After two years of rancorous court battles, Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade has been named primary custodian of his two sons. Read about it here (ESPN, 3/13/11). The court’s order ended what Wade’s lawyer called one of the longest trials in the history of Cook County, Illinois.
That order, at 102 pages, is surely one of the longest as well.
It orders that Wade will have primary custody of the two boys and his ex-wife, Siohvaughn will have visitation every other weekend and various times throughout the year. Calling the decision a “huge weight off my back,” the Miami guard added,
“My life changed in a huge way,” Wade told the AP. “Mentally, I’ve been preparing for it for over a year now. To me, it’s bigger than that. For me, it shows a lot of people that you need to fight to be in your kids’ lives sometimes. You fight until you can’t fight any more. That’s all I was trying to be, a father in his kids’ lives.”
Those words sound a lot like what we often hear dads say about their kids and their desire to be part of their lives post-divorce. But of course the ending of most custody cases is different from Wade’s. That’s in part because of Wade himself who, throughout the case, has seemed to me to be a thoroughly decent man. Among other things, he’s often said that he wants his sons to have a healthy relationship with their mother.
But again, a lot of dads are decent men who promote their kids’ relationships with their mother. So few of them get custody, though.
Perhaps the main difference is the behavior and claims of Siohvaughn Wade that have been both extreme and inaccurate to the point of defamation. That in fact is what Dwyane Wade sued her for when she claimed he transmitted to her an STD. That turned out to be false and she withdrew the claim in the face of his lawsuit.
Far worse has been her behavior with their children about which Judge Renee Goldfarb wrote,
“This court finds that [Siohvaughn Wade] has embarked on 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.”
Doubtless the crowd that wants us to believe that every attempt by a father to demonstrate in court his wife’s alienating behavior is just an abuser seeking to prolong his abuse, can explain how Dwyane Wade fits that mold. Or maybe they’ll just try to ignore this high-profile case and hope the rest of us won’t notice.
One of the truly bizarre sidelights of the case was Siohvaughn’s claim that Dwyane didn’t really want a relationship with the boys because he didn’t work in Chicago where they were living.
Exactly what her ex-husband’s profession is must somehow have escaped her notice as did the fact that the Chicago Bulls have never offered Wade a job. Playing in the NBA isn’t like working for IBM where you can just request a transfer. The claim looks like a sure indication of a litigant with a lousy case grasping at straws.
Whatever the case, I wish Wade the best of luck in his new role as primary custodian of his sons. From where I sit, they’ll have a fine role model to emulate even if they can’t match his skills on the court and for all I know, maybe they can.
And let’s all hope that Siohvaughn Wade mends her ways. Let’s hope she understands that the war is over and she lost. Let’s hope that realization will spur her to start putting the children first and encouraging their relationship with their father. For what it’s worth to her, if she does that, she’ll put herself in position to have increased time with them later.
That’s what I hope happens for everyone’s sake. Will I be surprised to see more false allegations by Siohvaughn against Dwyane in the future? Unfortunately, I won’t be.