Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Let's be brutally simplistic

What is going on inside the family courts? Time and again we hear of unjust laws mindlessly applied, we hear of fathers destroyed and their children taken away, we hear of mothers' bad behavior and its apparent invisibility to the people who are charged with getting to the truth of things, protecting the innocent and controlling the unpleasant. They just fail, time and time again. This is not the behavior of a society that believes in the family, in fatherhood, nor in the best interests of children, despite everything they say. You'd think, in fact, that that is not what they are about at all. It's all so much rubbish. So what is really going on?

Here is a thesis for you.

What if the legal system is an engine, one of many, which helps maintain a tiered social structure of a type which is often, and fallaciously, called a patriarchy? It's not a patriarchy, because women participate fully. Especially in the family courts. It is just a common or garden primate power structure.

Yes, monkeys.

There are alpha males, and there are the rest of them. The females all look for good breeding partners. In a minor refinement of that search, many females are more attracted to unreliable males, i.e. alphas, for genetic material, but look for betas when it comes to keeping house and raising the offspring. (I should reference this, but frankly, I can't be bothered. Actually, I should put references all over this post, but, hey go and buy some Richard Dawkins, or something.).

Once a female has young to raise, and is safely ensconced in a socially acceptable marriage she is, effectively, out of the breeding pool, even while still quite fertile and potentially attractive to males other than her husband. Unless, that is, she cheats, or gets divorced. And those are the routes by which the alpha males will exploit them for further procreation.

Cheating carries a certain risk of discovery, especially now in this enlightened age of DNA testing. Not only that, but it's known that children tend to look more like their fathers when young, in a nod to his need to reassure himself that the brat is indeed his.

Commonly, a discovery might push the betrayed marriage into a divorce anyway. That vainglorious institution is now refined to make sure that the poor, kicked-out beta continues to be liable for paying for the children's care, as opposed to doing some of it personally, while pretty young mom is free for fresh tillage. And let us note that every mom is supposed to be a pretty young mom if she can only buy the right stuff, apply the right cosmetics and ditch the lame jerk who's holding her back.

But we should not forget that divorce, also, is a means for a trapped alpha male to escape back into the, er, swing of things, assuming he has the means to cover whatever child support he ends up liable for and isn't too cut up about being forced to let mom do whatever she wants with the kids.

In fact, let's face it, divorce, for all its superficially intended good side in ending unsuitable marriages, actually best suits those who just want to escape responsibility. That's not to say that everyone who chooses divorce is like that, I'm just saying that it is the jerks who will suffer least or benefit most, male or female.

Back to these divorcing moms. There they are leaping out again into the fray of singledom in the conviction that now hubby's put in his place, all will be hunky dory forever more. Well, until next time.

The truth is, of course, that only a small, even negligible number of such moms will attract ever greater swarms of alpha suitors before her fertility, which by and large equates to beauty, is spent. Then she gets to join the mass who end up saddled with fatherless children, working full time to buy that all that stuff I mentioned before, because the child support can never, ever be enough, and complaining over the garden fence about how useless is her ex.

What has she actually done? She has swelled the ranks of the disempowered - her ex by destroying his fatherhood and tying him down financially, her kids by converting their father into a visiting uncle, teaching them the undesirability of his beta-ness, and herself by destroying the team by which she might have helped to enrich all of them.

This might sound like I'm blaming her, but I have to point out that unless she is of considerably above average intelligence, she's probably as blinded by her own limited horizons and the constant flood of crap to which she is exposed as are the rest of us, and can't see how she's gotten as much manipulated into this situation as she has chosen it for herself.

So who benefits from the swollen ranks of marching morons? The powerful, of course, which is another kind of the alpha male and his female equivalent. Now, I could go off into all kinds of politically inspired screeds about oppression of the masses, but my point is to keep us focussed on the anthropological fact that we are, ultimately, all marching morons. Stupid little monkeys playing "if you show me yours, I'll show you mine" games with precious little thought for the inevitable bawling, needy, inconvenient consequences. Your typical silverback sitting at the bench in his or her wig presiding over the destruction of your family isn't thinking in terms of consolidating his or her power. Well, not over you, anyway.

But, and it is an important but, the "alpha male" as an identifiable example of the human animal is largely a mythological creature, likewise the alpha female. Bruce Willis is real, and gets into all kinds of human trouble, John Maclane does not actually, in point of fact, much as we'd like to believe otherwise, no matter how much we'd love to be his best buddy or have his kids by the dozen, exist.

Likewise, it is a self-evident fact that Kirsten Dunst is a complete bimbo in real life, no matter how much Spiderman would just love to tie up Mary Jane Watson in his web and have lots of little baby spiders. (Ew. Try not to think about that too much, eh?)

