Throughout US history, we have wronged people, identified the problem and in time corrected it. Slavery and prison camps are joined by a modern epidemic: Wrongfully stripping children from parents. I am not speaking of grey areas where someone with heavy criminal activity and drug use gets limited visitation. In many instances, the parent being stripped is very much the polar opposite – the parent better suited to love and nurture the children.
Parents who optimistically get dragged into the court system by ex-spouses find themselves squashed by aggressive counterparts who often win in the name of the kids.
In simplest terms, a divorcing parent who can find any means of stripping a child from the other parent through the legal system including bribing or intimidating the child, gets financially rewarded.
Don’t miss a beat
Get the latest news and thought-provoking analysis from Truthout.
Here is a quick and dirty overview to the rabbit hole good parents are getting swept into on the path to losing their children.
Step #1: You can’t prevent a divorce
If your spouse is dead set on a divorce, it will happen. Parents often see divorce as harmful to the kids but are powerless to keep an escaping counterpart. Outsiders may see this as preventable by actions within the marriage. This is a fallacy.
Step #2: You can’t prevent going to court
A divorcing parent can take you to court. You may not want to go. They have the right to take you there.
Step #3: Self-serving parents are aggressive
A basic principle in fighting a court battle is to lie and force the other party to prove the truth. It’s not pretty but it happens. All. The. Time. The more selfish the parent, the more the fight is directed away from the children’s actual needs and toward the other parent.
Step #4: Nurturing parents are traumatized by divorce
Nurturing parents tend to be passionate personalities that (1) didn’t want the divorce, (2) didn’t want to be in court, (3) are more focused on their kids than a legal battle and (4) are prone to fight back as a means of protecting themselves and their kids.
In frustration, parents who empathize with their children’s fate often lash out with cat-like reflexes especially when targeted in court against their will. They write mean stuff. They deface property. They get angry.
By contrast, parents who care less about the kids, play the family court game well. They can focus on the legal battle without the emotional overhead of worrying about the children.
Step #5: Positive Reinforcement
Lashing out against the other parent is swiftly documented by the aggressive parent as proof that the nurturing parent is incapable of parenting – an extremely flawed correlation.
Parents who successfully take children away from the other parent are financially rewarded. Support situations are constantly updated based on custody. Winning the kids means money. This encourages parents who “win” in court to continue the battle at the expense of both the other parent and often the kids.
Step #6: Courts award child custody based on bad information
Courts mean well. They do. Judges attempt to uncover the truth. Unfortunately the truths that matter in divorce are not provable: who loves the children. Instead the courts are mired in a litany of abstract information that “documents good parenting” or knocks down the other parent for reasons that have nothing to do with parenting.
At present, family judges are very open to minimizing custody and visitation for one of the parents based on several horrible, subjective reasons.
Judges are arbitrarily and frequently removing children from their natural parents. This is wrong.
The Nickerson Law: Mandatory Elective 50/50 Custody
Courts should primarily rule on 50/50 custody. This should happen now.
It is high time the courts reflect on their errors with one simple conclusion: They lack the ability to identify goodparents. Their purpose is to uphold laws. They should not be in the business of giving or taking away custody of natural parents.
A child in full custody of one parent is trapped. The losing parent is potentially scarred for life.
In a worst case scenario, a child in a 50/50 custody situation can escape a horrible situation. They can evaluate for themselves the pros and cons of their two worlds.
50/50 custody situations should be modified by the parents themselves by electing out of some or all of their custody. This elective decrease in custody should be done annually to allow parents who require time away for work, health or other reasons to quickly and easily return to 50/50 without returning to a lengthy, ugly legal battle.
The percentage of custody game needs to end. Now.