Saturday, June 19, 2004

50-50 custody is the only fair way

Michael Newdow is now famous for losing his Pledge of Allegiance case because of having lost custody of his daughter, and now he attacks custody law. He is right. The custody standards used by family court are incoherent and create more problems than they solve. He says:
More to the point, what in the world are the "best interests of the child"? Is it "better" for a child to have a tuna-fish sandwich or to eat at McDonald's? Tuna is healthier. McDonald's tastes better. Tuna's cheaper. McDonald's is more fun. Tuna saves on gas. McDonald's gets everyone out of the house. Who's going to value all these factors and decide what's "best"? Whether it's a trivial issue (such as lunch), or one far more important, this multiplicity of factors is involved in the thousands of decisions parents make each day. Add to the mix the impossibility of predicting how care today will impact any given child 10 years from now, and it's clear that no one can determine what is "best." The suggestion that anyone—judges, child psychologists, court-appointed evaluators, etc.—can do this is pure arrogance; arrogance for which there is not one shred of evidentiary support. In fact, it may well be that every custody decision made by these people has been the completely "wrong" one. … How would anyone ever know?

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