But I digress.

My point is, we all try to be our own ideas of alpha males and alpha females, looking for ways to climb on the backs of others and, er, better ourselves in the process. Some of us make it, to some extent, some of us don't. But we all participate in the process. We use our archetypes to assess desirability and develop value structures. The patriarchy is one such archetype, but frequently falsely imagined and identified. The alpha male/female thing seems likely to be much more fruitful.

How did I get onto this? I found an article about a "scientific" study of pickup lines which was pretty much as superficial as you'd expect, but provoked me to apply fingers to keyboard when I encountered this claim:
"A scenario in which a potential suitor chides drunken louts who cut in line won the hearts of female subjects in all personality categories."
Isn't this what a judge does? Chides the louts? So what's the difference between him and the potential suitor impressing the ladies through his grave and sober non-loutiness? Can we not extend this into an examination of his status as an alpha male asserting his huge, throbbing, um, alpha to keep all the other apes in line? Can we not further generalize the scenario to an archetypal alpha, of unspecified gender, maintaining the status quo and their position in a sector of society where the females hold considerable power by keeping the rest of us sniveling apes in line?

Hence the judge in a family court curries favor in a system which is biased towards women and mothers by chiding and punishing the men, whether they deserve it or not. Does anyone really think it's got anything to do with the sanctimony of the law any more?

Do they?

Ook?


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't disagree, the whole system is rigged so that the"victem" is rescued

Metaphysicallyfit said...

Excellent post. I love this one.

My own theory is that they're all in it for the money. But do the peons know it? Or admit it? And if not, how can someone be so naive and stupid?

Funny story (only slightly off topic; I got behind on my child support payments when I was pregnant with my daughter. I was on bed rest due to complications. I resumed payments after I had her and went back to work. My daughter is almost 10 now, and I got a letter from child support enforcement threatening to revoke my driver's license and put me in jail if I didn't pay the arrears. Um, if I can't drive to work, or am in jail, how am I going to pay support? It kinda made me laugh, but it's very scary at the same time. And why are they so worried about me owing 4 thousand arrears, when I've never gotten any support for my daughter? Her father owes something like 48 thousand. Weird...

nancy said...

Ok, I have to admit this is my first time reading your blog. Consequently I don't know much background and I apologize.

Firstly, I think you may have some anecdotal evidence that is skewing your opinion regarding family court. You seem to be making your personal feelings or experiences the everyday occurrence without any research or real background other than seemingly your own.
I don’t know where you are getting your information sir, but I do not think the laws are unjust or generally “mindlessly” applied. I grant you, not every law or judge is perfect, but most are not just mindlessly granting custody to the mothers like robots. The system has come a long way, and most cases I have dealt with (I have volunteered at a large family court to assist pro-se litigants in procedural matters), heard about or otherwise when a father has asked/fought for his children; it is never just tossed aside. It is not that strange to see a father win or at least be granted joint custody (unless they are abusive, drug addicts or some other circumstance that would put the child at risk). Fathers need to ask for custody, to have a chance at receiving it if the mother wants custody as well.

Secondly, if you are so unhappy with the court system AVOID IT. This avoidance has many folds. Don’t you feel SOME financial responsibility to your children, don’t you want them to be clothed, sheltered and given a decent general existence?
If the non-custodial parent would own up to their responsibilities to their children, the custodial parent would not be dragging them to court. If people like you didn’t complain and try to shirk responsibility – both financial and emotional – the courts would not be telling you to pay in order to avoid their own liability in the form of state assistance. The rest of us taxpayers do not want to pay for your children, and if you are not going to assist in the raising of your children financially that is what is going to happen (in many cases).
If you are so disenfranchised file for custody. If you win you will see why the custodial parent needs the support, children are expensive! The problem is, for some reason, most non-custodial parents (unfortunately, usually fathers) do not want their children. They don’t fight for them, they would rather have someone else deal with them (which I won’t even go into). It seems after the non-custodial parent has the children, many feel like they should not have to be fiscally responsible for their children and then complain about support. Why would you think because you and your partner broke up you do not owe it to your child to try and support them? Most two parent households with children can’t survive unless both parents work – why is it so crazy that single mothers are strapped financially. Whine whine whine about your support? I understand many custodial parents are getting ample support, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard. Maybe that’s why you would rather complain rather than getting custody because then you have your children living with you and end up having a much bigger part of your paycheck going to your children, then it will be you complaining about the support check not being enough.


