Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Court bias against mothers...?

I just posted the following as a comment on Breadbreaker's blog in response to a post in which he complains about a group of women claiming they are discriminated against by the family courts. I thought it would be worth reproducing here (with some small edits).

To address why women may feel that they are discriminated against in the courts - they have a point, but not because they are women, because they are non-custodial parents. Once you understand the thinking behind the courts' actions, it becomes obvious. Their policies are designed to protect the authority of the custodial parent in the eyes of the child. In the event of conflict between the parents, this becomes a case of favoring the custodial parent on all points of conflict. From the point of view of the non-custodial parent, this is an egregious bias. Most of the time, the NCP is the father, so the numbers make it look like a bias against fathers. But if you are an non-custodial mother, the court is also biased against you. Get enough NC-mothers together and you get a bunch of women, rightly, complaining that the court is biased against them.

Why is it so important to protect the custodial parent's authority? Because the largely Freudian psychology on which the reasoning is based demands that it is in the child's best interest to be able to form at least one strong parental relationship within which framework his or her appropriate development is assured. This, of course, is an appallingly bad and slapdash approximation. It assumes that it is better for the child to be shown the complete ineffectiveness of one parent than to live under the conflicts between both. It shows the child that the noncustodial parent is only "right" when he or she agrees with the custodial parent. It assumes that the conflicts between the parents cannot be otherwise resolved while simultaneously giving one of them, right or wrong, a huge advantage over the other and therefore often exacerbating the conflict. It takes no account of conflicts which arise from the custodial parent's mistreatment of the child (except in cases of obvious abuse or neglect, and there are many levels of mistreatment before those). It does not consider the benefits of the non-custodial parent's influence as a role model and as one half of the genetic origin of the child. It is, basically, institutionalized disenfranchisement.

Worse, it derives from antiquated and inappropriate standards of research. In fact, it would be better say that it is based on the opinions of people who are or were considered experts in the field, many of whom are or were adherents of now largely discredited or heavily refined psychological and psychiatric theories. It is not based on scientific research of modern standards of quality. It is long past time for a rethink.

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1 comment:

Captain Zarmband said...

This is indeed and interesting thought. However, why has this discrimination against the non-custodial parent develeoped? Simple, most of the time the NCP is a man and as such the laws were originally drafted to suit women because females have more political clout than men. The fact that a few females (and it is a tiny number when compared to the number of men affected) perceive that they are discriminated is a side-effect of their own female-friendly legislation.

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