Fathers, married to the Mothers or not, have an ability to legally assert their rights. It is always better, in general, for a child to have two (2) parents instead of one, and the court will do what they can to make this happen. A Father who has essentially disappeared from your child’s life for years, can he come back into that child’s life and ask to have contact? Yes, he can. Will it be equal contact? Likely no, but every case has their own set of facts, and these decisions are fact based. You cannot compare what happened in your friend’s or family’s case, as the facts are different. They do not always tell you EVERYTHING that happened in their case, and what they tell you is from their perspective, which may be different from the legal perspective. Different states have different laws as well, and that can also affect the outcome.
Chances are if a father has been absent from a child’s life for years, you already have a routine that the child is used to, but children are resilient, more resilient than adults. A child, if he or she verbalizes it or not, wonders why their Father left them, why their father does not love them, why their father does not like them, when they are out of the picture. You do not want your child growing up thinking these things about themselves? These feelings can stay with them, even when they are an adult. It is common to hear Fathers state “my father was not there for me, so I want to be there for my kid.” This is a sad cycle that should and could be broken if the Mother understands that a child really does need his/her father in their lives. Are you married to a “better role model” now? While that is possible, knowing your Father wants to be around, is a feeling that is super important to most children.
Of course, there is an exception to every situation. Some Fathers can be dangerous, and disturbing to a child’s life, that is true. Believe it or not, children love their Fathers even if they are the type that you consider to be a “dead beat.” Let us not lose sight of the fact that the tables can turn too, and it can be the Mother that disappears and it is the Father that takes the role as primary parent and is concerned about the Mother coming back into the child’s life.
If you need assistance in determining what is legally best, and how to protect your child(ren) while still fostering a relationship with the other parent you should hire legal counsel with experience with these types of situations, and a therapist or counselor for the minor child. At Schwam-Wilcox & Associates, we have experience with these complex issues, and can assist you in evaluating your case and what is best for your child(ren) that can be met with the legal possibilities.