Also, FYI, two people can come to their own agreement (and it happens more than you would think) regarding child support and custody. You may, depending on the situation, have to give it to the court to review (i.e. during a divorce). A support matter between two unmarried parents would not need unless it has been rule on previously; or if you had an arrangement in place and wanted to go to the court jointly to change it or discharge any outstanding amounts etc. If the two people are civilized, this is rather painless and then both don’t feel like they are being ordered what to do.

Instead of complaining do something: file for custody and then receive support and more time with your children or be civilized with your ex and make an agreement with her about it. Please stop complaining, put that energy into something useful...like spending time with your children.


Also, to "anonymous" above -- if you are saying the person paying child support is the "victim" and the parent receiving the support in order to try and sustain their child GROW UP. The child is the victim of a divorce or one parent home, NOT the other parent. Stop thinking about yourself and think about the person with no fault and no means to support themselves.

John Doe said...

Hello Nancy, welcome to my blog.

Unfortunately, I do not have the time to answer your comment as fully as I'd like, but if you care to read a little more you will find most of your points well covered. Most especially, you will discover careful descriptions of how a custodial parent can game the system to remove the other parent from a child's life. A non-custodial parent who very much does not want to be removed from that child's life and who has done nothing to deserve such a separation.

Do you really think I would spend this much time and energy "complaining" if I had not, indeed if I did not continue to do everything else that is humanly possible? By your own admission, you have not read much of my blog and then proceed to accuse me of assuming much of family courts without experience. Believe me, I have several years more experience than I have ever sought.

Avoid the courts? How, when that is the only route available to you to see your children? 'Ever been under a TRO? 'Ever been under an unjustified TRO?

Don't you dare lecture me about trying to reach an agreement with my ex. Do you really think I'd waste years of my life and many thousands of dollars in court without also trying to avoid it by any way possible? Do you really think there's anything I'd like to do more than talk productively with my ex rather than continue to try to make a prejudiced and judgmental court staff understand that it's not me that's making such a mess of all this? That same court which will let her blatantly break the law it is supposed to uphold?

As for your accusation that it is all about the money and not wanting to pay - read around a little, learn a little about how the courts can hold good fathers to unpayable support orders and if they don't pay, then they go to jail. Hell, read metaphysicallyfit's comment above to see how a good MOTHER can almost end up in jail.

In my case, I have spent a small fortune in the courts that I would far rather have used to provide for my son, the son I am being kept away from, for no good reason at all.

I am trying very, very hard not to take your comment personally, since you have not read my blog and know nothing of my case. Your comment is written in ignorance. Like so many of the unhelpful, prejudiced and downright bigoted people who think they know everything about the courts and assume that if a parent is kept from his or her child then there must be a good reason, you know nothing. You see a man complaining about access, grieving for his lost child, and you assume it's his fault, that he's abusive, or owes child support, or whatever excuse you can think of in order to justify your ignorance and reflex attitude.

What's truly laughable is that you seem to think that the courts are not mindlessly judgmental even when you are so yourself. Go away and learn, them come back and debate.

phoenix said...

IT HAPPENS TO LOVING MOMS ASWELL! Just let that family court know that she has a twenty year old drug charge, take the kid to another state get kid to say they want to live w/ you and you are good. The "system" will protect any one who cklaims to be a victim male or female. in this state DV is NOT a defense for anything. And if you are arrested your spouse gets the kids, period.

skyephoenix said...

PS I wish you could know the tears I cry because my son isn't in my life. I NEVER kept his dad from him,he spent at least 2 mos a year w/ him and once a school year-we live in different states.) we never even had a custody agreement, but then the new girlfriend got in the picture, I got arrested, and since there wasn't anlegal agreement, "they" even gave him his request unfounded for a restraining order with MY OWN CHILD!I DIDN'T talk shit about him, but he did and so who do you think got their life screwed both criminal and family court (family issue was unrelated to arrest for possession)I wish someone gave a crap about MY pain and how the system screwed iu[pp a parent's relatuionship. Same story as some dad's probly but it's the system not women.

nancy said...

I never stated anything negative about you, and the post I read was quite obsessed with money. That is what made me comment. I apologize if I came across rudely, I just hear even good fathers complain about support, and actually think they should not be obliged to financially support their child.
I have volunteered at a family court and am finishing up law school and preparing for the bar. I have also worked with groups such as fathers and families. (http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/site/index.php). I have assisted pro-se litigants, both men and women, trying to change custody arrangements or support orders. I have seen both sexes both fail and succeed.

