Why would a historically great father abandon his children financially and emotionally during the breakup with their mother?
I can think of at least one reason that I’ve seen arise over the course of my career as a divorce and family law attorney:
A great parent (man or woman) can become an indifferent and absentee parent if and when the other parent engages in a campaign of parental alienation. Some parents believe that divorce authorizes them to wage war on the parent-child relationship of the other spouse. The fact that the marriage is breaking up—so the thinking goes—justifies destroying all familial relationships within the family. Some spouses say to the other (or if they don’t say it, they communicate it nonetheless): “If you’re going to divorce me, then I’m going to make you miserable in every way I can, and one of the best ways is to ruin your loving relationship with your children.”
When children are alienated from a parent (and as a result reject and revile a parent who has done nothing to deserve such cruel treatment), and when it becomes clear that the court will do nothing to defend the innocent parent or punish the alienating parent, then to the alienated parent his/her love for the children appears to have no value, no purpose. Once that parent’s spirit and heart are broken, is it any wonder that his/her capacity for love and devotion break down too? When a parent feels that he/she is powerless to win his/her children’s affection, when the court does nothing to help the innocent parent, it is extraordinarily difficult to persuade such a parent that any reason exists to keep caring or trying.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277