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Cover Story

Disposable Dad Page 2

Even With Court-ordered Visitation Rights, This Divorced Father Still Got Dumped By His Kids.

By Carolyn Campbell
Posted // April 24,2013 -


Too Hurtful
In 2011, Jones retained the law firm of Feller & Wendt, telling them he wanted to return to court. His attorneys advised him against it, stating that it would cost a minimum of $2,500, with the result being that the courts would order a special master to get involved.

Instead, the lawyers arranged a visitation for Aug. 18, 2011, after Jones had been denied visitation for eight weeks. Jones says he waited 30 minutes after no one answered the door. Sharon’s attorney called Jones’ attorney, Jones says, and told him that the kids weren’t coming for their visitation. The attorney said the kids had phoned their mother to say they would lock themselves in the house and not answer the door, or go to the house of a friend where Jones could not find them.

Jones’ attorney then suggested retaining the special master and trying to resolve the situation with the efforts of a counselor, without going to court. He reasoned that if they later went to court, Jones would be able to show that he had already taken those steps, and the judge would be more likely to hold Sharon in contempt.

Jones agreed to forgo litigation as long as his kids were enrolled with a counselor who would work with both him and the kids to resolve whatever their issues were. But Jones says that Sharon continued “not scheduling the kids for regular sessions, stating that she would continue to be an advocate for the kids, sitting in on the counseling sessions with [Jeremy].” He adds that the children refused to have meetings with Jones in the counselor’s office.

According to e-mails between Brian Florence, the special master who worked with the Jones family, and Jones, the counselor said that he had exhausted his efforts to make any progress on the alienation/estrangement.

Florence wrote that the counselor “is not convinced that [Sharon] has not, in some unintentional way, caused the children to want nothing to do with their dad. ... I use the term estrangement, because everything that the counselor hears from the children falls into that category, i.e., David has caused them not to want to have anything to do with him.”

In counseling, the children said they didn’t want to see their father because he made them do their homework; stored a suitcase in the room where the boy slept, making him feel like he was sleeping in a storage closet; and canceled a skiing outing, causing them to say that because he canceled that time, he never did what he said he would do.

Jones followed the counselor’s suggestion to write his children a letter. They wrote back, but the counselor felt the letters were “too hurtful” and chose not to give them to Jones. In a joint e-mail to Jones and Sharon, Florence wrote that the letters were indeed hurtful, adding, “I would be less than candid if I didn’t tell you that I got the impression that they had adult help in saying what they did. The words used and contexts of their complaint felt to me to have come from someone older.”

For her part, Sharon declined to be interviewed by City Weekly for this story.

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Post a comment
Posted // May 18,2013 at 22:19

The State with its welfare reform monetary child support collection activities sets up structure for the imposition to dispose of dad. State does absolutely nothing to assure a child has access to its father. Parental alienation can be also imposed upon the psyche of the child and dad becomes a remote figure in the child's life. How can this happen in the land of 'Judge Judy'? Its really very easy to do and this abuse continues and grows every day with impunity.


Posted // May 8,2013 at 13:54

I guess Sharon decided to comment after all as "Jane" or had one of her friends comment for her. Jane, you sure sound bitter and egotistical with the grudge you hold.


Posted // May 1,2013 at 16:53

I lived this for years after my divorce in 1997. I gave up everything financially to save the marriage (that didn't work). Then I spent 5 1/2 years fighting to be a Dad to my kids (that didn't work so well, either). It destroyed my children, and led directly to one of the three's crimcinal conviction. All three had minor criminal issues in the juvenile system. Of course, the only person who showed up at those court hearings to help was. . . me. . . the alienated Dad. It's okay now. . . they figured it out in their mid to late 20's. But so much pain. . . so unnecessary. I drafted the shared parenting bill in CO in 2001. . . we spent 3 legislative sessions trying to get it passed, to no avail. It's heartening to see some states pass shared parenting legislation now, over a decade later. Kids DESERVE 2 loving parents!


Posted // May 2,2013 at 00:46 - Thank you John for your hard work drafting the Bill. It is indeed gaining ground in many states. I am one of the Fathers here in Utah in the exact same situation as the gentleman in this story. Only worse in some ways. Nonetheless, we have a responsibility to move and fight for the rights of our children as well as us as Fathers to change the biased laws for others.


Posted // May 1,2013 at 16:17

Men, read and heed.   Teach your sons about what marriage really is all about.

Stay single, stay solvent, stay happy.


Posted // May 1,2013 at 10:57

jane is completely missing the point of the article. He's not complaining about paying child support. He is pointing out that he he is living up to his responsibility and as a father is held accountable for that responsibility. The mother is not living up to her responsibility and is not being held accountable. I dont see how Jane or anyone else can possibly justify a mother hurting her kids because she cant bring herself to behave like an adult. The most troubled children in our society are one that grow up without a father in their life. If you dont beleive me just look at the statistics on people in prison.