Marriage Strike Emerges As Men Decide Not to Risk Loss


Reader Response to “Don’t Marry Career Women” – Marriage Stike Emerges As Men Decide Not to Risk Loss

Marriage Strike Emerges As Men Decide Not to Risk Loss
Teflon
Contributor
Teflon
A ‘marriage strike’ emerges as men decide not to risk loss

July 5, 2002
by Dianna Thompson and Glenn Sacks

A highly publicized recent Rutgers study examined the reasons men are increasingly less willing to get married, and naturally men are receiving a lot of criticism in major papers for being ‘afraid of commitment’ and having ‘Peter Pan Syndrome.’ Men’s issues columnist Glenn Sacks and Dianna Thompson, the executive director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, rise to men’s defense and discuss their recent Philadelphia Inquirer article “Have Anti-Father Family Court Policies Led to a Men’s Marriage Strike?”

Katherine is attractive, successful, witty, and educated. She also can’t find a husband. Why? Because most of the men this thirtysomething software analyst dates do not want to get married. These men have Peter Pan syndrome: They refuse to commit, refuse to settle down, and refuse to “grow up.”

However, given the family court policies and divorce trends of today, Peter Pan is no naive boy, but instead a wise man.

“Why should I get married and have kids when I could lose those kids and most of what I’ve worked for at a moment’s notice?” asks Dan, a 31-year-old power plant technician who says he will never marry. “I’ve seen it happen to many of my friends. I know guys who came home one day to an empty house or apartment – wife gone, kids gone. They never saw it coming. Some of them were never able to see their kids regularly again.”

Census figures suggest that the marriage rate in the United States has dipped 40 percent during the last four decades to its lowest point since the rate was measured. There are many plausible explanations for this trend, but one of the least mentioned is that American men, in the face of a family court system hopelessly stacked against them, have subconsciously launched a “marriage strike.”

It is not difficult to see why. Let’s say that Dan defies Peter Pan, marries Katherine, and has two children. There is a 50 percent likelihood that this marriage will end in divorce within eight years, and if it does, the odds are 2-1 it will be Katherine, not Dan, who initiates the divorce. It may not matter that Dan was a decent husband. Studies show that few divorces are initiated over abuse or because the man has already abandoned the family. Nor is adultery cited as a factor by divorcing women appreciably more than by divorcing men.

While the courts may grant Dan and Katherine joint legal custody, the odds are overwhelming that it is Katherine, not Dan, who will win physical custody. Overnight, Dan, accustomed to seeing his kids every day and being an integral part of their lives, will become a “14 percent dad” – a father who is allowed to spend only one out of every seven days with his own children.

Once Katherine and Dan are divorced, odds are at least even that Katherine will interfere with Dan’s visitation rights. Three-quarters of divorced men surveyed say their ex-wives have interfered with their visitation, and 40 percent of mothers studied admitted that they had done so, and that they had generally acted out of spite or in order to punish their exes.

Katherine will keep the house and most of the couple’s assets. Dan will need to set up a new residence and pay at least a third of his take-home pay to Katherine in child support.

As bad as all of this is, it would still make Dan one of the lucky ones. After all, he could be one of those fathers who cannot see his children at all because his ex has made a false accusation of domestic violence, child abuse, or child molestation. Or a father who can only see his own children under supervised visitation or in nightmarish visitation centers where dads are treated like criminals.

He could be one of those fathers whose ex has moved their children hundreds or thousands of miles away, in violation of court orders, which courts often do not enforce. He could be one of those fathers who tears up his life and career again and again in order to follow his children, only to have his ex-wife continually move them.

He could be one of the fathers who has lost his job, seen his income drop, or suffered a disabling injury, only to have child support arrearages and interest pile up to create a mountain of debt which he could never hope to pay off. Or a father who is forced to pay 70 percent or 80 percent of his income in child support because the court has imputed an unrealistic income to him. Or a dad who suffers from one of the child support enforcement system’s endless and difficult to correct errors, or who is jailed because he cannot keep up with his payments. Or a dad who reaches old age impoverished because he lost everything he had in a divorce when he was middle-aged and did not have the time and the opportunity to earn it back.

“It’s a shame,” Dan says. “I always wanted to be a father and have a family. But unless the laws change and give fathers the same right to be a part of their children’s lives as mothers have, it just isn’t worth the risk.”

