Tag Archives: Custody

Exploding the myth of “Deadbeat Dads”

Dr. Stephen Baskerville e-mailed met to let me know about an important article in the Washington Times about the new show on the anti-male “Lifetime” network. If you want to understand why men don’t want to be husbands and fathers any more, read this entire piece.

Excerpt:

More than 90 percent of fathers with joint custody paid the support due, according to a Census Bureau report (Series P-23, No. 173). So deadbeats are in the minority. Also, most so-called deadbeat dads actually are dead broke. Two-thirds of men who fail to make child-support payments earn poverty-level wages, according to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement. Most of the others are unemployed.

Bruce Walker, executive coordinator at the District Attorneys Council in Oklahoma City, who ran the state’s child-support enforcement program for three years and jailed hundreds of fathers for nonpayment, told the Newark Star-Ledger in 2002: “These men are seldom the mythical monsters described by politicians.”

“Many times I prosecuted impoverished men,” he told the Star-Ledger. “I prosecuted one deadbeat dad who had been hospitalized for malnutrition and another who lived in the bed of a pickup truck.”

On his blog, Dr. Baskerville links to some responses to the article, including his own:

Two powerful letters in response were published Wednesday:
http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/20/the-demonization-of-dads/
http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/20/love-and-divorce/

My own letter was published Thursday (full letter below):
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/21/the-agony-of-child-support/

All three are worth reading because they are full of statistics that will shock you. Here is the best bit from the third:

Ostensibly created to recover welfare costs, child support enforcement on the federal level has failed and now costs taxpayers more than $3 billion annually. More seriously, it pays mothers to divorce or forgo marriage, thus creating the very problem it is supposed to alleviate.

Mothers are not the only ones who profit from fatherless children. State governments generate revenue from child support at federal taxpayers’ expense. By paying states according to the amount of child support they collect, federal programs give states an interest in more fatherless children. The more broken homes there are, the more revenue for the state.

Don’t forget to read the facts on the lack of male teachers in the schools, which undermines men’s ability to achieve and to be responsible. And when you’re done with that, you can read about the problem of no-fault divorce and the family court system. (A shorter version is linked here)

For those of you who are pro-life or pro-traditional marriage, I want to advise you that this issue is also a very important, although under-reported, issue for social conservatives. Fathers matter, and the state has policies in place that are discouraging men from their traditional role in the family. In the case of a divorce, fathers almost never get custody, and sometimes they do not see their children for years.

Before, I wrote about the fact that 40% of new births are to unwed mothers. Generous benefits provided by the government ensure that fathers are dispensable. Over 20 million children in the United States are raised without a father in the home. And I’m sure you know the social costs to young men and women: violence, anxiety, promiscuity, unwed motherwood, teen pregnancy, abortion, suicides, depression, drug addiction, etc.

And don’t even get me started on the false allegations of rape, harassment, etc., such as the recent Duke University lacrosse scandal. Women who make these false allegations are almost never punished! Over two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women for “irreconcilable differences”. You have to understand that thoughtful men notice these things, and they will make decisions accordingly.

Surprise! Men don’t like being treated poorly by the state. Treat us poorly enough and we’ll find other things to do with our lives than get marriage and raise children. To see what that might look like, take a look at this article on birth rates in countries that are further along the marxist-feminist agenda than the United States.

More in my series on how Democrat policies discourage marriage: Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here and Part 3 is here.

Why Democrat policies discourage men from marrying, part 3

This article is the third of a three-part series on how Democrat policies discourage marriage and child-rearing. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

How no-fault divorce discourages men from marrying

This time we’ll look at my favorite argument against marriage. Today’s article is from Dr. Stephen Baskerville, author of the amazing book “Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family”. I own two copies, one for me and one to lend out.

Let’s get a look at the problem posed to marriage by the Democrat policy of no-fault divorce:

…80 percent of divorces are unilateral. Under “no-fault,” divorce becomes a power grab by one spouse, assisted by judicial officials who profit from the ensuing litigation: judges, lawyers, psychotherapists, and social workers. Involuntary divorce involves government agents forcibly removing innocent people from their homes, seizing their property, and separating them from their children. It requires long-term supervision over private life by state functionaries, including police and jails.

…Invariably the first action in a divorce is to separate the children from one parent, usually the father. Even if he is innocent of any legal wrongdoing and does not agree to the divorce, the state seizes his children with no burden of proof to justify why. The burden of proof–and financial burden–falls on him to demonstrate why they should be returned.

