Monday, August 15, 2005

I is for Intrusive

Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services demonstrates that he has at least a vague understanding of how intrusive the family courts can be in a National Review Online article written in support of President George W. Bush’s Healthy Marriage Initiative:

Indeed, government is most intrusive into family life when marriages fail. If you don't believe it, try getting married, having kids and then getting a divorce. If you are a non-custodial parent, government will tell you when you can see your children; whether you can pick them up after school or not, and if so, on what days; whether you can authorize medical care for your children; and how much money you must spend on your kids. By preventing marital breakup in the first place — not by making divorce harder to get, but by increasing the odds of a stable marriage by increasing marital health and happiness — one obviates the need for such intrusive government.

I use the word ‘vague’ in reference to Mr. Horn’s understanding because Mr. Horn gives no hint that he grasps the full extent of the family court’s ability (and likelihood) to intrude into the life of the support payer (read ‘the man’). He gives no indication of his understanding of court abilities such as the ability to garnish salary, impute income, levy exorbitant and clearly unpayable fines, place liens on property, violate the privacy of family members and friends, and deny parental rights – with trial and the review of a jury an afterthought to these powers and abilities (where any effective review is available at all).

But still, Mr. Horn’s comments come as a welcome sign that there is at least some understanding at HHS of the plight of the support-payer under the current feminist regime in place in the family court system. An understanding that also gets minor mention in ‘Restoring Fathers to Families and Communities’, a study cited in the HHS’s fatherhood initiative, which notes that denial of access to children, and draconian (my word) family court laws are often a factor behind the generation of ‘Deadbeat Dads’. Other studies on the HHS site also take up the ‘Deadbeat Dad’ phenomenon, and how to some degree it is generated by the justice system itself, but HHS’s programs are not about providing guidance to legislators and judicial groups, instead they are programmed to educate men into being better ‘dads’ and focused on the low-income father, with little comprehension how the current legal system can bankrupt and destroy even an upper-middle-class father, and little understanding that most deadbeat dads may be less in need of education than they are of liberation and equal treatment under law. Still, there are some very welcome signs that HHS and it’s partners are beginning to recognize that there is a bigger issue at hand, - signs might make a bigger impression on yours truly if we could find, anywhere mentioned on the HHS website, the expression “Men’s Rights”.


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