Utah Lawyer Makes ‘Modest Proposal’ to Family Courts

August 8th, 2012 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
This blog entry is so outrageous I’m chagrined I didn’t think of it myself (Divorce, 8/1/12).  It’s by an attorney in Utah named Eric K. Johnson and, in addition to its heavy dose of gallows humor, has some good points to make about custody practice in family courts.

Johnson notes that the piece is “in the spirit of Jonathan Swift;” he calls it  ”Another Modest Proposal – Kill the Non-Custodial Parent.”

Johnson accurately states that, according to divorce lawyers, judges and anti-father zealots everywhere, “it’s all about the children,” and any father who dares claim his parental rights is immediately adjudged selfish and probably an abuser.  The idea these people happily put forward assumes that fathers’ rights and children’s welfare are opposing concepts.  They regularly ignore the plain fact that in the great majority of cases, it’s just not true; overwhelmingly, fathers’ rights and their children’s well-being are inextricably intertwined.  But, simple as that concept is, family courts routinely fail to grasp it and, since they consider that fathers aren’t important, Johnson makes the obvious suggestion – just kill ‘em.

So why not just kill one of the divorcing parents (giving his/her life insurance proceeds to the surviving parent, of course) for the sake of the precious children? The children will adapt. Lots of children have parents who die young, and while they may suffer initially, they learn to deal with it with the help of the surviving parent. It’s not the end of the world.

Like any good lawyer, he backs up his motion with a number of persuasive arguments.

1) It not merely reduces inter-parental conflict, it guarantees to eliminate it. As a corollary, it eliminates the possibility of child custody ever coming before the court again (unless, of course, the custodial parent goes crazy or poops out being a sole custodian and has to be replaced with foster care parents, but I digress);

2) It also eliminates the hardship on the children caused by shuttling them back and forth between their parents’ respective residences;

3) Eliminates that feeling of the children being “torn” between loyalty to one parent or the other;

4) Eliminates the awkwardness of children having to admit their parents are divorced;

5) In the U.S., the child may qualify for Social Security Survivor benefits;

He goes on to list several more of the attractive benefits of murdering the non-custodial parent.

So order the noncustodial parent killed. Everyone benefits, especially children. Yes, certain sacrifices must be made, but if it means a child is spared the troubles I list above, isn’t it worth it? We’ve seen the alternatives, and they are just too messy.

It all makes so much sense.

Of course, in the process of recommending the extraordinary rendition of non-custodial parents, Johnson makes clear that he knows full well the dsyfunctional nature of family law and family courts.  As I mentioned, he knows about and skewers the notion that, in some undefined way, to talk about fathers’ rights is to place children at risk.  Again, fathers’ rights and children’s welfare go hand in hand.

Johnson also understands that we shouldn’t shy away from shared or equal parenting just because it’s unworkable for some couples.  The obvious thing to do is to give both parents as much time with the kids as possible, identify those parents who can’t make that work and find alternatives.  It’s not rocket science if a judge goes at the problem assuming the child needs both parents.  Of course if he/she assumes fathers to be uninterested in or dangerous to the kids, the situation all of a sudden becomes fraught with difficulty that likely will continue, much as Johnson describes.

Finally, Johnson points out that sole maternal custody isn’t exactly a panacea for anything or anyone.  It tends to increase conflict, it’s bad for the kids and the dads.  But, as I never tire of saying, those who oppose father/child contact never get around to explaining why they think the existing system is working.  When 35% of divorced fathers have little or no contact with their kids and the consequences of fatherlessness are so well known, it’s incumbent on opponents of change to tell us why they want to keep the status quo.

So here’s Johnson with a brand new idea – just kill the non-custodial parents.  Come to think of it, maybe that’s a change the anti-father crowd can embrace.

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