June 29th, 2012 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade has asked a court in Chicago to suspend all visitation rights for his ex-wife Siovaughn Funches-Wade. His motion is based in part on the fact that Funches-Wade intentionally refused to allow the two boys, ages 10 and 5, to be picked up by his sister and taken to him for Fathers Day. Funches-Wade is currently charged with two counts of attempted child abduction and interference with custody. Read about it here (Miami Herald, 6/20/12).
No one who’s followed the Wade’s custody battle should be surprised. Following their divorce, Funches-Wade was given primary custody, but was so bent on alienating the boys from their father and so dismissive of court orders, that she finally succeeded in getting custody transferred to Wade. Here’s a piece I did last year on the case that quotes at length from the final order that runs to 102 pages in length. One judge in the case put it succinctly.
This court finds that S.L. (Siovaughn) has embarked upon an unstoppable and relentless pattern of conduct for over two years to alienate the children from their father, and lacks either the ability or the willingness to facilitate, let alone encourage, a close and continuing relationship between them. On the other hand, this court finds that D.T. (Dwyane) will, in fact, encourage a close and continuing relationship between the boys and S.L.
A custody evaluator in the case described Funches-Wade’s attitude toward the court and its orders as “I will do as I please.”
That was last year and it looks like little has changed. Despite losing primary custody to her ex-husband and being admonished by more than one judge that her actions risked being in contempt of court, Funches-Wade still seems to be doing pretty much as she pleases. In this case, that included refusing to turn over the boys so they could see their father and requiring that the police be called and herself arrested.
But what’s most important is the impact her actions have on her children. Face it, the judges in this case know all about Siovaughn Funches-Wade. The Wade’s custody trial was the most protracted in Chicago history and involved pretty much constant “drama/trauma” in the words of one judge. Surely Funches -Wade understands that she’s well known to the judges and they probably don’t like what they know.
By contrast, what they know about Dwyane Wade is that he sincerely wants his ex to be a part of his sons’ lives, but only if she gets the help she needs to become a decent parent and partner to Wade in rearing them. She’s obviously done no such thing. She’s clearly still mired in the mindset that she can do as she pleases, and sooner or later, that’s going to mean a much-reduced role in her sons’ lives. My guess is that’ll start with supervised visitation and, if she persists, nothing at all.
But whatever the future holds, this can’t be good for their growing boys. For the younger of the two, this – the constant conflict, the court battles, hospitals, police, etc. – has been going on almost all his life. Children need normalcy, stability, peace. Dwyane Wade’s sons get little of that and it’s all due to the selfish and alienating behavior of their mother.
I’ve said it too many times to count; children need both parents. My take on Dwyane Wade is that he’s the best parent he can be under all the circumstances, but that’s not enough. To his great credit, he understands that his sons need their mother, but she seems to be going out of her way to ensure that some day, a court will put its foot down and bar her from their lives forever. It’s a sad situation and one that’ll only get better when Siovaughn Funches-Wade decides to put her children before herself.