I was reading a passionate and painful letter to the editor from a divorced father complaining about the "standard visitation rights" granted him. This dad sees his children every other weekend and every Wednesday night for two hours.
Living two miles away from his ex-wife and their kids, he requested more equal time for visitation. Why did the court decide that visits every other weekend are adequate? Why not every weekend?
Apparently, this guy did not want the divorce and bitterly faults no-fault divorce and the Florida family court system. I strongly support no-fault divorce but that shouldn't preclude reasonable non-custodial parent visitation. It appears that the parents were unable to come to court with a fair visitation agreement, so the judge applied standard visitation rights.
He's correct that visits every other weekend doesn't provide the opportunity to build a meaningful relationship with his kids. School night visits, which usually take place from 6-8 p.m., may interfere with homework or extra-curricular activities. The judge demands that he show "a substantial change in circumstance" to warrant additional visitation time.
This judge is being inflexible and bureaucratic. If he hasn't done anything wrong, this father should be able to make a reasonable request for modification. Children need and want the presence and support of both parents.
If hard feelings and rancor were not present, the split couple should have been able to reach a reasonable and equitable agreement regarding the children. This is an example of the all too common practice of women punishing their ex-husbands, just because they can.
This dad, if he is supporting his children financially, should be allowed to support them with a solid, stable, continuing relationship. Without more information, we can't explore why the mother and court are being hardnosed about additional time for visits. What do you think?