Last year, I was having a discussion with a woman I know who was having an on-going custody and child support dispute with the father of her children.
Just to lay the groundwork, the father gets 4 hours visitation on Sunday afternoons every two weeks and, he gets to walk his child from her mother's car to the school door every Friday.
I inquired, "That's crazy. Why so little time?"
She responded, "That's what the judge gave him. He has to show the judge he deserves more."
I responded, "What does the judge have to do with it? No judge is going to complain if you voluntarily give your child more time with her father."
Her response, "I have to follow court orders."
Note: There are no issues with this family that might require supervised parenting, etc . The father simply could not afford an attorney.
Yesterday, I posted an article to our Facebook page published by Real Clear Politics titled, "Of 27 Deadliest Mass Shooters, 26 of Them Were Fatherless."
And these are some of the responses we received:
"Wow Love and Iron.....just wow!
I agree the sentiment behind abolishing parental alienation.....BUT to use this? Disgusting!
Did it ever occur to you.....that the fathers abandoned them? Is that ever a possibility with you? Do men NEVER do that? To be taken more seriously you need to acknowledge and separate the fathers....not combine them! Foolish! "
"Take a poll!
How many members are actual fathers......and how many are stepmothers following this page?"
"MANY men WALK AWAY on their own or have 2nd lives. Ya may want to do better research."
"AMEN!! I'm sick.of it!!! Actually....MORE MOTHERS LIMIT KIDS' TIME ON GAMES also!! We provide the continuety of care and KNOW it causes lack of empathy!!"
So In The Interests of Candor and Credibility, Let's Lay Out Some Facts.
There is no doubt that the existing model for litigating custody in family court was influenced in part, by societal constructs that existed fifty years ago in which a far greater number of mothers stayed at home with children.
However, a research study conducted in 2015 by the Pew Research center found that dads are just as likely as moms to say that parenting is extremely important to their identity; some 57% of fathers compared to 58% of mothers - a statistical dead heat. In addition, it's worth noting the study also found that most fathers believe they should be spending more time with their children, but, they also feel pressured to prioritize work and bread-winning over spending time with their kids.
Still, according to a 2016 census report, the percentage of custodial parents who are fathers rose by a mere 2.7% from 16.9% in 1994 to 19.6% in 2016. In other words, 80% of custodial parents remain mothers.
Understand the Incentives, Understand the Problem:
Much of current custody and child support enforcement law was inspired by sociologist Dr. Lenore Weitzman (a professor of women’s studies), who in a 1985 research report, claimed the standard of living for women declined by an average of 73% after divorce.
The math in that report was later exposed by sociologists and economists to be grossly inaccurate and misleading (some even claimed blatantly fraudulent), and yet, little has been done to remedy the damage done by the political reaction to it. In fact, the bizarre response to these revelations was to institute Federal Title IV-D bonuses and financial incentives that reward states for creating absent parents so they can maximize, collect, enforce, and administer child support payment pools.
Follow the money, and you'll find the truth.
If a custodial parent wants to enforce a custody order, he or she can engage a state attorney and bring the full force of state law enforcement upon the non-custodial parent.
On the other hand, if a non-custodial parent wants to enforce a custody order, he or she must hire their own attorney, incur expenses over and above child support and alimony obligations; and do so with the understanding that any substantive enforcement remedies will be both meager and unlikely.
The short story version is: absent parents are being manufactured to harvest money for states, for custodial parents, and for the family court industry.
More specifically, given that mothers are awarded custody 80% of time, and, that child support orders are incentivized and enforced while custody orders are not; it should be apparent that child support and custody law is merely socioeconomic policy intended to redistribute income and other lifestyle benefits from fathers (men) to mothers (women), and in order to make this work, absent parents (80% of which are fathers) need to be created.
The Research Speaks, The False Narrative Begins.
Starting in the mid 1990's and since, a great deal of research has been done to explore the effect these absent fathers were having on children. And much to the chagrin of many feminist groups, numerous studies about children raised in fatherless households have revealed:
- A greater likelihood to experience problems with self-esteem and self-confidence.
- More difficulties with social adjustment.
- 71% of high school dropouts are fatherless.
- 85% of youth in prison have an absent father.
- A greater likelihood of teen pregnancy.
- A greater likelihood to abuse drugs and alcohol.
- 90% of runaway children have an absent father.
- At greater risk for suffering physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.
- Children of absent fathers are over-represented in a range of mental health issues, especially anxiety, depression, and suicide.
Of course, this created a problem.
How can Government continue it's socioeconomic policy, and how can states preserve federal funding revenue if they award more parenting time to fathers?
Well, when you can't claim innocence, blame the victim.
We still have is a legal system that remains purposefully engineered to create absent fathers and then proceeds to shame them for being absent, even as these dads are bankrupting themselves (mentally, emotionally, and financially) to remain in the lives of their children.
We're not denying there are fathers who abandon their children, and we have just as much contempt for them as we do alienating parents.
We've also said that ninety percent of the pathology built into family law can be corrected by a simple switch to the presumption of 50/50 custody after divorce that is accompanied by the equal and rational enforcement of both custody and child support orders.
However, changes to law aside, and just like conversation with the woman I used to open this blog article, we do have the freedom to make our own personal choices - even today.
If we really care about children, we'll stop incentivizing the absence of fathers, stop the campaigns of deceit, start treating parental alienation with the seriousness it deserves, and actually act as if this is true.