How could you ever be a Non Custodial Father?

How could something like this happen………

The bachelor party was incredible and ran so late into the night I don’t even remember. It was incredible…….at least that is what they told me. My best men pressured me into shot, after shot, after shot. Before you know it I don’t even know what happened. I woke up on the couch at home violently ill. And in a few short hours, I was getting married.

Was this a foreshadow of things to come? Possibly. Was it stupid of me to have a bachelor party the night before my wedding…….most definitely. Did I pay a price? You better believe it.

When you walk down the isle with a someone you truly love you never imagine it to simply be the beginning of the end. You never imagine that sometime in the future that it will come to an end. At this moment in your life you are absolutely happy (Possibly hungover, but happy). It is the end of your single life. A day to celebrate, and celebrate I did.

We had one child together and a year later added another child to the fold. Then things started to go wrong.

Then before you know, the papers are filed and the government gets involved. An unfortunate side effect of divorce is what the government calls child custody.

According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2013, only 17.5 percent of fathers have custodial rights to their children.

It was determined in my case due to the hours I worked at my job that the children would be better served living with their mother. I hated the court decision. I worked so many hours providing for my family that I lost the ability to spend time with my children. It was a heartbreaking blow to me. I was their dad, I wanted to still be their dad.

Things got worse after that. I lost my job due to economic conditions. The thing about being a non-custodial parent is child support doesn’t care if you lost your job. It doesn’t care if your struggling. It keeps building up, unrelenting, unceasing. It doesn’t care if you take a cut in pay. You have to go to court to get payments reduced. So I was forced to move to a place that I could make enough money to pay to support my children.

I had to move away, to take care of my children. The most difficult choice a father can make. I had to leave them, and I hated it. I still hate it.

It makes me feel as if I have let my children down, as if I chose money over them, but that’s not true. I had to do what I did for them. But young children don’t understand this. They just know that dad is gone. He left and went far away. It breaks my heart to hear my children cry because I am not there.

Fortunately we live in a time that parents and children can communicate over vast distances. The internet has changed the dynamic of moving over great distances. But this will never replace a face to face conversation, or chasing your kids around the house to tickle them. There are things in life that technology can never replace.

As a father, I miss my kids I know during the summer I will have my time with them, but it can never make up for the time I have lost with them.

I can only hope that someday my children will understand why I was a father who was unable to be there for them all the time. I hope they will understand someday why their dad had to be gone.

I just hope it never happens to them.

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