Our grandmothers were homemakers. They cooked, cleaned and cared for children. Men worked. After a long day men sat down, put their feet up and read the paper. They watched the news and played golf on Saturdays.
Our parents’ generation was different. Many women went to work. Still, they had a larger share of the responsibility in the family home. After work, many women would cook, clean and care for children while men watched the news and played golf on Saturdays.
Things have changed. Many women work just as hard as men do in order to provide for their families. Many of today's fathers take on a different role, as well.
As fathers today, we get our kids up, get them dressed and get them to school. We read stories, find lost teddy bears and kiss boo-boos. We go to soccer games, practices and clinics. We talk, and we listen. We hug, snuggle and kiss. We examine report cards and participate in parent-teacher conferences. We praise. We discipline. We inform about the dangers of strangers, cars and rattlesnakes. We regulate the consumption of broccoli and frozen yogurt. We race across grocery stores whispering words of encouragement in search of potties. We are not perfect, but we are there. We are involved. We are trying. We are parents.
Everyone knows how important mothers are in the lives of their children. Our firm belief is that fathers are important, as well. Yet, in a divorce we are forgotten. The mother gets primary custody. The father gets limited visitation. We can see our children every other week-end, half of holidays and a couple of weeks out of the summer.
This is so not because of bad law. The law gives no presumption to the value of either parent. This is so because the courts sometimes have misconceptions about a father's level of our involvement. Some judges may not have accurate information about what happens in our homes.
Identifying injustice is the easy part. What can we do about it?
We can prove it. We can use technology, creativity and diligence to prove to our judges that we have positive relationships with our children. We can show that our children deserve to have real relationships with their fathers. We can demonstrate that real relationships require adequate access. We stand up for our rights, for our access and for our children. The good news is that our local judges are smart, knowledgeable, fair and wise. In our experience, they are receptive to this information and will make custodial decisions that reflect our level of involvement and participation.