Bias against men in divorce a myth

July 17, 2011

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WHILE IT’S newsworthy that a New Hampshire man named Thomas Ball killed himself out of desperation in connection with a difficult divorce, the Globe’s reporting on the larger issues raised by the man’s death was unbalanced (“Dad leaves clues to his desperation; A grisly suicide after a 10-year divorce battle,’’ Metro, July 10). The piece cited one person saying that the man’s story, in terms of men being treated unfairly, “is pretty common.’’

In fact, the spouse with the most money usually wins the most legal advantages in divorce proceedings, and this is more often the husband than the wife. If more fathers expressed outrage over this economic unfairness, all men and women in family court would fare better.

Some men are treated poorly. I’ve helped some of them in their fight for justice. But using one man’s death to suggest that the problem is evidence of systemic bias against men is laughable. The number of women and children who die because the legal system refuses to protect them from violent men far exceeds the number of men who take their own lives because a family court judge was unfair.

Wendy Murphy
Adjunct professor
New England Law