Holy crap. No, let me amend that: HOLY FREAKIN' CRAP! I knew Family Court was screwed up, but I had no idea the extent of the horrors.
Fortunately, there's this documentary, Divorce Corp, narrated by Dr. Drew Pinsky and featuring victims (and culprits) of the system.
Watch, and be horrified. By virtue of wanting a divorce, the government reaches into people's lives (and bank accounts) to extract the most money possible. If they don't set out to destroy people's lives—i.e., if that's a side-effect and not the intended purpose—they certainly show no remorse.
The fascinating thing is how the Family Court evolved: It's essentially extra-legal. There are no Constitutional protections. No trial by jury. No freedom of speech. No ethics. Going into one of these courts, you no longer have any right to your property, nor to your future earnings, nor even to your children.
Upon entering Family Court, the judge can force you to pay large amounts of money to an unqualified friend of the judge to determine whether or not you're a fit parent. And what they say goes.
It's a horror.
This is why I tend to recoil around social conservatives—not people who live socially conservative lives, but people who think the government should be involved in promoting social conservatism.
It's not that it's that the country doesn't have a decided interest in socially conservative values: the family unit, monogamy, even heterosexuality and birth control all have significant impact on society, and, well, you can count the number of successful societies that have been sustained on modern permissive values on the fingers of no hands.
And yet, the one thing you can count on is this: If the government has power, it will abuse it, it will pervert it, it will try to extend it. Family Court is a perfect example of this: Established to enforce traditional views of marriage—that a husband must support his wife and children even if he splits from them—it now is a complete and utter perversion, motivated to destroy families and even encourage divorce.
The movie starts with an odd thing. It says "50% of all marriages end in divorce. This is why." First of all, the 50% number isn't true. Second of all, as awful as family court is, I don't think it can be blamed for divorce. If anything, the awfulness of it should act as a deterrent—though perhaps only after the first divorce.
The Boy and I were amazed. We were also sort of annoyed by the constant references to Scandinavia's superior system but give the Scandis their due: You sign some papers, and you're done. Very few cases are litigated, because there's no incentive.
The first must-see documentary of the year.