From everything I've seen over the last three years, I believe a father starts out with an overwhelming disadvantage in family court, just because he's male. Unmarried fathers, fathers to one-third of all the babies born in our country, are almost always denied physical custody of their children. Bill Sharp, 51, a never-married Illinois father to 14-year-old Tasha and 15-year-old Willy lost his joint physical custody after his former partner refused to cooperate with the courts. Bill told me, "I used to wake up in the morning, look at myself in the bathroom mirror and say, 'What prodigious thing will he do today, this Bill Sharp?' It was a quote from some artist; I had read it in 1986, liked it and started using it as my own morning motivation from that point on. That changed on July 1, 2002. That's the morning I looked into the bathroom mirror and said, 'They took my kids,' and then broke down."
Dr. Richard C. Weiss, 57, lives in Alabama with his wife and their 4-year-old son. He spent almost $100,000, and fought for over 10 years to try to have joint physical custody of his daughters from a previous marriage and to keep them from being moved away. He is now the noncustodial parent to two teenage daughters in Arkansas, whom he hasn't heard from in 11 months. He said, "This is a nightmare ever present - a silence like death but worse. Many of us really loving, caring and responsible fathers have literally been thrown out of the lives of our own children by the family courts and vindictive ex spouses. That, despite gross civil rights injustices, we remain a persecuted class and worse, children are treated like chattel by dysfunctional custodial mothers and the courts with little regard to their needs for having both parents or the dire consequences of removing them from one fit parent, (most divorced parents are fit)."
The Reality Of Estrangement