I am fully aware that there are imperfections in the law and in the court system. 1. "Do you really think I would spend this much time and energy "complaining" if I had not, indeed if I did not continue to do everything else that is humanly possible?" I honestly have no idea; I have seen much crazier things. I had men that would come in regularly and file for a change in support or custody and then never follow up (never come to their assigned court date). Then complain up and down for hours and blame the courts and everything else. I am not saying you are one of these people, but how do I know whether you are or you are not?
2."Avoid the courts? How, when that is the only route available to you to see your children? 'Ever been under a TRO? 'Ever been under an unjustified TRO?" I understand sometimes the courts, specifically certain types of restraining orders, are used as a weapon by some irresponsible parents. If you are the victim of such, that is unfortunate BUT I do not know that the blame lies fully with the courts but with that person giving false testimony to the courts in order to have been granted said TRO.
Also, the fact you and the mother of your child cannot be civilized and come to an agreement is not the courts fault but both of yours. According to you, it is her fault, but still not completely the courts. If she is in contempt of courts and not allowing you visitation you should file it with the court. If she is continually in contempt and your attorney cannot get the court to enforce orders - you should seriously consider getting new counsel.
3. "...[R]ead around a little, learn a little about how the courts can hold good fathers to unpayable support orders and if they don't pay, then they go to jail. Hell, read metaphysicallyfit's comment above to see how a good MOTHER can almost end up in jail." The fact that a mother almost went to jail may go to show you that the courts are not as biased as you may feel. I have read around a lot, actually, and for the most part, all laws and jurisprudence are now very gender neutral. Working at a court, I have actually seen parents go to jail for non-payment. The three persons I actually saw jailed for non-payment all had support orders for less than 100 dollars weekly -- which I honestly do not feel is unpayable unless you have 10 children to different mothers and orders to each or some other very rare circumstances. I did assist a man with such a situation, well, 10 children with 7 different mothers. He was not jailed for non-payment. I agree that some support orders may be or seem too high, my point earlier was that you would be spending more on your child if you had custody than whatever your support order is, excluding some circumstances.

4. "Like so many of the unhelpful, prejudiced and downright bigoted people who think they know everything about the courts and assume that if a parent is kept from his or her child then there must be a good reason, you know nothing. You see a man complaining about access, grieving for his lost child, and you assume it's his fault, that he's abusive, or owes child support, or whatever excuse you can think of in order to justify your ignorance and reflex attitude." A parent cannot withhold visitation for non-payment of child support in any jurisdiction (unless there has been some revolutionary change in the law 6 months that I missed). I do not know any specifics of your case. I actually do not think all people that are being kept from their children are being kept from them for "good reason" and would rather you not (falsely) state my opinions. I have assisted many parents in enforcing orders or bringing the other parent to court for contempt for failing to follow visitation orders. I never stated or even assumed you were abusive or owed support (if you did, you probably wouldn't be so upset about paying it). I believe it is ignorant to generalize a whole court system based on your negative experience. Nobody likes going to court - for anything. Seemingly it is the mother of your child making the experience so excruciating, not the courts. Although the court might not be, in your opinion, helping they are certainly not out to take the child away from the father. I am sorry you had a child with someone who is actually ignorant and does not put the best interest of her child first and foremost.

The court system also deals daily with those who abuse children and/or their partners (both male and female). Do you think abusers come in and look as if they just got done burning their child or throwing them down a flight of stairs? No. They look like and many times act like everyone else when in public. Consequently, when the court hears an allegation of abuse they will try and protect the child. Sometimes people wrongly accuse another of abuse. That is utterly wrong. The courts do not encourage people to do this, but rather discourage it.

“What's truly laughable is that you seem to think that the courts are not mindlessly judgmental even when you are so yourself. Go away and learn, them come back and debate." I am sorry you mated and reproduced with someone who is lying to the courts to get false TRO's and withholding your child from you, she is a vile person. The courts are not to blame for this. I am actually fairly educated, and if you would like to debate the statutes and case law of a specific jurisdiction regarding family law generally or just support and visitation...lets.

Metaphysicallyfit said...

Holy cow Nancy..."anecdotal evidence...skewing your opinion of family court"!? Please, I'm asking nicely, please do some reading and research before making a comment on such a sensitive subject. You're little tirade truly offended me.

Yes, I tried to avoid the courts; that got my son kidnapped by his father. So I ended up in court. I tried to settle it in as little time as possible to spare my son all the drama and chaos; that got me some restricted, supervised visitation one Saturday a month at my ex's house. So then I fought as hard as I could for as much as I could get because I could see my son slipping away from me before my very eyes; and that got me every other weekend. The whole two years this was going on, my son stayed with his grandparents because his dad didn't want me to have him, but didn't want to take care of him by himself. He told me continually that it would all stop, and I could see my baby all I wanted, if I would just come back where I belonged and keep my mouth shut and my legs open. Um, no. I resented paying support for a long time because I knew that my son was not benefiting from any of it because his dad was not passing it along to his grandparents, who were caring for him. It's been a long time, and my ex and I have both grown up emotionally. He's a wonderful father to our son now and I'm glad. I don't resent the support I pay now, but just because I did back then does not make me a dead-beat parent. He was an ass, but I was a bitch, so I guess we're even now.

