A fugitive people within a nation is tyranny.

Posts tagged ‘broken family’

States: Fear All Around

by Idaho senator, Mary Souza

justice and moneyFear was evident on both sides of the Child Support bill we were called back to consider last Monday for the Special Session. The House and Senate Judiciary & Rules Joint Committee, of which I am a member, heard nearly 5 hours of testimony, and much of it was based in fear. Those supporting the bill were afraid Idaho’s child support collection system would dissolve without passage of the bill, leaving children and families in dire straits. Those opposed to the bill were worried about loss of constitutional due process and opening our laws to foreign influence. Are any of these people crazy or worthy of ridicule or reprisal? Of course not. Concerns and questions must always be respected.

This was a tricky and complicated piece of legislation. Lack of communication from the Administration left important questions unanswered, which fanned the flames of fear on all sides and caused the need for the special session.

empty-pockets-robbed-court-orderIn my position as the new Senator from Coeur d’Alene, I talked with and heard from a great number of constituents before the special session. Many were in favor, many opposed, but all were very worried. I studied the bill, in depth, on my own and conferred with others. Then I asked questions of a number of attorneys and, as you might guess, heard differing overall views. There were some consistent answers, however, and several of the most important areas of agreement were:

1. The international treaty on child support collection, which is the root of the federal push for this legislation, cannot become more powerful than our US Constitution. No treaty can.

2. Due process is protected for Idahoans involved in child support through foreign countries, and the Idaho court has the right to dismiss a support request if the other country’s laws are “manifestly incompatible” with our public policies.

3. Since 1996, Idaho has had reciprocal child support relationships with 16 foreign countries without significant problems.

4. Child support collection would continue in Idaho, if the bill did not pass, but it there would be a period of uncertainty and possible disruption, until alternate plans could be put in place.

rich guyI voted to approve the bill because of the potential disruption. It passed the House 49-21 and the Senate 33-2. But I remain unhappy, as do most legislators, with the coercive methods used by the Federal government to force states’ approval of this bill. The Feds fueled fear by threatening to withdraw the entire $43 million dollar grant Idaho uses to collect child support payments if the bill was not approved exactly as written and within their dictated timeframe. They also threatened to close our access to the federal database portal used to track the parents responsible to pay for their children.

This just underscores my overall frustration that, too often in Boise, we legislate out of fear… fear of losing Federal money. A significant and growing portion of Idaho’s state budget, nearly 35%, comes from Washington DC. We receive large sums of money for transportation, health and welfare, education and more. And we all know those who give the money hold the strings.

There is legal precedence, however, for states to challenge the hammer of the Federal government when they threaten to remove funding for an existing program as coercion to entice additional action. US Supreme Court Justice Roberts wrote a clear opinion on a recent case about state Medicaid funds. “The States…object that Congress has ‘crossed the line distinguishing encouragement from coercion’…The State’s claim that this threat serves no purpose other than to force unwilling States to sign up for the dramatic expansion of health care coverage affected by the act. Given the nature and the threat and the programs at issue here we must agree.”

welfare queenThere’s more to his legal opinion, of course, but Idaho continues to allow Federal dollars to dictate many of our decisions. To push back would require a show of will and coordination from the Administration, which is not in evidence right now.

Our Founding Fathers were concerned about the power of the then newly formed central government, and feared its future growth could alter the balance of power in our country. Thomas Jefferson expressed this key belief when he reminded, “The federal government is our servant, not our master!”

States have become dependent on Federal money, corporations that are mostly concerned with feeding themselves. The views of this senator don’t begin to address the reality of the system, for all Americans.

This poor senator. She doesn’t realize that she had already undercut the U.S. Constitution by going along with the Feds. She wrote this in an effort to try to absolve her conscience before her constituents. Poor. Pathetic. Stupid. – Rathbone

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A Welfare Nation Created by Broken Homes

by Marshall Frank

Insanity definition: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

kangaroo courtIn a perfect world, all children would grow up in secure, loving families with a mom and dad, good role models and plenty of love. Alas, the world is not perfect. And the less perfect it becomes, the worse it is for all of us, not only those who are trapped into despair, poverty and neglect.

