This opinion was expressed on DivorceNet in February, 1998, by ''HMC''. ''HMC'' gets right to the heart of one of the key causes of divorce- a cause that often reinforces other issues that may themselves contribute to divorce.
A huge industry has developed that is making incredible amounts of money from the misery divorce inflicts on its victims. Judges, lawyers, counselors, child support enforcement employees, to name just a few, are making their livings (and often very good livings) by "working the system". Even state governments are receiving dollars from the federal government for collecting more and more child support from the NCP's. It is easy to see that if the number of divorces ever drops there will be many that will have to turn elsewhere for their livelihood.
These industries do what ever is needed to perpetuate and insure continued growth (they don't care about anything but the money). In the case of the "Divorce Industry" this has been accomplished by providing one class of person with a distinct advantage in the litigation.
Women and mothers are led to believe that they can rely on the fact that they will almost always receive custody of their minor children and support from the husband and father. (There are exceptions, the courts can't be too obvious.) This is why women file about 80% of divorces. Most men don't file for divorce because they don't want to risk losing their children. If women stood the same chance of losing their children as a man, does anyone really think that there would be anywhere near the same number of divorces? I don't think so!
Even lawyers who claim to represent the man are aware of how the system works. This is why so many lawyers will tell the man one thing, all the time knowing that the results will be different. Don't get me wrong, there are good lawyers out there (I'm still looking for one), but too many will claim to represent the man while, in actuality, working to perpetuate the system. In other words, many lawyers may represent the man but don't really want him to win. But they still expect to be paid for helping him lose. Too many fathers winning custody would cause mothers to think twice about filing for divorce, and the number of divorces to drop.
Is there an answer? Sure there is. Make men and women responsible for the covenants they make at the time they marry. Since filing for divorce is itself a violation of the marriage covenant (till death do us part), the courts should adopt the attitude that the defendant, man or woman, will be held harmless until the plaintiff provides enough valid evidence to prove that the defendant has injured the marriage beyond repair, or is not fit to be a parent. Holding the defendant harmless means that the defendant will be awarded custody of the minor children and the assets of the marriage unless there is evidence that the court should rule otherwise. If one person gets bored with the other and wants out - let him/her go. But don't allow one parent to interfere with the child's relationship with the other parent for his/her own selfish reasons.
Many are going to disagree with this idea, but I am not trying to make divorce fairer. That will NEVER happen. Children need and deserve to live with two loving parents who respect their marriage vows, not with one parent while seeing the other parent on some kind of court ordered schedule. If the courts were really concerned about the "best interests of the child", they would try to discourage divorce. If divorce can not be avoided, the courts should find out why and use that as a MAJOR part of the decision about child custody.
If one parent has a "change of heart" or no longer loves the other or no longer wants the other around, that should be the parent to leave. They would be interfering with their own relationship with the children, not that of the other parent.