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Author Topic: Fathers Protest Unjust Custody Laws by Wendy McElroy  (Read 4183 times)


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Fathers Protest Unjust Custody Laws by Wendy McElroy
« on: Nov 21, 2003, 03:35:00 PM »
Fathers Protest Unjust Custody Laws

November 18, 2003
by Wendy McElroy

Last month, Spider-Man was arrested in London after spending five days atop a cloud-kissing crane next to the historic Tower Bridge.
In donning the costume of his daughter's favorite cartoon character, 36-year-old David Chick tried to draw attention to the misery of estranged fathers who have been denied access to their children by a family court system he believes is anti-male.

Was Spiderman fighting the forces of evil? Or, by snarling London traffic, did Chick's "frivolity" damage the serious complaints of an internationally surging father's rights movement?

I vote for Spiderman. The mayor of London disagrees, comparing Chick and his tactics to Usama bin Laden.

Between these diametrically opposed responses lies a question: at what point do you give up working within "the system" and step outside of it to achieve change...to demand justice?

That question haunts the most passionate issues of our time. For example, abortion: some pro-life advocates go so far outside the system as to advocate violence against clinics and doctors who provide a legal procedure. For example, protecting molested children: some mothers go so far as to kidnap their own children and live "on the run" rather than return them to abusive situations. At what point do you give up on the possibility of the law providing justice?

People who go outside the system usually do so in the belief that the system has become part of the problem. In other words, the system -- whether you are speaking of family courts, the Child Protective Services, or some other bureaucracy -- is acting to perpetuate the injustice rather than to solve it.

This belief creates a Spiderman who looks at the family court system and perceives no chance of seeing the two year-old daughter from whom he has been estranged for close a year.

Most of those who agree that "the system" is severely broken do not sit on 150-foot cranes in the middle of London. To a large degree, Spiderman's decision was determined by the issue he was confronting. For Chick, there was and is no possibility of compromise or of avoiding conflict.

Other rebels are luckier. They are able to withdraw from the system and provide for their own needs. Homeschooling parents  remove their children from what they view as a hopeless educational system even though they are forced to continue paying for it in taxes. Those approaching retirement privately fund their own futures even though they are forced to pay into Social Security.

Spiderman can't similarly withdraw. Withdrawal means abandoning his daughter. Given the high stakes, confrontation becomes inevitable.

Chick could have confronted the system through letters to the editor, petitions to lawmakers, and appeals to the court. But estranged fathers in the UK and North America have been pursuing those strategies for decades now and they are still estranged.

According to the English Lord Chancellor's Department, mothers are granted custody about four-fifths of the time. Moreover, English courts have become infamous for failing to enforce visitation rights for fathers. In commenting on Spiderman, Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips observed, "some senior judges recently acknowledged that with so many...[visitation] orders being flouted by mothers, the law is being brought into disrepute."

The absurdity of Spiderman is nothing compared to the obscenity of a system that deprives fathers of their children and children of parental love. In the same vein as theatre of the absurd, politics of the absurd is emerging on the issue of child custody.

It should be applauded as a benign alternative to the open violence that could easily replace it.

Politics of the absurd began on Dec. 17, 2002 when 200 men in Santa Claus outfits descended on the Lord Chancellor's offices in London to dramatize the plight of "father" Christmas: that is, of fathers who would not see their children over the holidays. Then, last Valentine's Day, fathers dressed as Elvis Presley crowded "Heartbreak Hotel" -- the London family court -- in an attempt to present officials with a 20-foot inflatable heart.

This Oct. 22, hundreds marched to London's Royal Courts of Justice where family law decisions are handed down; the crowd discovered two men, dressed as Batman and Robin, perched atop the structure.

And, yet, the message is far from absurd. Competent fathers want and deserve access to their children.

The message has attracted support from celebrities such as Pierce Brosnan who recently directed and starred in an Irish film, "Evelyn", in which a father loses custody of his three young children after his wife leaves with another man: the movie is based on a true story.