Kids who come from broken homes are lucky to have parents who still talk to each other, who love and care for the child, and who support, educate and meet psychological needs. Too often that’s not the case. Some fathers abandon their duty-bound responsibilities. Why? Because they can.

dollar bondageA 2012 study of deadbeat dads, aired by CNN, indicates that $100 billion a year was owed in unpaid child support. Taxpayers pick up the tab for nearly half that amount in the form of non-reimbursed welfare. Mothers comprise 82 percent of the custodial parents in broken home situations. Child support payments represent 45 percent of their income. Single mothers with multiple kids rely mostly on welfare for total income.

Recent studies show that 1.6 million babies are born to unwed mothers every year. Among blacks, 73 percent of new babies have no father at home, leaving mothers to bear the burden. For Asians, 17 percent; Whites, 29 percent.

It’s not only about financial support. Spin-off problems can be worse. Sure, it’s important to clothe and feed children, but needs go beyond physical welfare. It is equally important to develop kids into well-adjusted youths who do not turn to the streets for negative love and attention outside the home.

child abuseAye, there’s the rub, the unseen, unmeasured consequence of dysfunctional or abusive parenting, or no parenting at all. Psychological damage to children can ultimately cost taxpayers far more than child support checks, particularly after kids reach puberty and engage in behaviors that land them in jails, rehab centers or county morgues. Meanwhile, taxpayers must bear the costs of fighting crime and trauma, not only within the justice system, but in emergency rooms, property loss, physical loss, lost wages, victimization costs and more.

johnson-amendmentWhat kids from broken families seek out in the streets is what they often don’t get at home: acceptance, attention, guidance and feeling important. Thus, the substitutes. Boys enter gangs. Girls sell bodies. Kids use drugs — to belong. Any mention of morality is laughable. And we pay for it all.

Street gangs are replete with stories about mothers who had multiple kids from miscellaneous fathers who never felt the need to be part of their children’s lives. The mothers get all the help possible from Uncle Sam. Moms are better off staying unmarried because the government is a sure thing, the dads are not. It’s a vicious cycle.

When you hear about aberrant teens, violence and gangs, remember that most of these kids never had a chance from the moment they were born. Many were born of dysfunctional teens themselves, grossly unprepared for motherhood. They never learned how to parent because their parents were just as dysfunctional.

The Great Society of President Lyndon Johnson, it seems, has backfired. It was all about expanding welfare. From 1965 to 2008, according to Forbes, $16 trillion had been appropriated for welfare programs for the poor. That’s increased another $2 trillion since. Johnson may have meant to eliminate poverty, but it created a dependent society instead. When Johnson was president, more than 75 percent of black babies were born with fathers in the family. Dads stayed home to help raise kids. Not today.

Meanwhile, we continue to hear the same old drumbeat about the need for government to spread the wealth and take care of the poor. Seems that hasn’t worked very well.

I guess we must be insane.

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How the US Legal System Screws Poor Parents

father-child-in-prisonA system full of flawed logic that winds up hurting children more than it helps them.

by Wendy Paris

Walter Scott wasn’t just a black man in America shot by a police officer; he also was a divorced father. While debate rages about excessive use of police force, his death points to another troubling practice—the incarceration of poor parents for failing to pay child-support.

For the most part, these are not “deadbeat dads”; they’re dead broke dads. Seventy percent of unpaid child support debt is owed by parents with no or low reported earnings, according to the Office of Child Support Enforcement. Their ex-wives often are poor, too. For these families, our punitive child support policies function like a de facto debtor’s prison for fathers. This, at a time when divorce, more broadly, has dramatically improved for many. While family scholars and journalists voice concern about a growing “marriage divide”—the way that marriage has become almost a luxury good attained by the “haves” and eschewed or effectively denied to the poor—a similar sorting is happening with divorce and co-parenting.

On the one hand, celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow seek conscious uncouplings. Upper- and middle-class couples seeking divorce in the US benefit from ever-increasing psychological, financial, and parenting resources. The law itself has improved divorce for many. New legal approaches such as mediation and collaborative counsel can make filing itself a mutually uplifting experience. These forms of “alternative dispute resolution” help adults make good decisions for everyone in the family, and steer clear of the divisive, anger-escalating spectacle of family court. Divorce can be seen as another awkward life passage, one that generates laughs, as on Bravo network’s new show The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce.

kangaroo courtBut if a family finds itself in court, the system seems stacked against the poor. “Many states have two systems, one for married parents and one for poor people/welfare cases that are funneled through ‘paternity dockets’ where they barely get to say a word,” says Daniel Hatcher, a professor of law at the University of Baltimore and a prolific researcher of and advocate for child support reform. “It’s a tribunal that’s just about child-support and paternity. It’s crowded. Judges are jaded. They face huge case loads.” As the trend toward unmarried parenting continues, especially among the poor, these paternity dockets look to grow even more crowded, meting out rushed decisions to more families.

