Divorced parents know that having to divide the time they spend with their children is one of the most difficult aspects of ending a marriage. The transition from seeing one's children every day to every other weekend can be especially hard for non-custodial parents. Not only do they miss their children terribly, but parents may not trust the guidance and judgment of the other parent. (This may or may not be justified, but the feelings are virtually the same.)
How a parent chooses to deal with these feelings can have a significant impact on the parent-child relationship. Parents who bad-mouth each other to their children aren't doing themselves or their sons and daughters any favors: Children may begin to feel guilty, sad and confused over their relationships with their parents, and may lose trust in both of them.
Some parents even go beyond hurtful words and resort to unlawful actions, further poisoning their relationships with their children. For example, they may disobey child custody agreements out of the belief that the children are better off with them. Parents should realize that this constitutes child abduction, and the consequences are serious.
A man who recently failed to return his 8- and 9-year-old sons to his ex-wife is facing these consequences after being arrested in Austin, Texas, in December. The 48-year-old Georgia father was charged with two counts of interfering with child custody after crossing state lines with the boys. Investigators said the man had planned to take his boys from their mother, having liquidated his IRA and withdrawn money from several other accounts weeks before the visit. Police learned that while he was with the boys he replaced his phone and his car, presumably so he couldn't be tracked. But an AMBER Alert was issued and the three were found after a hotel clerk reported their whereabouts.
In trying to gain all the time he wanted with his sons, the man has destroyed the visitation rights he once had -- a crushing disappointment for both him and his sons. A much better legal alternative would have been to request more time with his children, possibly with the help of a family law attorney who could facilitate a reasonable negotiation with the boys' mother. Now, however, it appears to be far too late.
Source: 11Alive.com, "Roswell dad gets bond after AMBER Alert involving sons," Duffie Dixon, Feb. 12, 2013
- Our firm works with Texas parents on child custody issues and other family law matters. To learn more about our practice, visit our Dallas child custody page.