Thursday, January 10, 2008

Legal Pub's Proposal To Reduce Post Divorce Violence

Look at all the anti-marriage sentiment! Why does it exist? Suppose you are looking to invest in an automobile manufacturer. Performing a cost benefit analysis, reveals that the product line is attractive and a lot of resources have been spent on research and development. Unfortunately, 50% of the cars never make it to the end of the assembly line. They malfunction, fall off the line and cannot be repaired. Would you invest in this company?

Marriage Strike Advocates scream no! At least not until unfavorable laws pertaining to child custody and finances are changed so as to reduce the “cost" side of the ledger. Some argue that the problem with marriage is not the institution but the idea of having the State sanction and regulate what should be a religious commitment. How is a personal and spiritual bond the business of the State? This article presumes that post marriage dissolution should be regulated by the State. This article recognizes that a primary objective of any legal change ought to have a goal of reducing domestic violence and promoting post harmony dissolution for all involved. While this author is pro marriage, he is against divorce in its current state.

One tires of reading of post dissolution violence, some resulting in murder or suicide. Domestic violence affects people across society, irrespective of economic status. In the U.S., women are six times as likely as men to experience violence. The percentage of U.S. woman who claim to have been abused is in excess of 22%. Most abuse goes unreported so the actual percent of victims is opined to be much higher. Some surveys suggest that 50-70% of all women have been a victim of domestic violence at one time or another. A common source of domestic violence during and after the filing of the divorce revolve around child custody and child support disputes.

Resentment and anger among fathers may lead to other problems besides violence. For example, the lack of fathers and/or strong male role models for young children is having a bad effect on children who grow up to be angry young adults. Kids benefit from observing, learning and developing from interaction with both parents. Currently, society often treats fathers as disposable items unnecessary for child welfare except for their child support payments. About 40 percent of children in father-absent homes have not seen their father at all during the past year; 26 percent of absent fathers live in a different state than their children; and 50 percent of children living absent their father have never set foot in their father's home. Source: Hetherington, E. Mavis, and John Kelly. For Better or For Worse: Divorce Reconsidered. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2002.

Interacting with both mother and father is hands on training for children needed to blossom into healthy adults. Unfortunately, many children growing up lack fathers and/or father figures. Blame is not relevant, positive change is relevant. It's hard to see the forest through the trees when you've been conditioned to be everything a father is not supposed to be,” said an unnamed parent about to enter jail.

In some states like Florida one must attend divorce school before getting a divorce. Participants are told that 60% of attendees will be remarried within the next 5 years. (Despite second marriages having a 67% failure rate!) It’s like being in the Army. Despite complaints about the experience… most re-enlist when the tour of duty ends. Instead of divorce school, perhaps "marriage school" and "parenting school" would be more appropriate. Until such schooling exists, Legal Pub propose the following solution:

1. There should be a strong legal presumption in all cases where there is not physical or mental abuse or neglect of the children that both parties shall have joint custody with a 50% split on visitation. In other words, the child lives equally in both parents homes. Parties would be given the choice of 3 days with Mom and 3 days with Dad or 7 days with Mom and 7 days with Dad with a 3 hour visit on Wednesday evening. Holidays would then be alternated between the parties. Gone is the presumption that mom knows best.

2. The current view that child support is a way for one spouse to live off her ex spouse should be forever banished. Child support should no longer be used as a term. Rather, both parties (in proportion to their income) would pay in to an account used for the exclusive support of the child. One parent would volunteer to be the administrator of the account and would be required to send a monthly accounting with a logging of all expenditures to the other party. Either parent could submit a check request for reimbursement of a receipt. An agreed upon housing allowance for the child could be included in the decree of dissolution. All disputes resolved by binding family arbitrator.

Such a system should promote a sense of shared parenting which is currently lacking in too many fathers. The current system where a man may be required to pay child support despite having little or no contact with their kids should become rare. No longer should one parent be able to deny another parent their right to equal time with the children.
Some fathers may chose to stop being a father, but an ex spouse should never stop someone from being a parent unless there is evidence of abuse or neglect.

For another example of domestic violence? See 4-11-08 comments!

For a little girls explanation of why joint parenting is so important click here: LINK

Update 3-8-10: Another horrible example of domestic dispute? LINK.

