Frequently Asked Questions
Why is this important to Earth?
Yes, for two reasons:
First, developing solutions for space provides thinkers and innovators with creative license to break out of old ways of thinking and problem solve in new ways. This has led to a multitude of ground-breaking solutions for space technologies that were subsequently used to revolutionize ways of doing things on Earth. Using a theoretical and future Mars Settlement as a cognitive sandbox, a new comprehensive family justice model may be developed with future applications within Earth communities.
Secondly, in past mass settlements of regions on Earth, human rights abuses were inflected upon residents of the Old World as well as the New World. Slavery is one prominent example. Other examples specifically governed by broad family law was the deportation from the Old World of children of unwed mothers to populate the New World.
What is wrong with the current family law system?
The current system is not serving communities, parents or children. Children and parents that have been exposed to family courts are generally worse off in every way – their short term and long term outcomes. Communities are having to invest significant financial resources into the operation of these systems and then re-invest further resources into rehabilitating broken youth and parents who are created.
A bevy of recent studies have called for changes. For example:
The Canadian Forum on Civil Justice report: “Meaningful Change for Family Justice: Beyond Wise Words” April 2013 http://www.cfcj-fcjc.org/sites/default/files/docs/2013/Report%20of%20the%20Family%20Law%20WG%20Meaningful%20Change%20April%202013.pdf
Law Commission of Ontario's Increasing Access to Family Justice Through Comprehensive Entry Points and Inclusivity: Final Report - February 2013 http://www.lco-cdo.org/en/family-law-reform-final-report
Australian Law Reform Commission, Family Violence – A National Legal Response http://www.alrc.gov.au/sites/default/files/pdfs/publications/ALRC114_WholeReport.pdf
Failure To Flourish: How Law Undermines Family Relationships. By Clare Huntington. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press. 2014.
Marriage Markets: How Inequality Is Remaking The American Family. By June Carbone and Naomi Cahn. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press. 2014.
Family Law Reimagined. By Jill Elaine Hasday. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. 2014.
Divorce Corp. http://www.divorcecorp.com/ How can I get involved?
What has to be considered?
Good adult outcomes for children: Institute a preventative model of child protection to nourish healthy, independent, cooperative, and strong citizens/settlers.
Universal rights and obligations: Current laws and regulations respecting families provide for fluctuating rights based for children based upon their parent's marital status, nationality and income. What would be the best practice within a Mars colony to obtain the desired goals?
Community integration of various family structures: Work, recreation, daycare and other services and activities for children and parents should be designed to incorporate a variety of family structures. On Earth, activities (sports etc.) and services (school bus, daycares, etc.) are not designed for children with separated parents, thus these children are left out causing friction between their parents, the use of community resources to resolve disputes and poor adult outcomes. Such friction could be avoided through community design features. Design features may extend to the architecture and layout of the physical housing units to accomodate different family structures.
Disabled parents and children: Like on Earth, a Mars colony will have children and adults that are injured or otherwise develop disabilities. Current laws and regulations respecting families provide for some different rights and obligations for disabled persons. What would be the best practice within a Mars colony?
Support obligations: In conjunction with the development of the Settlement's currency and monetary regimes, how are children with parents that live separately going to be supported? What are the parental and community obligations?
Child Protection: How is child welfare going to be addressed? What systems will be in place for monitoring and intervening to protect children from neglect and abuse?
Domestic Violence: How will parents and spouses be protected from intimate violence? What methods of education, detection and intervention will be available to the colony?
Dispute Resolution: What models and resources will be in place to resolve disputes? Will Earth based judges, arbitrators and mediators be used?
Governance of personal property: What happens to property and any joint property upon the dissolution of a relationship or death? This will have to be part of a bigger conversation about personal property on Mars.