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  1. #1
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    Nov 2001
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    Post Child Custody Issues for F/F's

    Just read article "Md. Custody Case Questions Shift work". Boy, does this hit home! Once again, not only a brother firefighter, but another "FATHER" is denied his rights to be a father to his children!! Talk about a female bias system, just reside in MD. Alot of us have had the misfortune of going through a divorce that involves our children. Not good for anyone involved, and especially those trying to be a parent to their children. In the article, the International Association of Fire Fighters missed the point all together, in my opinion. "They fear the judges ruling could dissuade people from becoming firefighters". Well first and foremost, how about fathers being allowed to be a parent to their kids" <br />I would like to extend my thoughts and prayers to Lt. Burton. All is not lost my brother, you fight for your rights, you deserve to be an active parent, not just a vistor to your kids. All is not lost, there is hope in the system. I know this first hand, the cost can be great, but as a shift working fire officer myself, I can gladly tell you, you can win the right to see your kids, any and every hour you are off duty, if you so desire. Good Luck!


  2. #2
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    Just wanted to let you all know not all judges are out to screw the dads out there. I went through hell when I went through my divorce, and my ex tried to outright keep me from seeing my kids except one weekend every other month. the judge told her , quote "Given the nature of his job, and the fact that he is here to defend himself against this request, I will not punish him, or his daughters by granting this motion." At this point the judge asked me what my work schedule was (24 on/48 off). Upon hearing this, the judge ruled that I would have my girls EVERY 48 hours off duty from the time I got off duty the morning of the first day until 6:00 the following evening. the only time this changed was when I asked that every other 48 hours off, we each had 1 kid, that way the kids got a chance to some"1-on-1" time with each of us without competing for our attention. My ex was also granted 1 weekend a month from Saturday morning until Sunday night, all she had to do was the week before the first of each month tell which weekend she wanted. That was too hard for her, and she never asked until the Friday of the weekend she wanted, so after a couple of years of that, the judge told her that she got the first weekend of every month, from Saturday morning Until Sunday night. To make a long story short, the woman lost every time we went to court about custody <img src="biggrin.gif" border="0"> Keep the faith, and keep trying to get your time with your kids, and get them the time with you that they are entitled too!!! There are a million evil tricks my ex has pulled that none of you would believe, and I would be willing to help any of my brothers defend thier parental rights.
    I have issues, but it's nice to see me

    Tom McQuade FF/EMT-I<br />Newington NH F.D.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
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    So California
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    Cool

    Hello, <br />First let me say that my thoughts and prayers go out to Lt. Gerald E. Burton during this difficult time for both he and his children.

    I am an ex-wife of a LA City Fire Captain. We have been divorced for over 10 years & have two great children. I have the utmost respect for his job as a firefighter & I see the pride in my children's eyes when they tell others what their father does for a living. He has always worked the "erratic" work schedule before, during, and after our divorce. I am not going to say that it has not been trying at times to work out the visitation schedule with his 24 hours shifts & overtime, but the benefits for my children to be with their father as much as possible far outweigh any obsticles we may have overcome. We share 50/50 custody and choose to call it "Co-Parenting". Before I remarried 7 years ago, I made sure my new husband knew that this arrangement would continue until the children were grown. That I would not make any changes that would hinder the relationship or interfere in the time my children had with their father.

    I am here to say that it can work to the benefit of everyone involved even through remarriage. Lets keep whats in the best interest of the children first and foremost in our minds. Children love both parents & should never be put in a situation where they cannot spend the most time with each parent as humanly possible.

    If anyone would like further information about how we worked our custody arrangements, please feel free to email me. My ex-husband and I would be happy to assist any fellow firefighter in any way we can.

    God Bless All Firefighters... and Stay Safe<br />Maria

  4. #4
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    Jul 2001
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    Smile

    Being a child of divorced parents, I know that I would want to spend plenty of time with my father regardless of his schedule. It's ridiculous to assume someone cannot be a parent and be a firefighter. I hope the judges see that the best interest of the child is to have TWO PARENTS!
    "...you're such a gentle soul, it's killing me to know, when will i see your face?" -Vince Gill

  5. #5
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    Dec 2001
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    e. schodack ny
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    15

    Unhappy

    plain old bull**** father is able to take care of kids, custy not granted becaused judge is sexest.
    i fight what you fear.

  6. #6
    Forum Member joejoe33's Avatar
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    May 2001
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    Rowlett,Texas,U.S.A.
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    Post

    The legal system in America is bias towards men as parents.

    I had to modify my divorce decree to be able to get fair visitation with my child. Standard visitation is the first, third, and fifth weekend of each month plus a weekeday after school for two hours. Two weeks of visitation in the summer is also standard, along with alternating holidays.

    With my firefighter schedule of 24 on and 48 off, it is physically impossible to be able to have time off like that.

