Monday, August 24, 2009

Let's fix marriage... for the sake of kids.

Let's fix marriage... for the sake of kids.

Let's say you've just been born... or let's say you've just been potentially born and you're busy catching your breath along with the two young adults, still virtual strangers, who have just conceived the future you. (Oh my goodness.) Does it make any difference to you at all whether your seed-supplying parents are married? Of course not. What you need is money.

An obvious failing of today's marriage law treads on the lives of our children. Which parent is the better parent and which will have the greater say over what will constitute a child's life is part of the ugly mix called marriage right from the outset of ever new life, of every child touched by married parents; this is what's built into the mess we call divorce - the result of marriage. It's intolerable.

The greatest part of the problems we commonly see over child custody, the arguments that virtually attempt to cut children in half to please the whims of their emotionally charged 'I-must-win' adult parents at the time of a household shattering under divorce, can be easily circumvented, indeed avoided altogether, by adding a few simple legal demands of understanding and agreement into our marriage laws. The first and most basic new addition to any improved set of marriage laws ought to include the understanding that children are not a property of their parents or of marriages. Children belong to themselves. If anything, we ought to begin to see that it is the parents who belong to their children, owing them responsibility, rather than the other way around.

So how do we fix it?

If children are not a part of their parents marriages (and, by all that's reasonable, they are not) then they are independent. We need only to provide the means for each independent child to become established as its own provider. Sounds impossible doesn't it? Not...!

At birth, each new arriving child can be identified as having two responsible contributing parents. (Exceptional cases of science assisted new life, test tube babies, and bona fide virgin birth are not being considered here.) The fact that children have parents makes it easy to determine exactly who must bear the burden of child welfare. From the first day of every child's life there ought to be established a growing repository account for the purpose of securing its day-to-day living and its future - the independent child's welfare social security fund. If from the start, every child inherited a healthy chunk of its parents property and wealth, hands down and no questions asked, along with a legal right to (and an immediate initiation of deposits made in the child's name) from a percentage from every dollar earned by each of its parents, some of the problems of child welfare and custody might be eliminated. Were the children secured of their livelihoods, of shelter, food and other essentials, questions of parental marriage status would be come moot. Picture the monthly rent and utility bills being paid out of the child's account... who needs mom or dad? Any responsible adult could then easily become an advocate and custodial caretaker for any child, opening the door for aunts, uncles and grandparents to fill the shoes of parents who decide to give up the ship. Who's married to who (or not) would then have nothing to do with the security of children.

I think it's high time for us to recognize that neither marriage nor child welfare dependent upon harmonized marriages are better secured in any way by taking their beginnings under religious sanctity. Reason and common sense laws need to be recognized as better organizers for these aspects of our society. No amount of higher power blessings, regardless of which religion and which god is named, provides any guarantee for the stability of society. It's time to move the ideas derived from churches, synagogues, temples and altars out of the marriage-making business. It's time to move children out of marriages. Lawyers and courts, mandatory prenuptial agreements and mandatory from-birth child welfare laws, will do a much better job of stabilizing our basic needs than sacred rites ever have.

Lets start sweeping the old church pleasing solutions aside. They don't work.

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