With roughly 50% of marriages ending in divorce, and most child custody decisions going in favor of mothers, many men find themselves deprived of their children while making large support payments to an ex-wife who may be turning their children against them. The family court system is in itself adversarial, and makes an “amicable divorce” unlikely. In far too many cases, this has led fathers to become unemployed, bankrupt, imprisoned, homeless, and even suicidal. Meanwhile, children from fatherless homes are more likely to abuse illicit drugs or alcohol, become pregnant as teenagers, drop out of school, commit crimes, and go to jail. Children benefit most when both parents are equally involved in their lives, and public policy should reflect this by adopting a presumption of shared custody.
Related issues: Reproductive rights for men are very limited compared to what women enjoy. For example, a woman can abort her unborn child without any input from the father. Alternatively, she can give birth to a child and force the father to pay child support for at least 18 years. Paternity fraud occurs when a man is forced to pay support for a child that isn’t even his. Studies of DNA tests show that this is the case from 20 – 30% of the time.
Many men’s advocates are in favor of choice for men, which would give men the right to joint custody of their child, or the ability to sign away all rights and responsibilities regarding the child.