Ireland voted for divorce by the tiniest of margins back in 1995, 0.7 percent to be precise. I wonder how differently that vote might have turned out if men had been able to look into a crystal ball and discover that in divorce cases involving children they would almost invariably end up as the losers?
New research based on over 1,000 judicial separation and divorce cases that appeared before the Circuit Courts over the last four years has confirmed that women almost always get custody of the children, they get to live in the family home, and the father has to pay maintenance which can sometimes push him below the poverty line.
The decision to give the mother the family home and to make the father pay maintenance rests on the first decision which grants her effective custody of the children. If she didn't get the children, and the father did, he'd probably get to live in the family home and she might have to pay maintenance.
But in 95% of cases the children get to live with her and this is why fathers lose out in the courts again and again. Columnist John Waters has been drawing attention to this manifest injustice for years.
That figure of 95% makes one very big assumption, namely that in 95% of cases the mother will be a better parent than the father. Is that really plausible?
Based on how heavily the dice is loaded in favour of women it is no wonder they are the ones who apply fordivorce in more than 70% of cases. If a woman is unhappy in her marriage and knows she will get the children and the house and maintenance, then divorce is a much less risky proposition for her than for the husband.
In the United States and the United Kingdom it is also the case that women initiate the big majority of divorces. If she hasn't already done so, the author of this new research, Roisin O'Shea, might look at jurisdictions where the dice is not so heavily loaded in favour of women and see how often they file for divorce in those countries compared with men.
Writing in this paper on Tuesday, Dearbhail McDonald said the research "shows we are still wedded to a very traditional definition of the family and how to deal with family issues when marriages break down".
I suspect, however, that this is only part of the story. It is probably true to say that judges overwhelmingly believe the mother will make a better parent than the father because they are "wedded to a very traditional definition of the family".
Original Post: http://www.independent.ie/opinion/columnists/david-quinn/terrible-bias-that-men-suffer-in-divorces-badly-needs-rectifying-30112385.html