Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » HOME EDUCATION AND DIVORCE

    Filed at 5:23 am under by dcobranchi

    Here’s an interesting column about a divorce case touching upon our favorite topic.

    This case is all the more tragic because Bud sued to force his wife to stop home-schooling their four children. When he succeeded, Bai MacFarlane refused to comply with the court order. All the children were then given, by the court, over to Bud’s custody, three were put into the local Catholic schools, the fourth — a child who was a mere two years old — was placed in day care.

    The devastating results in this case were predictable. The no-fault divorce culture has no affection for home-schooling. The default position of no-fault is that the family structure is broken after divorce proceedings begin, and each party is left to fend for himself or herself as an autonomous entity — the children being split before these modern-day Solomons.

    Since home-schooling is dependent upon a father who works, the default is to end home-schooling. Since home-schooling allows the home-schooling parent a great degree of time with the children, it must be rejected for institutional schools. And, since home-schooling usually involves a religious perspective contrary to no-fault divorce, the children must be taken to a place where no judgments are made about divorce.

    Indeed, the home-schooling culture is so alien to the no-fault divorce culture that in any modern divorce, only one can survive.

    I don’t buy the argument that the system is antipathetic to home education. I seriously doubt that family court judges look at home educating parents and see rebels that need to be brought back into the g-school fold. The truth is quite obvious and McNally hints at it with his point that “home-schooling is dependent upon a father who works.” It’s All About the Money. Courts are loathe to impose the kind of alimony that would allow a SAHM to stay a SAHM. So, mom goes to work and the kids go to school (or daycare). Pretty sucky but no conspiracy.


    Comment by
    Scott W. Somerville
    December 8th, 2005
    at 10:59 am

    It’s a mixed bag, out there. There are LOTS of family court judges who are blind to their own public school prejudice. They tend to rule against homeschooling the way an old-fashioned southern judge would rule against the black defendant: they don’t even KNOW they are being unjust.

    But that isn’t the only problem in divorce courts. There are plenty of committed homeschool moms who simply can’t “play the game” in divorce court as well as their soon-to-be-ex-husbands can. To be brazenly sexist about this, men are better at “gaming the system.” Mothers who view homeschooling as a non-negotiable necessity are at an incredible disadvantage in our current system.

    Comment by
    December 8th, 2005
    at 11:47 am

    But if the kids were already private school the judge would not hesitate to stick dad with the tab. There does seem to be a double standard based on a predisposition that the primary job of the parent is to work and pay taxes.

    Scott’s legal viewpoint is interesting. If you polled 100 people on the street I bet 60% would say that the dad get the short end in divorce court more often than the wife. That certainly is my general viewpoint.

    Comment by
    December 8th, 2005
    at 12:19 pm

    In the past year or so I’ve seen at least 3 families go through this very thing. In fact I’m told that in DE it is expected that Mom go back to work in divorce & the courts favor daycare & public school.

    From personal experience, seeing what’s happening in our support group even w/out divorce homeschooling seems less likely to succeed for more than the early elementary years if Dad doesn’t approve or want to carry the financial weight of supporting his family.

    Good homeschooling dads are few & far between. The women I know that have their husbands’ full trust, emotional & financial support are also the ones that seem to have the better marriages too. Rich or poor