Your statement,"These women want me to throw their husbands out of the house, make him pay child support, while she keeps the kids to herself to raise without interference from him" prompted me to contact you. I have been married for 23 years to an abusive husband and tried desperately to hold my family together. As his temper temper got worse our home became characterized by a climate of fear. Despite the fact that he promised that if I dropped out of college to pay for his graduate school, he has resisted any attempt on my part to return to finish my education. At the women's shelter where I stayed there were stories that would curl your hair of cruelty and degradation. Is it any wonder that mothers would not want men like these to influence their children? My husband has two degrees and a successful business while I have been a housewife. Is it unreasonable to expect support during my transistion to working life? No fault divorce is terrible for kids who are only regarded as spoils to be evenly divided instead of vulnerable dependants who should be protected. I agree that the whole business stinks, but I don't believe you understand what some women have lived with that has driven many to flee a violent tyrant.
I understand very well what goes on. It is just that this story is not the only story out there. Most divorces are initiated by women, and most of them do not involve any form of domestic violence.
This case is not a “no-fault” case. She have a clear case of fault. No-fault rules in many states prohibit the court from taking fault into account in property settlements or custody. It would be more fair to everyone concerned if the court would consider fault. That would provide much better protection for women in situations like this one, as well as protect against abuses by the kind of women I described in my article.
I sincerely hope this woman is not still married to this man.
From the other side of the aisle, a reader sent this note to the editor at the Register:
I am a subscriber to NCR, but just read the article by Jennifer Morse (Taken Into Custody by Divorce, 25 Nov) on-line. Her article pretty much summarizes the feelings I have gathered from men who have been through the divorce process in the last 20 years. In fact I am amazed at the close parallels I experienced in my own divorce (which I did not want). My wife filed for divorce, which completely caught me by surprise. There were no warning signs that anything was wrong; I was extremely happy with my family as they also appeared to be with me, my wife included. Her RELATIVES commented on how she was always so positive about our relationship. We went to a marriage counselor who could find no problems, in spite of my wife's claims, in the marriage. I suddenly found myself accused of mental, physical and emotional abuse against both my wife and children. Whoa! Mental professional experts involved in both sides of the situation felt something was very wrong with my wife's thinking. I lost my house, my lovely children (plus inordinate child support for 3.5 years), and all our friends. She evidently did a real "number" on me with my daughters and our friends behind my back. She lost two-thirds of her income. No one won anything here, and all was lost. I felt I was on a run-away train once the money started being spent to set things in motion legally.
Jennifer wrote an insightful article that strongly shows a feminist but self-defeating side to no-fault divorce.
I would appreciate it if you would forward this on to her with my kindest regards. I have not read the book. I don't need to - I could write it. Abortion, the Pill and no-fault (unilateral) divorce are forces that have torn the fabric of our society apart irreparably. All people should perk up, read the writing on the wall, and listen to the lessons of Church teachings.
I actually hope this reader will pick up Taken Into Custody and read it. He will know he is not alone.
And by the way, one of the reasons I think this book is important enough to review: many people do not realize what they are getting themselves into when they file for divorce. Many decent and well-meaning people have an image that divorce will solve their problems and end the conflict between themselves and their spouse. In extreme cases, such as the first lady who wrote in, that may be true. But for many people, divorce doesn't end the conflict: it just transfers it to a new arena, where there are the equivalent of loaded legal weapons lying around. I want people to have a realistic assessment of the invasions of their personal privacy and autonomy that they may face once they bring the family courts into their lives.
I hope that people who are considering divorce from a low-conflict marriage will realize that it may be much more costly than they think.