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I've noticed a recent trend in May/September romances which create children. Like many, those relationships end, perhaps more often than others more evenly matched. When they end, there is the inevitable question of who should have primary custody of the children.

The May mothers are, by definition, younger. They are almost invariably less established and of less means. The September fathers are, by definition, older. They are usually far more established and often of ample means.

Their breakups are often less than pleasant and civil. They are often rather passionate and hostile. Necessarily, then, when the issue comes to the children, the possibility of co-parenting is greatly reduced. The stage is ripe for what could be an epic battle.

The May mothers are... the mothers. Usually they have been the children's primary care-givers. That was an advantage of being with a well-set man. Would that this fact resolved the dispute.

With their prowess and means, the September fathers aggressively pursue primary and perhaps sole custody of the children. They assert their maturity and stability as a basis for taking over the children to raise. It doesn't matter that they will be in their 70's at the high school graduation while the mom is still in her 40's.

These September fellows treat their former, younger lovers with scorn and derision. They argue that the mom's are unstable, hot-heads, angry women, too dependent upon the kindness of strangers (such as themselves). They argue that the children will be ill cared-for and will live the life of vagabonds if left to the economic insecurity of these young, shiftless, impetuous gold-diggers.

And all too often, the courts fall for it, the judges pre-disposed through cultural bias to buy the paradigm without analyzing the anti-female hostility that lies at the heart of it or questioning the parties' very politically imbalanced relationship in the first place.

All too often the Mothers are stripped of their children and the older fathers are left child support free, to continue to dominate the younger women through the mis-use of the father's pawns, the children.

These mothers are treated as little more than baby factories. Produce and remove.

Our culture has some serious hang ups. We tend to not address them openly until someone ugly puts them on the front page. But they are there and they run deep. My job is fighting for families, parents, children one client at a time, yes. But it is also fighting against ancient cultural norms that would still seek to keep some of us enslaved and others of us barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen one case at a time.

Those of us who like the modern times must not be lulled into thinking that all are of like minds. What I have learned is just because some of the species has progressed into the 21st Century, a fair portion of the species is quite content to drag us back into the 19th.

Michael Manely

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