Gary Wolf "author of The Kicker of St. John's Wood" Writes
There is a grave threat to the integrity of the legal system and to the core values of our society: The destruction of due process of law in the family courts, a malady that has now reached epidemic proportions throughout the Anglosphere.
Of all the scandalous behavior of the Left, perhaps none is so underreported as the systematic destruction of marriage and the family that is now practiced by the governmental divorce and child-custody machinery. This industry and the travesties it has perpetrated are summarized proficiently in the book, "Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family" by Stephen Baskerville, a professor of political science at Patrick Henry College.
"This book is about our unwillingness to confront the most destructive and dangerous injustice in our society today: the systematic seizure of children by government officials and the criminalization of their parents. A parent today who has committed no legal infraction can have his (or sometimes her) parenthood and relationship with his children criminalized entirely through the actions of others in ways that are completely beyond his control. [The book] focuses largely on fathers and divorce, because these are the ones most commonly involved."
The attack on fathers has been facilitated by the myth that they are abandoning their children in droves, at which point they become "deadbeats," and must be tracked down by government officials seeking justice for the forlorn wives and children. Nothing could be further from the truth, writes Baskerville:
"The myth of the deadbeat dad has already been discredited conclusively by Sanford Braver and other scholars. We have already seen that Braver is one of many social scientists who have found that few married fathers voluntarily abandon their children. Beyond this, Braver has also shown that little scientific basis exists for claims that large numbers of fathers are not paying child support. Braver found that government claims of nonpayment were derived not from any compiled database or hard figures but entirely from surveys of custodial parents. In other words, the Census Bureau simply asked mothers what they were receiving....Fathers overwhelmingly do pay court-ordered child support when they are employed, often at enormous personal sacrifice."
In the vast majority of cases, it is the wife who initiates the divorce proceedings. She is encouraged in this action by the regime of "no-fault" divorce. The old concept of marriage as a contract has broken down; today, the flimsiest, most whimsical reasons can be offered as justification--if justification is even needed.
Once this machinery is set in motion, the deck is stacked against the father. In the blink of an eye, he can be evicted from his home, forbidden from seeing his children, have his assets seized, his wages garnished, and he can be assessed huge fees--all without due process of law. Though not even charged with committing a crime, he is presumed guilty. Many of the proceedings are held without his knowledge or presence, and he cannot cross-examine witnesses.
In a macabre recitation, Baskerville shows how each amendment in the Bill of Rights is being systematically violated, with no appeal. For example:
"The Fourth Amendment protects the 'right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures'. Yet as we have seen, parents suspected of no legal wrongdoing and who have given no grounds or agreement for divorce are routinely ordered without warrants to surrender not only their children but personal diaries, notebooks, correspondence, financial records, and other documents. Those unwilling or unable to produce the demanded documents can be fined, ordered to pay attorneys' fees, and summarily incarcerated. We have also seen that fathers are regularly interrogated behind closed doors about intimate family matters most parents would not normally discuss with strangers, such as conversations with their children and spouse, and they can be jailed for failing to answer....In shades of Soviet psychiatry, citizens who refuse to submit to this inquisition--and even those who do not--can be ordered to undergo a 'mental evaluation'."
The divorce and child-custody apparatus has grown to enormous proportions. It is a veritable industry, with judges, lawyers, social workers, collection agencies, therapists, psychiatrists, caseworkers, and researchers making their living from the ever-expanding pie. The enforcement effort employs thousands of agents who have a degree of authority and immunity that is unthinkable for ordinary police and law enforcement agencies. It has become an independent fiefdom, with no oversight and little scrutiny, with an entrenched interest in generating more divorce, more restraining orders, more mental evaluations, and more outrageously inflated child-support payments (commonly approaching or exceeding the income of the victim).
Another myth deconstructed by Baskerville is that fathers commonly commit child abuse, incest, and wife-beating. In reality, this is rare. Mothers are more likely to use violence on fathers, and children are most subjected to abuse in single-parent households headed by a woman.
After describing in gory detail the horrors of the family-law system (backed up, I might add, by reams of studies and testimony), Baskerville turns his attention to the culprits, those whose ideology has resulted in one of the grossest perversions of justice in American (and British, and Canadian) history. There are several culprits, but towering above them all are the feminists, who have carved out this untouchable empire for the purpose of destroying fatherhood and the nuclear family.
A key buzzword used by advocates of this ideology is "for the children." This is the clarion call behind the incessant demand to insert the power of the state into the deepest recesses of the private lives of the citizenry. Children are used, in the most cynical fashion, to attain political ends. This has reached the highest echelons of America's Leftist establishment:
"The philosophy of turning children over to state control and denying a sphere of family privacy is succinctly conveyed in Hillary Clinton's aphorism, 'There is no such thing as other people's children.' Hillary rejects the notion that 'families are private, nonpolitical units whose interests subsume those of children' and believes instead in 'the status of children as political beings.' Commenting on these passages and others like them, the late Barbara Olson wrote, 'For Hillary, children are the levers by which one forces social change'."
Overall, "Taken Into Custody" is a balanced, non-emotional, well-written, and copiously footnoted exposé. The only sour note, I would say, are several odd forays into macro-level political analysis, such as the perplexing statement that "it is perhaps a legacy of the Enlightenment that today both liberals and conservatives seem to worship at the altar of the meritocracy." The author would have been better advised to confine the scope of the work to his area of expertise, in which his competence is duly impressive.
In any case, the book is a must-read for understanding the nature and scope of this insidious attack on a key foundation of Western society.
S. Lee "Concerned Father" writes
Family Court Law is the most corrupt industry in America today. It is also the most dangerous threat to the constitutional freedoms and protections (which many claim that all citizens are granted) in the history of our society - really, since the institution of slavery. The parallels between slavery and the divorce industry are erily compelling...
Upon first glance, Family Court Law is just another harmless branch of our legal system. We've all been brain-washed into believing that state employees, lawyers and social workers really do care and want what's best for our children - and that they know what is in our children's best interests better than we parents do. After all, they are very righteous people, aren't they? And they really DO care. Thus, we are given Hillary Clinton's assertion that "it takes a village to raise a child..."
There is something inherently bizzare about this whole concept... Why would these strangers care about my child, whom they've never even met? How could their judgment ever supercede that of a fit parent who has raised and loved his daughter from birth? What is REALLY motivating these people to assume control over our children and our lives? What business do they have when they pompously assert that they are acting in my child's "best interest" and on my behalf?
This book systematically exposes all of these cleverly hidden motivations behind the "12 billion dollar child trafficking industry." If you want to know the truth about the divorce industry, then read this book - and tell everyone you know about it so that they can see behind the dark wall called Family Court Law...