Fathering Magazine for fathers, dads, family


Home
What's New
Beginners' Tour
True Stories
True Soap
Health

Topics
New Fathers
The Joy of Fathering
Importance of Fathers
Fathers & Sons
Fathers & Daughters
Single Fathers
Second Wives -
   Second Families
Gender & Fathers
Custody & Divorce
Father Custody
Child Support
Exposé
Cyber Bullying
Sex Bullies
Family Vacation
Father's Day
Mother's Day

Sections
Book Reviews
Fathering Poems
Interviews
Fathering Fiction
Cooking Recipes
Science Fair Project
US Constitution

News
Female Offenders
Juvenile Offenders

Child Health
New Baby
Premature
Circumcision
Intersex
Signs of Puberty
Car Hazards
Child Obesity
Teen Smoking
Teen Drinking
ADD/ADHD
PCOS
Autism

Men's Health
Hair Loss
Muse ED Review
Vasectomy
Micturition
Restoration
Mens Hair Removal

Columns
Stephen Baskerville
Michael Childers
Kirk Daulerio
John Gill
Paul Goetz
Sam Harper
Jim Loose
Mark Phillips
Fred Reed
Carey Roberts
Glenn Sacks
Clyde Verner
Archie Wortham

Exposé
Child Support Policy
Child Support Math
Commercial Justice
Abuse Hysteria
Missing Child Money
Gender Equality?

Legal Disclaimer
RSS feed


Follow on








Fathering News
Check these stories:

Texas Fathers Win Again! Social workers and psychologists "incest cases" group gets foiled in court.

Therapist Loses License and One Million Dollars Another misandrist therapist gets caught selling sex fantasies to children. From the False Memory Syndrome Foundation News Letter

Supervised Parent/Child Contact An ideologue exposes her ugly compulsion to deny children's access to their father.

Study Finds Teen Pregnancy and Crime Levels are Higher Among Kids from Fatherless Homes Children reared in fatherless homes are more than twice as likely to become male adolescent delinquents or teen mothers, according to a significant new study by two economists at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

85% of Youths in Prison Grew Up in Fatherless Home Source: Texas Department of Corrections.

I Want to See My Dad! Staff of supervised visitation center demoralized by crowd of angry demonstrators.

America's Toughest Family Court Judge Speaks Out Judge says "The current biased system is run by reality-impaired ideologues."

How to Fight Sex Abuse Allegations and Win False Allegations Of Child Sexual Abuse: What You Should Know.

Child Support System Declared Unconstitutional Minnesota Supreme Court upholds ruling.


Of Statistics, Single Mothers and the Politics of Language Studies show that, overwhelmingly, children being raised in homes with both a mother and a father enjoy a lot of benefits that children from single parent homes do not.

Children in Single-Mom Households at Risk The fact that children raised by single mothers are at increased risk is found over and over again.

The Case for Father Custody Daniel Amneus makes the case for fathers getting custody of their children. "It is fatherhood which makes childhood possible."

New Single Father Suggestions Practical childcare tips for the man who has to go it alone.

Off the Boat When? Is 'child-support' just a euphemism for alimony?

VAWA: Joe Biden's Shame Family courts discriminate against men, with no value placed on justice.

Home > Child Custody & Divorce > Article

"Those Whom God Hath Joined Together Let No Man Put Asunder"

by Stephen Baskerville

Six years ago I took wedding vows in a church within the Diocese of Washington. I dutifully recited "till death do us part," and the minister declared, "What God hath joined together..." and so forth. On my wedding ring are inscribed the words, "pour toujours."

Five years later, and after the birth of my first child, I found myself summoned to court in Fairfax County (where I did not live) on 36 hours notice. Though I was accused of no wrongdoing and had given no grounds for divorce, I was interrogated by a lawyer and forced to answer a series of humiliating questions about intimate aspects of my relationship with my daughter, conversations with my wife, and a variety of private family matters.

Without a lawyer of my own and with very little opportunity to speak on my own behalf, I was then legally stripped of custody of my child and told to stay away from her all but two days a week. A restraining order was placed on me preventing me from taking her outside the jurisdiction of the court (a jurisdiction thousands of miles from my home), and I was ordered to surrender all her documents in my possession, including her British passport.

I was then told that I could see my second child (who was not yet born) for one three-hour period on a weekday every two weeks. Had I refused to comply I could have been jailed. Now, a year later, my marriage can be dissolved over my objections and my rights as a parent terminated.

Few people realize the virtually absolute power of courts to invade and carve up a family, to take children away from parents who have done nothing wrong, to dissolve marriages without giving any reasons and to order the summary incarceration of parents who refuse to acquiesce - few people, that is, to whom it has not happened.

Naturally I feel I was deceived when I married in the church, and so apparently was the minister who married me. Like most people, I assumed that if I kept my vows and obeyed the law, no one could separate me from my children or interfere in my family without my consent. From talking to my own pastors and others, it is clear that this is also what they and most of their congregations assume. Yet I have come to realize that my experience is shared by hundreds if not thousands of parents every day.

