Brutal Facts About Joint Custody
- Millions of
children suffer when fathers are lulled into a false sense of security
by impossible and unfulfilled promises of joint custody.
- Agreeing to joint custody after divorce brings
the courts into family matters where they arent otherwise involved.
- This involvement by the courts in the lives of
our children has been powerfully destructive, socially, economically, and
- The States which implemented various forms of
joint custody laws have experienced even more rapidly rising divorce, illegitimacy,
and fatherlessness rates than States without them.
- No society is known to have fluorished or even
survived with such a social policy.
- Fighting for joint custody laws has cost $Billions,
per Jim Cook In the various petition drives that we have witnessed, and
upon quizzing various Secretaries of State, somewhere between 94% and 95%
of the petition proposals fail to achieve enough signatures for the ballot
and, 97% to 98% of all proposition proposals fail, and even where implemented
have been followed by more rapidly rising divorce and fatherlessness rates.
- Joint custody laws require equality in family
affairs, which requires a third party (a judge) to break ties in important
- Feminists have convincing research which politicians
use to accept their claim that joint custody is harmful to children. [See
- Judges have openly and publicly proclaimed that
they "wont enforce 50% joint custody, and have proven this by awarding
custody to mothers 92% of the time even in states with joint custody laws.
- Basing the fatherhood movement on the false hope
that joint custody laws can be implemented, can work, or can benefit our
children has diverted vital energy from the proven, workable, well-founded
solution to our social pathology -- father custody.
- Continuing to fight for joint custody laws while
failing to implement proven solutions will prevent us from resolving the
crisis of fatherlessness.
The following from Liz@gate.net illustrates the
futility of pursuing joint custody legislation. Fathers worldwide probably
agree with her conclusions, with one exception -- fathers, and not mothers,
should be the sole custodial parents of children. Liz asks fathers worldwide
to accept her statement at face value, while she prefers that they ignore
the vast evidence that single-mother households have been disastrous to
society and that single-father households have proven to be even better
environments for children than two-parent households.
Fathers can't, shouldn't, and won't accept that
premise. Fathers will take control of their children and resolve the social
crisis, because politicians, legislatures, judges, and feminists have proven
by example that they will NOT be a part of the solution.
To: <firstname.lastname@example.org> Subject:
Re: JOURNAL review article
Joint physical custody has been recognized as
logistically impractical and psychologically detrimental for years now.
And joint legal custody, or shared custody, with
one parent remaining as the primary physical custodian does little to alter
the amount of time a child spends with the noncustodial parent, and does
a lot to create control conflicts between parents who continue to harbor
resentment stemming from the failure of the marriage.
- In the Summer 1995 Family Law Quarterly, Joan
Zorza summarizes the concensus of enlightened thinking about joint custody
generally, although her article otherwise discusses the battered spouse
situation "Joint custody awards do not improve the lot of children.
In fact, most children in court-imposed joint custody (not just those with
abusive fathers) do poorly. [ft.nt.60 Gina Kolata, "The Children of
Divorce: Joint Custody is Found to Offer Little Benefit, N.Y. Times, Mar.
31, l988 at B13; Nancy D. Polikoff, "Joint Custody: Only by Agreement
of the Parties," 8 Woman's Advoc. 1,3 (1987)]
- and are more depressed and disturbed than children
in sole custody, [ft.nt.61 Sheila J. Kuehl, "Against Joint Custody:
A Dissent to the General Bullmoose Theory," 27 Fam. & Conciliation
Courts Rev. 37 (1987)], even when the parents genuinely choose joint custody
- Furthermore, joint custody results in lower child
support awards, which fathers are no more likely to pay than awards made
when the mother has sole custody. [ft.nt.63 Polikoff, supra, note 60.]
- Joint custody does not even result in the father
spending any more time with his children. [ft.nt.64 Frank F. Furstenberg
& Andrew J. Cherlin, "Divided Families: What Happens to Children
When Parents Fail 33-38 (1991).]"
