I don’t usually get into personal issues, but I thought it might be illuminating for some of the younger, never-married guys out there to hear about various aspects of family law from time to time. I’d also like to let readers know what I was dealing with last week.
People tend not to think of all the messy details that go along with divorce, instead focusing on the most obvious fact of the separation, new partners, etc. However, when children are involved a divorce is never final. It goes on, and on, and on…
So, although my divorce was finalized over two years ago, and I’m pretty much over the emotional and psychological stress that accompanies such an event, it still presents problems on an ongoing basis.
On Monday, I was served with a “notice of intent to relocate,” which is required when a parent (usually the mother) wants to move the children away from the other parent (usually the father) for whatever reason. In my case, it’s because my ex hitched up with a foreigner, so she wants to move the kids to another country.
I’ve been expecting this for some time, but it’s still a source of some stress to think that one’s children might be going away pretty much permanently. When a parent is served with this notice in Washington state, the burden to object is on the parent with less physical custody, so it’s up to him to go to court to argue against the move if he opposes it. That is, the presumption is that the mother will get her way, so it’s an uphill battle from the beginning.
In relatively close moves (e.g. to a neighboring state), a man might as well simply give up, because he will routinely lose his objection, but when the issues become more complex, as in international cases, the bar is set considerably higher. However, this doesn’t so much mean that a father has an advantage in these cases as it does that he will have to shell out a lot of money to an attorney to work through the complexities of international law to either prevent the move or draw up an enforceable, acceptable parenting plan.
Men often complain about how difficult it is to get their ex-wives to comply with visitation even when they live in the same county, so think of how much more difficult it is when she is in another country. It’s a logistical nightmare, and for guys with a working or lower-middle class income (i.e. most young fathers) an international move often simply removes them from their children’s lives permanently.
The rising numbers of international moves are having one positive effect: they are exposing the problems inherent in the feminist extremist position in child custody cases. That women are presumed to have the right to permanently remove children from blameless fathers is morally appalling, and this system does not hold up to the kind of scrutiny that accompanies international treaties, such as the Hague Convention on international child abduction.
No fault divorce opened up a huge can of worms that has global implications, and is turning out to be an obvious failure. My hunch is that the problems it has introduced will fundamentally weaken the practice of civil marriage, perhaps eventually leading to its disappearance and setting the stage for a new, more functional form of marriage based on mutual responsibility rather than female supremacy.