Saturday, November 18, 2017

Michigan shared parenting

A Michigan lawyer writes:
Michigan House Bill 4691 would mandate shared custody of children in divorce cases with few exceptions. ...

This bill also presupposes that all parents are able to get along well enough to co-parent their children and that conflicts in a shared custody situation will be at a minimum. Most people divorce because they can’t get along and concur on parenting issues.
No, very few get divorced because of an inability to cooperate on parenting issues.
The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has come out against the recent legislative movement toward mandated shared custody in Michigan and other states,
Yeah, the divorce lawyers want to make money over custody disputes, instead of having custody rights codified by law.
Child custody arrangements should take into account the child’s best interest, first and foremost and forever. This bill does not.
The term "child’s best interest" is a euphemism for lawyers and judges overriding the wishes of the parents.
If we truly want to do something to encourage parents spending more time with their children -- as proponents of this bill claim is their goal-- we should eliminate any relationship between parenting time and money.

Currently in Michigan, the number of overnights a parent has with his or her children, very much drives the amount of child support paid. That is the worst legislation ever passed. It discourages parents who receive child support payments to be agreeable to their children spending more time with the other parent as it would diminish that support.
He finally writes something sensible. Not everyone knows this, but the laws in all 50 states create extreme financial incentive against sharing custody. The mom can get a whole lot more money by refusing to let the dad see the kids. That is what "child support" is all about, as it is currently implemented.
Parents should be encouraged to have their children spend time with both parents without a financial penalty or reward linked to it.
That is what a shared custody bill should do. Then there would be no reason to fight over custody or support in most cases, and divorce lawyers would not have much to do.
With the Child Custody Act of 1970, we have 47 years of case law giving judges guidance over a variety of child-related issues. To scrap that would an egregious error.

Each divorce is different and it is a mistake to mandate a cookie-cutter decision without careful consideration into the nuances of each family situation. Again, it is the child in child custody cases whose needs should be the priority, not a parent’s.
He is just saying that judges and lawyers should run the lives of kids, not their parents. We have 47 years of a system that is worse that what we had before.

A right-wing philosopher argues:
Parental rights and authority have been under scrutiny from some lefty liberals and and socialists recently (here’s an example). The concern is usually grounded in “children’s rights” and their autonomy, though there is also attention paid toward critiquing the basis for parental authority. I used to think parental authority is a given, but it seems as though “the left” is willing to challenge any traditional source of authority that is not the state itself. Conservatives should always pay close attention to philosophies and ideologies that dissolve or undermine non-state authorities, such as the family or religious institutions, because that is a mechanism on which totalitarianism depends. The idea is to slowly eliminate the authority of and allegiance to non-state institutions.

Consider this. Just a few days ago, the democratic socialist government of Alberta legislated that schools cannot inform parents whether their child is a member of the school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. It’s called Bill 24. The justification for this law, so far as I have heard, is that such information “outs” a child to his parents, which therefore can violate his privacy or is too great a risk for his safety. ...

Caring of children requires choosing particular goods and ends for children. But who gets to make those decisions? Plausibly, it’s either the parents or the state. If the state chooses for children, then parents would serve as mere bodily donors and custodians for the state. But that is perverse: The parent-child relationship is naturally much deeper and more intimate than that, as I argued earlier. Hence, it is not the state should choose, but the parents. Yet, if it is the parents who should choose, then they need a great deal of space to exercise their choices in accordance to their conscience, particularly within matters of education, sexuality and morality, for each is deeply consequential to the child’s identity, good and life trajectory. In fact, aside from providing the necessities of life, it is hard to think of a contribution more important to the life and good of a child than those aforementioned things.
Yes, right-wingers favor family autonomy, while left-wingers, lawyers, and judges seek to let the state make decisions for children.

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