These quasi-totalitarian practices directly concern the churches, not simply because all matters of morality and social justice concern the churches but also because they touch the validity and integrity of their holy offices. Given how widely my ignorance is shared even by educated people, our clergy may be forgiven for not realizing the contempt in which their blessing is held by a state whose instruments, in part, they are. Yet as long as marital and parental bonds can simply be dissolved by the state at the request of one spouse with no grounds, wrongdoing, legal action, or agreement by the other, our pastors should consider how far they may be - however inadvertently -- deceiving their flock and dishonoring their calling.

Family law throughout most of the United States now allows a parent to unilaterally remove a child from the other parent and dissolve a marriage without any grounds or evidence of wrongdoing. Even more shocking, a parent who does this cannot expect to be punished by the courts; on the contrary, he or she can expect to be generously rewarded with custody, child support, and other financial rewards. Not surprisingly, disturbing numbers of children are routinely separated from loving, responsible parents for reasons that have nothing to do with their wishes, safety, health, or welfare.

This system of rewarding child snatching naturally encourages more and generates enormous profits for matrimonial lawyers, who now openly advise their clients to this course of action. (Failure to do so can be considered malpractice.) For this reason family courts today have the appearance (and increasingly the substance) of a child kidnapping and extortion racket. The price of course is paid with the lives of innocent children.

You may wonder why you have not heard about this before. It is true that it receives little attention from most media - The Washington Post for example. But you indeed hear of it often, though owing to selective reporting by the mainstream media you may not recognize it when you hear it.

You have heard that 50% of marriages end in divorce, though you probably do not know that some 80% of these are over the objection of one spouse (close to 100% when children are involved). You have heard about "custody battles," but you probably do not know that most start out as unilateral child abductions. You have heard about the witch hunt for "deadbeat dads," though you do not know how many are ejected fathers like me who are vilified by a government that has taken their children without cause. You have heard the hysteria over "child abuse," but you do not know that most accusations are shown to be false and used to remove children from their parents. You have heard about "overloaded courts," though you may not know how far courts create business for themselves by encouraging child stealing and other forms of belligerence. You have certainly heard about violent crime, about adolescent drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, child suicide, truancy, and a host of other social ills whose single most important cause is not poverty, race, or poor education but single-parent homes.

As those called to consecrate marriage, our pastors need to become aware of and speak out against this desecration of their sacred office. Most are aware that in performing marriage ceremonies they are acting as agents of the state. What they probably do not realize is that the very state on whose behalf they are acting and which they are probably assuming to be the final guarantor of the integrity of marital and especially parent-child bonds is in fact the greatest threat to those bonds.

It may even be time to give serious consideration to (what many clergy already favor for other reasons) suspending further marriage ceremonies until this abuse is rectified. At the very least couples must clearly understand that the rite now provides virtually no protection to parents or children from arbitrary invasion by the state.

In today's society there are many threats to the family which defy blame and remedy, but this is not one of them.

Copyright © 1998 Stephen Baskerville


Stephen Baskerville is a lecturer at Howard University and a parishioner of Christ Church in Alexandria.

This article first appeared in the Washington Diocese. Reprinted by permission of the author.



Other pieces by this author



fathermag.com
the on-line magazine for men with families.














The Secret Alimony Hidden in Child Support Scientific proof exists that many child support awards are too high. By Roger F. Gay.

Fathers' Rights Are Fathers' Duties Why political action is the best thing you can do for yourself, your case -- and above all your children. By Stephen Baskerville.

Domestic Armageddon Who profits from the maternal child-snatching epidemic? Two book reviews by Stephen Baskerville.

Just Let Me Be a Dad A review of Michelle D. Lovato's book of practical advice for divorcing fathers.

Men Are Beasts Whereas false accusations by women are in fact rare, occurring no more often than do other false reports of crimes, such as bank robbery -- Joint Congressional Resolution 182.

Class Dismissed Has America created a new class of citizens who are excluded from constitutional provisions regarding due process and debtors prison?

Father from Afar Fathers from afar must learn how to hear what is not said, feel what is not seen, and say what should be said.

Let No Man Put Asunder Is our traditional faith in justice being eroded by courts that operate as a child kidnapping and extortion racket?

Angels and Divorce Dean Hughson tells how a couple of angels helped save him in those critical hours following his divorce.

Gender Bias in Family Court A paralegal gives her insider's view of women who make use of the child kidnapping and extortion racketeers in our justice system.

In the Best Interest of the Child Today's fathers are more likely to seek custody. Many of them will need to prepare for a child custody evaluation.

Mother Accuses Father of Child Abuse What to do? Win! Advice from The Fathering Advisor with links to resources.

What Fathers Do Jack Kammer's story shows us how fathers affect the lives of teenage boys.

Deserted Her mother said "Your father left you because he doesn't love you." Now she has learned the truth--her loving father was forced out of her life.







US