Wednesday, May 13, 2009

From Whence Comes Bias?

The Father's Rights groups argue vehemently and relentlessly against the obvious bias in Family Court. And it is obvious: in contested custody cases, Mothers still win nearly 90% of the time. Fathers still overwhelmingly are expected to pay child support, while over 25% non-Custodial Mothers never receive any order of support; and of those that do, a startling 60% are in arrears, with almost no enforcement efforts directed at them. Contrast this with a 96% compliance rate of Fathers who have support orders, and a nearly 100% prosecution rate of those who do not comply.

While almost all states now have laws that require child support compliance in order for a person to renew a license to drive, many states also proof of compliance by any applicant for a hunting or fishing license. Which gender do you suppose they are targeting there? Imagine a law that required all "persons" getting a pedicure to first demonstrate that they were current on a child support order? Yeah, right.

So the bias exists.

And we can spew all day long about how horrible the "Divorce Cartel" is, what with its biased judges, colluding attorneys, and contracted clingers-on (aka "custody evaluators", "child specialists", etc.).

But the truth is, there is not one single entity in the entire "Divorce Cartel" who is doing anything more than reflected a bias that is prevalent in society at large. That's right. As much as we would like to blame the Family Court System, they truly did not invent the anti-Father bias. They only reflect it.

So if the Family Court System didn't invent it, who did?

We did. Us. Society. You, and Me.

Don't believe it? Then go into your heart, and answer honestly a few simple questions:

If you are a woman, do you believe -- deep in your heart -- that it's your husband's (or future husband's if you are not married) responsibility to support you? To support your children?

If you are a woman and you work outside the home, is your income considered "extra", while his is "essential"? If yours is also "essential", do you resent him, or the economy, because his inability to provide adequately requires you to work?

Do you feel that a man is "lesser" if he is a stay-at-home-Dad? Do you automatically expect the man to hold a job? Would you feel ashamed or embarrassed if you were a stay-at-home-Dad? If you were married to one? Would you feel compelled to explain yourself or your choice?

If you are a divorced woman, do you automatically expect to receive child support? If you earned more than your ex-husband and were ordered to pay child support to him, would you feel - on some deep level -- that this is not right or fair, because you are the mother?

When you hear the word "Deadbeat", does your brain automatically fill in the next word "Dad"?

When you about a woman not having custody of her children, do you automatically assume that there is something wrong with her? That she lacks some "maternal instinct"?

If a man claimed that he had been abused by his wife, how would you react?

If a woman claimed that she had previously been abused by her ex-husband, would you automatically believe her, if you knew absolutely nothing else about her or her ex-husband?

The point is, each and every one of us brings biases into the mix.

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