Update 7-26-11: The Laura Akerson abduction and murder appears to be another tragic consequences of fighting over children. Raleigh police have charged Grant Ruffin Hayes, 32, and his wife, Amanda Perry Hayes, 39, with the murder of 27-year-old Laura Jean Ackerson. According to the Huffington Post, Grant Hayes was an ex-boyfriend of Ackerson and fathered her two children. Ackerson was apparently last seen when she dropped off her kids at the Hayes home. Two days later she was reported missing.

68 comments:

Bertha said...

When I first read this proposal, I said no way. Then I read it again. (And that is a lot of reading for me.)After the second read I realized that even though men may pay the same or even more, it would give them a sense of ownership. A sense of truly being a parent and not just a baby sitter during visitation.

It would also force Dads to either shut up and stop complaining or step up, except the proposal and be a real dad!

I want to hear more details, but you got my vote!

Bertha

greg said...

What? No murder, no dead bodies being wheeled around in computer chairs?

Great idea. How do we get legislatures to effectuate change?

Greg

jill said...

System is definitely broke. Angry Dads turning violent. I am willing to try something new... anything.

Jill

Viper said...

I think this is a great idea. I will post a link on my blog.

Wish it could be shorter but I understand a lot went into this article. Thanks Pubmeister.

Ms Calabaza said...

Sounds fair and I understand it's sill a rough draft. Suggestion: Since states regulate marriage licenses perhaps Legal Pub's Rules on Divorce could be incorporated in the petition for marriage certificate. It would be nice if people thought about what they are getting into before they take the plunge or before (what drives me insane) they start non-stop procreating without figuring all of this out.

david d. said...

Good suggestion Ms.C. Let's make marriage an upfront deal... Here is what you are agreeing to when you say I do.

Personally, guys like me will still say, I don't!


David D.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't this cut into the profits of leach sucking lawyers (like viper) who thrive on domestic dispute and turmoil?

Cindy

Publisher 1 said...

This is great stuff! But to get hundreds of thousands of readers, you need to lead off with a description of O.J. hacking up Nicole or Jackson killing the mother of his children and then driving off into a lake.

Sad by true. The hook is everything.

Publisher 1

blond bombshell said...

Legal Pub, you need to be appointed to the Supreme Court. Your common sense approach could really help diminish this growing problem.

I don't have kids. But if I did, I would want them to have a father like you that would be a 50/50 parent in marriage or divorce.

I guess not all men are "pigs."

Shell

Anonymous said...

I would vote for this so let's put it to a referendum!

joe p. said...

Great job legal pub. I vote yes!


Joe P.

Anonymous said...

Awesome idea!

Winnie said...

I wish you were the father of my children! Bet you would be a great Dad, Legal Pub!


Winnie

Anonymous said...

Great proposal. Equality for all should be the goal of any law.


Valerie

Tom t. said...

This article needs publicity. It is the beginning of an awesome, fair way to change the law.

Spread the word.

Tom T.

Anonymous said...

Love it!

liz said...

Instead of child support, try alimony theory. It does not undermine marriage. Meanwhile, children are not trade goods to be divided for the benefit of their parents.

*FATHERLESS CHILDREN:

