SOLOMON'S CHILDREN: Exploding the Myths of Divorce by Glynnis Walker

SOLOMON'S CHILDREN: Exploding the Myths of Divorce

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In the beginning, we are led to believe this will be about the effects of divorce on children, as revealed by the responses to a detailed questionnaire Walker had developed. But soon we learn she is more concerned about the unfairness of child-custody awards, which tend to favor mothers and, she says, put unfair economic burdens on fathers. First, however, the results of her survey (which was filled in by 368 adults and teenagers whose parents had been divorced). Of these, 85% had been placed in their mother's custody. However, at the time of the divorce, 39% felt closer to their father, with 46% closer to their mother. Most had negative feelings about the divorce when it happened, but 81% now feel positive about it. Very few felt they were the cause of the divorce (exploding a common myth); only 14% felt they had been financially deprived after the divorce; but 50% suffered emotional deprivation--most frequently the loss of the father's constant presence. There's a lot more, but it all adds up to an impression that most children weather divorce fairly well. Her dominant theme--namely the ""tawdry treatment"" of divorced fathers--paints another picture, one of custodial mothers too lazy or selfish to get a job while pocketing court-mandated child-care payments. The ex-husband, she says, has not only been deprived of his children but often the ""house, the furniture, the car, the insurance and the dog,"" even though he might desperately want to raise the children himself. Further, he has little legal control on how his ex-wife spends his money. Walker wrote this book before publication of several recent studies that paint quite a different picture. Lenore Weitzman's The Divorce Revolution (p. 793), for instance, presents evidence that the average standard of living for fathers rises significantly after a divorce, while that of custodial mothers and children drops, often disastrously. Walker (who is founder of the Second Wives Association) is attempting to grind a sharp axe. She, however, cannot present sufficient evidence to convince us that the 47.9% of divorced women who have no jobs could enter today's job market, much less earn enough to pay for adequate child care. The results of her questionnaire, however, make for an original and worthwhile contribution to research on how divorce affects children.

Pub Date: Feb. 26th, 1985
Publisher: Arbor House