Robin Rivers has posted an interview on OurBigEarth.com with Calvin Sandborn, lawyer and author of The Kind Father.

Sandborn says that we learn to talk to ourselves in our heads with the same voice that we learned from our father.  In trying to teach children to be successful and assert control or power over others, the traditional father addresses his son from a height and treats him harshly.  (“Show him you’re boss!” “Suck it up!” “Don’t be a wuss!”)

The son uses the same voice that his father did when talking to himself.  As a result, the son’s inner life becomes a harsh place.  He tortures himself with cruel self-talk, has contempt for himself and then transfers that contempt to those around him.

The answer, says Sandborn, is to begin to treat yourself compassionately.  Banish the Harsh Father in your self-talk.  Speak daily to yourself with kind and encouraging words.  If you can do this, then you can become your own Kind Father and have more compassionate relationships with your children and others around you.

The legal standard in deciding who will get custody is what is in the best interest of the children. Every judge sees it differently.  If the judge’s father abandoned his family and the judge’s mother slaved day and night to help her son through law school, then the judge will have a hard time understanding why a father should have custody.  The mother does not have an automatic edge in litigation.  The fathers win in at least half of the litigated cases.

There are also certain doctrines and presumptions (but not inflexible rules or requirements) which aid the court in determining the best interest of the child:

Parental rights, Parents must be shown to be unfit before the children will be given to someone else, such as grandparents.

Continuity of placement. If children are doing well where they are, do not mess things up by moving them.

Children’s preference. A judge will consider who the children want to live with. The judge may talk to the child in private and may talk to a child younger than fourteen years of age. The judge is not bound by what the child wants.

Other. The court can consider the custodian’s age, health, wealth, religious beliefs, conduct, type of home, psychological evaluations; the location of the residences of the child’s siblings; the child’s school performance; or anything else the court considers important.

The Father Life, an e-magazine for dads, is giving away Iron Man books and a $100 Hanes gift certificate on April 1, 2010.

When her estranged husband Joseph Reyes had their 3-year-old daughter baptized in the Catholic Church without telling her, Rebecca Shapiro of Chicago filed for temporary restraining order.  She claimed that this could result in harm to the child.

A family law judge issued the order prohibiting Reyes from “exposing his daughter to any other religion other than the Jewish religion during his visitation” for 30 days.  Reyes defied the court order and took his daughter to a Chicago church with news cameras rolling.  Shapiro asked the court to find him in contempt and sentence him to jail for up to six months.

Father’s rights lawyers will be watching this case because the father contends that a court shouldn’t be deciding a child’s religious practices.

“I have found that the best way to give advice to your children is to find out what they want and then advise them to do it.” – Harry S. Truman

Lisa Belkin of the New York Times Magazine writes that more fathers are getting custody in divorces.

“There are now 2.2 million divorced women in the United States who do not have primary physical custody of their children,” she says, “and an estimated 50 percent of fathers who seek such custody in a disputed divorce are granted it.”

She attributes some of this to the recession.  More men are being laid off than women, and for the first time in history, women are about to outnumber men in the American workforce.

She predicts that the percentage of fathers with primary custody will likely increase, as social views about parenting continue to change.

Asserting Father’s Rights

Does your ex hinder your father’s rights by alienating  the children from you when they are with her?  Here’s an example of a provision that should be in your Parenting Plan to prevent that.

“Each parent (and any subsequent spouse) will refrain from exercising undue influence over the child with regard to the other parent, criticizing the other parent in the presence of the child, inducing the child to challenge the authority of the other parent, or encouraging the child to request a change of custody or to resist visitation. Neither parent will interrogate the child about the other parent.”

How to Protect Your Fathers’s Rights and Mother’s Rights at a Deposition

A deposition is part of the discovery process in a custody trial.  Your spouse’s lawyer gets to ask you a lot of questions, some rude or embarrassing, at his or her office, in front of a stenographer who is taking everything down to be used against you at trial.  You are in the hot seat and it may take all day.

The lawyer has usually done this hundreds of times and knows a lot of tricks, trips and traps.  And the lawyer gets to ask the questions.  You have to answer them.

Here is the number one thing I tell my clients before their deposition.  Repeat the question in the form of a declaration, pause, and finish the sentence.  Put a period at the end of it and then stop talking.  Wait for the next question.

So the lawyer asks, “Where were you on the night of August the 7th of this year?”

You say, “On August the 7th of this year…I was at work.”

This approach has several benefits.  It gives you time to think.  It keeps you focused on the question asked.  It keeps you from talking too much.  It keeps you from guessing.  It keeps you calm.  And it might keep you from saying something that can be used against you at trial.

Father’s Rights and the Child

A Florida man, known only as CA in court records, had his parental or father’s rights to his daughter, now 13 years old, terminated.  That was because he was a crack addict and the state had placed the girl with foster parents who wanted to adopt her.

CA appealed the decision.  Before the Court of Appeal ruled, CA was hit by a car and died.  There may be a wrongful death suit by the deceased father’s estate.  With parental/father’s rights terminated, the daughter would not be entitled to share in any recovery.

The Court of Appeal has ordered the Trial Judge to reconsider.

“Even if the final judgment (severing C.A.’s rights was) soundly based and affirmed, it may not now be in the best interests of the child to do so,” says the Court of Appeal.

Father’s Rights and International Travel

Caryn Tamber tells the story in the Maryland Daily Record of Marius Aydanian and Antonina Aydanian, both of Bulgaria, who met when they were seeking political asylum in the United States.  They were granted asylum, married and moved to Indianapolis.

In 1998, Antonina enrolled in the Ph.D. program at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.  Marius stayed in Indianapolis.  Antonina gave birth to their son.  In 2005, she obtained a Bulgarian divorce.

Marius was able to assert his father’s rights and obtain a visitation order in the U.S. for two days a month and the summers.  However, Antonina sent the boy to Bulgaria for two summers in a row.

Marius filed suit in Montgomery County, Maryland, for intentional interference with visitation.  On July 1, 2009, after two and a half days of trial, the jury returned a verdict for Marius in the amount of $23,000.

In a 2008 case, Khalifa et al. v. Shannon, the Maryland Court of Appeals upheld a $3 million verdict in favor of a father for interference with visitation when his ex-wife and mother-in-law took their two children to Egypt.