While in court, a non-custodial parent, usually the father, may have a chance to explain to a busy judge his financial situation—perhaps he’s unemployed and worried about falling behind on rent. In many states, the judge can decide that this father could be earning minimum wage, impute that income to him, and set a custody amount he must pay the mother of his child as a percentage of his potential (that is to say, fictitious) earnings.

great-child-support-incomeMaybe this obligation pushes him to scramble for a job. Perhaps it takes a few months. All the while, the child support debt has been accumulating. Now he has the monthly obligation plus back payment. (This is where the Bradley Amendment kicks in.) Some states terminate parental rights or throw a parent in jail or prison for back child support, or “non-compliance” with court orders. In South Carolina, the court can order the noncompliant father to appear to explain his delinquency, charge him $1,500 in the process, and jail him for up to a year. South Carolina is hardly an outlier. In Texas, a parent can be incarcerated even after he’s paid back his child support debt. (Texas is infamous for overcrowded courts, too. In one court in Harris County, Texas, a court master decided 500 paternity and child support cases in one day.)

Now the father is in jail; for some, like Scott, incarceration means the end of that great (or not so great) job. While in jail or prison, child support debt continues to mount in many states, some of which consider incarceration “voluntary unemployment.” In some states, you can apply for a child support modification while behind bars, but many parents do not know about this option, may find the process confusing, and may not realize their child support debt continues. Studies from a few states show that on average, a parent with a child support case enters jail or prison about $10,000 behind; he leaves owning more like $30,000. This debt is unlikely ever to be paid. The national child-support debt is more than $115 billion.

empty-pockets-robbed-court-orderIn South Carolina, if the non-custodial parent accumulates $500 in back child support while unemployed, the state can suspend or revoke his driver’s license as punishment. Say our unemployed father is a truck driver. Without his license, he’s lost his ability to work, and probably his sense of autonomy as an adult, and his willingness to cooperate with a system that’s working against him. As Scott’s brother Rodney told the New York Times, “Every job he has had, he has gotten fired from because he went to jail because he was locked up for child support. He got to the point where he felt like it defeated the purpose.”

Incarceration also prevents a parent from spending time with his children. Research from a variety of areas shows that when the non-custodial parent spends time with his children, he’s more likely to pay child support. Forty years of research on child development shows that children benefit from having a good relationship with both parents, or parent-type figures. Incarceration yanks a parent right out of a child’s life.

ebt-card-welfareIf a custodial parent—usually the mother—seeks Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF, the program that replaced welfare) or food stamps, both parents are treated like bad children. The mother is required to name the father, establish paternity, and sue the father in court for support, even if they have an in-kind arrangement that’s working. The pursuit of child support can destroy relationships. The money, if he has it, often goes back to the state for supporting the brood, not to his children. Meanwhile, the dads who can’t pay may find themselves in jail or prison, unable to help mom in other ways, such as picking up the kids from school or throwing a ball around on weekends.

The logic flaw baffles the mind, and hurts the heart, especially since about half of the nation’s back child support is owed to the government. In many states, child support collected in the name of the custodial parent receiving government aid does not go to that parent. It goes to the government instead, to pay for the cost of the food stamps of TANF. “The idea is that if we’re supporting this mom, we should be able to go after the dad to recoup this cost,” says Hatcher. “The guidelines don’t really work for these welfare cases at all. Most policy is driven by discussion about cases where both parents are working, middle class families on up; you plug in both parents’ income and then transfer to the custodial parent. That doesn’t make any sense when the money goes to the government.”

How have we arrived at these anti-family policies?

captiveIn the 1980s and ‘90s, the notion of the “deadbeat dad” loomed large in the public conscious, in part because of one spectacularly flawed and widely-cited study—since retracted by its own author—that purported to show divorced mothers subsisting at a third of their former standard of living, while the fathers lived better than ever. For many custodial parents, child support is the road out of poverty. Much child support went uncollected, and enforcement policies were changed to improve the situation. Some policies worked; the Office of Child Support Enforcement today still publishes reports showing continued gains in money collected. Threat of jail was considered a good motivator for delinquent dads, and it may be in some cases.

