Article courtesy of: Frank Taddeo Jr. is the principal in the Law Office of Frank Taddeo Jr. Diana Mohyi, an attorney, assisted in the preparation of this article.
In the iconic movie, “Mrs. Doubtfire,” a judge confronts Daniel at a hearing following the exposure of Daniel’s identity as the daddy inside the nanny and lowers the gavel. The judge dismisses Daniel’s baleful explanation of the charade—a sincere, even desperate love for his three children—as mere additional evidence of superb acting ability. He assigns permanent custody to Miranda, orders supervised visitation, and refers Daniel for psychological counseling.
With less than perfect judgment, beset with unusual habits, perhaps even a bit eccentric, but with no dangerous or truly aberrant characteristics, Daniel is like many devoted fathers of the some 70 million American dads who are knocked senseless by the legal system when spousal strife prevents amicable resolution of custody and visitation disputes during divorce and separation proceedings. On custody, she usually wins, he usually loses, especially if the children are young. He becomes a mere visitor in his children’s lives (hence the term “visitation” rights) obligated to pay child support and often doomed to fight monumental battles with spouse and court to maintain even the slightest contact with his children. A common story in states across the nation, rarely with a happy ending.