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Dads seek right to parent PDF Print E-mail
(1 Vote)
Written by Elizabeth Soumya   

Separation from a spouse shouldn't mean separation from your child

A dejected Syed Makhdoom deemed a life without his son pointless. Having been denied the right to even see his children, who were in the custody of his ex-wife, drove him to end his life.

The incident brings to the fore, the plight of a growing number of fathers estranged from their children.

Kumar Jagirdar, president, Child's Right to Shared Parenting (CRISP), feels that even as divorces are on the rise, the rights of children from a marriage must be upheld: "The divorce rate has gone up by 20 to 30 per cent in the last five years, and there are as many as 13,000 pending cases in the family court in Bangalore. The breakdown of marriages now, is usually within the first five years, so children from such marriages are usually really young. In 90 per cent of the cases, the mother tends to take the child in her custody, leaving the father fighting for custody and visitation rights."

Jagirdar says that shared parenting is the goal of CRISP, where there is meaningful participation by both parents in the lives of children in case of a separation.

According to him, a clear distinction must be made between a bad spouse and a bad father. The parents must put aside the disagreements and grudges from a broken marriage when deciding the access each parent has to the child, which Jagirdar believes is not only the right of a biological father, but also that of the child.

He also states the need for reforms in the existing child custody laws and counselling for single mothers about increasing the involvement of the father in the child's life. A mother or a stepfather cannot be a substitute for the biological father, he insists.

Mr Palamurgan, who has been fighting for visitation rights to his children, says, "Something as simple as seeing my children is becoming impossible. My children have been shifted from three schools as I used to visit them at school. Now, I wait outside their school and see them from a distance, so as not to be accused of kidnapping. Otherwise, I only see them in court and it's absurd that they can't freely meet their own father".

Jagirdar says that many fathers are fighting for something as basic as meeting their children on a Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm. When denied such rights, many of them do go through depression, loneliness and seldom have a social life; some like Makhdoom even lose the will to live.


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