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
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.
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
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.