The most frequent complaint about fathers as parents is that they are so-called “Disneyland Dads,” i.e., that the Dad’s time with the child is essentially spent as time at Disneyland or Chuck E. Cheese’s or other similar special-event places. To increase your likelihood of receiving substantial parenting time with your child, spend your time parenting: be involved in all aspects of your child’s health, education, and welfare. For example, if your child is elementary school age, make certain that you spend time taking him or her to and from school, doctor’s appointments, and extracurricular activities. Make an effort to attend school events and participate in parent/teacher conferences. Value your child’s friendships and help your child keep and develop them by being sensitive to birthday parties, sleepovers, and playdates. Spend time with your child helping him or her with homework, team sports, and other regular, ongoing activities that support your child educationally and socially. Simply put, be an involved, caring parent in the routine, everyday activities of your child. These are the kinds of activities that create a strong parent/child bond, a bond you want the court to recognize when deciding child custody.
Pauline Rosen is a divorce attorney and the founder of the Law and Mediation Offices of Pauline Rosen, located in the South Bay (Los Angeles), providing compelling, competent advocacy with compassionate client-centered legal services, including family law, collaborative law, and mediation. She is the recipient of the American Jurisprudence Award in Ethics, Counseling, and Negotiation and in Criminal Procedure and is listed in Who’s Who (1999).