Fathers' Rights Movement

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December 3, 1996 EvaS: Our guest is here! Hi, Asherah! :) Ash, you ready for me to introduce you? :)

Asherah: Yes, Eva. Could I please make a disclaimer before we start? This won't be a man or father bashing chat. Fathers Rights (FR) groups don't represent most men. I'll be referring specifically to FR groups when I talk (type, whatever).

EvaS: One thing I wanted to add, and that is that Asherah, aka Trish Wilson, just had an article published in "On The Issues," which is on your newsstand now.

Asherah: Thanks, Eva. :)

EvaS: Ash, do you want to start off with a question now? Or would you rather wait a bit?

Asherah: I'll take a question.

EvaS: Merlin, you have the floor. Go ahead. :)

Merlin1954: [raising applause sign for Ash] That was all. Thanks!

Asherah: Oh, gosh....

EvaS: :) LOL!!!

Merlin1954: hehe

EvaS: Ash, what is the Fathers' Rights Movement?

Asherah: The fathers' rights movement is part of the overall men's movement. It became popular in the mid '70s. Even though the FR movement claims to concentrate on the 'best interest of children,' their main focus in on bettering their own entitlement.

Glendover: I consider myself interested in the "issues" of fathers rights. I do not consider myself part of a mens movement.

LoveQuest7: Don't you think that if women should have equal job opportunities, men should have equality in child custody? Don't you think opposing sexual equality is SEXIST?

Asherah: The focus should not be on anyone's "rights" but on the best interest of children.

Glendover: I am very specifically interested in my rights to see my child and his right to know me.

Asherah: Children have the right to know both parents. Is there a question?

Glendover: No, but for you to say that "fathers rights" is a PART of the men's movement," etc. is much too broad of a stroke.

Asherah: Why, Glen? The fathers rights movement itself has said that it's part of a larger men's movement.

Glendover: I believe there are those on *both* sides of the argument that have a greater agenda, but when boiled down to it's essence, "father" means parent. And to me and a great many others, fathers rights means simply the right to parent.

Asherah: There is the right to parent and the responsibility to parent. Too many "fathers' rights" activists neglected to remember the latter. Of course, children have the "right" to both parents.

Glendover: Indeed.

Asherah: However, it is the parents responsibility to maintain that contact. That goes for both mother and father.

LoveQuest7: The women's movement rightfully fought for equality in the work environment. That is, women deserve job equality and equal opportunity in the work force. I think all that Fathers are asking for is the SAME equality in the divorce courts. Fathers love their children and deserve EQUAL custody of their children.

Asherah: There is no correlation between women's gains in the workforce and men's "rights" to father. Fathers who have been doing the bulk of the childrearing get equal custody of their children.

LoveQuest7: There certainly is no correlation in the oppression Fathers have been met with. Women have near equality in the work force. Fathers are deprived their children 90 PERCENT of the time.

Asherah: What oppression in court? Name sources.

LoveQuest7: Just read Warren Farrell's book, "The Myth of Male Power." That cites the case of how men are deprived child custody in the court system.

Asherah: I've read Warren Farrell. If you mean that mothers overall are awarded custody in court, that is for several reasons: 1. They did the bulk of the work before the divorce (talking marriages here). 2. Most fathers acknowledge this fact. 3. Most fathers don't want full custody.

Hms6th: My ex-wife was awarded sole custody after pleading guilty to domestic battery.

Asherah: Non custodial doesn't equate with "torn from the lives of," as the FR movement likes to say.

MAX0676: The more women in the work force means the more kids in the street.

LoveQuest7: Another good book is, "The Garbage Generations," that shows how the lack of fathers in the homes has caused drive by shootings and escalation of violence, and the destruction of our society.

Asherah: "Garbage Generation"? By Daniel Amneus? The same man named by "Fathers Manifesto" which is now not on the WWW because it's director has allegedly been thrown in prison? Quite a source.

MAX0676: The more you fight over the kids, the more the kids learn how to fight.

LDRWM: Does the movement differentiate child-support issues from *rights* issues?

Asherah: What do you mean by child support as opposed to "rights?" Child support is now based on a grid in each state -- the guidelines. Both parents contribute. Only parents should contribute to child support, not spouses. Although, I know of cases where spouses incomes have been included.

LDRWM: Is the movement concerned because of the father's monetary obligation or do they consider that a separate issue from visitation, etc.?

Asherah: The FR movement wants to consider child support and visitation equally, but the states don't see it that way. Child support is easier to

enforce, but it still has plenty of problems. Momsinneed: How can we find out proposed FR bills in our state before they are passed? I just heard of an awful one being proposed in CO.

Asherah: Look under Yahoo! for your state, and/or call the State's Attorney's Office. Request info on child support, child custody, etc. You can get copies. What makes all of this such a pain is that family law in each state is different. What works in CA won't work in Maine.

TMagann: Don't you think that equal access to both parents *is* in the best interests of the child? I certainly would have been better served, but the law didn't permit it.

Asherah: Yes, TM. Only the parents can do that, though. The court can't enforce good behavior.

TMagann: Also, the state statues do treat women differently from men for no good reason. A mother paying CS pays less than a father given the same relative incomes. Yet the supposition is that mother are better parents because of their sex. Asherah: "No good reason?" States have specific laws regarding custody and support. The custody award makes a difference. Also, gross monthly incomes are calculated into child support awards.

TMagann: I'm the custodial parent of a deserted little girl. Yes, but sex also seems to be calculated. By law.

Gagos: I have a comment and then a question. I'm having a problem with your use of the word "most". Can you provide verifiable statistics instead of saying "most"? A few moments ago, someone said something about oppression in courts and you asked for sources. You should provide sources as well, instead of broad generalizations.

Asherah: 10 Gender Bias in Court reports, the Census Bureau, HHS, and the ABA.

Gagos: And now my question ... why do states have child support guidelines, but no visitation guidelines? Does that seem fair?

Asherah: Women get sole physical and legal custody in about 85% of all cases because they had been the primary parent, status quo, child's health, location.

Gagos: I'm talking visitation, not custody.

Asherah: This isn't bias against men.

Gagos: There is a clear bias against men. There are guidelines for support, but not for fathers to see their children.

Asherah: Same thing. ABA supports that in the vast majority of cases, there is no visitation interference.

Gagos: There needs to be guidelines setting "minimum visitation."

AlvarezM: OK, how do we separate the good from the bad? Some fathers are better parents than the mom, but not all the time. How to decide who gets the kids without destroying them in the process?

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