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The Calgary Herald - Friday August 21, 1998

MEN ARE SHUT OUT (Letter to the Editor)

Re "Shared parenting-the next ripple in evolution of divorce," Susan Ruttan, Calgary Herald.

This column contains many myths and misconceptions and shows a common lack of insight on parenting after divorce.

Ruttan claims that "for men in particular, divorce seemed a way of walking away from a mistake and building a new life with another woman". The reality is that most divorces are initiated by women, who are generally less romantic than men. It is men that are more likely to try and keep a relationship together.

Surprisingly, it was not "single divorced mothers as the new poverty class" that demanded action on child support amounts, but rather the government itself. The Canadian Department of Justice studied how mothers felt about child support amounts in the 1980's and found that mothers were overwhelmingly satisfied with child support amounts awarded. It was the Department of Justice that felt the amounts needed increasing - not divorced mothers. Now men pay for more than their share of their children's upbringing, thanks to new, unbalanced child support formulas. Meanwhile, they are largely shut out of their children's lives, because of a court system that almost always awards custody of children to mothers.

It's indeed a sad commentary on the value society places on a father's contribution when we are all too willing put fathers in jail to make them pay more child support, yet do nothing to facilitate their most important contribution: parenting their children. This has well documented, adverse effects on the welfare of children.

Paul Millar
Calgary

(Millar is a volunteer with the Men's Educational Support Association.)