Paul Schwennesen wrote a separated father’s lament that got published by the Huffington Post. The article at the shared link is good. It is anecdotal evidence of the consequences of a wife and mother walking out of her marriage. The father became devastated, was without a doubt fleeced by his ex who used the system to the hilt against him, by having him removed from his own home, and by having him arrested when he dared to say his good byes to his kids at the bus stop, when they went off to school. He was put in handcuffs, but apparently not into jail, until that got cleared up.
A clamor is rising in America over the issue of “Men’s Rights.” Some scoff, considering it offensively outré to suggest that men might be the victims of structural sexism or reverse discrimination. A dawning consensus, however, acknowledges systematic injustices — particularly against fathers, and particularly in the legal realm. Documentaries like “The Red Pill,” and a recent Supreme Court verdict (which struck down some aspects of maternal legal priority) add to a groundswell of recognition that this generation must right wrongs on both sides of the gender equation. At the very least, the blatantly unequal treatment of fathers under the law gives the modern rallying cry to “dismantle the patriarchy” a rather ironic twist— it is fatherhood, not male dominion, which is being systematically dismantled….
Paul Schwennesen did hire a lawyer, eventually, and got child support and alimony arranged through the court, after the initial shock of having to pay one-third of his monthly income but as a temporary order that has been in place now for two-and-a-half years. He managed to hire the lawyer, even though his ex absconded with more than $40,000 of their joint assets. He did not have to live forever in and out of his car — to begin with, he was left with a car to live in and out of. Still, although he was behind the eight-ball at first and had to fight an uphill battle, he gained some concessions and 35 percent of parenting time, which he admits is better than average in outcomes of court hearings related to divorce, child custody, child visitation and child support payments. It appears that he never had his income garnished (he would surely have mentioned that if it would have happened). He mentioned other things, such as that he permanently lost the use of his house but not that he was nevertheless saddled with having to make the mortgage payments and perhaps the obligation to buy health insurance for this ex and children.
He did mention that he hired a lawyer and that his case did go to court, although he did not mention whether his divorce, property division and child-custody issues are now finalized (they apparently aren’t yet).
Paul Schwennesen, the father raked over the coals by his ex and the court system does have a Ph.D., he still has his job and sources of income. He did not have to spend any time being incarcerated, and he apparently never lost any of the government-issued certifications that a man may need to continue to make a living after separation and that so many fathers are being deprived of: driver’s licence, passport or any other of the vital government-issued licenses and certifications necessary to make a living and to earn an income.
That does not mean that he got off lightly, but he got off with a good portion of his life and circumstances intact. That is without a doubt due to he having been able to hire a lawyer. Many men quite simply do not have that opportunity and have no choice but to try to cope with what is being handed to them, often without ever having seen the inside of a courtroom in relation to separation and divorce, unless it was because they were sentenced to jail because of their inability to pay for what is demanded of them.
The expunged father, Paul Schwennesen, Ph.D. (as far as I can tell) did an excellent job of looking beyond the boundaries of the scope of his personal circumstances and went into much detail on what he found, e. g.: “Attorneys and men’s groups I’ve talked with claim my situation is “above average.” I cannot help but wonder: are fathers really expected to passively accept that they are one-third of a parent?….” (no, they often can’t, especially when they find that they will hardly ever or not all see their children anymore,) “…the court found that there was no “cause” to adjust my crushing support payments….” (right, that being routinely and without fail encountered by fathers entangled in such situations,) “How many thousands of working men have to work even harder to stay solvent and current on their child support payments so they can pay for the privilege of not seeing their own children?….” (right, and how many of them find themselves being unable to do so, as a consequence of which they go to jail or at least find their licenses are no longer being renewed,) “Men—particularly poor men—bear this structural injustice disproportionately, while the system imposes enormous emotional and financial burdens that cut deeply into the lives of countless separating families. The time has come for society to recognize the problem and work to fix it.” That time came in the 1960s, for which reason men’s suicide rates escalated enormously from about the mid-1960s to 1980 and remained enormously high ever since, but that is not all.
Paul Schwennesen mentioned that, “In divorce and custody arbitration, something rotten is buried within the legal code—reflexive favoritism toward mothers and insufficient attention to due process is disproportionately harming men, and this harm has devastating consequences for children and families. This problem is especially magnified amongst the working poor, where relatively “minor” financial iniquities (in the minds of courts) can have outsized effects,”and observed that, “I freely admit, I was one of the scoffers. I thought rumors of unequal legal treatment were overblown. Until it happened to me.”
I am afraid and sorry to say that Paul Schwennesen’s court battles relating to his divorce and over child-custody and -visitation issues are far from over. It is quite likely that much worse is yet to come, for as long as his divorce is not yet finalized and, worse yet, for as long as his children have not yet each reached the age of majority or have finished their university education, whichever comes later.