April 28, 2020 in Family Law

Unforeseen Family Law Consequences for Fathers from a Pandemic

One of the unexpected and unforeseen consequences of the current pandemic, resulting stay at home orders and remote working solutions is that it is requiring fathers to re-evaluate their priorities, their work, their choices and to focus on what is most important in their lives. Fathers have begun to recognize the value of being present for their children and new parenting avenues have opened up from them. They no longer have commute time or business-related travel and are spending a significant amount of time at home. They are taking a much more active role in the lives of their children and unless someone is suffering from alcohol or other substance abuse or mental illness, all are reaping rewards from the additional family time.

Children have developed new and stronger bonds with previously absent fathers, and this has inspired closer and more meaningful relationships. Some current and ex-spouses have begun to irritate each other by encroaching upon the other parent’s perceived or actual roles. Resentments have begun to build over the children’s gravitation towards a previously absent parent. As the children respond to the newly present parent, conflicts have arisen over different parenting styles, particularly in the area of discipline. Children, who are generally masterful at splitting parents, are increasingly aligning with the parent with the least stringent rules. This is quite stressful when everything is happening in close proximity and there is far less space and time space between infraction and response.

With shifting family dynamics, fathers have suddenly been thrust into significantly different roles. Some of these are fascinating but forced shifts in a personal in a life or career trajectory can make for an extreme amount of irritability and tension. Behavior traits which were once considered normal or funny can result in a disproportionate and uncharacteristic response. Fathers who are responding positively towards their children in response to the crisis are reporting that their actions are being viewed as suspicious or manipulative by their spouse or opposite parent. This is a really awkward situation when separation or divorce is not a realistic option in a lot of cases. Resources have become extremely tight in a lot of households and moving out, along with the additional expense that comes with it, seems to be out of the question in many households. Yet, these situations are not completely without remedy. While the courts are restricting many types of hearings, the court house is still open and so is Connolly Schneider Shireman LLP.

In some situations, mothers have taken it upon themselves to deny or restrict the possession rights of fathers despite the Court Orders that are in place and the Emergency Orders from the Texas Supreme Court that say that they cannot legally do so. It is a bit of a cruel twist to children, that are connecting at new levels with their fathers, to have a mother tear that down by restricting or denying access to a father under some pretense that they alone can be the arbiters of what safe and suitable parenting is in the midst of a pandemic.

At Connolly Schneider Shireman, our attorneys routinely handle all kinds of family law issues and are ready to work on your behalf. If something similar to the issues that are described above is happening in your life and you would like to discuss your situation with an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney, contact one of our attorneys and set up a consultation.

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