had to admit myself to the ER twice for heart issues.

Society says a man should be there but then literally destroys him and takes away all self worth and dignity all the while often the ex parades around with her trophies(s) and money and everything else. They want to talk about the idea of gender inequality? How about instead of modern day vitriolic man hating feminism, we at least throw the idea out that the family court system is blindly exist and needs to be addressed. Remember its all about the kids, right? Or was it ever….

Why are you so mad, in your situation everything is as it should be. You are getting everything including your kids. Your druggie ex nothing.
You’re mad at women who are in your shoes getting justice for their children through the courts why?
Ironic you accuse women and courts of man hating when your comments are filled with hate and over generalization of women….sad for you…

Divorce is aweful. Its isolating and it’s violating, it’s degrading. Some one has initiated the break up of a family and that’s something that shouldn’t be entered lightly. Once again, healing has to take place. Whethee its abuse, cheating, disrespect any and all of those things bring pain to both parties. Then one party decides I dont want to deal with the disappointment and hurt I’ve created, so lets just go our own way. More than likely, divorce isn’t what the other party wanted and more thsn likely, one parties feelings are not being addressed. Bring kids into and you’re expected to floas over the fact that your family has fallen apart and the dynamic of your partnership, family is about to change. Kids will be shipped back and forth, and depending on the ages and what they were exposed to, as adults and parents, you are supposed to teach them resilliance and compassion and love. Jumping into a peaceful place is a lie and unrealistic.
Therr has to be open dialogue and honesty. If you were wrong, say that. If you don’t think you were, listen to why your partner feels that way. Once disrespecting starts, men and women, kiss your kids goodbye. You will lose the first thing offering them solice and love. We have to be more responsible for each other, even in a separation.

Its easier for a man to walk away. They haven’t had someone growing inside of them for 9 months. They dont go through hormonal, physical, psychological, and chemical changes.
The reality is men and women are very different. Their biological make up is even different. Men should be empathetic to the loss a woman feels when having to part from her kids as women should be empathetic to men who are no longer around their children daily. But healing has to take place to get both parties to a place of piece and that opportunity isn’t given, well get ready for a fight.

Hammer, nail and head comes to mind when reading this article. My children have been turned into their mother’s puppets for the purpose of reeking anger and hatred.
I too had to take the decision to turn my back as things were only getting worse and never getting better or easier. Emails that would go on forever but actually have no point or purpose. Threats of court action (to which i hoped would happen to prove a point). Never a dad to child conversation allowed. Even one time I was told my daughter was in hospital when she was in fact at home, upon entering the house I was locked in and not allowed to leave and even given a coffee made with the ex wifes urine in it……
The last phone call was scripted by the ex with the children saying they were alone knowing that they were on speaker phone and being told what to say…. how many 13 year olds want to discuss financial matters with their dad?
I’m sure this has given the banshee a reason to spin more untruths to gain the support of the children and her clique but for being one who will no longer fight her war of words and unrealistic demands and strange behaivour I took the decission to wash my hands and let them lead what ever life they choose and make for themselves.
When people say in conversation that one day it will be all good with the children again…. I say to myself ‘i doubt it’ and to be honset with all the violence and threats toward myself and now partner would I ever want any involvement again?
My life has moved on, I can honestly say I am the happiest I have been for 20 years. I certainly am not any richer…. just a whole lot happier!

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