Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Let's Hear it for the Boys-- I mean, Dads!

I have to say it: fathers don't get a lot of credit. Or they get too much credit for a simple task like changing a diaper. However you want to look at it, anything considered domestic like cleaning house or diaper changing, etc. is still stereotypically "motherly" and therefore, guys who do it are wusses. I was reading over at Mom-101's today about the flack her husband gets as a Stay-At-Home-Dad. My dad got a lot of grief as a single dad. There is not much support out there for dads who want to raise their kids. They are viewed as weak or in some way defective for being so womanly. And I am not just talking about stay at home dads or single dads. I am also talking about divorced dads or dads who haven't married, dads who have been through the whole shredding mill/family law system.

The whole system pisses me off, not through personal experience alone, but also what I have seen friends, family, and, worst of all, children go through.

I have seen, heard, and experienced terrible things at the hands of this system. Children have been left in homes where there are allegations of sexual abuse, neglect or physical abuse against a step-father and only removed after thousands of dollars are spent for a non-placement father to force the issue. Mothers have vindictively falsely claimed that there is abuse at the father's to get visitation severely reduced. Fathers are punished financially for ever having children by the percent standard because it applies to a percentage of all income mandatorally. The income from a second job that a father works to make ends meet or any overtime mandatorally goes to the mother even if she is socioeconomically "doing better" than the father. Sure, she can take a pass on this "extra income" but many women don't. Many women want to punish their ex's for hurting their feelings so take him for every dime. While I realize these standard were written to protect children in situations where fathers have huge stock options or whatever it really harms the majority of guys just trying to get by. Another wrong I have wittnessed, mothers who have had children by fathers they never married (or out of wedlock, but I hate that term) can move the children out of state, far, far away from their fathers regardless of whether the dad is a good guy with an active role in the kid's life. Who suffers? The kids, definately, because they will miss growing up spending regular quality time with their father. But the dad suffers, too. No one cares about his pain, though. The mother has the right to live where she wants. And the list of abuses and misuses of this system goes on and on.

You know me. I am a flaming feminist on most issues such as abortion, contraception, the glass ceiling, you name it. But the whole family law system is just plain wrong. Family law is outdated. It is written with a female as caretaker bias that it shits all over guys who are responsible and want to be good dads. It rips families apart by mandatorally limiting the amount of time dads are allotted to visit these kids they love--two weeks a month and maybe one evening a week. Come on! That is not a lot of time to build/maintain a steady relationship with your kids. I know, I know. Child support in theory is so that women aren't destitute after divorce because everyone knows that the dad is the one making the big bucks and doesn't want to support his kid so the government will force him. And even though joint custody is the norm now, everyone knows placement, which is what really matters when it comes to decision making, is defaulted to the mom unless she is a total loser because, well, she is the mom and therefore automatically the better suited primary caregiver. My advice to dads that want primary placement? Grow some tits. I know standards are in place because it would be way too time consuming for a judge to actually rule on things on a case-by case basis. There are standards so no one has to think. There are standards because then no one has to feel. There are standards because one (bra?) size fits all.

But the standards don't fit all these days. As women, we have been encouraging fathers to take a more active role in kids' lives. So when we break up we can slam them, smash their hearts to bits? Listen, I may write a lot about women's rights, but above all I am for FAMILY rights. That includes considering mother's, father's, and especially children's rights. This is the mission statement of the Wisconsin Father's Org.:

"The Best Parent is Both Parents."

All fit parents are entitled to joint custody and to assume equal placement of their children.

Parents, not courts, should decide what is in their children's best interest.

Child support should be based on realistic economic needs of the children in both households.

The responsibilities to support children emotionally and financially should be treated the same for mothers and fathers.

Our present "winner take all" legal process, dealing with family law matters involving children, is emotionally and financially damaging to children and families and needs to be reformed.

From my own, friend's and familty members' experiences, these seem like reasonable requests from a system that is seriously broken.

Below are some links to groups the media wants to thrash as being anti-women deadbeats and just plain crazy. But I have foud by reading their literature that these aren't just deadbeats who want to get out of paying child support (some of them may be, there is always one rotten apple). They are mostly just guys who love their kids and want a fair shake in a biased system.

Wisconsin Parent's Rights
The Men's Center
World Father's Union

My husband says this a lot and the more I live it the more I agree: if you ever have kids, make sure you are absolutely certain it is with a partner you will be with forever and ever. Split custody is too hard on moms, dads, kids, and families.


Blogger Mom101 said...

Amen sistah! Thanks for keeping the discussion going.

25 May, 2006 22:13  
Blogger wolfbaby said...

wooo hooo.... You are so right!!!

27 May, 2006 05:49  

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