Dear Mr. Dad: My child’s mother and I never married and we split before the baby was born. Nevertheless, she and I used to share parenting equally. We compromised, worked out schedules, and we both spent lots of time with our daughter. But about a year ago, I got married. And immediately, the mother cut me back to seeing my daughter only every other weekend. Two months later, she moved in with a man. Since then, she barely lets me see my daughter at all. My wife and my little girl (who’s now three) have a very strong relationship. The mom and I have been fighting for over a year and I finally got her to agree to go to mediation with me to come up with a parenting plan. What can I reasonably ask for? How can I get anything when she has all the power just for being mom?
A: You put your finger on the problem perfectly–your child’s mother has all the power simply because she’s the mother. Well, nearly all the power.
Every time I address the issue of single fathers in this column, I hear from lawyers insisting that unmarried parents have the same rights as married ones. Well, that may be true on paper, but it’s rarely the way things play out in real life.