|The American Coalition for Fathers and Children
The American Coalition for Fathers and Children is dedicated to creating a family law system which promotes equal rights for all parties affected by divorce. Contact the ACFC at 1-800-978-3237 or visit them on the web at www.acfc.org.
Parenting Plan Calendar Software
Shared Ground (R) is an easy-to-use custody calendar software program designed for divorced families to track visitation schedules. Includes a built-in percentage calculator, schedule templates, free training and excellent customer assistance. Parents, attorneys, arbitrators and mediators can generate equitable parenting plans, which is especially useful for parents seeking fair division of their children's time. FREE TRIAL SOFTWARE AVAILABLE by clicking here.
The Second Wives Club
The Second Wives Club is what women in blended families are looking for: Remarriage, divorce, child custody, and step-parenting discussed in a solution-oriented, mature, and intelligent way; articles and news written by thought-provoking experts and journalists; personal accounts and advice from some of life's most interesting women. www.SecondWivesClub.com
Sackson Horde Fails to Get Schwarzenegger Veto on Anti-Male Domestic Violence Bill
In recent weeks thousands of you have responded to my call to write California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in opposition to AB 2051, a bill which will perpetuate the state's harmful policy of excluding men and their children from receiving state-funded domestic violence services. Under AB 2051, only "battered women" are eligible for the shelters, hotel vouchers, counseling and legal services that state provides victims for domestic violence. Schwarzenegger signed the bill on September 30, the last day possible.
Sacramento lobbyist Michael Robinson and the California Alliance for Families and Children did heroic work on the bill over the past several months to try to make the bill gender neutral. Through his efforts many Republican legislators opposed the bill because of its exclusion of heterosexual men. Over the past two years Robinson has helped defeat several anti-father bills and helped pass SB 1082, a bill to help military parents. I very much suggest that anybody interested in furthering our movement's efforts donate to Michael and the CAFC by clicking here.
To learn more about the bill, see my co-authored columns Schwarzenegger Should Veto AB 2051 (Orange County Register, 9/20/06) and AB 2051 Moves California in Wrong Direction on Domestic Violence (Daily Breeze [Los Angeles], 6/1/06).
Robinson's Statement on AB 2051
Robinson and the CAFC released the following statement today:
"CAFC Executive Director and Legislative Advocate Michael Robinson spoke with the Governor's office regarding the signing of AB 2051 Cohn; Domestic Violence.
"The Governor's staff informed the CAFC that the Governor signed AB 2051 because he believed it moved DV policy in a direction of becoming more inclusive. Despite his signature, high level staff in the Governor's office confirmed that the Governor firmly believes that we should strive to address the needs of all victims of domestic violence, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. More significantly, his office indicated that they are interested in working with the Legislature, CAFC and other stakeholder groups to develop a policy that will better serve the entire population during the next legislative session.
"While some may feel that the outcome of AB 2051 was a defeat, we do not. As a result of the legislative fight CAFC waged on AB 2051, legislators and the Governor's staff told CAFC that for the first time they are better informed about the realities of DV.
"As a result, we are encouraged that there is now wide and growing support for introducing legislation in the next session to address the needs of all victims, including straight males and their children. Equally important, many if not all of the DV experts CAFC worked with over the last year on AB 2051 will to continue to stand with us as we move forward. In the next legislative session we plan to bring about DV reforms that produce sound social policy that works for all victims and their children."
|Leving's Divorce Magazine
Leving's Divorce Magazine is the new magazine for the modern divorced man. It's available online, with articles focusing on issues such as men's reproductive rights (or lack thereof), Parental Alienation Syndrome and child support. Visit now and get a free subscription.
Help, Resources for Dads
The National Fathers' Resource Center is a division of Fathers For Equal Rights, Inc. (FER), located in Dallas, Texas, with offices in both Dallas and Houston. In existence for over three decades, it has services and resources for dads nationwide and is one of the largest and most active fathers' rights organizations in the U.S. www.fathers4kids.org
Has Your Career Been Impacted by Custody Issues?
After empowering people's careers for over 20 years, I was duly initiated into family law just like you--through a 30 month, $520,000 custody suit. I learned that a solid home-based business could be the best option, allowing one to shake the financial shackles while still experiencing a "no limits" career. More than ever, our kids now need a free and available parent. Be there for them...and for yourself. Darrell W. Gurney, www.CEOinShorts.com.
A Telling Omission?
Can you tell what's missing in President Bush's new National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2006: A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America?