Alexander Hamilton - President Gen. George Washington - President Thomas Jefferson - President James Monroe - President Andrew Jackson - President Andrew Johnson - President Rutherford B. Hayes - President Herbert Hoover - President Grover Cleveland - President Gerald Ford - President William Jefferson Clinton - U.S. Supreme Court Justice James Wilson - U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Rutledge - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Johnson Field - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thomas Todd - U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Davis - U.S. Supreme Court Justice John McKinley - U.S. Supreme Court Ch. Justice (and U.S. Treasury Secretary) Salmon P. Chase - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Melville Fuller - U.S. Supreme Court Ch. Justice Edward D. White - U.S. Supreme Court Justice John Marshall Harlan - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo - U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas - U.S. Supreme Court Justice James F. Byrnes - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Arthur J. Goldberg - U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas - Frederick Douglas - Gen. Robert E. Lee - Gen. John Rawlins - Booker T. Washington - Benjamin Rush - Stephen Colbert - George Mason - Fr. Gen. Marquis de Lafayette - Henry Clay - Meriwether Lewis - Eleanor Roosevelt - Jackie Robinson - Mark Twain - George Washington Carver - Nathanial Hawthorne - Eli Whitney - Linus Carl Pauling - Aristotle - Nicolas Copernicus - Sir Isaac Newton - Mahatma Gandhi - Leonardo da Vinci - Confucius - Queen Elizabeth I - Jean-Jacques Rousseau - William Blackstone - Alexander Fleming - Nelson Mandela - Catherine the Great of Russia - Alexandre Dumas - Gen. Alexander Haig - Alabama Governor Bibb Graves - New York Governor Al Smith - Tennessee Governor Sam Houston - Indiana Supreme Court Justice William Allen Woods - U.S. Senator Al Sharpton - U.S. Senator Bella Abzug - U.S. Senator Barack Obama - U.S. Senator William Warren "Bill" Bradley - Queen Victoria of Britain - Alan Greenspan - Alessandro Volta - Ada Lovelace - Jane Austen - George Eastman - Roy Wilson Howard - Johann Sebastian Bach - Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz - John Lennon - Hans Christian Andersen - Edward Jenner - Giacomo Puccini - Joseph John ("J.J.") Thomson - Bertrand Russell - Hermann Rorschach - Herman Melville - John Keats - Marian Anderson - Garry Kasparov - Leo Tolstoy - Peyton Rous - Benjamin Carson - Raphael - David Hume - Hannah Arendt - Ralph Waldo Emerson - Stephen Crane - Friedrich Nietzsche - Agatha Christie - William Wordsworth - Max Weber - Cleopatra - Audie Murphy - Gustav Theodor Fechner - Edgar Allen Poe - Emile Zola - William Smith - Gerald Bull - Willa Cather - Daniel Dennett - Cass Gilbert - Mary Leakey - Charlie Chaplin - Nelly Bly - Max Born - Sarah Breedlove - Steve Allen - Louis Armstrong - Warren Hastings - Allan Pinkerton - Billie Holiday - Hank Williams - Malcolm X - Carol Burnett - Thomas Green Clemson - John Irving - J.R.R. Tolkien - Charles Bronson - Gene Hackman - Robert Hooke - Halle Berry - Eddie Murphy - Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg - Deborah Sampson - Ralph Ellison - California Supreme Court Justice Rose Bird - Eamon de Valera - William Reddington Hewlett - Mother Angelica - Deval Laurdine Patrick - F. Whitten Peters - Henry Talbot - Arthur C. Clarke - Jim Rogan - Frederick W. Alt - Emil J. Freireich - Charlotte Perkins Gilman - Bessie Coleman - Bertrand Russell - Dorothy Andersen - Chiang Kai-shek - Coco Chanel - Anderson Hayes Cooper - Hunter "Patch" Adams - Jack Nicholson - Roald Dahl - Douglas Fairbanks - David Harker - Irving Berlin - Loretta Young - Barbara Stanwick - Steve McQueen - Cher - Wayne Dyer - Sophia Loren - Stephen King - Whoopi Goldberg - Fatty Arbuckle - Dorothea Lange - Gloria Steinem - Gloria Gaynor - Jon Stewart - Bette Davis - Tom Cruise - Bill Cosby - Barry White - Jodie Foster - Ed Bradley - Rickey Henderson....

*The term "fatherless" is used here as it is in current research and policy rhetoric by the U.S. federal government, DHHS and the National Fatherhood Initiative, most U.S. states in connection with child custody law and policy, and various family values and fatherhood interest policy and lobbying groups.

Research: Dean Keith Simonton, Scientific Genius: A Psychology of Science. Cambridge University Press (1988) ("Exceptionally achieving individuals in virtually every human endeavor are more likely to have lost a parent...").

For more research, see the liz library.

The notion is false that children require a certain kind of family composition (two married biological parents) in order to do well, rather than that certain family characteristics and lifestyle advantages (such as educational opportunities, financial opportunities, stability, attention, and so forth) may be beneficial. No research has shown that when a child's parents do not live together, joint custody is in their long-term best interests, or that "the best parent is two parents."

Legal Pub said...

Legal Pub extends a genuine welcome to "Liz" who happens to be an outstanding divorce attorney.

