More and more research demonstrates just how much the concept of family has changed over the last 25 years. Divorce is no longer a tragedy; blended families, mixed-race families, same-sex families, multi-generational families, single-parent families -- the "traditional" nuclear family of father, mother and their 2.3 biological children will soon be a distant memory.
A contested divorce is often the epitome of “he said, she said” litigation. Each party has an opinion about the actions of the other spouse prior to and during the divorce. Each is concerned about the outcome, wanting a settlement that favors his or her best interests. Each likely feels strong emotions from disappointment to anger throughout the process.
We are circling back to the case we were talking about in our Sept. 4 post. While the dispute is in Illinois, the situation is one that could easily happen here in Minnesota. An unmarried couple agreed to prepare for in vitro fertilization when the woman learned her cancer treatment would render her infertile. The procedure resulted in several pre-embryos (fertilized eggs ready to be implanted). After the couple broke up, the man decided he did not want to be the biological father of any children that could come from those pre-embryos. He asked the court to bar the woman from using them.
In many marriages, one of the spouses makes more money -- or has more wealth -- than the other spouse. This is great for the couple during their marriage. But when a divorce springs up, this disparity in wealth can cause some issues to arise, particularly when it comes to property division, debt allocation and alimony.
We are discussing a case in Illinois that broaches a fathers' rights issue that is distinctly outside the norm. The fathers' rights movement has focused on a father's right to be an active force in his child's life. For that to happen, the courts would have to modify their traditional approach to child custody, visitation and child support. A mother is not always the better custodial parent. A father is not always the provider, the weekend dad, or, worse, the deadbeat dad.