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Divorce – Child Visitation

PERSERVERANCE; A KEY FACTOR FOR FATHERS IN CHILD VISITATION CASES By Arcelio Hernández Mussio, Esq. Many people have had to go through the very painful and anguishing process of a separation or divorce. When there are children involved, and where there is passionate conflict, similar scenarios arise in many cases. Costa Rica’s law on child support and alimony stipulates a duty of support between the spouses, as well as between parents and their children, among others. When there is resentment on either side, many times we face a typical situation, very damaging to the lives of children, and very traumatic for the parents. The process of “dehumanizing” is always very damaging, and when a person feels that the only reason they are important to somebody else is because of money, not love or human relationships, there can be terrible psychological and emotional consequences. I have seen many cases where a mother uses child visitation as a negotiating tool against a father, who in many cases has a financial advantage over the mother, that is, has more control over money in the household than does the mother. This happens in traditional family models, where the woman is the housewife and the man is the bread earner; however, it can also occur in cases where both parents work. In my experience, both as a court translator and as a family lawyer, when a couple has a bad break-up, the mother, sometimes ill-advised by a greedy and unethical attorney, takes the kids and throws the father out of the house, usually through a court order based on false domestic violence claims, or the father may leave voluntarily, since he figures the children will need a roof over their heads regardless of what happens with his marriage. Immediately, the man finds himself at an economical and emotional disadvantage: he is left without a place to live, he faces a lawsuit for child support and alimony, plus he is sometimes denied the right to see his children, many times as a way of exerting pressure to reach a settlement in the amount to be paid for child support, and in the distribution of marital assets. This forces the father to go to court in order to start a lawsuit for visitation rights against the mother. If all this sound like I am portraying the father as a victim of the system, this is exactly the case, as my personal and professional...

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