And I don't think the comment made by Anonymous was referring to the payers of support as victims. I think they were using the term "victim" facetiously to mean the pursuer of support.

And I also think you're a jack-ass, but that's just my opinion.

I'm sorry Mr. Doe; I know you don't like name-calling on here, but I felt it needed to be said. Nancy needs to try and see things from another perspective than her own, and she made me angry...

Metaphysicallyfit said...

On a sidenote, if Nancy can explain to me exactly how I can spend more time with my son, I openly invite her to do so. Explain to me how I can convince a 13 year old boy to come spend the weekend with his mom and sister instead of going camping with his buddies, or trail-riding with his dad, or hunting with his grampa. He's 13; mom is the last thing on his mind right now, and it breaks my heart.

James said...

Nancy I would like to chime in as a father who has been desperately fighting to be in my 14 1/2 month old son's life.

I have been struggling with the court system for 11 months and spent thousands upon thousands of dollars, and have only been allowed to see my son 3 hours and 45 minutes over the past year.

See I'm fighting a woman and her lawyer husband. Two people who desperately want to cut me out of my son's life. The husband told his lawyer peers that he was going to bleed me dry and out spend me. The husband's father is also an attorney in Louisville, KY, and he was one of three nominated to fill an empty seat on Kentucky's highest court just a year ago. Nominated by the courts current cheif justice. Lucky for me one of the others was appointed.

Don't get me wrong, for I blame myself for having a 1 1/2 year love affair with a married woman. And accept full responsibility, but it shouldn't preclude me from being in my son's life. My son's mother and I both knew the child was mine from the beginning. It was confirmed at the hospital through blood tests and a DNA test 6 weeks after my son's birth.

I tried to convince her for 3 months to come clean with her husband. She wanted me to walk away - after being in my son's life for 3 months. However, I told her I would never abandon our son! And I told her either she would tell her husband or I would. Again she said if I loved her I would walk away. But I refused, and then the alienation began.

She quickly painted me as the enemy and predator. She told her husband everything but the truth. My journey through the family court system subsequently followed her inability to be honest (apparently old habbits are hard to break).

Seven months into my court ordeal, which included a stop at the court of appeals, and three days after the family court finally determined 3 DNA tests were enough to prove that I was my son's father (my son's mother and her husband still refuse to admit to the courts I'm the father, despite admiting it in their sworn depositions). Yet the Kentucky Supreme Court decided, after my son's mother requested an emergency stay, I must wait to see my son until they hear my case 4 1/2 months later. My day in court will take place in 8 days on September 12th at 9am in Lexington, KY at the University of Kentucky's College of Law's courtroom. Of course I won't be allowed to say anything and I won't know the Supremes' decision until they write it up, which could take months.

Did I mention, my son's mother has not attended any of the hearings. The odds of her showing up to the KY Supreme Court hearing are also slim. She knows my son's paternal grandparents, i.e. my parents - innocent people she has denied the opportunity to even meet their only grandson, will be there, and she might have to look them in the eyes.

Nancy did I mention, if four of the six justices decide against me I'll be forced to wait 16 1/2 years to see my son. I'm sorry, I don't think my son being born as the result of an affair should keep him from knowing me. Some fathers are fighting with everything they have to be in their children's lives!

http://www.letmeseemyson.blogspot.com

James Rhoades Julian Anthony's real daddy.

nancy said...

"anecdotal evidence...skewing your opinion of family court"!? Please, I'm asking nicely, please do some reading and research before making a comment on such a sensitive subject.

The term anecdotal evidence offended you? I am not sure how. It means, in that context, based on your observations or experience and not on researched evidence -- which I think your opinions about this are -- based on your own experience. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/anecdotal or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anecdotal_evidence or http://www.yourdictionary.com/ahd/a/a0294100.html.

wobs said...

Nancy said:
"The problem is, for some reason, most non-custodial parents (unfortunately, usually fathers) do not want their children. They don’t fight for them, they would rather have someone else deal with them (which I won’t even go into)."

Its comments like that, that get peoples backs up. When they are forced out of their children's lives, and forced to pay child support when visitation is rarely enforced, people just might find your comments to be BS to say the least. At worst it could be called total bigotry.

