2.04.2016

Can Being a Child Bride ever be Best for the Child?

Though civilization's progress has moved closer to the protection of children, there remains a global concern over child brides. See this short video on the problem at http://sub.1006playlist.com/groom-child-bride-pose-pictures-public-now-watch-passers-react/.
 
Children deserve to have a child hood, and the law must provide
for their best interests. You can learn more at 
Little bride
Being a child bride is never in the child's best interests, and
 
 

1.23.2016

Has Roe Ruined Romance?

This week marked the 43rd anniversary of the fatal Roe v. Wade decision. The ruling has led to a constitutional requirement for abortion in nearly any circumstance, and it has led to some terrible cultural trends, such as celebrity abortions like the one Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks recently shared, or can lead to horrendous abuse within domestic circles.  
Now there is solid research that confirms Roe has had a ruinous effect on romance for millennials.  Find out how in part III of Roe's Effects on Family Law.  Family restoration has been harmed and hindered by abortion, and it has worked to ruin romance. 
 

1.13.2016

The Case of the Bodnarius: Illustrating how a Rights-Based Framework Separates Children From Parents (Literally)

The following blog post is written by S. Ernie Walton, Administrative Director of Regent Law's Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law and professor of International Law and National Security Law. 

Photo of Bodnarius family by Lifenesitenews.com
Protecting children is one of the chief aims of international human rights law (IHRL) today. And rightly so. With children routinely being trafficked for commercial sex, millions living in institutions or on the streets, and others falling prey to ritual sacrifice in Uganda, the international community is absolutely right to focus on protecting children.

But the primary way in which IHRL seeks to protect children is actually undermining the very objective which it purports to uphold. IHRL seeks to protect children through a rights-based framework. This is accomplished through the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), a U.N.-sponsored treaty that effectively serves as a “children’s bill of rights.” And who doesn’t love “rights”? They sound great, and what harm could come from giving a group of people more rights?

Quite a bit, actually. Lynne Marie Kohm, Dean and Professor of Regent Law, persuasively argues in her article, Suffer the Children: How the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child Has Not Supported Children, 22 N.Y. Int’l. L. Rev. 57 (Summer 2009), that the entire idea of a “rights-based framework” for children has been devastating. Rather than protecting children by imposing duties on adults and using the traditional “best interests” standard, a rights-based framework treats children as capacitated individuals, effectively imposing on children the impossible duty to be their own advocate. A rights-based framework also separates children from their caregivers, especially when corresponding duties are not imposed on them. As Dean Kohm states, “Children are protected only when adults have a duty to provide that protection, rather than cloaking children with the right to do so themselves.”

A recent example of the destructive effects of a rights-based framework is seen in the recent controversy surrounding the Bodnarius, the Norwegian family whose five children were taken by the state child welfare agency, the Barnevernet, because of “Christian indoctrination.” Apparently the Barnevernet first seized the older two children from school without the parents’ knowledge or consent. The agency then went to the Bodnarius’ home, took their two boys, and arrested the wife, who was taken to the police station for interrogation along with her baby. Officials also arrested the husband at his work and took him to the police station. After several hours, the Bodnarius were allowed to leave with their baby, but not with their other children. The next day, the Barnevernet returned to the Bodnarius’ home and seized the baby as well.

If this sounds more like the Soviet Union than a western democracy to you, you’re not alone. How could such draconian measures be taken in the 21st century, especially with an international treaty dedicated to protecting children? Unfortunately, this situation is a natural outflow of the CRC’s rights-based framework. Under the CRC, articles 13 and 14, children are granted the right to free expression and freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. And while the CRC references the “rights and duties” of parents, it does so only in connection with “provid[ing] direction to the child in the exercise of his or her own rights . . . .” Thus, the CRC effectively pits parents against their own children, requiring parents to facilitate their children’s “rights” while ignoring their own convictions and obligations.

Instead of strengthening the bond between parent and child, a rights-based framework separates them. And while the “separation” may often just be metaphysical, in the case of the Bodnarius, it was physical—and potentially permanent. Despite its popularity, it is high time to revisit the CRC and the use of a rights-based framework to protect children.

1.09.2016

Best Interests of Children? or of Parents?

When a family is deconstructed by divorce, what should state legislation do to protect the innocent victims of that divorce, the children?

The National Parents Organization published a Shared Parenting Report Card that, for the first time, graded each state’s child custody statutes A through F, and the results were dismal, according to a recent op-ed by Kristen Paasch of the National Parents Organization of Virginia.  She writes, “On a 4-point scale, the report found that the nation as a whole scored a 1.63 GPA, meaning most states performed poorly in encouraging shared parenting and parental equality in instances of divorce or separation.  This is in direct opposition to current, peer-reviewed research that recently has been published by the American Psychological Association and the Association of Family & Conciliation Courts, among others.”

While this report asserts a focus on what children need, it seems to be most concerned about parental rights in divorce. 

The problem is that once a court is invited into the family through judicial intervention in a divorce, the parents’ rights have been essentially diminished from what they were in an intact family, as the family court must now act as parens patriae (Latin for “state as parent”) and create outcomes that are best for the children foremost, as set out at pages 8-10 of the article “Tracing the Foundations of the Best Interest of the Child Standard in American Jurisprudence,” virtually the only legal academic article on the subject.  That article argues that the application of this standard has turned toward near pure judicial discretion in contemporary judging causing litigators and advocates to have no rule of law upon which to rely. While setting out the basis for the doctrine, that article calls for a rebuilding of the legal foundations of the best interests of the child standard not only in America and in western tradition, but worldwide, that is not so subjective toward parents and children, but truly works to accomplish what is best for the child, rather than simply what each parent wants. 

Parents need to understand that divorce disadvantages the child and the family, and no amount of shared parenting legislation will change that.