Our family courts are expected to operate in the best interest of the children” in cases brought before family court judges.
8,552 Letters Sent So Far
But it is not traditionally the sole criterion-much less the sole constitutional criterion… The best interests of the child is not the legal standard that governs parents’ or guardians’ exercise of their custody: So long as certain minimum requirements of child care are met, the interests of the child may be subordinated to the interests of other children, or indeed even to the interests of the parents or guardians themselves. — Reno v. Flores, 507 U.S. 292 (1993)
Millions of Americans who have been through a contested divorce or custody proceeding in the family court systems across the US are acutely aware that injustice is served at the whims of the attorneys and other “profiteers” of the family court system. Unfair custody and parenting time, lifetime alimony, child support calculations based on income rather than actual need, paternity fraud, parental alienation, false allegations with no repercussions, complex legal processes and rules, and numerous other issues not only violate the Constitutional and civil rights of the unfortunate litigants, but serve to contribute to the further denigration of families and leave parents and children emotionally, spiritually and financially damaged for many years into the future.The US Supreme Court has gone so far as to assert:
We have little doubt that the Due Process Clause would be offended if a State were to attempt to force the breakup of a natural family, over the objections of the parents and their children, without some showing of unfitness and for the sole reason that to do so was thought to be in the children’s best interest. — Quilloin v. Walcott, 434 U.S. 246 (1978)
More important, historically it has recognized that natural bonds of affection lead parents to act in the best interests of their children. — Parham v. J. R., 442 U.S. 584 (1979)
Furthermore, experts in child development agree that in the absence of substantiated abuse, shared parenting is better for children:
“There is a consensus that neither the discretionary best interests of the child standard nor sole custody or primary residence orders are serving the needs of children and families of divorce. There is a consensus that shared parenting is a viable post-divorce parenting arrangement that is optimal to child development and well-being, including for children of high conflict parents.” — Edward Kruk, Ph.D., First International Conference on Shared Parenting, May 2014
Yet every day in courtrooms across the US, the rights of parents and children are violated by unconstitutional orders and unfair judgments due to unnecessarily complex and costly adversarial processes that make divorce not only more difficult than necessary, but also create long term financial and emotional impacts on parents, children, and society as a whole.
The divorce process and the accompanying pain and suffering that many families endure is something we don’t often like to talk about and taking a stoic and dismissive attitude toward those who feel slighted in the process is perpetuated by a society that fails to recognize the long term and sometimes life-long impact of the dissolution of a family unit. Even less talked about is the role that some attorneys, legislators and other agents of the court take in perpetuating these problems, sometimes unknowingly, but often purposefully to increase their own personal profits or organizational revenue.