Letter to the Editor: Fathers equal rights
Utah is a state built on family values, but where does Utah stand when it comes to a father's equal rights when a family is divided by divorce?
Parental rights groups in other states are now proactively taking the stand that fathers are just as important in a child's life as a mother. As a result, mometum is growing to change current gender biased laws and programs that have traditionally favored mothers in divorce. Proposed legislation in favor of equal parenting is appearing across the country much to the dismay of father bashing interest groups.
Utah, of all states, should be at the forefront of the parental rights movement by promoting legislation and programs that support both parents as equals in child custody. Unfortunately, this is not the case and is stymied by state social programs whose budgets depend heavily on continued institutionalized views that fathers are dead beats and uncaring for their children.
Any program or legislation that would reduce the number of child support owing fathers, support equal parenting as default in divorce, or support enforcement of parent time, would threaten the funds to these programs.
While numerous studies have shown that involvement by both parents is in the best interest of children, it appears that the states interests are not in what is best for the child by promoting this concept, but rather in what is best to ensure the continuance of these state programs that rely on budgets sustained by financial child support obligations.
As a state Utah needs to jump to the front of family value initiatives and support both parents as child custodians. True child support does not rely solely on financial payment measures, but rather on the shared involvment of both parents in the child's life.