Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Do Divorced Fathers Have Any Rights?

Millions of divorced parents have had their fundamental right to decide what is in the best interest of their own children taken away and given instead to a vast array of government officials such as judges, lawyers, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, child protective services, child support enforcement agents, mediators, counselors, parenting instructors, and feminist groups. The scholar Stephen Baskerville calls this a “silent revolution.” This shift began in the 1970s after the spread of unilateral divorce was followed by the creation of a giant federal child-support-enforcement bureaucracy. The notion that this mix of government officials and government-appointed advisers can dictate what is the best interest of the child rather than a child’s own parents is how the liberals and feminists are fulfilling their goal that “it takes a village (that is, the government) to raise a child.”

One example of the built-in bias against fathers can be seen in the Responsible Fatherhood Act introduced by Barack Obama when he was a Senator in 2007, and fortunately not passed. That bill mentions “child support” 65 times, but not once does it mention parenting time, custody, visitation, or denial of a parent's access to his own children.

Dr. Baskerville’s landmark book, called Taken into Custody, provides a copiously documented description of society’s injustices to children who have been deprived of their fathers and of fathers who have been deprived of their children. This book is a tremendous and much-needed report on how family courts and government policies are harming children.

Family courts have adopted the notion that the government should raise all children when their parents are divorced. Courts routinely make child-rearing decisions when parents are divorced that would never be tolerated for children of married parents. Couples may divorce from each other, but that should not mean that they are divorced from their own children.

Listen to this commentary:

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