The Fatherhood Crisis: Time for a New Look?

Studies | Social

No. 267
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
by Stephen Baskerville


References

  1. The author would like to thank Donald Bieniewicz, Melanie Cummings, Michael McCormick, David Roberts, R. Mark Rogers, and the staff of NCPA for assistance with the analysis of government statistics.
  2. Dennis E. Powell, “Divorce-on-Demand” National Review, October 27, 2003.
  3. United States Department of Commerce: U.S. Census Bureau internet site http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/hh-fam/tabCH-5.txt; accessed January 9, 2003.
  4. United States Department of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration: Bureau of the Census internet site http://www.census.gov/prod/3/97pubs/cb-9701.pdf; accessed January 9, 2003.
  5. Ibid.
  6. The 1960 divorce rate of 9.2 per 1,000 marriages more than doubled, and stood at 19.8 divorces per 1,000 in 1997. In 1996, according to federal estimates, 15 out of every 1,000 children were involved in a divorce, compared to only 6 per 1,000 in 1951. See Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, The Divorce Culture (New York: Knopf, 1997), see Chapter Four, “Divorce ‘for the Sake of the Children,’” available at http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/bookauth/divorce/sake.htm, accessed May 16, 2003.
  7. Hans P. Johnson and Margaret O’Brien-Strain, “Getting to Know the Future Customers of the Office of Child Support: Projections Report for 2004 and 2009,” Chapter 4, “Underlying Population Trends,” November 2000, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. Available at http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/reports/projections/ch04.html, accessed May 16, 2003.
  8. David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem (New York: Basic Books, 1995), page 1.
  9. Father Facts (Lancaster, Pennsylvania: National Fatherhood Initiative, 1996); Cynthia Daniels, ed., Lost Fathers: The Politics of Fatherlessness in America (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998).
  10. L. Edward Wells and Joseph H. Rankin, “Families and Delinquence: A Meta-Analysis of the Impact of Broken Homes,” Social Problems, vol. 38, no. 1 (1991).
  11. M. Anne Hill and June O’Neill, “Underclass Behaviors in the United States: Measurement and Analysis of Determinants,” City University of New York, Baruch College, 1993.
  12. Allen Beck, Susan Kline and Lawrence Greenfield, Survey of Youth in Custody 1987 (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, September 1988; Dewey Cornell et al., “Characteristics of Adolescents Charged with Homicide,” Behavioral Sciences and the Law, vol. 5, 1987, pages 11-23; Nicholas Davidson, “Life Without Father,” Policy Review, 1990.
  13. Ralph B. McNeal, Jr., “Extracurricular Activities and High School Dropouts,” Sociology of Education, vol. 68, 1995, pages 62-81.
  14. Elaine Ciulla Kamarck and William Galston, Putting Children First: A Progressive Family Policy for the 1990s, 1990, Progressive Policy Institute.
  15. Parts of this study previously appeared in Stephen Baskerville, “The Myth of the ‘Deadbeat Dad,’” Liberty, July 2002. For an academic version of that paper, see Stephen Baskerville, PS: Political Science and Politics, 2002.
  16. David Blankenhorn, Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem (New York: Basic Books, 1995), pages 22-23.
  17. Cynthia Daniels, ed., Lost Fathers: The Politics of Fatherlessness in America (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1998), page 2.
  18. Robert L. Griswold, “The History and Politics of Fatherlessness,” in Daniels 1998, page 19.
  19. Lionel Tiger, The Decline of Males (New York: Golden Books, 1999), pages 57-58.
  20. Leon R. Kass, “The End of Courtship,” internet site of the Public Interest: no date; accessed March 26, 2002.
  21. Congressional Record, June 5, 1998, page S5734.
  22. Sanford L. Braver, with Diane O’Connell, Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths (New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1998).
  23. Ibid.
  24. Shere Hite, Women and Love: A Cultural Revolution in Progress (New York: Knopf, 1987), page 459.
  25. David Chamber, Making Fathers Pay: The Enforcement of Child Support (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1979), page 29.
  26. Margaret F. Brinig and Douglas W. Allen, “These Boots Are Made for Walking: Why Most Divorce Filers are Women,” American Economics and Law Review, vol. 2, issue 1, Spring 2000, pages 126-27, 129 and 158.
  27. Pamela Wilson, “Helping Young Dads Succeed,” Family Life Educator, Spring 1997.
  28. Suzanne Speak, Stuart Cameron, and Rose Gilroy, Young Single Fathers: Participation in Fatherhood – Bridges and Barriers (London: Family Policy Studies Centre, 1997).
  29. David Popenoe, “American Family Decline, 1960-1990: A Review and Appraisal,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, No. 55, August 1993.
