Friday, June 08, 2007

Another dad bites the dust.

Today, spare a moment of thought please for Allan Foster of Carterton, Oxfordshire and his daughter, Jacklyn, who, at the behest of his ex-wife and the UK legal system will be separated by several thousand miles. The only reason this is in the news is that Lord Justice Thorpe has chosen this opportunity to complain about the problems internet romance is causing his court through its ability to bring geographically separated people together. The internet question is barely relevant to the UK court's ongoing practice of ignoring a non-custodial parent's objection to the removal of their children from the country by the other parent, but it serves to get this one case among many into the public eye.

However, that public eye is barely interested. I have found three sources which say substantially the same thing: the Telegraph, the Times, and divorce-online.co.uk, and it's fairly clear that if Thorpe hadn't brought the internet into it, we wouldn't be hearing about it at all.

Allan met Sonya of Texas via the internet and, after a brief romance, she moved to the UK with her first daughter, Caitlin, (leaving another father behind), got pregnant again around April 2001, and they got married in September. Jacklyn was born in January 2002. By 2005, it was all over. The marriage is described as "unhappy" and the separation "very acrimonious with allegations on both sides". That last is a claim which could hide a multitude of sins. Nowhere are we told that Allan or Sonya was actually abusive, so what could this mean?

As I have often pointed out on this blog, all the custodial parent, i.e. the mother, has to do to get what she wants is to create acrimony. The courts react to conflict by isolating the children from it which means automatic reduction or cessation of contact with the noncustodial parent, i.e. the father. It does not matter who generates the acrimony, the father gets dragged along whether he likes it or not and becomes the other player in the logic of "it takes two to tango", no matter that the mother is the lead in this nasty little dance. Dad is frogmarched down a dark and bewildering corridor at the end of which, he gets to hand over his kids to the very person who made him take that walk.

All three sources cite Sonya's claimed "devastation" if she could not go back to Texas. "Devastation".

No comment is made of Allan's state of mind if his daughter is taken from him and moved across the world's second largest ocean. Allan's lawyer says that the court has made no consideration on the effect of the removal on the children, but claims that it is "in their best interest". Indeed, Thorpe codifies the court's logic in one simple sentence: "An unhappy mother often means unhappy children.” The equation is simple, the best interest of the children is defined by whatever makes mom happy. 'Bye dad.

So, Sonya becomes a serial father-destroyer and Allan is condemned to years of minimal contact through whatever means Sonya approves. She proposed contact plans involving the internet and direct contact, but there's nothing to force her to stick to that once she gets back to Texas, and every reason to suppose that they were offered simply to look good in the UK court. After a long and acrimonious battle in the UK, how cooperative do you think she'll be once back on her home turf in Texas?

Allan has until the end of school term to say goodbye to his daughter. After that, he is completely at Sonya's mercy. He and his daughter have been betrayed by his own country and now he's at the mercy of yet another court system which is not likely to take kindly to some foreigner who their own Texan gal says is no good. He has no way to make sure Jacklyn is properly treated, he has no influence on her education, no chance to expose her to his own culture, he is, in every way, completely disenfranchised, and Jacklyn is fatherless.

And all the courts care about are the problems caused by this new fangled internet thing.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Watch how fast she gets the American courts to chase this father for more money "for the children". The question begs to be asked - WHAT WAS HE THINKING ? - This woman has already abused her child by removing a father from the picture, and she will do it again and again as long as her looks hold out! A man that chooses this kind of hag is ignoring all of the warning signs. My sympathies for the father. BTDTHTS.

John Doe said...

Anon, you're skirting awfully close to blaming the victim there. I understand the urge, believe me, but just about any fiasco has "warning signs", 20/20 hindsight is all too easy.

Anonymous said...

What can I say? You're preaching to the converted. I hear it from all sides that the divorce courts are a misandrist mess. I'm relieved that I'm not married in that sense.

Stephanie said...

Agreed. It's because we stand by and do nothing that situations like these become commonplace. My husband is not separated from three of his children, but it's not for the lack of the ex-wife trying.

I'm so sorry that you are in this situation, that the courts don't change the way they do things, that your daughter will grow up largely without you in her life.

Shame on all of the mothers out there who deliberately drive a wedge between their children and their children's fathers.

Anonymous said...

I do feel some pity for the father, but...he was an idiot to marry this woman in the first place. She already had a child and abandoned the father, what was this guy thinking? This sucks, but he was dumb.

John Doe said...

As I said before, 20/20 hindsight...

Anonymous said...

I'm stunned. I dated this man. I am also American.