Under President’s Obama leadership the United States is the last remaining nation of the developed world to holdout on ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the results are disastrous. While the United States is widely understood to be founded on the principles of a Constitution and inherent civil rights the reality is actually quite different for children of the United States, especially when custody disputes arise. This is largely due to the fact that in the United States custody is decided by states in civil courts that operate outside of the US Constitution where outside oversight is virtually non-existent and judicial powers of often times elected judges are unchecked.
Some of the most salient characteristics of the United States court system that children are deprived of in custody are the rights to a trial by jury, the right to an attorney, the right to due process and the right to appeal. In most states, especially New York, custody decisions come solely from a Judge with no jury or peer review. The Judge is allowed to use, or can ignore, the court ordered findings of a custody evaluator, however, the neutrality of these evaluations is questionable in many states as the evaluators may abandon their neutrality and be retained by either side of a dispute in many states. If one parent has vast sums of money while the other is disadvantaged and unable to afford representation child custodies cases proceed in many states and parents end up losing children solely because they couldn’t afford an attorney to navigate an insider’s system. All these facts add up to a disastrous case for children in the United States where children are the pawns of rich parents, uncaring courts and insider politics with no protections of their rights.
Evidence of the dismal state of human rights for Children can be found around the web in petitions like this from a parent in New York who has lost her child simply because she can’t afford to navigate the system. This and other blogs point to a custody system in the United States that is largely driven by money where oversight of the ethics of the divorce industries of most states is left to secretive attorney grievance committees that nationally discipline well below %.05 of attorneys in a year to even more secretive Judicial conduct systems. While appeal is suppose to be available to fix child custody issues a parent who couldn’t afford an attorney to keep their children generally can’t afford an attorney to appeal where the workload and expertise are considerably higher.
Children’s civil rights have never been worse in the United States than under Obama who has made no tangible progress in fixing the abusive custody systems that destroy the lives of children every day across the United States. If President Obama is content to ignore the civil rights of children and international treaties that guarantee civil rights for children, it’s the job of the children of America who have seen their childhood and parents torn apart by unfair and unsupervised courts to unite and demand civil rights protections for children in the United States. Children’s civil rights matter and it’s time to end the barbaric treatment of children in the custody systems of the United States.