Monday, January 2, 2012

Criminalizing Visitation Interference?

Robert Franklin talks about the idea of criminalizing interfering with child visitation.

Near the beginning he says orders shouldn't be about visitation but about parenting time.
Actually, they should never be issued in the first place. What family courts should do is issue orders about parenting time. They shouldn’t name one parent as the custodial parent, the primary custodial parent, the managing conservator, the residential parent, etc. Orders should simply say that Dad gets the kids every other week and Mom gets them every other week. Or Dad gets them for the five weekdays and Mom on weekends. Or vice versa.

There should be no concept that one parent is superior to the other. The order should be about parenting time. Period.
I can get with this. Ideally the point behind "visitation" is about giving the child a chance to spend parent/child time with both parties and for both parents to have time being a parent to the child. And I agree that its not about one parent being superior to the other, with the only exception being perhaps if the schedules of the parents in question don't line up and maybe one ends up with more time with the child than the other. But even then its not that one parent is the better parent for having more time with the kids. And speaking of the flawed thinking:
Courts are still stuck in the past when a father’s minimal visitation time was called an “award.” Meager as that is - usually two days out of every two weeks – courts still refuse to enforce it in most cases, and for the most part, no one except the dads who are cut out of their children’s lives seems to care.
Pretty weird don't you think. During the time of the marriage time with the children is just as much responsibility as it was award. Yet once the divorce happens suddenly one parent, usually dad, has their time with the children changed to an "award". And on top of that the "award" is enforced with nowhere near the level of tenacity that child support is enforced.
Most importantly, the full force of state enforcement is provided free of charge to mothers with child support cases. Fathers with visitation orders must do it all themselves including paying the piper. And by the time they succeed, if they do, months have passed during which time their children, if they’re very young, may have forgotten all about them.
Why is this the case?

It may have something to do with the way people think about support and visitation. On one hand more people will argue that support is something for the child. And they would be correct. Child support is paid to the parent for the well being of the child. On the other hand visitation is considered something for the parent. This may not be the best way to think about it though. When that other parent gets their time with the child can we really say that that is not going to the well being of the child? As said above parenting time with the child is as much for the sake of the child as it is for the sake of the parent, actually more I think. So doesn't it follow suit to say that when a child is being denied time with the other parent that child's well being is actually being affected?


Renee said...

Short of an abusive parent, I believe that the courts should encourage equal participation in a child's life. If something were to happen between the unhusband and I today, I would want him to maintain a strong relationship to his sons because I know that there are things that he can teach them that I cannot. It is simply wrong to keep a parent from a child.

Danny said...

Short of an abusive parent, I believe that the courts should encourage equal participation in a child's life.
Agreed. In fact I've always agreed with the common MRA position that equal participation should be the default, with of course presuming both parents are fit.

And it just sickens me when children become pawns in breakups. Their value is reduced from caring child to weapon to wield against the other partner.