Beyond the Laws

Lynda Steele

February 20, 2020 by Lynda Steele, Furnishing Fatherhood

Laws help to protect our rights, liberties and freedoms, but they need to be improved to protect parental rights and children’s rights. That said,… 

What law could be created to ensure that a divorced parent will have to share the child’s possessions and needs between the two homes? What law could be created to make people treat each other amicably? What law would make sure a parent who is going through a divorce or separation doesn’t end up homeless?

No law can or will do those things. The answers to those questions lie in resources and support. We have to look beyond laws to allow people to do the right things and create solutions that empower people to live better lives and rebuild following divorce. 

Furnishing Fatherhood is a unique solution to some of the many problems that beset non-custodial parents. It’s a building block that provides necessary resources that are too often lacking for non-custodial fathers.  My organization serves non-custodial mothers too, of course, but fathers often experience divorce and child custody issues differently from mothers.

There is a wide range of resources for non-custodial mothers, single mothers, incarcerated mothers, mothers with addiction, etc. In fact, mothers with some sort of visitation and custody qualify for resources as single mothers simply because they are not married. Fathers however are marginalized.  That often means they’re overlooked in the provision of resources and assistance. As but one example, there are over 32,000 registered nonprofits organizations in Oklahoma alone. Not one of them helped non-custodial fathers, until Furnishing Fatherhood was created. 

I challenge you to look at your communities through a different lens. Evaluate the resources and assistance through the eyes of a non-custodial father, incarcerated father, father with addiction, a single father, or even a teen father and see how a mother in these circumstances would qualify.  Would a father in the same position have the same opportunities?

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