    I took the X back to court to modify my visitation. The court agrees that I am entitled to visitation time equal to that of standard visitation, because of my firefighter schedule.

    I have to make up a visitation and vacation schedule for the X every January. This is a complete schedule from January through December of every visitation day I want. It is a lot of planning.

    I also have the "first right of refusal" clause in my divorce modification. This clause states that if my X needs a babysitter for any reason, she must offer it to me first. I have the right to accept or refuse. This is another way of getting more visitation time with my child.

    If I fail to follow the planned visitation schedule, the court then can make me return to "standard visitation". The X did not like the new schedule according to my erratic schedule, but grew accustomed to it. I got time equal to "standard visitation" on my terms.

    It's been 9 years since the divorce and modification. I guess the X has mellowed out and allows me to see my child whenever I like.

    I feel for my brothers with these problems out there. A good attorney is worth every penny in the long run.

    God Bless and I hope my comments help. <img src="tongue.gif" border="0">

    [ 12-07-2001: Message edited by: joejoe33 ]</p>
    joejoe33

    Comments and opinions are mine and do not represent the agency or IAFF local that I am affiliated with.

  7. #7
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    Lancaster, PA usa
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    Well, I guess I just took the cheapest, easiest way out of this kind of mess. I decided to relinquish all parental rights to my daughter. I don't pay support, and I don't have to deal with her mother. What more could you ask for? I catch a lot of flack for this, but what else could I do? I feel that it was my decision to make, so I made it. Was this a wrong move?
    David M Gribble

  8. #8
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    N. Ridgeville, OH
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    Paidguy, I'm not saying if it's right or wrong, but if you want to see your daughter, will your X allow it? That's one thing to think about.

  9. #9
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    We are all apparently missing something here. Even her attorney says the shift issue is ridiculous....apparently it realtes to just more than the firefighting thing. There has to be more information that we are not seeing or that the press in not printing. Press all over the U.S. are using the front line appearance of the firefighters after 09/11 to get "sensational stories." That is exacly what has happened here...this case is in the limelight because a firefighter is involved.

    I am a divorced parent....and my girlfriend is a divorced parent. My ex has custody of my sons (one is 18 now) and we have worked together to make sure the best decisions are made. Granted...there was disention and anger and argumetns in the beginning...but as time went on we have had no problems. My girlfriend (a firefighter/medic) also has worked for the best of her children (one is 19) and made certain that the one child remaining at home is not left alone and is adequately supervised.

    I do not want to see a brother lose his custody battle, but the best interst of the child is foremost important. He needs to address the other issues not relating to his job apparently.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  10. #10
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    YOu're right captstanm1. If you read the stories carefully you will see it's not necessarily his shifts, it is the fact that he told the Judge he would switch to a 9-5 job and didn't. So, he swore in court that he would change the hours of his job and then flagrantly disregarded it. Now, before I go down in flames, I want to make clear that I disagree with the whole thing, even of his having to switch his hours. However I do see the point of fact that he outright lied to the Judge. If he can get a committment from the others within the Department that will assure any needed shift changes will be made, he should have gone to the Judge and made his case based on that.<br />He was given a court order and he ignored it. That is the issue.

    Now, having said all that......I hope to God that he and his ex work this out as the only ones that are really suffering are the two young children involved. <img src="frown.gif" border="0">
    IACOJ

  11. #11
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    Good to see the responses!! As most have pointed out, the most important issue here, what is the best for our children! <br />PaidGuy75, I agree with your right to make your own choices, but ponder this, doesn't your daughter need to have a dad that's active in her life? You have to work past the issues you have with your ex. Just something to think about.Good Luck!<br />Captstanm1 and LadyCapn, you have raised some very valid points. I thought the same things after reading and watching the local news. The press can really take things out of context, and we really don't know all the facts of this important case. With what we have heard however, you must ask yourself some questions. Why would he lie to the judge? Saying he would change his current work schedule, to fit the norm for what is acceptable to our judical system in child custody cases. The 9 to 5 job, history shows our courts see this a more "routine" schedule for rearing our children ( I work with 8 others that can attest to this comment from the judges). Maybe he and his attorney saw this as their only chance to get any kind of custody??? Unfortunatly, he was unable to change work hours. Also, you have to ask, why should any work hours have to be changed in the first place? Working 24 on, 48 off, that is alot of time to be available to be a good parent. The "routine" for the children comes from very early on, they adjust quickly, being in their lives at anytime is what's most important, and the more each parent is involved the better off everyone is. Again, thanks for the replies, it helps to talk about these things.

  12. #12
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Ladycapn....the captains agree.

    I also hope and pray it works out.... But...again...for us to see the exact issues here we need to see the whole story....not just what the press can sensationalize!
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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