  30. According to Bridget Maher, this change in public policy with respect to divorce contributed to the rise of fatherless families independently of any change in the behavior of fathers toward their children. See Bridget Maher, “Divorce Reform: Forming Ties That Bind,” Insight No. 212, February 16, 2000, Family Research Council. Available at http://www.frc.org/get/is99h1.cfm; accessed May 16, 2003.
  31. Maher, ibid., cites a finding by economist Leora Friedburg that unilateral (or no-fault) divorce was responsible for a nationwide 17 percent increase in the divorce. See Leora Friedburg, “Did Unilateral Divorce Raise Divorce Rates? Evidence from Panel Data,” American Economic Review, June 1998, pages 608-627.
  32. Glenda Riley, Divorce: An American Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).
  33. J. Herbie DiFonzo, Beneath the Fault Line: The Popular and Legal Culture of Divorce in Twentieth-Century America(Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997).
  34. Government fatherhood programs exist in Canada, Britain, Australia and New Zealand. In June 1997 the German magazine Der Spiegel ran a cover story on “The Fatherless Society.” The problem is increasing in countries with such traditional morality as Japan and India (e.g., Bhadra Sinha, “No Time for Each Other,” The Times of India, December 3, 2000).
  35. Robert W. Page, “‘Family Courts’: An Effective Judicial Approach to the Resolution of Family Disputes,” Juvenile and Family Court Journal, vol. 44, no. 1, 1993, pages 9 and 11.
  36. Ibid., page 11, citing “Pathfinders Committee Report,” Committee Report 125, New Jersey Law Journal No. 42.
  37. See, for example, Leslie Eaton, “For Arbiters in Custody Battles, Wide Power and Little Scrutiny,” New York Times, May 23, 2004.
  38. Equity courts such as Chancery were established in England in the late middle ages, purportedly to provide redress in cases when strict application of Common Law principles would result in injustice. They later became notorious for corruption; Chancery, pilloried mercilessly by Charles Dickens in Bleak House, was eventually abolished. Cp. Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th ed. (St. Paul, Minn.: 1990), s.v. “Equity, courts of”: “With the procedural merger of law and equity in the federal and most state courts, equity courts have been abolished.” Family courts clearly operate on the assumption that the distinction is still valid. See Page, “’Family Courts,’” note 56.
  39. “The burden of proof may be shifted to the defendant in some circumstances.” Quotations are taken from Teresa A. Myers, “Case in Brief: Courts Uphold Criminal Penalties for Failure to Pay Child Support,” National Conference of State Legislatures, accessed August 28, 2001.
  40. Citing International Union, United Mine Workers of America v. Bagwell, 512 U.S. 821 (1994); U.S. v. Ballek, 1999 WL 125955, 9 th Cir. ( Alaska), Mar. 11, 1999.
  41. Citing Black v. Division of Child Support Enforcement, 686 A.2d 164 (Del. 1996).
  42. National statistics on the issuance of restraining orders are not kept. This figure is based on a study of restraining orders in Colorado. See Charles E. Corry, “Demographics of Restraining Orders in Colorado,” 2002, Equal Justice Foundation. Available at http://www.dvmen.org/, accessed May 16, 2003.
  43. There is usually statutory authority for these orders, but some legal experts question the constitutionality of those statutes. “The restraining order law is one of the most unconstitutional acts ever passed,” writes Massachusetts attorney Gregory Hession. “A court can issue an order that boots you out of your house, never lets you see your children again, and takes your money, all without you even knowing that a hearing took place.” Press release from Law Office of Attorney Gregory A. Hession, J.D., July 30, 2001. Available at http://www.massoutrage.com/
  44. Charles E. Corry, “Demographics of Restraining Orders in Colorado,” Equal Justice Foundation: http://www.dvmen.org; accessed May 16, 2003.
  45. Ed Oliver, “Father Proves that Court Tapes Were Altered,“ Massachusetts News, December 2000; press release, Law Office of Gregory A. Hession, J.D., November 16, 2000; Judy Parejko, Stolen Vows: The Illusion of No-Fault Divorce and the Rise of the American Divorce Industry (Collierville, Tenn.: InstantPublisher, 2002), page 101.
  46. 60 U.S.L.W. 4532 ( June 15, 1992); Judith Resnik, “‘Naturally’ Without Gender: Women, Jurisdiction, and the Federal Courts,” New York University Law Review vol. 66, December 1991, page 1682; Karen Winner, Divorced From Justice (ReganBooks, 1996), page xxiii.
  47. “2002-2003 Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure,” State Child Support Guidelines.
  48. Documents in possession of the author.
  49. R. Mark Rogers and Donald J. Bieniewicz, “Child Cost Economics and Litigation Issues: An Introduction to Applying Cost Shares Child Support Guidelines,” paper presented at the Southern Economic Association Annual Meeting, Alexandria, Va., November 20, 2000, Revised Oct 17, 2003, available at http://www.guidelineeconomics.com/files/LitigationIssues.pdf; William C. Akins, “Why Georgia‘s Child Support Guidelines Are Unconstitutional,” Georgia Bar Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, October 2000.