Here's the text:
"Domestic violence has no place in our society, and we have a moral obligation to help prevent it. The terrible tragedies that result from it destroy lives and insult the dignity of women, men, and children. National Domestic Violence Awareness Month is an opportunity to underscore our commitment to bringing an end to violence in the home.
"A home should be a place of stability, comfort, and love. Domestic violence shatters this important foundation. My Administration is strongly committed to addressing domestic violence and helping those who have been victimized. In January, I was proud to sign legislation reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act. Since I announced the Family Justice Center Initiative in 2003, we have opened 11 Family Justice Centers across the country. These centers offer services to victims and their families, including legal advice, counseling, and support. In addition, we are continuing to work with faith-based and community organizations to provide training, expertise, and funding to help deliver hope and healing to those who need it most.
"During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and throughout the year, we are grateful for the advocates, counselors, and others who provide care to those affected by these acts of cruelty and for the law enforcement personnel and others who work to bring offenders to justice. We extend our compassion to the victims of domestic violence and urge them to seek assistance through local Family Justice Centers, faith-based and community organizations, and the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1 800-799-SAFE. By working together, we can build an America where every home honors the value and dignity of its loved ones.
"NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2006 as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I urge all Americans to reach out to victims and help end domestic violence.
"IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty ninth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand six, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-first."
What's missing? References specifically to women and only women as domestic violence victims. The president refers to "women, men, and children" and then only uses the genderless term "victim" afterwards.
By contrast, in 2003, for example, Bush placed all blame for domestic violence squarely on men, explaining that "women and children are facing dangers in this country, and they need strong allies." Bush praised the new "Stop Family Violence" stamp, which featured a portrait of a distraught woman, and then-Attorney General John Ashcroft and others appeared in television ads warning men and only men not to commit domestic violence.
Perhaps we're making progress.
A Hot Election Issue in Your State?
Is there a ballot initiative or a political race in your state which is significant for our movement? If there is, let me know by clicking here. Please provide links to the issue in question and be brief.
|Finally What Child Support Payers Need
Child Support obligors face a stacked deck when squaring off against CS Enforcement's army of lawyers and agents, all pitted against some beleaguered father who's working 50 hours a week to pay his child support and support his family. The burden of proving compliance with court-ordered support falls on the obligor, not the custodial parent or the enforcement agencies. Very often fathers are forced to pay money they don't really owe, or are saddled with fake arrearages and the concomitant interest and penalties.
Since the state provides a ton of free assistance to custodial parents, fathers need quality, affordable representation for these battles. Child Support Liberation's Child Support Audits and Record Management Program helps obligors challenge arrears by producing professional, top-quality self-audits which include all the necessary records in the proper form. CSARMP then conducts quarterly audits that will alert obligors to overcharges. In addition, they will maintain ongoing records of obligations, payments and interest.
CSARMP costs only $13 a month ($38 for the first month only) and can be cancelled with only 30 days notice. To learn more or to sign up, click here and here. If you have any questions, write to Michael Kennedy of Child Support Liberation by clicking here.
Sorry Honey--I Guess It's Over...
Usually when a marriage is over it's your spouse who tells you, but my wife told me nothing today but I learned my marriage is over anyway. Why? Because gay couples in my home state of California will now file taxes as if they were married. How do I know this spells the end of my marriage? Because Randy Thomasson and the Campaign for Children and Families inform us that in signing SB 1827, a tax bill, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has "put the last nail in the coffin for marriage between a man and a woman in California." Moreover, Schwarzenegger has "Terminated [the] Last Piece of Marriage."
I don't know how I'm going to break the news to my wife--I'm sure the fact that gays will be filing their taxes differently will have a devastating effect on our family. In fact, it seems quite likely that these tax changes will also lure my teenage son into the gay lifestyle. If Randy is correct, perhaps the only thing that's kept him from doing it so far was the tax disadvantage he knew he'd face one day...
Readers React to My Column on Women and Shared Parenting
The Grand Forks Herald printed several letters in response to my recent co-authored column Shared Parenting Initiative Helps Women, Too (Grand Forks Herald, 9/24/06). The column explains why the North Dakota Shared Parenting Initiative, which was just certified for the November ballot, is also helpful to mothers. I co-authored the column with Mike McCormick, Executive Director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children. The Initiative is sponsored by the ACFC's North Dakota affiliate. The letters can be seen at Parenting initiative: Pros and cons
"Nonabusive Men Don't Generate Custody Disputes"?