The majority of fathers who are non-custodial do try to keep up payments. But the custodial parent (read mother), has the power.

John Doe said...

I started to draft a post as a reply to Nancy, but quickly found the exercise dispiriting. She is almost an archetype of the problems which face reason in family court. She thinks in stereotypes, unable to read between the lines, to perceive deeper truths.

She thinks that any father who complains about his treatment in court is lazy, unwilling to pay child support, she thinks it must all be his fault. She mixes up problems with visitation with problems with child support and yet presumably speaks from a legal system which formally bifurcates the two issues. It insists that the two are completely independent issues, that the one has nothing to do with the other. Until, that is, it comes time to discredit a witness whereupon any amount of projection from its dark subconscious is acceptable.

Hence, at the beginning of her second comment she claims "the post I read was quite obsessed with money" and repeatedly assumes I am upset over child support (interesting that she gets irritated when she thinks I am projecting opinions onto her.)

Go back and read the post again Nancy. Try, please try, to understand it. I barely mentions money, much less obsesses over it. The post has much, much more to do with the use and abuse of power. It asks you to consider the possibility that society's power structure is using one of its mightiest institutions to unjustly sustain itself to the cost of good individuals. This has little to do with money. People are being impoverished in ways much more significant than the merely financial.

You insist that the court never dismisses a case without due consideration, and yet you dismiss me and my blog without due consideration. You obviously have not read it. If you had, you would realize that I am far from obsessed with child support and much, much more concerned with something far more valuable: a parent's right to be a part of their child's life.

Metaphysicallyfit said...

Wow. See, this is exactly what I was talking about when I made my first comment on this post. Naive and stupid. I guess that answers that question.

For the record, I was not scoffing at Nancy for using the term "anecdotal evidence". I know what anecdotal evidence is. It is what has skewed my opinion of family courts...duh. Why would I even have an opinion if not for personal experience? Geez, people like that are like a scab that won't go away. You can't ignore it, and it constantly irritates, but it also draws your attention to the fact that there used to be a wound there that is now healing. Heh heh, I can't get pretty philosophical after a daiquiri...I've decided to laugh off Nancy's ignorance since being angry takes too much energy and makes me feel all icky.

Cheers Mr. Doe, and have a great weekend! My son's coming this weekend and we're going hiking, so if you don't hear from me for awhile, it's because I'll be recovering from exhaustion! ;-)

Metaphysicallyfit said...

Oh yeah...

Hey James! Good luck in court next week. I hope all goes well, and I'll be doing my version of praying for you on that day! Sending some good vibes your way and such.

Arby said...

OMG.

First off, I am sorry that you had to experience the statements made by Nancy above.

While it is obviously true that she believes what she is stating, not having looked and read about your particular circumstances and give some consideration to the possibility that you are facing an injustice shows a serious lack of empathy for another person.

Reading your statements about not being able to see your children for years despite going to court to get the right to see them is heartbreaking. To tell you that the system works just fine is rude and ignorant. And is so rude that it could easily be classed as trolling.

As for Nancy's opinion, I would have to say that it certainly doesn't jive with my personal experience. Or with the advice that I received from several family lawyers at the time of that experience. In fact, the resounding theme that I experienced was "If you cannot prove that the mother is completely incompetent, then custody is not an option.".

Now, my ex is actually a relatively normal person (even if vindictive, manipulative, controlling and narcissitic) and can present herself extremely well, but at least one of the lawyers stated that even if I could prove the mother was a drug addict that usually isn't enough to prove incompetence.

What Nancy isn't seeing, is that in a situation where the woman is determined to push the man out of the children's life, it is next to impossible to stop. If you fight for custody, you won't see your children until the end of it, at which point, if the woman has dragged the battle out long enough, you don't have the money to support yourself let alone your children, AND, the children are "Established in their home" and moving them would be "traumatic".

If the extended court tactic isn't used then the custodial parent can manipulate and deny visitation, insist on unreasonable expectations , create double standards(an example of this is "Don't take the child to McDonald's, I don't want them eating junk food like that" - completely reasonable, except that she feeds them McDonalds herself at least once every couple of weeks). Create unreasonable restrictions, etc.

In the face of this, the non-custodial parent, is under a level of strain that is almost unbelievable. IF the non-custodial parent expresses ANY anger or frustration at the unfairness of the situation or behaviour of the custodial parent then their chances of any sort of reasonable settlement is gone. They are labelled as having an "Anger Problem" and thus are decidedly unsuitable to have custody or even significant visitation.

This wouldn't even be that bad if the custodial parent's behaviour was held to the same standard but it is not. The custodial parent can usually behave badly with no consequences.

