Thursday, January 02, 2014

Don't Take Away Whatever Protection the Children of Single Mothers Have!

It takes a lot to get me to respond to something that I see online -- mostly because, although I have a lot to say, I figure that no one is going to be terribly interested anyway.

But this morning I happened on a Times in Israel piece about the terrible way that divorced fathers are persecuted by The System in Israel and my antennae started to vibrate.

The writer was complaining that fathers are hounded to pay mezonot (child allowance) with no regard to what their income is or their ability to pay. The article went on to say that fathers have less access to their children and that access can be cut off by a vengeful mother who reports that the father was abusive, necessitating  supervised visiting hours.

I addressed some of the specific inaccuracies of the article in my comment. But what frustrates me is the overall situation of single mothers. There are, of course, always some fathers who want to be as involved in their children's lives as possible but to be honest, out of a dozen, I can think of one such dad. Even loving fathers feel that, after the divorce, it's time for them to "move on" and "be happy" and "fulfill themselves."

Which is great. But how many mothers do you see who run out to fulfill themselves after a divorce, leaving the kids to fend for themselves? I don't think that I live in a bubble but of all the single mothers that I know, every single one of them has sacrificed big chunks of her life and her identity to ensure that her kids have the best possible lives.

I can't think of a single case of a divorced father who said "you know, the cost of living has gone up quite a bit since the child payments were set -- I'll start paying more." Or one who has offered to help pay for the child's needs beyond the minimum -- medical/dental costs, clothes (ever tried to raise a teenaged daughter? Boy, do they need a lot of clothes!), special classes and/or tutoring, maintenance during and after their army/national service when they need some time to start their lives, etc.

As I'm writing this I'm thinking about trips and projects that these fathers allow themselves (I'm talking about people that I know personally) which the mothers, who have the kids at home and are spending their money covering the financial costs that the fathers object "isn't in the agreement" can only dream about.

Again, there are always exceptions to the rule, but the rule that I'm talking about covers 95% of the divorced parents that I know. Perhaps it's in a woman's nature to be a caretaker -- if so, so be it...that's who we are. But don't take away any kind of protection that our kids have just to be politically correct.

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