Sunday, August 20, 2006

Big Bad Daddy

Philadelphia Weekly recently ran as their cover story - Big Bad Daddy: Is the system built to screw over single fathers?

You can read the article by clicking here: Family Feud


At the height of the women’s rights movement Margaret Mead once quipped that “fathers are biological necessities, but social accidents.”

There was a time when courts viewed children as property of the father. But in the 20th century custody was transformed by the “tender-years doctrine,” which assumes young children should always be placed with their mothers.

Both custody models—both inherently flawed—gave way to courts relying on a judge’s discretion to act in the “best interests of the child.”

In family law, observers say, there’s a presumption that the parent who serves as the primary caregiver should be the primary custodian, which usually means the mother. And that when there’s bitter conflict, the rights of the noncustodial parent—typically the father—are normally the first to go.

The fathers at FACE say both models leave them pleading to mothers and the courts for more time with their kids. As a result, Family Court has become an adversarial system in which fathers must prove that their children benefit from their involvement.

“You can get 50/50,” says Clemmons. “It’s difficult, but it’s not impossible. One thing that’s really helped fathers’ rights is that judges really want to follow the best interests of the child. When I’m in court, I don’t say it’s the father’s right to be with the child. You have to switch it around and say the child is going to benefit by being with the father, that the father helps with homework, that he goes to teacher meetings, that he takes the child to activities, that he knows the pediatrician, to show the benefits for the child, not the rights of the father. Because let’s face it—the courts really don’t care.”

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Anonymous Tom G. said...

Great article thanks!
...tom g

1:23 AM  

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