When we think of a ball field, we think of young children joyfully running after a ball and enjoying fresh orange slices at halftime prepared by mom or dad. However, sometimes at these games, it is the young children who act maturely and the parents who act like children.
Visitation and children’s sport – soccer game
Sadly, in a ‘nuclear’ child custody or divorce war in RI Family Court, these same fields in which children blissfully enjoy their childhood are manipulated by the parents, family members and significant others.
These areas are another front in their ongoing, never ending visitation / divorce and custody feud. “These are Custody, Divorce or visitation wars that no one can win and everyone loses, especially the children who can suffer great harm as a result of the war.”
I want to emphasize that over 95 percent of the parents going through divorce and visitation disagreements in Rhode Island Family Court do not act this way. Unfortunately, there are many litigants who behave badly. The events described below are not based on any particular case, but are compilations of real type events that I have seen in over 21 years as a RI child visitation and custody lawyer.
Pickup and Drop off Child Custody Battles:
These soccer, baseball or football events can involve a ‘toxic brew’ of grandparents, parents, cousins, friends, lovers and significant others. All with a story to tell. Many with an ax to grind. And there is always a history. So many backstories that few can understand this tangled web. “However, in high conflict divorces or Child Custody cases sometimes these exchanges can be a real problem.”
Are these all bad people? No. These are all people thrust into a war who cannot see the forest from the trees. They have all become so immersed into this war that they have long lost perspective on what this brouhaha is doing to the children. Shame on them!
At a certain point, it is irrelevant how this all started or who is at fault or who is good and bad. It is not only irrelevant, it is nearly impossible for anyone to decipher who if anyone is on a moral high ground. We all can decipher that this needs to stop and that this is emotionally damaging to the child!
They all need to stop it and put the child first! CUT it out! STOP IT.
No one cares why this is happening. Everyone wants it to stop. EVERYONE HAS STOPPED CARING ABOUT THE EMOTIONAL DAMAGE THIS IS DOING TO THE CHILDREN! Everyone agrees that it is not in the best interest of the child to bear witness to these out of control, ghastly and ugly feuds. However, there is often a compelling lure of a well-timed pot shot, some emotional leverage, protecting the honor of a family member and the need to stand your ground. These lures often outweighs the best interest of the child, as far as these people are concerned.
The child’s playing field becomes a pitched battle with the parents and third parties
The games should be on the field but sometimes the game playing is on the sideline. The child’s playing field becomes a pitched battle in which third parties amass at the borders and can insert themselves into the custodial feud between mom and dad.
Grandma and Grandpa have heard endless stories about how their son’s ex is screwing over the father of the child and how crazy she is. She is “greedy” and “nuts” and wastes her child support on “partying” at least according to dad. The ball field will be their opportunity to get their two cents in, make their voice heard and show that they are fully supporting their son (the father of the children).
Unfortunately lost in all of this is the affect this feud is having on the young children!
And then there is the new girlfriend. She has heard all the “crazy bitch” stories and the ‘abusive ex’ complaints. Perhaps, she is still jealous or wants to protect her turf. This is her guy now! Unfortunately, neither parent is mature or savvy enough to call off the dogs and tell these third parties to stand down, stay away and not get involved in the visitation disagreements.
Troops have amassed at the borders and the battles are about to begin. The most common spats:
(1) ‘The stay away from the child, it is my time dispute’– It’s Saturday morning and it’s dad’s visitation weekend. Dad is bitter that he only has visitation every other weekend and Thursday evening for a few hours. After all, he lost the divorce court hearing in Providence Family Court a few years ago asking for an additional overnight during the school week. Dad wants to protect his time!
Mom is really proud that junior scored the big goal in the midget league finale. She wants to go give him a big hug and get some pictures for Facebook and Instagram of her pride and joy. She wants to enjoy this moment with her new love of her life Frank and their new toddler Frank JR.
Frank was the same guy who she cheated with and lead to the downfall of the marriage
Frank was the same guy who she cheated with and lead to the downfall of the marriage. Dad thinks he is a bad influence on Junior. Father sees this little song and dance and he is seething. This is his parenting time! This is the little time that he gets. That “bitch” and “sl-t” is impinging on his time! Dad gives the tacit go ahead to grandma who has been waiting for months to get in a clean jab towards ‘that’ woman.
Grandma approaches the mother of the child, while the child is present and yells “stay away from this kid it is my son’s time. If you had spent more time with your family and less time cheating…” .
LIGHTS Camera ACTION!
Mom screams back “he’s a deadbeat dad!”. Dad comes flying over and yells loudly that “he is a home wrecker…and I am gonna mess him up.” Frank bangs his chest against the father and yells ” You wanta go tough guy”
Dad calls the police to protect himself. However, the police arrest him in front of the child. Mom runs into court with her Rhode Island child custody attorney and gets a restraining order the next day. The police allege he instigated the feud by running over aggressively. Dad protests claiming that he was wrongly arrested and prepares his revenge for the next opportunity. His family is fuming. Dad stops paying child support to teach mom a lesson. Mom and her Rhode Island child custody attorney prep a motion to to hold the father in willful contempt. This is an endless cycle.
“Child Support Receipt: Of the 6.9 million custodial parents with child support agreements or awards, 5.9 million (85.3 percent) were due child support payments in 2009. The remaining 1.0 million custodial parents with child support agreements or awards were not due child support payments because either the child(ren) was too old, the noncustodial parent had died, the family lived together part of the year before the interview, or some other reason.” Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009 Consumer Income Issued December 2011, P60-240 Current Population Reports By Timothy S. Grall, http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p60-240.pdf