A legally unimpeachable parent can thus be arrested for seeing his own children without government authorization. He can be arrested through additional judicial directives that apply to no one but him. He can be arrested for domestic violence or child abuse, even without evidence that he has committed any. He can be arrested for not paying child support, regardless of the amount demanded. He can even be arrested for not paying an attorney or psychotherapist. There is no formal charge, no jury, no trial, and no record.

When I was a student in graduate school, I used to hate going out the door and leaving my pet parrot behind with my brother. I did not believe then, and do not now, that anyone in the world is capable of taking care of my bird except me. I felt awful leaving the house, and I would call home between classes just to check on him. That is how parents feel.

I could go on and on about the way that I have bonded with that little creature. And this is basically why marriage is a virtual impossibility to me, given the divorce laws enacted by Democrats and their special interest groups, (trial lawyers, feminists, academic elites, etc.). I do not think I could survive being separated from my children for years by lawyers and courts.

To justify this, the divorce machinery has generated hysteria against parents so inflammatory that few dare question it: child abuse, wife-beating, and nonpayment of “child support”–all propagated by feminists, bar associations, and social work bureaucracies, with federal funding. The accused parent loses his children and is abandoned by friends, family members, parishioners, and co-workers–all terrified to be associated with an accused “pedophile,” “batterer,” or “deadbeat dad.”

Each of these figures is largely a hoax. There is no evidence of large numbers of fathers abandoning their families, beating their wives, and molesting their children. Divorce courts separate parents from their children, with false accusations as a rationalization.

Child abuse and domestic violence have no precise definition. They are not adjudicated as assault, and accused parents do not enjoy the constitutional protections of criminal defendants. Allegations are “confirmed” not by juries but by judges or social workers. Domestic “violence” need not be violent or even physical. Official definitions include “extreme jealousy” and “constant criticizing.”

Child abuse is itself the creation of welfare bureaucracies. An intact family is the safest place for women and children, since child abuse overwhelmingly occurs in single-parent homes from which the father has been removed. Britain’s Family Education Trust reports that children are up to 33 times more likely to be abused in a single-parent home than in an intact family. Domestic violence too is far more likely with the breakup of a marriage than among married couples.

Yet trumped-up accusations are rampant in divorce courts, usually to eliminate fathers. Elaine Epstein of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association writes that “allegations of abuse are now used for tactical advantage” in custody cases, a trend documented in the Illinois Bar Journal, Yale Law Review, Rutgers Law Review, and others.

The principal impediment to child abuse is thus the father. “The presence of the father placed the child at lesser risk for child sexual abuse,” concludes a study in Adolescent and Family Health. By eliminating fathers, officials pose as the solution to the problem they themselves create. Appalling as it sounds, we have created a massive army of officials with a vested interest in child abuse.

And it’s not just the separation, the legal fees, the false allegations and the criminal record. It’s the fact that I would be driven into poverty by the courts.

The “deadbeat dad” is another creation of divorce machinery. He is far less likely to have voluntarily abandoned offspring he callously sired than to be an involuntarily divorced father who has been, as one attorney writes, “forced to finance the filching of his own children.”

Originally justified to recover welfare costs, child support has become an entitlement for all mothers, regardless of their behavior, and a subsidy on middle-class divorce. It allows the mother–simply by divorcing–to confiscate her husband’s income. It is tax-free to the recipient, and nonpayment means incarceration without trial. The Journal of Socio-Economics notes that child support serves as an “economic incentive for middle-class women to seek divorce.” Economist Robert Willis calculates that one-fifth to one-third of child support payments are used for children; the rest is profit for the custodial parent.

State governments also generate revenue from child support, giving them a financial incentive to make it onerous and to encourage divorce. Federal taxpayers subsidize this family destruction scheme with about $3 billion annually. Officials have admitted that the arrearages are far beyond the parents’ ability to pay.

Government’s divorce apparatus has become a machine for destroying families, seizing children, and incarcerating parents without trial. It is the most repressive government machinery ever created in the United States.

So, the creation of no-fault divorce, an intrusion by the state on private contracts, makes marriage impossible for rational men. The stakes are just too high to be taking chances.

You can hear Dr. Baskerville on the radio with Dennis Prager and Milt Rosenberg in podcasts linked here.A more complete version of the article can be found here in Touchstone Magazine. I highly recommend the more complete version. If you are a single man, or you have male children, you really need to read it. Dr. Baskerville wrote recently about marriage and the Christian church here.

This series on Democrat’s opposition to marriage and family is now complete. If you absolutely, positively have to have more on marriage, then you can read one of my most popular posts about an ideal marriage I know about, or some guest posts from my very happily married friend Andrew on marriage, here and here.