Legal Pub's proposal for a presumption of joint custody does not necessarily conflict with your premises that many fine children grow up to be fine adults without a father. The proposal is rather designed to take some of the animosity out of the custody disputes that currently are seen.

The proposal takes aim at Dad's who feel so alienated by the system that they do bizarre, criminal acts such as violence out of a sense of frustration.

A month or so back, a father killed the mother of his children and kidnapped his children. In jail he confided that he had simply could not take having no rights with regard to his children. If this story was an isolated occurence, it would be just a blip on the radar. But instead, it has become too common of a headline.

Legal Pub would welcome your comments as to why a presumption of joint legal and physical custody would not be in the best interst of children.

Anonymous said...

We hear you Legal Pub. Your proposal is excellent and ought to be implemented by every court in the land!


Larry

Anonymous said...

It does not matter Legal Pub. I have been on the bench a long time. Fact is, unless the woman is a drug addict, sex fiend, etc. more times than not, I will award custody to the woman because I just feel women are superior parents.

Old time Judge

Anonymous said...

Get with the times, Judge! There should never be a presumption that one parent is superior to another.


Jill

Anonymous said...

This is a simple but great idea!

I would like the support of the legislature in my state!

Legal Pub said...

According to Herman Walters with the Rapides Parish Sheriffs Department, a woman by the name of Heather Johnson was found dead this morning the victim of an apparent murder-suicide. Sources close to the family apparently identified Johnson’s estranged husband as Allen Johnson who was living in Shreveport. Sources told News Channel 5, that Allen Johnson apparently had a history of spousal abuse. Heather was in the process of divorcing him. Heather Johnson aparently knew Allen Johnson all the way back in Simpson High School. Apparently they had been married for over 2 years. Allen apparently did not want to live without Heather...

RPSO confirms it was Heather’s father who found her body and the body of a man in a home owned by Heather’s current boyfriend. Reports say that Heather’s boyfriend became concerned when he could not reach her and asked her father to check on her.

We are working our sources and will have more details as they become available.

Anonymous said...

In general, I think your solution on custody is in the right direction.

Old School trying to learn new ways.

Anonymous said...

YOu are on to something L.P.!

Anonymous said...

Good idea!

Anonymous said...

If joint custody is the default, there is no point if a woman marrying and having a child with a man. Better to choose a test tube. Why should a woman go through serving her husband, losing her career and means of support, just to lose her child to hubby's new squeeze.

bruce said...

To above anon, you are living in the dark ages. If two people parent a child, then the child should have two parents not one. Under the current circumstances, too often women make 100% of the decisions with regard to the child. Yet men have to support the mom. No reason why both mom and dad can't work. No reason at all why mom and dad cant share decision making. Unless men get ownership in decision making, they are going to continue to feel used and disaposable. This is a recipe for disaster.

Bruce

Anonymous said...

That is the point. Men just want decision-making. They turn the actual child care over to the new squeeze, mom, a nanny, or group daycare. If a woman is going to risk her life and destroy her career by pregnancy, she might as well choose test tube sperm. At least, she gets to raise own her child that way and not have every step dictated by a controlling abuser as is so often the case.

Anonymous said...

I am a man, I think the proposal is excellent, however I would recommend any man not to get married under the present legal system. I was seperated 2 years ago. Luckily I had a private detective and got all my evidence, subsequently I got about 50% and joint custody. My attorny, (female) told me that if the situtation had been reversed I would have paid Alimony, had no custody and paid huge child support. I'll never get married again.

Anonymous said...

ANON, you are so right! The present system needs to be changed and this is a big head start!

Legal Pub said...

A little 12 year old girl explained why joint parenting is so important to Newsweek readers.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/174698?tid=relatedcl

Anonymous said...

Another Illinois legislative session comes to a close this summer with a rising tone of disapproval against Illinois lawmakers by a growing number of parental rights advocates. Advocates claim that the Domestic Relations court system is out of control, and operates from outdated statutes that violate the civil rights of parents.

"Illinois' Domestic Relations courts routinely violate the civil rights of fit, law-abiding parents by failing to comport with federal law or recognize the fundamental nature of parental rights," says Michael Burns, President and Co-founder of the Illinois Alliance for Parents and Children, a non-partisan public interest group located in Chicago.

