A Stupid, Stupid Idea

It’s gotten to be an epidemic: every time some legislator decides he (and most of them tend to be men, by the way) wants to change people’s behavior in divorce, he persuades a number of equally ignorant men in the legislature (and most of them tend to be men, by the way) to require EVERY divorcing couple to file some new document, or pay some new fee, or prove some new fact. The latest is an effort by Rep. Danny Carroll in the Iowa legislature to require every divorcing couple with children to file a written parenting plan within 30 days after filing for divorce. Here’s the story from The Iowa Channel.

I don’t know Danny Carroll, of course, and he may be an intelligent, compassionate man. Nah, probably not. He probably wants to make a name for himself, so he grabs some headlines.

Hey Danny, go down and talk with some people going through divorce. You’re welcome to go to Des Moines, but if you like, come to my office. See the vast majority of divorcing parents who love their children, want to make sure they survive this bloody divorce business, have no disagreement with each other about where their children should live or what company their children should keep, and don’t have the money to file your silly report.

Mercy, guys. These folks are on the brittle edge of financial and emotional oblivion. On those rare occasions when judges sense a need for a comprehensive, written parenting plan, they can order one. Let’s not impose that burden on the other 97% of divorcing parents who just need to move on with their lives so they can pay their taxes and keep you in office.