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Attorney Cautions Single Parents About Seeking Jail Time for a Deadbeat Co-Parent

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Daryl K. Washington, Esq.

By: Daryl K. Washington, Esq.

I recently read an article about a six year old kid who was involved in an accident while attempting to drive her mother’s car to visit her father. Can you imagine the fear and thoughts running through this young kid’s mind? This little kid was so desperate to see her father that she not only risked her life but the lives of others trying to get to his house. Fortunately, this story did not have a tragic ending. However, there are so many who are not as lucky.

As an attorney, I see couples use their kids to get back at each other FAR TOO OFTEN for something that went wrong in their relationships. You should never do this because the only individuals harmed are the kids. Parents have an obligation to work together for the best interest of their children. The “only reasons” a kid should ever be kept away from his/her parent is due to some documented proof of violence against the kid or allowing visitation would place the kid in an unsafe environment and there is a court order to support those claims. A kid should never be placed in a dangerous situation or environment.

Additionally, even if the parent is behind on child support, don’t deny the person an opportunity to spend time with his/her kid(s). Let the child support authorities deal with the person only after you have given the person a chance to do better. One thing I must also point out is that you should not push for your kid’s father or mother to be arrested due to his/her failure to pay child support, especially if the failure to pay is due to some verifiable financial hardship. Locking up a person almost guarantees that he/she will be unable to work, which is not the goal.

Furthermore, it only forces a deadbeat parent to pay in order to get released from jail but does not encourage the person to be a good parent which is what’s most important for the kids involved. There is nothing more upsetting to a kid than not having both parents at a birthday party or major events because their parents can’t get along. Individuals must do better when it comes to co-parenting. Both parents have equal rights and as such each should play an active role in their kids’ lives. Stop running each other away because you can’t get over the past or you believe you have superior rights because you carried the kid. God designed it that way. It was not the other person’s decision or your decision for you to carry your kid during the pregnancy stage so that should not be used as an excuse. We must do better. The kids did not ask to come here. Our kids are suffering due to grown folks fighting. Kids need and require the attention of both parents. You should not depend on a judge to tell you how to raise your kids. Get over the past so that your kids can better deal with the present.

Daryl K. Washington is an attorney located in Dallas, Texas. His practice includes Sports and Entertainment, Civil Rights, Litigation and Business Transactions. You can reach Daryl at dwashington@dwashlawfirm.com or you can visit his website at www.dwashlawfirm.com.