Losing The Custody Battle

mikayla41Nothing is more noble than the job of the single parent.  Yes, there are very noble things in this world.  There are firemen who enter burning buildings.  There are astronauts who travel into space.  And there are passionate activists in this world who might leave a cushy life to go build homes in a third world country.

But, being a single parent is the most noble of them all.  Moms come to mind more often than fathers do when we mention single parents and single parenting.  But, fathers are single parents as well.  In custody battles, when we lose, we don’t lose the fact that we are still a parent to a wonderful child who needs us.

I have listened to fathers when they tell me how they lost the custody battle.  Some of those fathers react in a way that hurts the child.  They want to teach their ex a lesson.  So, they leave all of the responsibility on the mother.  Hence, mothers have every reason to feel the way they do. 

When a man doesn’t pay child support out of spite, it is not the mother they hurt but their child.  When they don’t come around because they can’t bring themselves to face their ex, it’s not their ex they are hurting but their child.

When I went through my custody battle with my ex, it was hard.  It was twisted.  I harbored negative feelings for a long time.  But, I never forgot that a wonderful daughter was held in the balance, caught in the middle, and didn’t ask for any of it.

mikayla12I put my feelings aside when I was going to pick my daughter up for a weekend.  I was going to be spending time with my daughter and that’s all the mattered, not that I had to have contact with my ex, not anything that I had gone through or harbored ill feelings over, but that I was picking up my daughter and that was it!

I have talked to fathers when they say that they lost their custody battles. They tell me they shouldn’t have lost.  They tell me the ex lied. They give me all the excuses in the book and they hate the outcome.

Custody battles are never good.  The fact that you are even in a custody battle means that things are not good. Does the child want their parents to be divorced?  Does the child want their parents to be apart?  Does the child want to have to go between parents rather than just spend time with both of them?  The answer to all of these questions is no.  But, it’s being forced on them. So, deal with the outcome because it could have been a whole lot worse.

hubpagefatherI have talked to fathers who lost their custody battles.  For whatever reason, they dipped into depressions and went through stages in their lives that they wish they could take back.  They lost custody.  But, they lost more than that!  They were put on supervised visitation.  They were given a few hours a week, but they couldn’t just take their child and go somewhere.  They were supervised.

It could be even worse!  Another thing to think about is that if a custody arrangement isn’t in place, whichever parent has the child is the parent who has the child.  What that means is that if you are the father and you want your child, but the mother is denying you visitation, there’s nothing you can do about it. If you call the police to get it sorted out and think you are walking away with your child, you are sadly mistaken. They cannot intervene.  They won’t be able to do anything for anyone until there is a custody arrangement in place.

So, I have talked to fathers who say they have lost their custody battles and I just smile.  Yes, it’s a hard battle to go through.  But, mine is over and it has been for years.  I was given weekends, holidays and weeks in the summer.  When I say I was given them, I look at it as a blessing.  Because I didn’t lose the custody battle.  I won!

beach2011The times I spend with my daughter are priceless.  The times we spend apart sometimes seem like cruel and unusual punishment. So, we made the best of it.  We made our times together so special that those memories were strong enough to carry us through. Years later, my daughter is just fine.

My ex and I get along just fine. We talk. We actually ate dinner the other night, her husband and I had a drink together.  You might be thinking to yourself that you will never have a drink with your ex’s husband.  There was a time when I thought that myself.  But, I have taken the higher road in all of this.  I took that road for my daughter who if you remember, is all that has ever mattered.

Because of that, I am rewarded.  My daughter comes to visit in the summer, sometimes all summer long.  My daughter sometimes asks for additional weekends throughout the year.  She has made it a rule that she spends fathers day and my birthday with me every year.

I didn’t lose my daughter.  I won!


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Michael Allen is the author of the newly released novel The Deeper Dark - When Haven Kayd returns home after being a POW for years, he returns to a world that has moved on without him. As he's playing catchup, the truth comes out about a scheme he was unknowingly the poster boy for and he learns about a hidden world that threatens everything he cares about. Available now at Amazon!

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The Deeper Dark

the deeper darkMichael Allen’s latest novel…

The Deeper Dark is the story of a fighter pilot who spends a few years in a POW camp. When he returns to civilization, he realizes how much has changed as life just seemed to move on without him. His wife remarried and his daughter learned how to grow up without her father around. When he finds out there’s more to the story the day his jet went down, he finds himself in the middle of unimaginable corruption. Trying to keep their secrets hidden, his invisible enemies threaten the one person he has left in this world. But they have no idea how far he’s willing to go to save her life.

Available in print and on Kindle: The Deeper Dark