Best Interests of the Child – Reflections on Clayton
Mark Charalambous, August 18, 2001
I had the pleasure of meeting Clayton Giles at the Worcester stop of his 3,600-mile bicycle trek to Washington, D.C. Clayton began his Journey for Kids from Calgary, Canada, on May 27, crossed into the US on July 22, and was welcomed on the floor of the New York State Legislature in Albany. Thousands of people, including several mayors, have signed his petition for legal reform favoring shared parenting, which he plans to present to President George Bush in early September.
Certainly any doubts I had about the integrity of this operation were quickly dispelled. Clayton is a very capable, self-assertive young guy. Anyone who thinks this represents an extreme case of child manipulation by a self-serving, controlling father¾ which of course is exactly how any and all professionals in the family court system would unequivocally interpret it¾ are dead wrong.
Looking beyond the "responsible fatherhood" politically correct piffle, the real crisis in fatherhood is this: Fathers ¾ good or bad¾are impoverished, demonized, persecuted, and eventually criminalized. (The work camps for "deadbeat dads" aren't far off...)
Generally, in situations where adolescents attempt to voice their own wishes with respect to family breakup/custody situations, the Holy Double Standard is faithfully invoked. That is, a child expressing a strong desire to be with mom and specifically not with dad is viewed as courageous, a brave child standing up to a bullying, controlling dad. Such children's wishes are heard and acted upon by the compassionate judge who always acts (repeat after me) "in the best interests of the child."
Compare and contrast with the child who stubbornly refuses to agree to the recommendations of the "child specialist professionals" who insist that they know better when the child's expressed desire is to live with dad.
"I will not read the affidavit." is the typical response one can expect from a family court judge upon being presented with an affidavit written by the child stating that they wish to live with dad.
"Request denied." is the likely response from the judge upon request that she take the child into chambers and hear for herself what the child wants.
"I'm going to appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to determine what the child really wants!" will be the judge's decision over the objections of dad.
And finally perhaps: "I'm going to appoint an attorney for the child."
Interested minds want to know: Why? Why is it that the family court system invariably promotes sole physical maternal custody, even over the clear objections of the children involved?
Is it just because sole maternal custody translates into non-custodial father which means the higher child support award (men typically earn more than women) which produces the highest amount of revenue for federal government kickbacks that flow from court-ordered child support collected by DOR?
That is, hypothetically speaking, if there was no money to be made, would these "child professionals" act any differently? I think not.
Here's the dope. The persecution of fathers following a family breakup doesn't happen because they are men -- it happens by virtue of their transformation into non-custodial parents... by virtue of their being men.
The treatment of non-custodial fathers is so onerous that no civilized society would allow women to be treated in this manner:
- Access to their own children subject to mom's whims
- Economic crucifixion due to usurious and extortionary "child support" awards
- Criminalization because mom's absurd charges of "domestic abuse" and protestations of fear are listened to with an almost religious solemnity
- "Visitation" with their children restricted to humiliating and degrading "visitation centers"
... and this is just scratching the surface.
Looking beyond the "responsible fatherhood" politically correct piffle, the real crisis in fatherhood is this: Fathers ¾ good or bad¾ are impoverished, demonized, persecuted, and eventually criminalized. (The work camps for "deadbeat dads" aren't far off...)
There is no way that women could tolerate the punishment afforded to fathers ... blood would flow in the streets. Andrea Yates is about to go on trial for intentionally drowning her five children. Her defense is that she suffered from "post-partum depression." I rest my case.
The stakes are so high for parental ownership of children that there is little hope that any self-serving politician would be willing to stick his or her neck out to make any changes that could result in women being treated in this manner. They know this. The feminists who are bent on societal transformation and avenging the evils of "the patriarchy" know this, and every father who has gone through a contested custody battle knows this. And Clayton knows this. Will anybody listen to him?