Many pro athletes have a reputation as irresponsible parents, sometimes even earning the label of "deadbeat dads." Late or missing child support is usually included in the list of common complaints.
But this is certainly not true in every case. A notable exception here in Florida is Dwayne Wade. Far from being called a deadbeat or an absent father, the Miami Heat player was awarded custody of his two sons in 2011 after a long and contentious court battle with his ex-wife.
Wade's two sons (ages 5 and 10) now primarily reside with him in Florida, but his ex-wife retained visitation rights. However, those visitation rights may be in jeopardy after a recent incident that resulted in criminal charges being filed against the woman.
According to news reports, the boys were visiting Siovaughn Funches-Wade at her home in suburban Chicago, but were scheduled to fly back to Florida to watch their father play the third game of the NBA Championship Finals on Father's Day.
Arrangements were in place to have Wade's sister pick up the boys and have them flown to Miami. However, Funches-Wade allegedly failed to answer telephone calls. The police eventually got involved and came to the home, where the boys were seen playing in the backyard.
A tense confrontation ensued between officers and Funches-Wade, and the woman allegedly resisted arrest. She now faces misdemeanor criminal charges for attempted child abduction, resisting arrest and interfering with child visitation.
But her attorney believes the incident has been overblown. He added: "Mrs. Wade merely made a mistake. Her phone was turned off. The boys were fine. They were playing in the pool." Nonetheless, Dwayne Wade recently asked a judge to suspend Funches-Wade's visitation rights.
This is undoubtedly a difficult situation for all involved, especially for the two boys caught in the middle of a contentious battle between their parents. Hopefully, a family court judge will ultimately be able to sort out fact from fiction and deliver a ruling that is in the best interests of the children.
Source: Reuters, "Dwyane Wade asks court to suspend ex-wife's child visits," Andrew Stern, June 19, 2012
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