S3 (who really needs to get his own blog) sent me a FoxNews article on an issue that's very troubling to me, unjust child custody laws. The article is mainly focused on Britain, but most of the problems it discusses are present in America as well. Adequate fathers deserve equal access to their children.
It's often the case that fathers are caught in a Catch-22. Since the father is typically the major income-earner of the family, he doesn't spend as much time with the children as the mother does. This leads to two results: first, judges award primary custody to the mother because the children are more closely "bonded" with her; second, the father is stuck paying for raising the kids, even though he doesn't get to be with them. Frankly, this is an absurd predicament.
I believe that it is a father's responsibility to provide for the welfare of his family, but once the family is broken up (depending on the circumstances, of course) that responsibility needs to be reconsidered by the authority in charge of the divorce proceedings. I've read of cases in which the father is forced to financially support the mother and children, while being denied custody and even legally-enforced visitation. The court is forcing the man to continue fulfilling his fatherly-husbandly obligations even after the divorce, but just imagine the outcry if the court also forced the mother to continue cooking his meals and having his babies. (Don't get all huffy -- financial support is as much a fatherly responsibility as having babies is a motherly responsibility, take 'em or leave 'em.)
My parents divorced when I was 10, and in retrospect I'm incredibly grateful that the judge awarded them joint custody of me and my brother. I really want to get married and have kids, but this is one of the aspects I dread. Presumably, when I find a woman I want to marry I'll be 100% confident that this could never happen to me, but I know there's no certainty. It's scary.
Finally, I'd like to applaud FoxNews' website; it's the only major news outlet I know of that puts lots of links to outside sources in its stories. In this case, it links to a group called Fathers-4-Justice that looks pretty interesting (although I don't agree with their position that grandparents have an inalienable right to visit their grandchildren).