The problem that is created is that the bias is such that the custodial parent is rewarded for adversarial and damaging behaviour. There is no reason for them not to do it.

If you add in that this sort of adversarial situation usually comes about through an emotional ending of the relationship between the two adults, I don't believe that gender here is really an issue. If you get handed a tool to cause pain to and exert control over someone that there is an acrimonious relationship with, you would have to be a saint not to use it. (at least that's the excuse I use to allow me to dissipate the anger I have from my experience).

That situation exists EVEN IF the system works the way Nancy believes it does. The Family Court doesn't operate in a vacuum. There isn't an assessment of who's the better parent, or how to keep both parents appropriately involved. It rewards non-cooperation on the part of the custodial parent.

Nancy, have you looked at actual statistics of the number of fathers who have fought for custody and actually won? I mean physical custody, joint legal custody is a useless bone thrown to some that gives them no real benefit over a completely non-custodial parent. (It allows you the right to be notified of illness, etc, but, in the real world, that is about it).

I believe that money is rarely the issue, it's just the only concrete thing that disenfranchised fathers see in front of them. (And there might be something to the argument that the transfer of money in this manner benefits the legal/social systems).

Nancy, you apologized, so I won't belabour the point, but you didn't just come across as rude, you were unbelievably rude.

Anonymous said...

Hey,

I agree with what you have to say regarding family court-- the "maternal instinct" stereotype that fuels that realm is complete and utter shit. My background: 17 years, now living with grandparents, who had a wonderful father and has an ovary donor with heterodox tactics. I spent the first 11 years of my life living with my mother, who was employed for less than a year during that timespan. In that time, I tagged along with mom while she robbed a drug dealer, had a gun pointed at me, learned how to deal with drunken mood-changes, witnessed various forms of child abuse, and generally went through crap. Unfortunately, the time when my father was preparing to take me to live with him coincided perfectly with the discovery of a tumor in his body. The story doesn't end so well.

By no means do I believe your evidence sheerly anecdotal; I've seen the family court first-hand, my mother having had 5 children by four men. I've never seen it actually help any of my siblings, nor did it help me. Several anecdotes together make a reasonable pattern, I think.

I'm in a safe place now because my mom's best friend convinced her that I needed to be with my father while he was sick. Once I was here, my dad's family realized the situation that I was in, and threatened my mom with a court case if she didn't allow me to stay.

My dad didn't overcome the tumor, and I move in with a new aunt/uncle/ relative every once in awhile. There isn't a single day in my life that I don't wish I'd had the opportunity to live with him, and actively be someone's loved daughter (as opposed to being someone's welfare check).

Arby said...

As for my request for statistics - I have another one? I noted that Nancy said:

(unless they are abusive, drug addicts or some other circumstance that would put the child at risk).

What percentage of fathers in court are ruled to be a risk?

How does this compare to the expected percentage of men in the general population?

Since 50% of marriages end in divorce, we can expect that the court sample is representative of the male population as a whole so there should be a strong similarity in these numbers. I would bet that there is not. My guess, is that the percentage of "risk" assigned fathers (occasionally mothers but the most part this is fathers) is much, much higher than the general populace.

Do we conclude that only abusive, at-risk men/women are willing to go to court to see their children? I highly doubt that hypothesis.

Is it higher because the people that can't sort this out themselves are both damaged individuals?
This is possible, but the volume of court cases would probably indicate a higher percentage of at-risk people, both male and female, than current studies expect in the population.
Even if this was true, that would indicate that both parents are an equal risk to the child. Assigning custody to just one, is only best for the child in terms of ending conflict. This would indicate that there should be a relatively equal split of custody between mothers and fathers. There is not.

The last possible hypothesis I come up with is that relationships in acrimonius court battle mean that at least one of the adults is damaged in some manner. If this was the case however, I don't think that there is any evidence that men suffer from damage any more than women, thus the largely mother-centric custody wins is not in the child's best interest as they are being assigned to the damaged parent in almost 50% of cases. That's a pretty bad record, and a complete failure of the court to protect the child.

From my point of view, and as I stated, one angry outburst from the non-custodial parent (Usually the father) - is all that is necessary for the custodial parent to claim abuse - and usually it is only the custodial parent's word that is used to assign that label. (or one of several others that work well in this arena).

Provocation of an already emotional individual is easy. And sometimes, if the custodial parent is crafty, the non-custodial parent doesn't even need to act badly, just to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and be set up. ("Why are you sitting outside your ex-wife's house? I am picking up my kids. "She says your visitation isn't until tomorrow and you are stalking them" (If there is yet no written visitation agreement, there is no contradiction to this) - bingo - police report must be filed - requested by the custodial parent's lawyer - entered into evidence as proof of risk. Non-custodial parents chances in court just went to zero - even if he had been invited there to pick up his kids.)

