Florida fathers, whether married or unmarried, enjoy a more level playing field than ever before when it comes to their rights related to exercising their parenting right.
The ball may not have advanced down field as much as might be desired, but there are positive trends evident. It is possible to defend your rights and your interests in fostering positive father-child bonds. Working with an attorney dedicated to obtaining the best possible child custody outcome or visitation arrangement is always advised.
Of course, there can always be glitches -- even in victory -- if orders supporting a father's rights aren't enforced. One British man's story serves as an example.
According to the Daily Mail, this man has a 14-year-old daughter he has been kept from seeing for 12 years. That's despite the fact that family courts have issued 82 separate orders granting him visitation rights. The father observes that his daughter's childhood, and their relationship, are both slipping away.
The child was born in 1999. Considering that the story refers to the parents as former partners rather than ex-spouses we assume they didn't marry. They separated when the child was almost 2.
Over the course of years of litigation, the father has argued that the mother has done all she could to prevent him from forming a relationship with the girl. The courts have agreed. An appeals court went so far as to find three months ago that the mother has significant mental health issues and that the father's character is unimpeachable.
Despite that, hearings before seven judges, and the 82 orders for contact, the father has been left stymied. It's not clear from the story why.
Last month, the man's latest effort started and immediately stalled over disagreements over what psychologists should be consulted. The judge says he knows it's not what the appeals court expects, but that he sees no other option.
Meanwhile, there is widespread acknowledgment that the girl's childhood has been "irredeemably marred" by the system's failure.
Source: Daily Mail, "Father with no rights: Mother stops him seeing daughter for 12 YEARS - despite 82 court orders demanding she back down," Ben Spencer, Dec. 8, 2013