  50. Chapter 11, “Modification of Child Support Obligations,” Essentials for Attorneys in Child Enforcement, 3rd edition, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. Available at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2002/reports/essentials/index.html.
  51. R. Mark Rogers, “Wisconsin-Style and Income Shares Child Support Guidelines: Excessive Burdens and Flawed Economic Foundation,” Family Law Quarterly, vol. 33, no. 1, Spring 1999, and “Testimony on Hyde-Woolsey Child Support Bill, H.R. 1488, presented to the Human Resources Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, March 16, 2000.” I am grateful to Mark Rogers for assistance on these points.
  52. Robert G. Williams, “Implementation of The Child Support Provisions of the Family Support Act,” in Irwin Garfinkel, et al., eds., Child Support and Child Well Being (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute Press, 1994), pages 104-105. Donald Bieniewicz, member of an advisory panel to the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE), comments: “This is a shocking vote of ‘no confidence’ in the … guideline by its author.” Donald J. Bieniewicz, “Improving State Child Support Guidelines,” invited testimony to the Virginia Child Support Quadrennial Review Panel, June 22, 1999, page 2.
  53. James R. Johnston, “The Father of Today’s Child Support Public Policy,” Fathering Magazine, August 1999, http://www.fathermag.com/907/child-support/; accessed October 1, 2001. Williams’ guideline, known as “income shares,” is today the most widely used throughout the United States. The “Wisconsin-style” guideline, slightly different, was declared unconstitutional in 2002 by a Georgia Superior Court. For a detailed analysis, see Rogers, “Wisconsin-Style and Income Shares Child Support Guidelines.”
  54. Laura W. Morgan, Child Support guidelines: Interpretation and Application (New York: Aspen Law and Business, 1998), table 1-2; table, “Which Branch Of Government Establishes Each States’ Child Support Guidelines,” National Conference of State Legislatures, Accessed August 7, 2000.
  55. Barry M. Koplen, “Minority Report: Virginia’s Quadrennial Child Support Guideline Review Commission,” July 20, 1999.
  56. “Review of Child Support Guideline 20-108.1 & 20-108.2,” Secretary’s Triennial Child Support Guideline Review Panel, Joseph S. Crane, Chair, Richmond, Va., October 31, 2002.
  57. William C. Akins, Why Georgia‘s Child Support Guidelines Are Unconstitutional,” Georgia Bar Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, October 2000.
  58. Elaine Sorensen and Helen Oliver, “Policy Reforms Are Needed to Increase Child Support from Poor Fathers,” Research Report, April 2002, Urban Institute, pages 13-14.
  59. Elaine Sorensen, “Helping Poor Nonresident Dads Do More,” Short Takes on Welfare Policy No. 3, May 2, 2002, Urban Institute. Available at http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/ShortTakes_3.pdf.
  60. Table 29, “Total Administrative Expenditures For Five Fiscal Years,” United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Support Enforcement. Available at http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2002/reports/datareport/table_29.html; accessed January 9, 2003.
  61. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Child Support Enforcement, Annual Statistical Report, Tables 75 and 76. Available at http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2002/reports/datareport/table_75.html and http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2002/reports/datareport/table_76.html ; accessed January 9, 2003.
  62. Table 3, “Program Trends for Fiscal Year 1997, 2000 and 2001,” Data Preview Report, September 2002, Office of Child Support Enforcement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Available at http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2002/reports/datapreview/table_3.html.
  63. See Brian Doherty, “Big Daddy,” Reason, June 1996. An NCPA summary is available at http://www.ncpa.org/pi/welfare/wel10a.html.
  64. R.H. Mnookin and L. Kornhauser, “Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: The Case of Divorce,” Yale Law Journal, 88 (1979), pages 950-997.
  65. Wendy McElroy, “It’s Time to Privatize Marriage,” Fox News Channel website, 16 July 2002, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,57749,00.html.
  66. See Bridget Maher, “Divorce Reform: Forming Ties That Bind,” Insight No. 212, February 16, 2000, Family Research Council.
  67. David L. Levy, ed., The Best Parent Is Both Parents (Norfolk, Va.: Hampton Roads, 1993).
  68. Patrick F. Fagan and Wade F. Horn, “How Congress Can Protect the Rights of Parents to Raise their Children,” Issue Bulletin No. 227, July 23, 1996, Heritage Foundation, pages 1 and 2.
  69. See Stephen Baskerville, “The Federal Bureau of Marriage?” Liberty, July 2003.

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