Equal Parenting is bad law!
These equal rights groups are a response to half a century of very sexist decisions by evil bigot judges in black robes who have flouted the law and destroyed a millions of families and hurt a hundred million children. Some judges routinely decide 100% custody in favor of the female regardless of the facts of the individual case. Others decide only 80 or 90% in favor of the female. They ignore a mountain of scientific research which shows that almost all children are significantly hurt by being deprived of their fathers, and are much more likely to suffer child abuse in a single female headed home. Children who are now deprived of their father's love and guidance are doing less well in school, less well in relationships, less well in drug avoidance, get into crime and teen pregnancy at hither rates, and generally are hurt in every measurable way.
Every 6 minutes in the US another father takes his own life after his family is destroyed and his children are ripped from his life. Occasionally a distraught father goes totally berserk after the evil minion of Satan in the black robes takes away his family, like John Malvo, the "DC Sniper," for example.
In the US there are also millions of men who have been bound into indentured servitude, a form of slavery, under the name "child support." Slave chasers work tirelessly to catch those who rebel against the slave trade, or are unable to fulfill the ordered servitude. Debtor's prisons, long abhorrent in the US since England dumped debtors in Georgia, have been reopened and now hold well over 100,000 men. Some estimates place the number of men now in debtor's prisons closer to half a million.
In reaction to all the deprivation of families and the slavery of a million men there is a growing demand for "equal parenting" which would, in theory, restore some balance to the lives of men, women, and especially to the children. Equal parenting after a divorce would be a significant improvement compared to the current "Whatever the hell the woman wants!" approach used by the evil minions of Satan who now sit on the benches of "family" courts.
But is that the best we can do? Should we just accept divorce as a given and work on minimizing the destruction it causes? Or, should we start with the assumption that the "best interest of the child" is not to have a broken family in the first place? That is Bob's strong position.
Preservation of marriage and family should be paramount. The law should support marriage and penalize, not reward divorce. Under current divorce laws the woman is rewarded with possession of the family home, the car, custody of the kids, and 20 years of cash payments called "child support." She may or may not use the payments to support the children because there is no legal restrictions on the money, it's just a cash payment earned by getting divorced under current law. With these incentives there is little wonder that females file about 90% of divorces in the US, and comparable numbers in other countries. Women are PAID to destroy families and get divorced. To add to these cash benefits the government boosts the rewards with a long list of other benefits.
This is backward. This is stupid. This is insane. This is inhuman. This destroys families and hurts millions and millions of children.
The law ought to reward staying married for the sake of the children, if for no other reason, and penalize divorce. All the studies that I have seen show that, contrary to feminist political rhetoric, children do better in even the most fight prone families than in divorced families. Once a couple decides to marry, and has children, they have a 20 year obligation to maintain a decent home and raise their children. That is their moral obligation, and it should be their legal incentive as well. Now of course there will be individual circumstances that require divorce, but it should be discouraged, not encouraged by function of law. We should be penalizing divorce, not rewarding and paying parents who decide to end their marriage and file for divorce.
And what about the proverbial "abused wife?" you ask. Yes, that's the classic feminist dogma, but the truth is that the great majority of women get divorced because of reasons such as "to find myself." They are bored with their marriage, looking for excitement, can get paid fairly well for divorcing, and what the heck they have no reason not to go for it.
The big problem with "equal custody" is that it still rewards divorce as much as it rewards marriage. The adulterous wife who moves out, shacks up with the newspaper guy, and destroys the marriage still gets all the same benefits as the hard working husband who is trying to save his marriage and keep the home together for the sake of the children. That is very wrong. Here is how to make the law fair, and at the same time, promote stable families and take far better care of our children. It's not by "equal custody."
In most divorces, one but not both parents want a divorce. Usually one parent, far more often the father, is trying to keep the family together. The parent seeking to keep the family together should have preference on the home and custody of the children. The parent seeking to destroy the marriage and family by obtaining a divorce should have significantly less preference in award of the family home and custody of the children. It is more important to keep the family together, to promote and support marriage and family, than to give parents benefits for breaking up their marriage. Instead of "equal parenting" there should be preferences for keeping as much of the family together as possible, and disrupting the children as little as possible. The parent filing the divorce should be required to leave home, and with rare exceptions such as criminal conviction of child abuse, the divorce should not be considered unless the person filing the divorce has abandoned the home and given up custody of the children.
Exceptions to this rule should also be when there is lack of consortium or adultery resulting in other children. In either of these cases the guilty spouse has already abandoned the marriage and family and has no claim on the family. A wife bearing a bastard child has already formed a new de-facto marriage with the father of her baby, and deserves no benefits from the former marriage that she abandoned. The law should promote marriage and penalize divorce.
If both parents seek mutually agreed divorce then a presumption of shared parenting should be required for the sake of the children, but it has to be a workable solution. One "equal parenting" suggestion of residence by moving back and forth between homes on a weekly basis is highly disruptive for young people. In addition the family income that once managed to pay for one home of sufficient size for the children usually can't suddenly pay for two. No, a weekly back and forth "equal parenting" situation just isn't workable for most families.
If one parent decides to move out of town, to relocate to a different state perhaps, the focus should be on keeping the family together as much as possible. Children of a divorce need stability even more than do children of intact families. The parent who decides to abandon the family home, or hometown, and move away should have to go by herself. The law should encourage families and penalize those who break up families. In no case should any theory of "equal parenting" be allowed to disrupt the children's home and take them away from their friends and their life unless both parents and the children agree to the move.
When the children become old enough to begin to understand the situation their own desires and interests should weigh very heavily on any decisions. Teenage children have significant rights and can make many decisions themselves. A young child may not be able to determine his best interest, but a teenage son of 15 or 16 sure as hell can. Bob has been there, had that problem, had serious problems with a very abusive custody and support orders, and even more than 40 years later feel very, very strongly about it. Especially in a divorced family the children need to have their needs supported instead of denied. You can not be supporting the children's human rights, needs, and interests when you categorically deny any consideration of their interests and desires. Children old enough to choose between parents should be allowed to choose, and then change their minds next week or next year.
Most teenagers will decide to live with one parent for a while and then likely want to live with the other. Some will want to start living on their own, and the parent's first job is to help the child grow up and become adult. Children should be encouraged to accept all the freedom and privileges that they can handle, and taught to handle those they can not yet handle. That is the parent's job, to teach the youth how to be an adult. I am very, very adamant about respecting the young person's desires, needs, and choices. Neither parent wants a war with their teenager, which is exactly what you have when you deny their desires. You want to support and encourage them, not start a war. A war in a family ends in disaster for everyone, especially the young. Only by acknowledging and supporting their actual interests, by asking and listening to their choices, can peace and maturity be the result. Bob has been there, been that kid, had that problem, had serious problems, and I still feel very, very strongly about it all these decades later. The child's rights have to be first, and those rights include legal process and a strong say in "custody." Any decision about "custody" other than his own violates his human rights to his other parent.
This is about the child's rights to both parents and a safe, stable home. The first decision in a divorce ought to be no divorce. That decision ought to be the one that is strongly rewarded under law. If the two parents can't manage to provide the safe family for the child then the one who files a divorce ought to bear the penalty for destroying that family. Any law that encourages divorce, of fails to penalize the destruction of a family is bad law.
Labels: equal parenting