When it comes to the poor, however, these policies can create more harm than good. Maybe some fathers refuse to pay out of spite, while some mothers actively want their children’s father behind bars, if he’s violent, for example. But as research from a variety of areas shows, most of these poor families are fragile relationships, perhaps begun while very young, both people harboring hope for a future of stability and cooperation, even reconciliation or romance.

scarlet-letter-adulteryOld ideology probably contributes to our current policies as well—a view of faltering families that’s about as enlightened as something out of The Scarlet Letter. In England, Elizabethan Poor Laws of 1601 authorized towns to sue fathers of unwed mothers to reimburse them for assistance provided to their children. Early “bastardy acts” allowed colonies to incarcerate pregnant unwed mothers to protect the state from the financial burden of the child. Today’s laws are not as different as you’d expect. Lurking underneath lies an entrenched view that fathers are the lazy enemies of their own families, and poor mothers, in some way brought this on themselves. (You see this kind of view in the comments section of a recent piece in Concurring Opinions by law professors Naomi Cahn and June Carbone on the child support link in the Walter Scott affair.)

Some of the resources benefitting middle and upper-class divorcing couples help the poor, too. Technology, for example, allows those across the economic spectrum to read about their state’s laws online and access forms without shelling out for a lawyer. Courthouses around the country now have staffed self-help centers to guide pro se litigants (a.k.a. the do-it-yourself divorcees) through the paperwork. Increasingly, lawyers offer “unbundled” services, a consultation on an hourly basis. Most states have parenting classes and workshops for divorcing parents. Surveys show, and casual conversation confirms, wide satisfaction with these workshops.

Scott-police-fatal-shootingBut unmarried parents as a group get fewer resources, and if one parent sues the other in court, the kind of Orwellian child support laws that dogged Walter Scott kick in across the states. The overarching principle is the best interest of the child (a legal myth), but this aim gets subverted in policies that hurt the whole family.

There are solutions, the most promising of which take a problem-solving, rather than punitive approach. In Virginia, child support enforcement workers have begun reaching out to employers to find work for non-compliers, rather than more jail time. The state also has retooled its child support guidelines and begun launching programs aimed at helping poor fathers improve job-hunting and parenting skills. Some states have experimented with assessing child support only if a non-custodial parent has a minimum reserve of income. States, including California and Ohio, have passed statutes requiring the exercise of discretion rather than automatically referring certain child welfare cases to child support enforcement services.

In Maryland, Hatcher has worked on legislation to allow the state to automatically disable child support arrears during incarceration. This reform passed, but is not widely enforced. Hatcher notes that one stumbling block to reform is poor communication between child support enforcement and the criminal justice system.

This problem of poor communication—long the dominion of marriage counselors—is one I’ve seen repeatedly in my own research on divorce. I’d assumed that bad divorces result from a dearth of good ideas, but found instead that there are creative, humane solutions coming from a variety of states and various disciplines— and abysmal communication of them. In divorce, as in marriage, good communication may be the best way to suture a gap.

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The Child Support Catastrophe

 

mob-rule-child-support-government

by Dalrock

Child support is typically framed as state intervention on behalf of children. However, it is more accurately an alternative to marriage for women. Traditionally, women would find a man willing to formally commit to them before having children. By marrying (and staying married to) the man who would be the father of her children, women would ensure investment from the man and the provision of resources both to her and her children. Note that child support isn’t needed in the traditional model, and that it isn’t relevant in the case of the death of the father. Even in the case of divorce, child support isn’t needed if parents share equal custody. Where child support is needed if women want to expel the father from the household (or never bring him in). When the facade of “its for the children” is stripped away, child support is all about removing fathers from the lives of their children.

If anyone has any doubt as to the true purpose of child support, they need only look at how it is enforced in practice. In theory whichever parent can better raise the children should be given custody, and the remaining parent would then be compelled to pay child support. In practice it is almost exclusively a way for women who expelled their children’s father from the home to extract money from the man. While the law is written under the guise of being gender neutral, this is a sham; the system is strongly biased towards women at nearly every step of the process. I’ve created a separate post to share all of the data, but here is a quick summary:

Mothers are far more likely to receive custody (over 80% of custodial parents are mothers). Those few fathers who receive custody are less likely than custodial mothers to have support awarded to them. Those fathers who have support awarded to them have less awarded on average than mothers. Due to all of the biases in the system, roughly 90% of all child support dollars are paid from fathers to mothers.

