North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

June 20, 2013

Your Views: Good dads are often left on outside looking in

North Jefferson News

COMMENTARY — To the North Jefferson News editor:

I just got done reading your Father’s day editorial, and while I agree with every word you wrote, Father’s Day, and even Mother’s Day are difficult days for me for different reasons.

First off, let me explain that I am a twice divorced man with one son from each marriage.

I am a good dad. But because I am male, there was never any discussion of who should get primary custody of my children. It is/was automatically assumed that the mothers would have primary custody. So my role as a father is diminished to sending child support and spending four days per month (standard weekend visitation) with my sons. While I do my best in that short period of time, and I call my sons every day, there is no way for the millions of dads in this country who are in the same situation to be what we need to be. We simply are not allowed to be real dads. We are turned into paychecks and baby-sitters instead of dads.

All we ever hear about is deadbeat dads, but we never hear about how the mothers alienate their children from their dads. We never hear about the women who live on child support checks while the dads barely make it from paycheck to paycheck.

Until our antiquated court systems are changed and they actually consider what is best for the child, dads and kids will not get a fair shake. In my opinion, joint custody should be assumed barring any unusual circumstances. Kids should be allowed and encouraged to spend equal time with both parents.

Please understand, I don’t have an issue with supporting my children. I have an issue with being their sole support and only getting four days per month of visitation. I have an issue with some judge telling me that just because I am a man I am not a good enough parent to raise my children at least 50 percent of the time. I have a real issue in that DHR has a child support enforcement division and if I stop sending child support checks every month the state will come after me, but DHR does not have a child visitation enforcement division.

One day, someone needs to editorialize about the good dads who are on the outside looking in.

Jim Gleason, Kimberly

Gleason's letter is in response is a response to Danielle Cater’s Fathers Day column.