Troubled Teen

Greetings from Tampa Bay Florida,

I’m a single dad with two daughters, 8 and 15 who live with their mom (my ex). I have visitation weekdays and every other weekend. I am supposed to have the girls during school days but there has been a pattern of my ex allowing them to not be home or simply tell the girls not to answer the door when I come to pick them up.

I’ve been involved with the local police once, attempting to gain entrance to my ex’s home to pick my daughters up. The police told me that even though I knew my daughters were there (occasionally the oldest daughter has “friends” over and they smoke dope and/or drink”) that I could not do anything and advised me not to attempt to break in to force them to do anything.

My oldest daughter has been in trouble in school with skipping, smoking, hanging out with the wrong crowd…my ex basically rewards here by buying her almost anything she wants despite knowing the problems. My worries are adult supervision of course, my ex works a lot and as I stated, even when I am legally authorized ti have my daughters there many times I don’t get them like I should….I really see things getting worse and fear for my oldest daughters safety and life. Advice? comments?

Constitutionality

Because I am a male parent and not married to my daughter’s mother (her choice), I do not have custody or even any visitation rights. In my opinion, this is a violation of Constitutional guarantees of due process (14th Amend.?) and prohibitions of gender discrimination (21st Amend.?).

Is anyone else thinking along these lines? I am, of course, pursuing a more orthodox legal strategy at this time. But it seems to me that a more permanent solution for all fathers, present and future, is to successfully challenge the current Injustice System at its higher levels.

We should also consider lobbying our state and federal legislatures to pass laws that would automatically give both biological parents custody upon the birth of our children.

Third tactic: with all due consideration to current reality ( restraining orders, etc.), perhaps mass demonstration is in order. YOU may not be in a position to picket your co-parents house, but if she is preventing her children from seeing their father without compelling, just cause, I promise you that I would be willing to exert moral pressure on her to dissuade her from such abuse.

My daughter is 6 1/2 months old, so I only recently became acquainted with the problems facing us. But one thing is immediately apparent: we will NEVER secure justice for our children or ourselves as long as we fight this one child, one father, one case at a time. If we do not hang together, we will surely hang separately.

May the Lord bless us and keep us.

DH