But still there are those who will claim this isn’t about money, it is about the best interest of the child. They say this even though the money goes to the mother, not the child, and the mother is under no legal obligation to spend the money on the children. If it were about the best interest of the child, the system would concern itself with maintaining the child’s relationship with the non custodial parent. But while the system is draconian in its enforcement of money (which almost always goes to the mother), it is generally uninterested in enforcing visitation (which almost always would be for the father). If the system were about protecting the child, it would enforce support and visitation equally. A parent who denies visitation is denying their child access to their parent. A system acting on behalf of the child would work vigorously to ensure that the child isn’t denied something which money can’t buy; access to and guidance from their father.

Not only does the system not take vigorous action to ensure that visitation orders are enforced, the system is designed to estrange fathers from their children. It uses draconian measures on the father while acting in the name of their children. Support is said to be based on the income of the father, but often it isn’t the father’s actual income which is considered. The court will often make up a figure which it assumes the father should be able to earn, and assign (impute) that income to him when setting the amount of support to be paid. W.F. Price described his own experience with this in the comments section of a recent Spearhead post:

There is really no cap on % of income a man can be ordered to pay. Being unemployed when my ex divorced me (she demanded I indulge her and help her get the job she wanted by watching the kids, and I stupidly went along with it thinking this would be temporary and would save my marriage), I was imputed, and therefore the child support was infinity percent of my income. I was imputed at the standard earning for a man my age in Washington state, despite the fact that we were in a recession and nobody was hiring.

There is no limit, therefore. Inability to pay is no excuse. You might as well be asking for mercy from the mob. I watched “”The Departed” recently, and when one of the bookies said he didn’t have the money the enforcer said “this is America – make it” after beating the crap out of him. This is exactly how fathers are treated.

captiveKeep in mind that men can be thrown in jail for failing to make these payments. Fathers all around the country are put in jeopardy of going to prison for money they don’t have, based on actions which are taken in the name of their own children. Undoubtedly the vast majority of fathers make every effort to not allow this injustice to poison their relationship with their children, since they know that their children are merely pawns being used by the child’s mother and the system. However, this kind of heavy handed tactic combined frequently with denial of time with and influence over their children has to impact the relationship negatively. Not surprisingly fathers who are less cut off from their children are more likely to pay support. In 2007 the Census found that 78% of non custodial parents who had joint custody and/or visitation privileges with their children made their payments, compared to 67% for those who didn’t have either (source, P9).

But the ultimate proof of what child support is all about is the end result for children. While there is a grain of truth to the old canard that divorce is caused by philandering or abusive men who either abandon or mistreat their children, the vast majority of divorces are actually requested by women. Professors Margaret F. Brinig and Douglas W. Allen set out to understand why this was in their paper These Boots Are Made for Walking: Why Most Divorce Filers Are Women:

Because of the financial and social hardship faced after divorce, most people assume that generally husbands have instigated divorce since the introduction of no-fault divorce. Yet women file for divorce and are often the instigators of separation, despite a deep attachment to their children and the evidence that many divorces harm children.

Here is what they found (emphasis mine):

Our results are consistent with our hypothesis that filing behavior is driven by self-interest at the time of divorce. Individuals file for divorce when there are marital assets that may be appropriated through divorce, as in the case of leaving when they have received the benefit of educational investments such as advanced degrees. However, individuals may also file when they are being exploited within the marriage, as when the other party commits a major violation of the marriage contract, such as cruelty. Interestingly, though, cruelty amounts to only 6% of all divorce filings in Virginia. We have found that who gets the children is by far the most important component in deciding who files for divorce, particularly when there is little quarrel about property, as when the separation is long.

Keep in mind that getting custody not only determines which parent has their children ripped away from them, but that because of the child support system the children also often come with a hefty payment stream the ‘winning’ parent can spend however they want. The ‘loser’ on the other hand is compelled at risk of imprisonment to pay amounts which can exceed their actual ability to earn. While this money is extracted from them in theory on behalf of their children, it robs them of their ability to be seen as wanting to take care of their children. Fathers can’t spend money on their children which the mother has already taken by force. Making this winner take all game even more lopsided, in the US the receipt of the payments is considered tax free, since the support payer must pay the income tax on it.

