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Thyden Gross and Callahan LLPCounselors and Attorneys at Law

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FATHERS’ RIGHTS
NOT JUST EVERY OTHER WEEKEND

This is about fathers' rights law, and protecting the best interests of your children. It provides information, news and comments on laws, cases and strategies for life as a single father and winning your custody, access or child support case.

Archive for August, 2012

Custody Fight Over Toddler Dressed Like Dolly Parton

Friday, August 24th, 2012

In a child custody battle in Kentucky, Bill Verst is seeking custody of his six year old daughter, Madisyn “Maddy” Verst, from her mother Lindsay Jackson.

He says he should have primary custody because the mother dressed in inappropriate outfits, namely a Dolly Parton outfit and a police officer outfit, for an episode of Toddlers & Tiaras.  Maddy was on the cover of People Magazine with the headline, “Gone Too Far?”.

The court-appointed psychologist agrees recommends residential custody with the father as a result of the child’s participation in beauty pageants.  The next hearing is August 31.

The mother told reporters, “If Maddy needs to live with her dad because she does pageants with me, then that opens the door for any parent to challenge anybody on activity that a kid does, period.”

“We could really open up Pandora’s Box to set a precedent all over the world. What if years ago Gabby Douglas’ father said, ‘She’s not going to be a gymnast. She’s not going to move away from home and practice gymnastics because I won’t allow it,’ and he and Gabby’s mother got into a fight? We wouldn’t have gold medal winners, we wouldn’t have Miss America, we wouldn’t have Miss USA,” Jackson said.

Why I Ask Parents to Bring Pictures of the Children to Mediation

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Children are the highest stakes in a custody battle.  People fighting over the children will frequently engage in hostile, angry and vengeful behavior against each other.  Emotion overwhelms judgment.

When I mediate child custody cases, I ask each party to bring pictures of their children to the mediation session.  Then we tape them to the wall or prop them up against some books in the middle of the conference table.

Whenever a party veers off on a tangent or a rant about something, I let them calm down, then I point to the pictures and say, “Remember why we’re here.  It’s all about your children.  Let’s figure out what’s best for them.”

This usually focuses everyone’s attention back on solving problems rather than fighting about them.

Co-Parenting Improves After Divorce

Monday, August 20th, 2012

University of Missouri Professor Marilyn Coleman and Dr. Mindy Markham interviewed 20 women who shared physical custody of children with ex-partners.  Half of the women reported amicable relationships with their ex’s.  The other half reported combative relationships in the beginning that improved over time.

“To me, it’s almost as if the parents in the bad-to-better relationships matured,” Coleman said. “Mostly, it’s because the parents began focusing on their children. The parents saw how upset their arguments made their kids, so they decided to put their differences aside and focus on what was best for the children.”

“The goal for divorced parents should be to maintain the best co-parenting relationships possible by moving past prior relationship issues and focusing on children’s well-being,” Coleman said.

Although the sample was small, the result reflects my own experience as a divorce lawyer.  Once the stress and fighting between spouses is resolved by agreement or trial, the parties can then calm down and focus on their children.

Read more.

Quote of the Day

Friday, August 17th, 2012

“We never know the love of our parents for us until we have become parents.”

— Henry Ward Beecher

50 Rules

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

I found 50 Rules for Dads with Daughters by Michael Mitchell on Pinterest.

Then I found 25 Rules for Moms with Sons by Tabitha Studer on Twitter.

Both have excellent ideas for parents with children no matter which gender.

Mother’s Feelings Not Enough to Deny Father’s Visitation

Monday, August 13th, 2012

In England, a family judge found that a mother would be unable to cope with the father seeing their two daughters, ages nine and six after she broke down in court and said the thought of it made her feel exhausted.  A psychologist supported her view but the court appointed child advocate disagreed.  The judge banned the father from having any direct contact with his children, except for cards, letters and gifts once a month.

The father’s lawyers appealed the judge’s decision, saying it had been based on a momentary display of emotion from the mother in the witness box.

The Court overturned the family judge’s order, acknowledging that it was “a very big ask” for the mother to accept that her children’s best interests lay in having two parents, not just one.  “Where, however, it is plainly in the best interests of a child to spend time with the other parent then, tough or not, part of the responsibility of the parent with care must be the duty and responsibility to deliver what the child needs, hard though that may be.”

The court urged all separated parents to see the bigger picture and consider the harm that legal disputes cause children.  It said mothers and fathers had a responsibility and a duty to help children maintain contact with the other parent.

Source: Article by Tim Ross, Political Correspondent, The Telegraph

 
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