Lack of Fairness for NJ Fathers
- July 5, 2012
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In a recent case, DYFS failed to make a finding of abuse and neglect against a mother who left children with relatives for 3 days, had 2 positive marijuana screens within a week and was temporarily homeless. Although termination of this woman’s rights would result in the 3 year old child becoming a ward of the State’s foster care system rather than simply having custody turned over to a fit parent, the underlying lesson is the strength of the mother’s right to parent. Contrast the above situation, where courts routinely find seemingly unfit mothers fit while fathers are frequently disgruntled with judges decisions denying them reasonable custody and parenting time. Fathers find, after enjoying parenting time on an equal or greater basis with a spouse for years, divorce renders them unable to enjoy parenting time with their children more than every other weekend and one night a week for a short dinner before returning the children for homework and bathing as if the father never helped with homework or bathed the children. These same dads often turn to the internet during the course of their divorce matter as they are handed settlement agreements, meet with parenting coordinators and the like which repeatedly advise them of how infrequently they will see their children. Internet searches typically lead them to hundreds of stories just like theirs- dads showing no signs of unfitness to parent being stripped of their rights to parent by an antiquated system. The current custody and parenting statutes in New Jersey do not favor gender. Men and women have less disparity between earnings, with the woman sometimes earning more. Men often spend an equal or greater amount of time parenting the children. Geographical proximity, parent’s employment responsibilities and continuity of the children’s education are often equal or the balance swings toward the father. Why then do father’s so often find themselves working 2 jobs to pay child support to a former spouse who has battled to prevent them from seeing their children? For more information on child custody, parenting time, support, post-judgment modification, divorce, civil union dissolution, alimony, domestic violence and other family law matters in New Jersey visit HeatherDarlingLawyer.com.