September 7th, 2012 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
The more I see of Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, the easier it is for me to conclude that he is a thoroughly decent, kind, thoughtful, loving and responsible person. Here’s a short article about his new book (s2s Magazine, 9/5/12). Make sure to watch his five-minute interview on ABC’s afternoon talk show, “The View.”
I haven’t read his book, but he’s clear in his interview that, mega-star that he is, a man with countless people trying to get his attention, fatherhood comes first. As we know, he has sole custody of his two sons, but it turns out he has custody of a cousin as well. How that came about, I don’t know, but obviously more than one judge has drawn the same conclusions I have.
What comes across most in his interview is how utterly free from acrimony he is. His ex-wife behaved despicably toward him and their sons over the course of a two-year custody battle. That involved her routinely denying him access to the boys when she had primary custody, in violation of court orders. His inability to see his kids was what spurred him to seek custody and the revelations at trial of the lengths to which his ex went to keep the children from having a father make for shocking reading. The usual claims of abuse were there of course, along with every petty excuse in the book for why, at every turn, the boys wouldn’t be able to see their father. Multiple judges didn’t buy Siovaughn Wade’s claims and realized the obvious – that she was incapable of co-parenting with Dwyane.
By contrast, what turned the tables in his favor in court, was his unequivocal support for shared parenting. While acknowledging that his ex had problems that she needs to solve before she can be a good mother, the basketball star said that he wants her to play a role in their lives and care. In short, bad as she’s been toward him, Wade proved to be big enough and smart enough to see what everyone in the family court reform movement has been shouting about for so long – kids need both parents. Thank you Dwyane Wade for becoming the poster father of a movement.
Interestingly, one of the interviewers, Barbara Walters, asked Wade essentially, “how did you become who you are?” Wade grew up in a broken home. His mother was a drug addict who was arrested and taken away by police in handcuffs when Dwyane was just a boy. So, Walters wanted to know, how he broke the all-too-familiar mold to become, not just a basketball star, but the person he is. His answer is telling. It seems he had an older sister who realized the young man needed his father, so she “picked me up” and “dropped me off” with his father. She was wise enough to know that Dwyane needed a father to raise him and she made sure he got one.
And that, my friends, is the answer to a host of questions about how parents and courts get it wrong every day, many times a day. In countless ways, courts are happy to separate children from their fathers; they’re happy to support the decisions of mothers who do the same thing. That is a deep and unforgivable moral wrong. It is harmful to children. If you don’t believe me, just ask Dwyane Wade. If you can’t ask him, just look at him, understand who he is and know, as his sister did, that without his father’s guiding hand, he’d be a very different person. He’d likely be a father without his kids who’d be in the “care” of an unfit mother. And the dysfunctional cycle that begins with fatherless children would have been perpetuated in his and his children’s lives.