I also wonder at the double standard that states if a women screams and yells and acts badly "because she is being taken away from her children" is viewed as proper and commendable and receives empathy and sympathy. A man that expresses his emotions under the same circumstance, is labelled a "risk".

3 Sisters out for Justice said...

I read your post on Glenn Sacks site and I just want you to know I have been doing more. Read my brother's story. It will shock you (then again maybe not). It is a lot to read but worth it. The facts came straight form CPS and you can read their words. My words only explain my brother's story but the truth is in the writing! I started a blog but have now published a Web site; Here is the link: http://web.mac.com/jlnatalie1/iWeb/FreeChrisWhite/The%20Deception.html

Anonymous said...

Nancy is indeed a jack-ass. She is gonna' be an attorney? I would say "Lord deliver us" but those already in the field are just as bad, so she isn't going to make things worse.

I certainly have opinions based on more than anecdotal evidence. Starting in 1984 and until well into the 90's, I supplied no-fee counseling to divorced fathers and a few non-custodial mothers.

I also did my homework. I subscribed to West Pub, the court reporter which included my state. I read over those years millions of words of court cases for the several states.

You are probably going to be an old woman before you read as many cases as I did.

Those court cases showed not only does family court apply stereotypes mindlessly, but that judges are senile, doddering old idiots. In fact, the reason an attorney becomes a judge is because he/she is not really succesful as an attorney. A truly successful attorney will seldom go on the bench and put up with the nonsense, if he/she can make a good living in an office.

By the way, for those here who know little about the judiciary, this is a fact, not an insult. Only failures as attorneys become judges.

Note I predict Nancy will be a judge as soon as possible.

And, most attorneys are incompetent fools. While I was giving accurate information based on actual court rulings, most attorneys in our District had no idea what was happening in the courts, nor in the child support collection industry.

It was so bad that we had a lot of attorneys who would apply for 'reasonable visitation' for fathers, though the precedents which any competent attorney would read, said such a statement had no meaning at all.

Attorneys in most places are little better.

One local judge told a Father's Rights group in June 1984 that he paid no attention to claims by men that their wife had abused the children. Here is his wonderful logic: "If she abuses the children, he is as bad as she is, so I don't want to hear it."

Swell. Tell me that isn't mindless nonsense. Women commit a majority of child abuse in the US, yet no man is supposed to report his wife for abuse, because after all, he is as bad as she is.

There were also a number of cases where men proved they weren't the parent of a child they were ordered to pay support for, yet Nancy's wonderful, rational judges said they gotta' keep paying. Mindless! Mindless! Mindless!

I could write a book of horrible cases.

Nancy is a jack-ass.

Nancy, your b.s. doesn't work on anyone who knows the law and the working of the courts. You are still a raw beginner. I realize at your age you are all fired up about your wonderful professional career, and future, but you will soon learn you don't know all that much.

eric fargo said...

This is exactly how I feel. I am a father of two children. I found out through my divorce 11+ years ago that my daughter wasn't biologically mine. The courts made me pay anyway. My point is that I have suffered mentally for years because of what my ex-wife has put me through. the only way I get through it is that I keep telling myself you have to be tough, your a man for Gods sake. It has taken me this long to realize that it has effected me, my decision making process, my self esteem, and my manhood. It hurts, it hurts bad. All I can do is go on. It's time I started to fight.

persephone said...

I totally agree with you about our severely flawed "justice" system; weather a father is deserving or not, they are automatically red-flggaed and outcasted without just cause. I have seen it here, and I have seen it in the media.

I am a mother myself, but honestly some women think that they are the upper hand in parenting as they carried a child for 9 or so months, the gave birth, etc. etc., WTF?

Hello, without my partner I would be totally lost.

Anonymous said...

Well i posted before that my ex took my daughter 5hrs away,never would i have done that to her,but thats not what i want to write ,i believe that both parents are responsible for the child,if the mother makes 35000 ayear or less, then the pay scale should be followed,but if not only does she make more, than the payor,and she has a new partner,for a year ,then it should be looked at dollar for dollar,and she should have to claim that income, ya I,m still pissed Todd

Jerry said...

I can't personally speak about women and the alpha concept, but with regard to the flawed justice system, judges hold a certain bias to people, thus completely disregarding the supposedly balanced judgment that the court upholds. It's happened that some people win the case even though there's obviously on the wrong and having used dirty divorce tricks by flinging all the crap they could collect about you. When it comes to the law, it's basically a coin toss.