In "Nonabusive men don't generate custody disputes" one of the letter writers, Lainie Guthrie, wrote:
"Martha Burk, chair of the National Council of Women's Organizations, is dead wrong when she says that the current child-custody system is a 'harmful societal norm' ('Shared Parenting Initiative helps women, too,' Page 3D, Sept. 24).
"In situations where abuse is not and has never been an issue, good mothers are fine with shared parenting.
"But shared parenting is a major problem when abusers use it as a tactic to further punish his victim. Common sense needs to prevail, in that if a man is a good father and never abused his children or their mother, why would the mother be opposed to shared parenting? After all, the arrangement would be good for her children and would let her share the load and responsibility of parenting. The answer is: Such a mother would not be opposed.
"Normal, nonabusive men would not have to petition the court for shared parenting. I know of no mother who would see shared parenting as a tool to let her to pursue her own personal interests at the expense of her children.
"One has to question Burk's agenda and priorities."
Under the current system there are many reasons why women oppose shared parenting with decent fathers, including post-divorce anger and hurt, child support, move-away privileges, power, control, and the misguided belief many women share that women are better parents than men. For some women the biggest factor is a terminal case of vindictiveness, of which our courts so often act as enablers.
In another letter, Parenting initiative can benefit all, Jacqueline Stellone writes:
"I appreciate the publishing of Mike McCormick and Glenn Sacks' well-written column ('Shared Parenting Initiative helps women, too,' Page 3D, Sept. 24).
"I believe the initiative will help all of society.
"Under the current system, those who are viewed as the primary caregiver to their children have little incentive to stay in a marriage and work out their difficulties. It is all too easy to walk out with cries of abuse and get substantial child support awards from the other parent.
"In contrast, the other parent rarely gets more than a few days of visitation each month, and sometimes none because he or she has been falsely accused of abuse.
"The cost to society for supporting this broken system is generations of children who have only one parent - children who repeat the pattern of behavior. This has got to stop, and shared parenting is a step in that direction.
"By leveling the playing field for parents, shared parenting will encourage them to take responsibility for how their actions affect their children and work on the problems in a less confrontational manner.
"Take children out of the middle of the parent wars. I hope the voters of North Dakota will lead the way for the nation by supporting the Shared Parenting Initiative this fall. I will be watching with hope in my heart."
I would quibble with Stellone's assertion about child support because I don't believe that the amount of child support most custodial mothers get after a divorce is high enough to be a big motive for the divorce. But she is absolutely correct that the system's sharp pro-mother/anti-father bias does remove incentives for women to stay in the marriage and work things out.
Teacher Sues Ex-Wife for False Claims of Sex Abuse
From Teacher sues ex-wife for false claims of sex abuse: Allegations he molested sons part of bitter custody dispute (Macomb Daily, 8/22/06):
"An Eastpointe school teacher has sued his ex-wife for her false accusations to police that he sexually molested their son and her son.
"Jeffrey Edwards, 33, filed a lawsuit in Macomb Circuit Court on Friday, saying his former wife, Muingo Muthui-Edwards, slandered him and deliberately inflicted emotional distress on him by telling police and social service agencies here and in Pennsylvania that he molested the two boys, aged 3 and 6.
"Eastpointe police and social service officials in the two states have determined that the assaults never occurred and have cleared Edwards of any wrongdoing.
"Edwards told The Macomb Daily on Monday that he filed the lawsuit because of the toll the made-up accusations have taken on him.
"'I've spent countless hours and money defending my reputation,' Edwards said. 'This has been a nightmare, an atrocity.'
"The couple, whose divorce was finalized in April after 13 months of marriage, are mired in a custody battle over their son. Muthui-Edwards, who moved to northeast Pennsylvania to live near her parents after the divorce, also has another son from a prior relationship.
"Because of the false allegations and Muthui-Edwards being held in contempt of court twice for failing to appear, Edwards in April gained physical custody of the boy. Muthui-Edwards now has the same visitation that Edwards had, in a decision by Judge Antonio Viviano two weeks after the divorce was granted.
"Edwards believes his ex-wife fabricated the allegations to gain custody. In the lawsuit, he calls her statements 'malicious for the purpose of bringing (Edwards) into disrepute and subjecting him to criminal prosecution.'
"The allegations first arose shortly before a custody trial was to be held in front of Viviano. Muthui-Edwards started complaining to officials in both states and to Eastpointe police late last year that the two boys said they were abused. She claimed the boys told her that Edwards touched them inappropriately. The older child also was having nightmares, and the younger child was digressing in toilet training, she told authorities.
