This one is a pop fly: during the Little League season, one mother is worried that her ex-husband makes their son nervous during the games. Under Little League rules this is the last year their son, who is turning 13, can compete. Mom thinks that Dad puts too much pressure on him.
She asks: “If my son is with me that weekend, and he is playing baseball, does my ex have a right to be there, even though it isn’t his weekend?"
Terry Ross, a partner at Silberberg & Ross, LLP in California, says, “Yes, by all means.
The father is allowed to attend a child's events. It shows that he is trying to share in the responsibility of raising the child.”
Ms. Ross added, "Normally the only time a parent is not allowed to attend such events is if there is a restraining order against them." but that is in extreme cases.
David Young, a former Circuit Judge in Miami-Dade County, concurred: “Unless there is a ‘stay away order,’ parents are encouraged to attend their children's events, as it shows interest in the child's upbringing.’’ A stay-away order, it needn’t be said, does not involve a father making a child nervous and putting pressure on him. It’s for serious threats or dangers to the child.
Believe us, it’s not unusual for a father to make a son nervous. And, possibly, you may be the one making your son nervous; has he overheard you saying things about not wanting his father to be there?
Remember also that your son is no doubt putting plenty of pressure on himself; he wants to please you both.
But, if your ex show ups and makes a scene, running out on the field, screaming at the referees, and misbehaving in general — more than the other dads — that’s another matter.
If he does, he should be strongly discouraged from attending. Nervous is one thing, embarrassed is another.
You and your husband should talk about it together, when your son is not present, or consult with a mediator or counselor. You might even ask the coach to say something, gently, to your ex. It’s best if the issue can be resolved peacefully. If his behavior is really unspeakable, and he won’t stop turning up, this is the kind of thing that could end up in court.
The bright spot: this is your son’s last year in Little League. Make peace with the father.
If this is your biggest complaint, congratulations: you are having a wonderful divorce.
Click the following to return a directory of articles and resource videos on Kids, Family and Divorce.