"Illinois violates the civil rights of parents by utilizing an unlawful evidentiary standard that, by default, that classifies them as potential criminals until proven worthy to care for their children under the guise of a "best interest" determination, which forces parents to prove who's the best parent--often leading to bankruptcy, and playing a role in domestic violence, parental alienation, non-compliance with court orders, and parental kidnapping," says Burns.

Anonymous said...

Lawmakers, hear the problem, see the solution. Start acting!

Anonymous said...

Old time Judge

You are part of the reason I am disgusted with family law. My exwife assaults her boyfriend, gets arrested and I am told its and isolated incident caused by the stress of their breakup despite my sworn affidavits by myself and others that my ex has a history of violent outbreaks. Now she is abusing her current boyfriend (a new one) in front of my daughter and I am told there is nothing I can do until an investigation is held, that I can't even file for an interim order or I risk being seen as a troublemaker. It is judges like you that make a father's life a living hell. It's judges like you that cause havok on children's lives. It's judges like you that a disgrace to the title, and to justice.

I have been told by various authorities that had it been me who was violent I would be in jail now with zero custody, my ex is not only given a free pass but her access to my daughter increase and I am told that at any point my ex could sue me for child support. So for my attempts to protect my daughter I am punished and my ex is rewarded for violence.

Family law is a disgrace, in the US and Canada and beyond fathers are being abused by the system and people wonder why things are getting worse.

Everywhere I turn I see woman's rights groups perpetuating the claim that men are abusers and women are victims, while I have nowhere to turn, and am ostracized from support groups for being a man, and this is justice?

Anonymous said...

Ahmen! We need new thinking judges not old ones that stereotype!

Anonymous said...

The proposal seems so intuitively sound. Why all the resistance from lawyers? Is it cause they love to make money litigating child custody issues?

Anonymous said...

Lawyers resist presumptions because they reduce litigation which hits hard in the pocket book!

Anonymous said...

Go away spammers!

Anonymous said...

Spamming should be made criminal. Especially when it interferes with a great thread.

Legal Pub said...

Spammers will be sent a bill for advertising. In the mean time, we may need to go to encripting posts.

Anonymous said...

I like your ideas for a more peaceful solution to custody problems.

Anonymous said...

But if the presumption is joint custody, how can the lawyers charge outrageous fees for divorce? Right now the profit is all in custody fights except for the huge marital estates.

Anonymous said...

Exactly!

Anonymous said...

I know that I would be a much more reasonable person if I knew that I had an important role in my children's life.

Anonymous said...

This is so reasonable compared to Helen's drivel.

Anonymous said...

Should you tell you be mistaken.

Legal Beagle said...

I like the idea. But for many, joint physical custody will be a hassle because of transportation issues.

Legal Pub said...

Another custody dispute turned bad?

http://legalpublication.blogspot.com/2010/03/did-jacob-nodarse-kill-kramer-family-at.html

Anonymous said...

To think only!

Anonymous said...

One has to think outside of the box in order to correct a perceived injustice which too often leads to violence or suicide.

Anonymous said...

I recently spoke to a judge with similar ideas. Sounds like slowly but surely folks are starting to listen...

Anonymous said...

Some good ideas worth exploring.

Anonymous said...

Dads have rights too!

Anonymous said...

Thank God for real Dads@

Anonymous said...

I like the idea but I am not sure it will reduce domestic violence.

Anonymous said...

Hey - I am certainly glad to find this. Good job!

Anonymous said...

Very good idea.

Anonymous said...

it is too simple and makes too much sense! the courts and our system of justice will never go along with simple.

A Mom Who Understands said...

Seems so fair? Why doesn't every jurisdiction have a presumption of joint physical custody? Take away the monetary incentive to fight and ex's actually have a chance to coexist!

Anonymous said...

Cause it would reduce legal bills, silly.

Anonymous said...

Too true about the legal fees to state that in public.

Anonymous said...

This presumption of joint physical custody needs to catch on nationally.

Anonymous said...

Why can't more judges think this way?

Anonymous said...

Good plan, but you got to get it implemented. How can we help?

Anonymous said...

I think it must start with a legislative intent to create a law establishing a presumption of joint custody

Anonymous said...

the period after marriage? disaster!

Anonymous said...

Hi people! omg NY is fail BOOM
and http://newsitenet.com