Marilyn York is a divorce attorney who has been practicing for more than two decades. In this video where she gives a Ted Talk What Representing Men in Divorce Taught Me About Fatherhood, she explains why she believes in empowering men’s rights in her law especially when it comes to divorce law. She raises the point that men have a significant influence on the development of their children because they teach them lessons that mothers generally don’t.
In her legal experience, she has noticed that men are judged harshly during cross-examination when they cannot answer common questions about their children’s lives and are perceived as parents that do not have an innate bond with their children the same way that mothers do. However, Marilyn has proved that this is far from being true because men always know if a child is theirs without taking a paternity test, proving that an unexplainable bond does exist in fatherhood that is similar to the commonly known one amongst mothers and their children.
Approximately 40% of Americans grow up without their father around to help them navigate life, that means nearly two out of five children in America are growing up without their fathers. In 2016, it was estimated that up to 30 million American households were without a father figure to raise their children. The results of this disturbance within a family structure are the children mostly girls who suffer the consequences.
Data from the Centre for Disease Control suggests that fatherless children make up approximately 90% of runaway and homeless children in the country and a further estimated 65% of youth suicides. The reason behind why fathers are crucial in the development of their children can be better explained by psychologists but through data observations, it is evident that fathers are the missing and vital link to raising well-rounded children. The biggest challenge with fighting for men’s rights is that the law and society continue to undervalue their significance in raising children who will grow into prominent adults in the future. Fathers are not excused because they also underrate their roles and this ensures a never-ending cycle of damaging innocent children.
As an advocate for fathers in divorce law, Marylin feels as though she upsets a lot of mothers including herself for being able to accept this realization. What needs to be highlighted is that raising issues around men’s rights don’t undermine the value of mothers who raise these children, but it does mean that society needs to look at the root cause of the catastrophic consequences resulting in homes without fathers and those that have fathers that are hostile towards their families.