08-29-2006 09:56 AM

Re: Marriage Stike Emerges As Men Decide Not to Risk Loss
MartianBachelor
Regular Contributor
MartianBachelor
Minor issue: it’s not really a strike IMO, because no woman is presenting us with a diamond ring and asking us to marry them and we’re saying “no”; at least I don’t think that’s the case. We’re not married one day and then going on strike the next – that would be more like a divorce.

It’s more like the Yogi-ism, “if people aren’t coming to the ballpark, how you gonna stop `em?”

So we need a better term, I think, than “marriage strike”. But I’ll be damned if I can think of one… so what we’ve got is “a problem which has no (decent) name”.

______________________________________________
“The loudest, most strident voices calling women weak, stupid, and incapable of competing in the world at large are the feminists.” – zed the zen priest

08-29-2006 10:36 AM

Re: Marriage Stike Emerges As Men Decide Not to Risk Loss
Democles
Regular Contributor
Democles

I propose for us to find it a name here and now. What shall we name this problem with no name???

Actually, is it a problem for us guys? I mean, other than trying to secure the paternity of our kids, we have it made; in effect if we draft a contract securing our rights to the kids, we are pretty much set, right?

08-29-2006 11:00 AM

Re: Marriage Stike Emerges As Men Decide Not to Risk Loss
MartianBachelor
Regular Contributor
MartianBachelor
I’m not getting you. By “contract” do you mean pre-nup? Because family law courts throw those out all the time and over-ride them with state law, mother custody, child support, et al; in other words, you cannot contract that the kids are yours if there’s a divorce.

______________________________________________
“The loudest, most strident voices calling women weak, stupid, and incapable of competing in the world at large are the feminists.” – zed the zen priest

08-29-2006 11:12 AM

Re: Marriage Stike Emerges As Men Decide Not to Risk Loss
Democles
Regular Contributor
Democles

in other words, you cannot contract that the kids are yours if there’s a divorce.

Are you serious???

08-29-2006 11:17 AM

Re: Marriage Stike Emerges As Men Decide Not to Risk Loss
miscwit
Contributor
miscwit

Serious indeed.

Once kids are involved, a man’s rights are pretty much irrelevant. Pre-nup or no pre-nup.

Here’s the trick – bank your sperm and then get a vasectomy. Do this secretly.

If the woman attempts to “oops” you, you are covered. If she turns up pregnant, she’s busted and you’re free.

If you truly find a winner, then you still have sperm for an artificial insemination.

08-29-2006 11:23 AM

Re: Marriage Stike Emerges As Men Decide Not to Risk Loss
Democles
Regular Contributor
Democles

I was NOT talking about getting married, I meant if you shack up with someone and write out a contract in case the partnership dissolves.

Message Edited by Democles on 08-29-2006 11:31 AM

08-29-2006 11:28 AM

Re: Marriage Stike Emerges As Men Decide Not to Risk Loss
DontMarryNoer
Regular Contributor
DontMarryNoer

In the US, people are generally cohabitating more and getting married less. The so-called “Marriage Strike” that Glen Sacks and the psycho “fathers rights activists” are baiting is obsolete.

08-29-2006 11:36 AM

Re: Marriage Stike Emerges As Men Decide Not to Risk Loss
Cassius
Regular Contributor
Cassius
So the fathers rights activists are psycho too, eh ?

08-29-2006 12:00 PM

Re: Marriage Stike Emerges As Men Decide Not to Risk Loss
MartianBachelor
Regular Contributor
MartianBachelor

Democles wrote:

I was NOT talking about getting married, I meant if you shack up with someone and write out a contract in case the partnership dissolves.

That contract is not worth the paper it’s written on. Family law prevails, not partnership law, in this case. Once a guy’s reproductive organ gets wet he’s as good as married when it comes to his legal rights. Whatever the woman wants will be how it turns out. In other words, you cannot contract with a woman to be engaged in recreational, non-procreational sex and have it stand up in court should she change her mind, turn up prego, or whatever. As the feminists would say, the law does not recognize women as responsible adults who can enter into binding private contracts that the state will enforce. Talk to some family law type lawyers if you don’t believe me.

Message Edited by MartianBachelor on 08-29-2006 10:39 AM

______________________________________________
“The loudest, most strident voices calling women weak, stupid, and incapable of competing in the world at large are the feminists.” – zed the zen priest

08-29-2006 12:37 PM

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