Ghost dads are fathers who disappear from the lives of their children following divorce, according to an article by Sarah Hampson. She says that often the loss of daily contact with their children was so painful, they react by staying away. Other fathers blamed the mothers for alienating the children against them.
“When the father is late, the mother has a choice. She can criticize him and say, ‘Oh, he’s such an irresponsible guy and he cares more about his girlfriend than he does about you.’
Or she can think about what she would say if they were still happily married and she didn’t want to undermine the child’s respect for his father.
She might say, ‘Oh, dad is always late for things. Lots of people are. I wish dad were better at being on time. But he’ll be here soon. Let’s find something to do until he arrives.’ “
— Constance Ahrons, The Good Divorce
The judge has continued the visitation order against Britney Spears for failing to show up at her custody hearing earlier this month.
Law Professor, Joanna Grossman, has written an instructive article on the lessons we can learn from the Spears case. She notes that Spears probably could have won custody, and maybe she could even now, but she continues to shoot herself in the foot. Here are some things not to do if you want to win a custody case.
1. Obey Court Orders. Spears lost access to her two sons last year when she failed to submit to a drug test.
2. Show Up for Court. This month, Spears made it to the courthouse, albeit 4 hours late, but then left abruptly before going into the courtroom. The judge continued the no contact order against her.
3. Behavior Counts. The court will decide who gets custody. The judge will make this decision based on which parent he or she thinks is going to be best for the children. The court will rely on the custody evaluator. If you are involved with drugs or alcohol and party every night, do not expect this to be in your favor.
4. The Judge Decides. Leaving it up to the judge, a stranger, is usually not the best way to get what you want.
5. Listen to Your Lawyer. Britney is on her third law firm and that one has petitioned to be allowed to withdraw from her case. Why pay a lawyer for advice if you are not going to follow it?
6. Custody is Always Modifiable. Britney could still turn this case around. But she has to turn herself around first.