Rock star Sir Bob Geldof has pleaded for mothers and fathers to share equal custody. Speaking from bitter experience after his wife left him for another man, Geldof  declared, "I was handed a piece of paper saying 'you may see your children on this day and every second weekend'. Why? What had I done? I saw them every day, I took them to school, I bathed them, fed them, cooked for them...Why now was the State and all its instruments of justice...aimed at me?"

Commenting on the law restricting a divorced father's access to his children, Geldof added, "This law ridiculed me."

Now divorced fathers are going outside the system to ridicule the law. They should be applauded. Of all possible responses, laughing with scorn in the face of injustice is one of the best. And infinitely preferable to violence.

Wendy McElroy


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RE: Fathers Protest Unjust Custody Laws by Wendy McElroy
« Reply #1 on: Nov 21, 2003, 10:43:41 PM »
O my gawd, I can't wait til us US nutz get inolved like this; I was born for such...maybe the reason I've been coming here all along is because I knew I would lose, because I am a man.  Thank you.  

Wait til we get an organized one together that can't be called a fluke or a single lunatic ranting his philosophy; stand hither, watch us, and watch American fathers descend not in the tens but the thousands from the skies, wearing parachutes with pictures of our children....

Watch not thousands but millions of us march on Washington, with our custody arrangements in hand and our hearts on our shoulders, and our magninimous nature shall precede us, but not again will we forgive the lawmakers for saying, "I ain't never seen the calf follow the bull, so I always give custody to the mommas."

We ain't raisin no stinkin calves.  

And we're sick of all the #@##sh#^.



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A much deeper reason than plain prejudice against men.
« Reply #2 on: Nov 25, 2003, 02:42:32 PM »
Pardon me while I put on my tin foil hat, but there are certain factions who are determined to break the backbone of nations....and that is intact families.  With our families spending all their time in court, they aren't paying too much attention to what's going on with their politicians.  The kids grow up and repeat the behavior.  Social engineering continues.  

In the event that the mother is unfit, or incapacitated, she is still more likely to get them.  There is no fault divorce.  A woman can meet a man online(or wherever-doesn't matter) and kick her old man out of the house, take the kids, the house and everything else.  I guess in this enlightened age, adultery is just peachy keen.

I have a friend. He lives next door to my 21 yr old daughter and her bf(and their baby, and his brother), and they introduced us last month.  His ex wife graduated from pot to meth, and the whole thing was a mess.  He came home from work to find stoners hanging out, the baby had messy diapers, you know the drill.  He finally put his foot down and found out she was sleeping with this one guy for a couple of years.

He moved out.  Her and her friends trashed the house so bad that he had to let it go into foreclosure.  He fought for custody, but since all the legal fees left him sleeping in his van, his ex wife got custody....even though she was in rehab. Homelessness doesn't look good to a judge.

I won't say what he does for a living, for obvious reasons, but if I hadn't read all the stuff on this site, I would have written the guy off as a bum.  After all he lives in the shack next door to my daughter's shack.  I would have missed out on meeting a very nice, intelligent man who actually likes kids.  He laughs at my jokes....and he voted for Ross Perot, too :-)

The only way to turn back the tide, is to reinstitute fault in divorce, and reestablish old fashioned conduct.  Yeah it's boring, but it goes a long way to cleaning up the mess our society is in.  


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RE: Freaky
« Reply #3 on: Nov 26, 2003, 10:37:50 AM »
Except the living in a van part, you just described my Husband with his ex.  Married all of four months, found out she was sleeping with her drug dealer, he left, she trashed house and let the mortgage get behind five months.  He caught it up to just two months behind.

Two years later the bank was good enough to forclose on my DH and his ex, and then sold to me and DH.

We're still in the middle of custody dispute, waiting on answer from judge...


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Deja Vu?
« Reply #4 on: Nov 26, 2003, 11:05:58 AM »
He had to walk away from the house.  He estimated that it would cost upwards of 30k to fix all the damage.  My friend was married for quite a long time.  He kept giving her chances....that was my problem as well in my marriage : /

Good luck on your court case :)


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RE: Deja Vu?
« Reply #5 on: Nov 26, 2003, 11:34:29 AM »

As long as the Judge isn't blind and deaf, it should go our way.

Happy Turkey Day (almost)!


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