‘Even in divorces where a mother has been the family breadwinner and the father has stayed home, a lot of women insist on fighting for sole custody’

I first noticed the article The Daddy Track (Boston Globe, 7/8/07) because there’s a nice quote in it from Dan Hogan of Fathers & Families about the anti-father gender bias of our family courts. However, there are several other items of interest in it: 1) “Donna Booth, a Saugus divorce lawyer, says that…Even in divorces where a mother has been the family breadwinner and the father has stayed home, a lot of women who come into her office, Booth says, insist on fighting for sole custody.”
And most of the time they get it. The feminists have abdicated all responsibility on this issue–for decades they’ve harangued men to put aside their careers so they can spend more time on child care and to support their wives’ careers. Yet when a father who did exactly as the feminists wanted loses custody of his children, you’ll not hear a peep from the National Organization for Women. In fact, they’ll often support the mother. 2) “‘Society is really changing,’ says Rosanna Hertz, a Wellesley College professor of sociology and women”s studies. ‘What we”re seeing is more and more men stepping up to the plate.’ At the same time, those dads are discovering what single mothers have long known: Along with offering rewards, the job requires sacrifices.” I’ve criticized Hertz’s work on numerous occasions–see my co-authored column Are Single Mothers the ‘New American Family?’ (World Net Daily, 9/28/06)–and I won’t repeat the argument here. In the above quote, Hertz is trying to be nice, I suppose, and I guess I should appreciate that. However, I disagree with her premise–common among feminists–that the only parenting that counts is child care. Whatever it is that privileged men go off and do 60 hours a week that seems vaguely connected to the house, cars, necessities and luxuries the wife and children enjoy doesn’t count. For thousands of years, Ms. Hertz, men have “stepped up to the plate” by working hard at dangerous, demanding jobs in order to support their families. (To hear me gripe about this more, see my column Hate My Father? No Ma’am!, World Net Daily, 4/8/02). 3) “When he divorced, [Jay] Portnow enjoyed something of a national reputation for his work in rehabilitative medicine and was routinely invited on the paid lecture circuit. After one son came to live with him full time and he gained half-time custody of the other, he started turning down out-of-town engagements because being home ‘was the more important job to do.’ Portnow says he is obligated to continue child support to his former wife for another four years. In addition, he is paying almost $100,000 a year for his sons to attend New York University and Yeshiva University in Manhattan. “I consider it ransom,” he says. “Twelve years ago, it was much harder for men who wanted to be a part of their children”s lives.” Indeed, Portnow says, to make it happen back then, he bought a house not far from the marital home, where his former wife still lives. His sons see and always have seen their mother. Of his relationship with his ex-spouse, however, he says, “I send the checks, and if I”m late, she calls. That”s it.” This is very common. In my co-authored column Not the Era of the Deadbeat Dad but the Era of the Hero Father (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, 6/19/05), I wrote: “While divorced dads are unfairly stigmatized as stingy, some noncustodial fathers raise their children in their homes but still pay child support to the children”s mothers. Many others never ask for child support. In the face of a family court system which usually grants mothers a monopoly of power over children, these fathers must buy or rent their children back. When mothers allow their children to live with their fathers–or send them there because they”ve become unruly or inconvenient–fathers often won”t challenge custodial and financial arrangements because they fear doing so will mean they”ll be pushed out of their children”s lives.” 4) I’ve often pointed out that while fathers are often slammed as “deadbeat dads,” men actually have a far better record of paying child support than women do. When women do pay it, it’s usually minimal. According to the article: “With his children”s mother living in Canada, [Keith] Mochida, too, is left mostly to do everything – shopping, cooking, cleaning, chauffeuring, chaperoning – ‘and that doesn”t include the surprises.’ His former wife, who has remarried and has a new son, pays him $300 a month in child support. She comes down every three months or so and takes their son and daughter to a hotel for a few days to visit, and the children go to Canada for a good part of the summer.” And I bet she complains about her bum ex-husband sucking $300 a month out of her…

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