In wondering what, among many things, we could do to fix our children's aid and family court systems to tackle real issues of spousal abuse, the issue becomes murky with the traditional bias of family courts towards women.
It is true. For far too long good dads were shut out and unfairly treated. Visits were treated like candy extolled at the will of the mother as long as she got what she wanted.
The idea behind separating visitation and support is a good one. Visits should not be withheld for support and vice versa.
It is also an excellent idea to encourage parents to work together for the betterment of the children in cases where marital breakdown was not due to domestic abuse.
The current system, however, chooses to separate spousal abuse from child abuse, as if they are totally unrelated.
The reality is, the child was extricated from a toxic environment when the separation or divorce happened. Not having some logical boundaries and supports in place for abused spouses, male or female, puts the children right back in the line of fire.
To emphasize that this is not about gender, I am personally aware of two men who were treated horribly by their spouses. One of them was physically abused. In both cases, the other parent's access has had continued detrimental effects on both the well being of the children and their fathers.
Years later, a now grown daughter feels like she was duped by authorities and rule following relatives and her father. Why? Because they tried to keep the majority of awful things her mom did a secret.
Equal access only works when both parents are willing and able to cooperate and put their personal differences aside for the sake of the children.
Abusers are incapable of putting their children's needs above their own. Therefore, asking the abused person to continually try to work with them gives them plenty of opportunity to torture their former spouse, and use the children to do it.
However many wrongs were previously perpetrated against children and their fathers, a one size fits all access to both parents doesn't make it right.