The fundamental changes in American Law that lead to the body of law we now call, “Family Law”, arose in 1960’s, born of the Feminist Rights Movements. Primarily they were promoted by the then new National Organization of Women (N.O.W.), which included founding members and authors Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem. Originally they prompted California to pass no-fault divorce statutes in 1970, and worked to spread that concept across the nation. In the early 1970s, they promoted statutes in the state of Minnesota regarding child support, custody and other issues, particularly the concept of “the best interest of the children” and the States involvement as parens patriae “owners” of the children’s welfare.
In the wave of the “new feminism” it didn’t take long to tout this position to the federal government either, as a means to reduce the costs of welfare by finding and holding absent parents accountable for supporting their children. It was primarily based on a sociological study done by Lenore Weitzman which found that only 40% of “fathers” nationwide paid any support for their children. Thus it became obvious at the inception that the primary focus of these programs was against fathers.
The theory was founded on a profound fallacy – actually a deliberate fraud. Multiple studies, beginning from that point and continuing yet today, demonstrate this. Today, Lenore Weitzman has admitted that her study, made more than thirty years ago, was fundamentally flawed. She admits that the “statistical model” used to analyze that data was in substantial error, and worse, that she knew about it when she published her report. In fact, the statistics showed that, back then, 80% of fathers paid child support. Yet, even today, that study is widely quoted in numerous articles and legislative hearings regarding issues of child support.
Today, we know a whole lot more than that. Current statistics show that 80% of fathers pay child support. Now, however, we also know that another 13% of fathers simply cannot afford to pay anything. They simply don’t have the money and never did. Another 3% acknowledge they “have a responsibility”, but refuse to pay because they are denied access to their own children, and another 3% claim they are “forced into hiding” by the child support enforcement system and unable to pay for fear of revealing themselves and ending up in jail. Total: 99%. Thus only 1% of men actually qualify as what could truly be considered “bad dads.”
Please note that the percentage of men paying support for their children more than thirty years ago is actually identical to the percent of men paying that support today. The system itself has failed by that very fact, because it has not actually reduced the demands on welfare at all, as was its original intent.
The federal government offered the States incentive programs where, by promoting and passing these statutes, the State could receive federal funds to run their programs. These incentives were tied to “performance” standards. Thus, the more cases the state “started”, the more money they claimed was owed, and the more they enforced the collection of those claims, the more incentive funds the State would receive.
It didn’t take long for this fallacy to turn into a program of gargantuan proportions. Originally the intent was to assist families, primarily single mothers with children, who were receiving welfare funds. The authorities in the States soon realized what means they could use to maximize their funding from the federal government. At first they discovered all they had to do was get women, at the onset of a divorce or paternity action, to file an application for welfare. Whether these women qualified for any financial assistance or not was not relevant, it was the application which opened the door for the state to begin a child support enforcement case against the father.
It didn’t take long after that before these same State authorities realized that no one in the federal government was paying attention to who was and who wasn’t qualified under the welfare requirements. Thus, all the State had to do was establish a child support case for every divorce or paternity action that came its way. By increasing their statistical “improvements”, they rapidly increased the amount of federal funding they received.
Nor did it take State authorities long to learn the “tricks” they could use to help maximize those funds received. “Imputing” a father with an income, whether he was capable of ever earning that amount, was a means of increasing the State’s statistics. By also jailing fathers who couldn’t pay, regardless of whatever reason, the State also could receive further federal funding to help build and support their prisons and jails.
This system was also not solely limited to divorce and paternity issues. Through the 1980s and 1990s, both the states and the federal government pursued even more statutes, primarily aimed at the enforcement of child support collection, but also promoting the State as the protector of the “best interests of the child.” State authorities discovered they could use their same “legal system” to pursue an agenda of “protecting children from abuse.” Whether the abuse was imagined or real, the State got federal funds to remove children from their families and place them in foster care. Then by “selling” these children out for adoption, they could get even more money. The Child Protection System has become a lucrative and big-business enterprise for the states, and is often coupled with child support enforcement against both “offending parents” for a two-way bonus in federal funding.
The fallacy is actually even deeper and perhaps more sinister than any of us imagined. Those early leaders of the N.O.W. movement have recently admitted that they were members of the Communist Party in America. It is now also known that the statutes promoted here in this country were derived, virtually verbatim, directly from a suite of programs used in the U.S.S.R. prior to that country’s economic and political collapse. Many socio-economists credit those programs in the U.S.S.R. as one of the reasons, if not the primary reason, for that country’s demise.
This author is well aware of the onus of claiming a “communist conspiracy”. Those of us who grew up with the Cold War, Korea and Viet Nam all too commonly heard about the “commie scourge” and their conspiracy bent on world domination. This isn’t a claim of some “conspiracy theory”, just a statement of the facts associated with the issue. Communism in Russia may be dead, but their socialism, in the form of this family law system is alive and well, and now living in the USA. Lenin, Stalin and Khrushchev must be rolling in their graves, laughing hysterically.
There can be little doubt that the entire area of what we euphemistically call “family law” has long since ceased to be about family much less children. Nor can there be any doubt that it was brought to us through stealth and subterfuge, using a wholly duplicitous scam of false research. The real measure and test is in the results. Our country, like Russia did before us, is now on a one-way, one-lane dirt road to destruction.
The author, Ken Wiggins, is a member of and law advisor for http://www.MadMenUnited.org. Also known to friends as “Wiley” he is the webmaster for http://www.ParentsForChildren.net as well as http://www.AMatterOfJustice.org.
Part II – The Fraud.
Part III – The Failure