The equation is very simple, but poorly understood and fundamentally flawed.
In the event of conflict in a separation or divorce, the court seeks “the best interests of the child”. It has long been a core theory of child development that a child must have a strong parent/child relationship with at least one parental figure (it doesn’t even have to be a natural parent). This theory is apparently trivial, except that it does not tell the whole story. It reduces what can be a very complicated, 3-or-more-point problem, to a black-and-white issue of one child/one parent. It is based on very dated, largely Freudian theory, on experience with refugee children from two world wars and on prejudice deriving from societal conditions vastly different from those we have today. There is no comparable body of thought arguing that the child needs a relationship with more than one parent, nor even with natural parents, the clay feet of the accepted theory notwithstanding. Note the phrasing "no comparable body of thought", by which I mean that work has not been done, not that it is not true.
The law and the courts are not, ultimately, complicated thinkers, they take the minimalist step which goes with the flow. They ask a simple question: “what is in the best interest of the child?” and get a simple answer: “one parental figure”. But that is a non sequiteur, it is the answer to a subtly but importantly different question: "what is in the minimum interest of the child" and the result is that custody is reflexively assigned to one parent. If there is conflict, the courts will harden on that position for fear of disrupting the overriding motivation that the child have one parental figure in his or her life.
This logical fallacy is so entrenched, it has become axiomatic.
Thus all the custodial parent has to do to achieve full control of the child and freeze out the other parent, is engender conflict. This is positive feedback, all roads lead to the custodial parent and the slope gets steeper at their will. The non-custodial parent is automatically completely helpless. Fighting back will only make things worse. There is nothing the non-custodial parent can do to make them better. The gender of the non-custodial parent is not relevant.
A presumption of shared parenting is the only way out, and it is no good just showing that it is to the child’s benefit. One must also attack the existing theory and show that it is based, as it is, on bad science and foggy thinking. Many of our world’s worst atrocities have been motivated (or excused) by bad science and distorted reason, especially that which appeals to ignorant prejudice.
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