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Battle for Children and Custody
When examining the issue of alternative reproduction through the use of cultured cells, one of the possible ramifications this could have on family law is a distinct change over the issue of parental custody. What must be understood is that while the law states that there is no bias in cases involving parental custody, this is far from the truth wherein various court cases throughout the years have clearly shown a distinct bias towards the mother having custody of a child. The book Mothers on trial the Battle for Children and Custody (2011) attempts to explain this by stating that due to their “function” in the human reproductive cycle, mothers are immediately associated by judges and juries alike as being the best candidate to raise a child as compared to a man (Mothers on trial the Battle for Children and Custody, 2011). With new developments in reproductive human cloning in cases where the genes utilized in the creation of a baby are sourced from the husband instead of the wife, it may be possible in the future that custody cases in divorce proceedings may start to favor equal treatment, lawfully and in actual practice, for both men and women in the court of law. Other potential changes in family law that could appear as a direct result of these new technological processes come in the form of new amendments to current processes wherein same-sex marriages will become an increasingly larger aspect of the family law dynamic. Instead of adoption, what would occur is that the children of same-sex couples could potentially be born as a direct result of reproductive cloning. As such, this would necessitate a revision of current family law in order to incorporate this new reality due to the potential increase in the number of cases involving children of same-sex partners.
Case of Nelson versus Knight
The reason why integrated court systems were not adopted at the onset of the creation of the justice system within the U.S. was due to the fact that humans are in fact fallible and prone to biased or faulty judgment (MacDowell, 2011). Whether judges wish to admit it or not, there is a certain degree of personal bias that does seep into their thought processes regarding certain cases and, as such, this would have an impact on their judgments in certain proceedings. Not only that, there have been cases where judges have been biased towards the prosecution (especially on issues of divorce) due to their gender. This was seen in the recent case of Nelson versus Knight wherein Melissa Nelson sued her employer for hiring her for being too attractive. The male judge and the entire male jury made the decision that her termination was valid despite the obvious fact that being fired for attractiveness is ridiculous. Other examples of biased behavior can be seen in court cases where female judges usually side with the mother when it comes to cases involving the custody of a child. It is due to this that juries and a panel of judges are often utilized in order to mitigate such concerns and to ensure that a fair and unbiased decision is made. While it maybe is true that one of the benefits of an integrated court is that it helps to create a faster decision process for particular court cases (which considering the number of cases that go through some districts courts is a good thing), the fact remains that an integrated court system has the potential to result in questionable case decisions and, as such, the cons in this particular process definitely outweigh the potential benefits.
Typically, mediation is utilized as a means of resolve between two or more parties, it is often the case that both parties portray themselves as the “victim” of the other party involved in the proceedings. However, in cases of alleged child abuse and neglect, the concept of both parties being the “victim” is not applicable since it now becomes an issue of a “victim and victimizer”. Cases of child abuse and neglect occur when a parent/guardian does not do their duty in ensuring the safety and protection of the children under their care. As such, mediation procedures cannot be applied since this particular type of proceeding is normally utilized on issues involving property disputes, profits, personal injury, defamation or conciliatory damages for certain acts that were conducted. The main crux of mediations is that some form of compensation or mutual agreement towards a certain end is established in order to resolve a particular problem. This is not the case in instances of child abuse or neglect which are clearly criminal in nature. While it may be true that the case question does indicate that it is “alleged” child abuse and neglect, the fact remains that despite the fact that it has not been proven does not mean it has not occurred. Not only that, mediation cannot necessarily work in cases where a child is the one being abused since they are still not in full awareness of their rights nor what sort of mediatory practices should be implemented. It is based on this that a non-adversarial alternative dispute resolution method should not be implemented in cases involving alleged child abuse and neglect proceedings.
MacDowell, E. L. (2011). WHEN courts collide: Integrated domestic violence courts and court pluralism. Texas Journal Of Women & The Law, 20(2), 95-130.
Mothers on trial the Battle for Children and Custody. (2011). Kirkus Reviews, 79(13), 1104-1105.