- And, Zorza says "when the father is an abuser,
joint custody awards frequently endanger both the abused parent and her
children. [ft.nt.65 Polikoff, supra note 60.]
- Professor Mary Ann Mason had this to say about
joint custody in "Equality Trap" Simon and Shuster l988:
- "There are many things wrong with this unthinking
rush to joint custody, but the primary objection is that it changes the
focus of custody away from the 'best interests of the child' to the best
interests of the parents--or, more precisely, to the best interests of
- Joint custody *increases*, not decreases, covert
resentment and conflict, because it permits the parent who is *not* spending
the day-to-day time raising the children and operating the household to
exercise veto power over decisions made by the CP and if so inclined, to
meddle and interfere, creating stalemate, and power plays to attempt to
break it between the two parents. Some of these "power plays"
are: good parent/bad parent game, visitation conflicts, and withholding
- And, for a summary of the relationship found
by one researcher between visitation denial claims and child support, and
also debunking the popular myth that women increasingly use false sex abuse
allegations as a weapon against fathers in divorce cases, see an article
by J. Pearson, Ph.D., published Summer l993 FAMILY LAW QUARTERLY, Vol.
27 No.2 American Bar Association, Ten Myths About Family Law, a synopsis
of research conducted by The Center for Policy Research.
- A key factor in successful parenting in intact
homes is the ability to parent in unison and provide a united front. (See,
e.g. Penelope Leach, and other child development experts.)
- Persons who are married have difficulty enough
parenting in unison and doing a good job of it, but at least where they
disagree, they share common goals, and have a relationship between themselves
to preserve, which is incentive for compromise and respectful discourse.
That's absent in a divorce situation, and strained even more when stepparents
enter the picture with their own interests and agendas.
- Psychological researchers who have expressed
negative opinions about joint custody include, among others, Anna Freud
and Judith Wallerstein. In short, a major problem is the child's, in Wallerstein's
words, living a life in "no man's land." Children who routinely
shift as a temporary resident between two households that have other permanent
members who "really" live there presents a destructive outlook
for a child, damaging of identity and self-esteem. Young children form
a sense of identity from their family base, and, notwithstanding the fiction,
joint custody does not give the child a whole family, nor does it approximate
a two-parent intact home. The child, in fact, is central and permanent
to no home, which only reinforces and trauma of the divorce split. It would
be far better for the child to have one, stable one-parent "intact"
home and for the other parent to visit in a complementary way, rather than
create the conflict of a competing "home."
- Professor David Chambers has written articles
from the legal standpoint, recommending primary caretaker presumptions
and the forbidding of physical joint custody over the objection of one
parent. For another recent article exploring these issues and concluding
that a primary caretaker, rather than joint custody presumption is preferable,
see Phyllis T. Bookspan, "From a Tender Years Presumption to a Primary
Parent Presumption: Has Anything Really Changed? ....Should It?" 8
B.Y.U.J. Pub.L. 75 (1994).
- Finally, presumptions in divorce laws that purport
to grant equal standing to parties with unequal power and differing position
in real life, neither reflects reality nor administers justice.
- Eliminating litigation is not the goal. Eliminating
the conflict that causes the litigation without yielding injustice *is.*
Presumptions of equality as to unequal parties yields inequitable results--injustice.
For example, see Zorza, supra. Also see White, A.C., Family Law and Domestic
Violence, Fla. Bar. J. Oct. 1994 ("Studies show that abusive fathers
are far more likely than nonabusive parents to fight for child custody,
not pay child support, and kidnap children.")
- As to the best interests of the children: There
simply is no need to choose between unacceptable evils: lack of relationship
with a beloved noncustodial parent or denying a child the right to one
intact home, regardless of the number of parents in that home. A primary
parent presumption as to custody coupled with appropriate traditional visitation
is what is in the child's best interests.
The politics of adult rights has no business injecting
itself into this issue as a competing consideration to the best interests
of the child.