A Parade magazine article appearing June 7 in The Post titled "When a Husband Walks Out" does a disservice to children of divorced parents by portraying mothers as all-nurturing and fathers as evil.
The article is biased and incorrect.
For whatever reason, women initiate about three-fourths of all divorces.
The article failed to note the dramatic increase in the role of the nurturing father.
The article told of horror stories from mothers who don't get support. It omitted the horror stories of fathers who must pay almost all their salaries for support and are still denied access to their children by angry or vindictive ex-spouses.
The article said the standard of living of the ex-wife falls 73 percent while that of the ex-husband rises 42 percent. This is refuted by the U.S. Census Bureau, which reports there are more couple-headed and male-headed households in poverty than female-headed households in poverty.
The article said 60 percent of divorced fathers fail to support their children. The Census Bureau reports that 88 percent of money owed under voluntary agreements (about a third of all divorces) is paid. Never-married fathers have the least satisfactory payment record.
Yet the thrust of legislation in Congress is to go after those who pay. We already have laws that say if you fall 30 days behind, your wages will be attached. A current proposal in Congress is to attach wages even if the parent is paying 100 percent of support. This will cost the taxpayers an extra $1 billion a year to implement, to collect the money that is already being paid in full and on time through the bureaucracy.
The Census Bureau ignores what a father must pay when the child is with him, such as housing, transportation and food, and also ignores the various tax advantages that flow to the custodial parent. The father's true contribution to child support is thus misrepresented.
Parade said 40 percent of divorced fathers have not seen their children in the past year. If true, this is awful, but the question is: Why? In intact families, parents have joint custody of their children (the right to shared decision-making and the right to be with their children).
Upon divorce, society gives total control to one parent (in 90 percent of cases, the mother), and reduces the other parent (usually the dad) to an occasional visitor in the child's life with no say over how the child is raised. No wonder there are problems.
Picturing all fathers as generally nonsupportive is not only false, it debases both fatherhood and motherhood in the eyes of the children. A boy will see his future in marriage as a cop-out father, while a girl will see her future in marriage as a victimized mother.
Parade has put children, who need two parents and two effective role models, in the middle of a war between mothers and fathers and has given children a sorrowful expectation of marriage. DAVID L. LEVY President National Council for Children's Rights, Inc. Washington