This system which is supposedly about the children encourages mothers to expel their children’s fathers from their lives. One divorce explains how many women think about this:

The problem with my life, as I saw it then, was my husband, and I imagined divorce as a process that would remove him but change little else  a sort of neutron bomb that eliminated men but left the rest of the world intact.

But divorce is only one way that child support encourages women to become single parents. The direct route to unwed motherhood is to simply get knocked up without getting married. This wouldn’t have guaranteed unwed mothers child support in the past. However, the rules were changed in the latter part of the 21st century, as Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers explain in their paper Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces:

Supreme Court rulings in the 1960s and 1970s also changed the nature of family relationships by eliminating many of the legal distinctions stemming from the marital status of a child’s parents. In 1968, the Supreme Court ruling in Levy v. Louisiana (391 U.S. 68) granted equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to “illegitimate” children. Five years later, the 1973 ruling in Gomez v. Perez (409 U.S. 535) overturned state laws exempting men from financial responsibility for “illegitimate” children. These rulings reduced both the social and economic cost to women of bearing a child out-of-wedlock…

Not surprisingly, this along with welfare payments has lead to an explosion of children being born out of wedlock. You can see the impact in the chart below from NCHS Data Brief No. 18 May 2009, Changing Patterns of Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States:

children-unmarried-women

The 2011 Statistical Abstract of the United States provides the breakdown of out of wedlock births by race (Table 86 pdf or image) for 2007, the latest year data is available. 40% of all babies born in the US in 2007 were out of wedlock. This figure was 51% for Hispanics, 28% for whites, and 72% for blacks. The US isn’t exceptional for its out of wedlock birth rates either:

out-of-wedlock-children-by-nation

But the direct approach to unwed motherhood isn’t preferred by all would be baby mommas. Some have a strong sense of tradition, and prefer the classic approach of marrying the father and then divorcing him after the children are born. Fortunately for them child support along with biased family courts makes this nearly as easy as the direct approach. As an added bonus, they get to attend a big party held in their honor, where they (get this!) promise in front of everyone they know to stay married to the father for life. This more classic approach to baby mamma-hood is also on the rise, as you can see in Figure 1 in Marriage and Divorce: Changes and their Driving Forces.

Divorce has gone from almost unheard of to extremely common. According to the US Census 2009 SIPP data, 39% of all white women aged 50-59 had divorced at least once. This works out to 42% of all white women that age who ever married. For Hispanic women the figures are 27%&30%, and for Black women the figures are 38%&48%.

All of this action supposedly in the interest of children has resulted in millions of kids growing up with little or no access to their fathers. A small percentage of these kids are better off because of the system. They had fathers who either abandoned them or were abusive. Far more have lost something irreplaceable; the chance to grow up with both their mother and father (chart source):

historic-living-arangements-of-children

There is a huge body of research showing how detrimental this is to children. In the interest of space I’ll only share one small quote from Dan Quayle Was Right (emphasis mine):

Even for fathers who maintain regular contact, the pattern of father-child relationships changes. The sociologists Andrew Cherlin and Frank Furstenberg, who have studied broken families, write that the fathers behave more like other relatives than like parents. Rather than helping with homework or carrying out a project with their children, nonresidential fathers are likely to take the kids shopping, to the movies, or out to dinner. Instead of providing steady advice and guidance, divorced fathers become “treat” dads.

Apparently–and paradoxically–it is the visiting relationship itself, rather than the frequency of visits, that is the real source of the problem. According to Wallerstein, the few children in the California study who reported visiting with their fathers once or twice a week over a ten-year period still felt rejected. The need to schedule a special time to be with the child, the repeated leave-takings, and the lack of connection to the child’s regular, daily schedule leaves many fathers adrift, frustrated, and confused. Wallerstein calls the visiting father a parent without portfolio.

This is built into any child support scenario, and simply cannot be changed or wished away. The profoundly negative result of fatherless children is widely acknowledged, even by those who enthusiastically support the new family structure child support encourages. However, instead of blaming the process which created the problem, most now blame the very fathers who had their children ripped away from them. This is the final insult by a system which sees fathers as no more than a walking wallet. Instead of blaming the concerted social push to allow women to raise children outside of marriage, the fathers themselves are blamed for being absent! Following the London riots many have pointed out that a major cause of the out of control youths is a lack of fathers. The headline of The Telegraph reads:

London Riots: Absent Fathers Have a Lot to Answer For

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