Introduction to Father’s Rights During Divorce
In the 1967 satirical comedy Divorce American Style, Dick Van Dyke captures the sentiments of many men who go through a divorce. Van Dyke pays George Harmon, a formerly prosperous man who struggles to live $87.30 a week after his take-home income has been devoured by alimony. In one scene Van Dyke laments his situation and lamely jokes: "She got the mine, and I got the shaft."
Even before no-fault divorce, men complained that divorce courts treated them harshly, and alimony jokes offered scant consolation to the ranks of men who found themselves in vastly reduced circumstances in the aftermath of a divorce. In the past 40 years, the liberalization of divorce and the increasing assertiveness associated with women’s liberation have tilted the table even more. Many men now contend that divorce makes them victims, particularly in regard to child custody, visitation and support.
The liberalization of divorce laws that produced no fault also incubated what has been termed "the men’s movement" and more particularly "the fathers’ rights movement."
Many men become aware of the men’s rights and father’s rights movements in the aftermath of a divorce when they discover what seem to many of them biases and injustices in the way courts deal with men in the adjudication of contested child visitation, custody and support. Fathers’ rights movements of one shape or another have been identified in a least 19 countries.
Unlike the women’s movement, which draws energy on allegations of cultural inequalities based on gender differences, the men’s and fathers’ rights movements build "after the fact," that is, by men who often solve, one way or another, their divorce difficulties and then return to their lives. The movements lack the media attention of the women’s movement. Nevertheless, men’s and father’s movements in the United States, Europe and Australia have raised a wide spectrum of issues relating the marriage, divorce and family law including reforms in custody rulings, child support, paternity determination as well as the diminishing status of men.
Useful Online Tools
Resources & Tools
FATHERS’ RIGHTS -- The "fathers’ rights” movement supports the idea that custody decisions should not discriminate against fathers. Support groups, including Fathers for Equal Rights in Miami and Fathers Are Forever in California, provide support for fathers who feel unfairly treated by the legal system.
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Men's Rights Manual for Divorce
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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