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Broken Family Court system hurts kids

August 19, 2018

A very real issue that is impacting our country is that many children have had their civil rights trampled by a broken Family Court system.

The news media has not reported on the disproportionate impact on veterans in Family Court disputes. The news media has not reported on the rate of suicide of divorced fathers (10 divorced men a day, a rate at least three times higher than that of divorced women). The news media has not reported that more than $30 billion is spent annually on divorce and custody in the United States. The news media has not reported on the millions of dollars of federal money (Federal Social Security Act, Title IV, Part D) the states receive, that incentivizes trapping more parents and more children in the system by treating one parent as second rate to force child support, instead of giving each parent an equal opportunity to parent and to provide for the child. The news media has not reported on what I believe is the disproportionate deprivation of fathers’ civil rights by the broken Family Court system.

But most concerning is that the news media has not reported about how this broken system is hurting our kids. There has yet to be any real reporting in New Mexico about how this broken system is affecting those things that make New Mexico last in child welfare.

Issues that we all know are affected by broken families, such as graduation rates, teen pregnancy, low reading scores, poverty, gun violence, gang crime, teen suicide and child abuse. One common data point with these issues — want to guess? Single-parent homes, the absence of fathers? No, that’s not the only reason. We are systematically trampling our own citizens’ civil rights. It’s an issue that affects not just fathers or parents from heterosexual relationships, but all parents in the system.

Why should anyone have to ask to be treated equally in our justice system? Forget whether this candidate says this or that about protecting children and helping families, or shares a personal example. Let’s talk about the issue. Let’s figure out a solution, because each of us has either had this negatively impact our own family or we know someone who has suffered in this broken system.

A. Blair Dunn is a native New Mexican and the son of the state’s land commissioner. He is running for New Mexico attorney general.

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