Friday, May 13, 2005

On Fathers' Rights: What to Do

On Fathers' Rights: What to Do - Paul Robbins, Ph.D. -


The most problematic issue for fathers is the custody decision. A custody decision is not a decision that grants rights to the winner (usually mom); it's a decision that takes away the rights of the loser (usually dad). The basis of that decision is the judge's determination of who is the better parent–mom or dad. A dad doesn't lose custody of his children because he's a bad parent; he loses custody because the judge believes he's not as good a parent as mom.

The system of sole mother custody would also collapse if child support were not paid. Child support is the oil that fuels the engine of divorce. And the powers that be know this, which is one reason so much effort is expended in collecting child support.

The truth is that children need financial support. The other truth is that if the government can simply seize a man's income he has no way to resist the government's power to seize his children. It's a no-win situation for a divorced dad: pay your child support, and the unfair system continues as is. Don't pay your child support, and your children suffer.

So what can men do? They have a few options.

One is to simply not play the game. If men don't want the problems associated with divorce, they should not get married. Modern family law gives men little reason to get married and gives women little reason to stay married.

Not playing the game also means avoiding sexual relations with women, since even unmarried fathers are now part of the system. In short, not playing the game means a life with a good job, a good dog, and a lifelong subscription to Playboy.

The most likely venue for change is the state legislature. Courts have become a power unto themselves, defining and redefining family law in ways that define fathers out of existence. The state legislatures gave the courts this power and the legislatures can take it away.

Of course, most legislators won't listen, as I know from experience. The state benefits too much from divorce and child support to change the system. As it is, the legislators can simply blame the courts; if the legislators change the system, they can get blamed.

Currently, the US government claims, rightly or wrongly, that some $94 billion in child support is owed. About 30% of that, or around $30 billion, is actually owed to the states as reimbursement for welfare costs. In addition, the states receive federal reimbursements for their collection efforts and incentive payments for increasing the amount of support they collect. Child support supports the states as much as it does children.

There are also state governors. But while some governors are willing to sign pro-father legislation, most know they will not get elected if they push too hard for fathers' rights. Most politicians know, as Bill Clinton knew, that they can't afford to rile up the feminists.

Modern family law has destroyed more than marriage. It has also destroyed the fundamental rights of fathers and men to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

At one time a few men began a revolution because their right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was denied by a distant king.

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