According to many fathers’ experience, it is common to see fathers’ rights being violated by divorce professionals, including social workers, counsellors, and legal people. They seem to hold unconscious biases and beliefs that can influence their actions. Such biases go against the principles and ethics of social work, which emphasize impartiality and a commitment to promoting the well-being of all individuals involved. Professionals are trained to recognize and address their biases, and to ensure that their actions are guided by the needs and best interests of the individuals they serve. The organizations which affiliate the professionals also have codes of ethics that outline principles and standards for ethical practice, which can help to prevent and address instances of bias.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop the bias.
And even more sadly, there is no evidence of that kind of bias. Many people just cannot believe men are not helped as much as women in divorce proceedings. Many people still believe social workers and other professionals aim to provide support and assistance to all parties involved, regardless of gender.
Common wisdom about why fathers’ rights being violated
Some factors to contribute to perceived or actual unequal treatment, such as:
1) Stereotypes and gender biases: As previously mentioned, unconscious biases and gender stereotypes can influence the actions of some individuals, leading to unequal treatment. This is something that’s hardly detected and therefore resolved. The bias can even go undetected by the individuals themselves.
2) Historical gender roles: The traditional roles of men as providers and women as caretakers can lead to assumptions and expectations that can influence the way support is provided during a divorce. Again, these stereotypes often go undetected even by the individuals themselves.
3) Legal bias: Laws and policies may be written or interpreted in a way that results in unequal treatment. This is actually very common. For example, a father is a very suitable caregiver as he works hard and goes home early every day. However, the number of hours he spend with his children is still much lower than the mother, who might be staying at home all day but ignoring her children. In some cases, the father will have a hard time battling this mother for child custody.
4) Lack of knowledge or resources: Some individuals, including social workers, may not have the knowledge or resources necessary to effectively address the needs and concerns of all parties involved in a divorce. When they don’t have the knowledge, they can only use their instinct to observe and write reports. Often, fathers will not be on the good side in their instinct.
No fathers will ever know which of the above caused his trial to go unfair. Things quickly get complicated. Fortunately, there is another simpler view to look at it.
Main reason why fathers are treated unfairly (important!)
The simpler view to look at the unfairness is as follows. First, we have to see that the professionals are NOT as hostile to fathers and biased towards mothers as we think.
After observing many cases, we found that the core reason behind the professionals’ seeming “discrimination” is that professionals think fathers are the stronger one in the family. Psychologically, fathers can afford more. They even think that no matter how miserable the situation is, we will finally find our own way, and we will not freeze to death on the side of the road because of losing the warmth of our home. We can even go out and build a new home.
Professionals understand that no matter how much they ask, they can never fully understand what is going on inside our home, so they try to “keep it fair” and carefully gather information from whoever they can ask (usually the mother). It does not mean that they do not believe in us (the fathers). They just think it is more effective to protect this seemingly innocent and powerless mother. Having done that, they have not only taken care of a possible victim, but they may also have take care of your children.
They must hope that Dad will come. This is what professionals want most. But, often, this “poor” mother already excludes the father, and even falsely accuses him of domestic violence. Under such circumstances, professionals will choose to sacrifice the father. Professionals just feel safer to “assume” the mother’s words are correct and have the stronger father absorb the false allegation.
Now, what’s the real problem?
From here, you can see that the biggest problem with this system is actually:
1. Everyone overestimate how strong the father is as a man. They even misunderstand that fathers can easily accept the pain of not seeing their children.
2. Everyone believed in a pitiful woman too much. Although they were prepared in their hearts that what they were hearing might not be the real truth, they would rather take the risk of making a mistake to make sure the weak side (the woman) is being helped.
3. What happened at home is really unclear from the outside. There is no other way to see through it other than the interview method, which is easily misleading.
4. Perhaps, the professionals are still under old statistical impression that women were the primary victims of domestic violence. They don’t know that the world may have turned around.
So at this point, to win a divorce, we have to understand that the professionals don’t really trust someone unconditionally (either you or your ex-wife). They’re just trying to make the best decision they can, with limited access to “the true story”. So, fathers should continue to provide more information (even without evidences). If we (as fathers) start to believe that the professionals are hostile, we will not do much good by pushing the professionals away and leaving them unable to enhance their knowledge of our home, and maybe, fathers in general.
To report a potential violation of your rights as fathers, there are federal and local government windows. You can also leave a message here and we will get you a good helping hand to the process.