Rights for Noncustodial Parents

When the Montgomery Advertiser conducted a roundtable discussion of issues facing the Alabama legislature, one of the participants complained that the courts are exiling fathers from their children. Here’s the article. Look about 4/5 of the way down. This participant, a noncustodial parent himself, said that judges “have free reign to disregard [the rights of noncustodial parents] according to their bias or whim.”

I don’t have the same experience dealing with child custody laws this fellow does, so I won’t try to disagree with his perception. I can say that in my practice I have watched many judges deal with hundreds of vexing cases where both parents seem worthy (and too many where NEITHER parent seemed worthy). I have been impressed with the wisdom they show in case after case, all while a crushing backlog of other cases clamors for their attention.

I’m confident there are bad judges out there; I’ve even appeared before one or two of them. By and large, though, the judges I see are doing a fine job under the toughest of circumstances. I know I surely wouldn’t want to have to make the kinds of decisions we require them to make.