Divorce, child custody, and child support in a free society

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Divorce, child custody, and child support in a free society

  • Haley Heathman

    I’m curious to hear people’s thoughts on how this touchy subject would be handled without the use of state violence.

    Anyone who has been through this or who have had friends dealing with the ex from hell knows that all rationality and human decency can go out the window. How can we be sure that both parents are allowed fair access to a child? Are custodial parents entitled to money or “support” from non-custodial parents? Can you force a parent that doesn’t want to be a part of the child/family’s life to be financially responsible for them? Discuss.

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    • Dave Scotese

      I’m sorry I am not in the group of people qualified to answer this question.  I have been in situations which tried to suck “all rationality and human decency” out of me, but they ultimately fail, at least in the last few years.  They fail more readily when those around me are sensitive to the insidious and destructive nature of state violence, as you put it.  Not to sidestep the issue though…

      If I didn’t have the state to rely on and my wife turned into a horror, I would do the same thing that I’d do now, while I do have the state to rely on (I avoid the state at all costs – haven’t yet had to die for that, but I think I might make even that choice too).  Some potential solutions are:

      • non-violent communications
      • help from friends and family
      • respect for children’s ability to: ascertain reality, make choices, provide input, ask for help.

      I like the questions too, so I’ll give them a shot:

      How can we be sure that both parents are allowed fair access to a child?
      We can’t be sure. “Fair access” is actually a group-think term that I would avoid.  State violence makes this problem worse, not better, since most people break several laws a day, and opposing parents tend to wield the state as a weapon through (accurate) accusations of law-breaking, so it’s kind of a non-issue.

      Are custodial parents entitled to money or “support” from non-custodial parents?
      Custody itself seems like the more important issue.  I don’t think having a policy on this question is wise.  Every case is different.  If I had to guess about my own judgement (assuming I were on a panel or jury), I think I would put financial support for the kids together with the desire to have them, so the answer would be no.  But sometimes neither parent wants the kids, and in that case, having the one who is “freed from the responsibility” pay the other to take it seems called for.

      Can you force a parent that doesn’t want to be a part of the child/family’s life to be financially responsible for them?
      I cannot, no.  I could write stories and philosophical treatises about it which might compel them to do so, however. Would I?  Well, I doubt it.  I think a lot of family destruction is caused by coercive authorities so once they are gone, I think this whole issue you brought up would become rarer and rarer.

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      Haley Heathman

      I think, as usual, the State just makes things worse. It seems that no matter what, all parties involved in these situations are unhappy with the State-mandated solutions the government foists upon them. Men (primarily) disdain having to pay child support to women who do not have to show that the support is going to the children or who are not even held to visitation requirements.

      Women (primarily) are angry that men can just choose to walk away and shirk all responsibility for their child(ren). They also seem to think that no matter the amount of support, it’s always too little.

      I try and think of it like, what would happen if the gun in the room (the State) were taken away? Could all of this be solved by private mediators? I think a good deal of it could be. But I still struggle with imagining how you could “force” both parties to uphold their end of the agreements. Speaking from my husband’s experience, how would we make sure that the custodial parent can’t hold the kids for ransom and use a “pay-to-play” strategy or that the non-custodial parent isn’t just used as a piggy bank with no guarantee that the custodial parent will abide by the visitation orders agreed upon?

      Tricky, tricky. But I think step one is to abolish the State or the agencies that are involved and go from there. Not having State violence to rely on could be a huge jumping off point in and of itself. Still interested in hearing other people’s thoughts.

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        Dave Scotese

        “Tricky, tricky.”  YES!  I used to ponder things like this – how it would all work when the state is no longer, but it’s like trying to watch a sports even through a straw – we know so little of what the situations will be like.  While we are living with the state, its effects are so ubiquitous that we can barely imagine life without it.  We need to transition, and that transition comes about as we ourselves disavow use of coercion and inspire others to do the same.

        Beautiful anarchy will show us parents who come to dislike each other, who find a non-coercive solution to the care of their children because their recognition of the state as harmful will far outweigh their perception of each other as harmful.  It’s like angry 8 year old boys who fight with their fists and bloody each others’ faces, but don’t use knives or guns because death is so much more horrible than damage.

        There are certainly a small minority of 8 year old boys who would go all the way to the death of an acquaintance, but they are rare.  Let us hope one day to make statists just as rare.

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      Rick Rule

      I think the financial aspects of divorce and child support could be handled in a voluntary contractual society by pre marital contract, and private insurance or assurance arrangements. I must say that many couples would likely not avail themselves of these contractual arrangements and guarantees, but I also think that even conceptually our test is not to be “perfect”, but rather to offer better alternatives to ” what is.”

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        Haley Heathman

        Rick, I think you bring up an important point about not trying to be perfect. It’s so common when one is trying to bring up non-State based alternatives to hear a statist bring up one potential flaw in your proposed solution and then to discredit the whole alternative due to one potential “Yeah, but…” all the while ignoring the myriad actual flaws inherent in the current paradigm.

        Thanks for keeping that in perspective.

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