Parenting plan

For the last 6 years I have been allowed to see my son five hours on Tuesday evenings.My ex thinks that’s just great and is steadfast in keeping it that way.

My son and I intend to spend more time together. Can any one out there direct us in finding out what visitation could be, and what parental rights I may have as a non-custodian father in the state of Washington. I am unable to afford the lawyer game so must do the most that I can on my own.

This is from an eight year old court order put on me during a legal separation.The judge at the time told my wife that the order would have to be amended.MY son will be ten on the 15th of august. A letter(drafted by a lawyer we couldn’t afford) was sent two years ago to my ex-wife inviting her to sit with myself and a facilitator to work out a new plan.

The letter was flatly refused by my ex-wife’s lawyer (retained by her mother). The lawyer stated that Patrick and ex-wife are totally capable of working out parenting on their own, and any further court movement would result in Patrick paying court fees and lawyer fees for his ex-wife. I don’t feel I can afford Lawyers but I need to change the exiting order.

Thanks so much.

You’re right

Case law is HUGE and in PA very poorly catalogued. Since custody for fathers is such a rare thing, you may want to start with state supreme court rulings and work down from there. Every state bar association publishes monthly reviews that contain higher court rulings and a summary of the arguments and these have proven to be my best resource.

The rulings are classified by legal branch which means there is a “family” law section. You may want to think about hiring a paralegal or a law student to do the research since they are inexpensive relative to lawyers.

The PA case was decided in 1992. The father and son argued that the custodial mother was failing in her parental duty by not supporting or encouraging the boy’s interests. She never attended any of his sports events (the father never missed one) and had no interest in the cars or sports teams that so captivated the boy.

She was, in short, ignoring his emotional needs and the court determined that the child could decide to live with his father if he wanted to and that no lower court had the authority to over rule the child’s decision.

Sorry – one more thing

A lot of fathers don’t fight for their kids because they are afraid of hurting the kids in some way. Our love for our kids is used against us and what do we know – right?

Psychologists tell us to keep the kids out of it. They are wrong.

I’ve spoken to a lot of adult children of divorce and one of the things that I’ve heard time and again is that the kids wished their fathers had fought for them. This is like payday loans. You don’t want them, but they can save you one day. Sure they get scared by it but most kids want to spend as much time as possible with their dads and they see the fight as a sign of real love. You have to keep them out of the fight, but you have to fight for them. Big difference there and a very fine line.

2 things

1. Florida is now moving toward a joint custody state.

2. Never Ever and I mean NEVER stop fighting. it is as this enlightened father has pointed out the only way that your kids will know how much you care. Admittedly money can get tight but the same govt. agencies that women use to get the fathers out of the picture are available to men.

If the agency that you attempt to utilize is hesitant or refuses cooperation then ask them “how would they feel if their denial of assistance and the reasons for it were to say ..be suddenly broadcast on the local news or in an opinion column of a newspaper?” they might think you are bluffing but I know that there are alot of decent journalists out there who would love to help expose sexism and corruption in govt.

3. Never threaten anyone. if you say your going to the press then by god be prepared to go to them.