"But investigations that included interviews of the boys and Edwards turned up no evidence of abuse. An Eastpointe police report says: 'This case has been highly scrutinized by several layers of government and all have found no merit to these claims against Jeffrey Edwards.'
"She repeated the allegations in July, and another investigation finding no wrongdoing was concluded Aug. 14..."
Read the full article here. It's nice to see a dad fighting back against a false accuser. Let's hope she ends up having to write him a big check.
Beyond all the other horrors involved, she easily could have destroyed Edwards' teaching career. Earlier this year I appeared on Geraldo at Large to discuss this issue and the Florida case where a father attacked a teacher's aid who had been accused of inappropriately touching his teenage daughter. It turns out that the charges were fabricated. During the interview I told a couple of stories about things I saw when I was a teacher. One of them happened early in my career when a male administrator took a few of the new male high school teachers aside and told us the following story. (Note: in some schools administrators often teach a class or two):
"One time I was in my office and one of my students, an 11th grade girl, came to see me. She was upset about the bad grade she was getting in my class, and wanted me to change it.
"She grew increasingly demanding and ended up threatening me that she would make a charge against me if I didn't give her the grade.
"When I still refused, she stood up, tore her shirt, started screaming 'Help, Help, he's attacking me' and ran towards the door of the office. As she made for the door I saw 25 years of hard work and devotion to my students go down the drain.
"Miraculously, there happened to be a female teacher right outside the door who had been waiting to talk to me. When the girl opened the door the female teacher stood in her way and told her that she had heard everything. It saved my career and my livelihood."
I've covered the issue of false allegations in numerous columns and on the air. To learn more, see:
Wendy McElroy on Man Jailed 11 Years for Contempt of Court
Wendy McElroy of IFeminists.com has an interesting new article on the outrageous Chadwick case, wherein a man has been in jail for 11 years on a civil contempt charge. In her new column Are Civil Courts In Contempt of Justice? McElroy writes:
"Corporate lawyer H. Beatty Chadwick has passed 11 years in a Pennsylvania county jail on a contempt of civil court charge relating to his divorce.
"He 'refuses' to produce $2.5 million that may not exist. If he were in the federal system, the maximum penalty for contempt would be 18 months. As it is, Chadwick -- who has never been convicted of a crime or faced a jury -- is indefinitely imprisoned without possibility of parole.
"Has Chadwick fallen through a crack in the legal system or is he proof that family courts are out-of-control, especially regarding 'contempt of court' power?
"The 'legal crack' theory immediately confronts a problem. According to the Chicago Tribune, the case has produced a 'dozen pleas to the county courts, nine to state appeals courts, nine to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, six to the nearby federal court, four to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and two to the U.S. Supreme Court.'
"That's one massive and meticulously sustained 'crack.'
"The 'out-of-control' theory immediately confronts a question: what act of contempt could possibly elicit such draconian punishment?
"The answer begins in 1977 when Chadwick (then 39 years old) married the former Barbara Jean Crowther. She filed for divorce in late 1992. Depending on which account is credited, Chadwick is either the victim of a vindictive wife or he is domineering husband who vowed that his wife would never see a penny.
"In 1994, Barbara Chadwick informed the court that her husband had wired $2.5 million out of the country. The judge ordered Chadwick to retrieve the funds and place them in a court-controlled account until the divorce was settled. Chadwick claimed that most of the money had been lost in a foreign business deal gone bad; however, a small fraction of the money showed up in a U.S. bank under Chadwick's name. The judge ordered his imprisonment on civil contempt until the funds were produced.
"In civil proceedings, such as divorce, a charge of contempt usually occurs in two circumstances. First, a failure to attend court proceedings despite a subpoena. Second, the failure to comply with a court order. If imprisonment is ordered, the 'sentence' can last as long as the disobedience continues or until the 'contempt limitation' of the particular court system is reached; some courts have no limit. Since the prisoner is considered to 'hold the key' to his own freedom, his constitutional right to due process is not seen to apply.
"Chadwick was imprisoned in April 1995...
"A. Leo Sereni, a former president judge in Pennsylvania, was appointed to track Chadwick's money. Eighteen months and two accounting firms later, Sereni reported no trace beyond what had been discovered a decade before. Money had been transferred to Europe and a small fraction had reappeared in U.S. accounts. Sereni concluded, 'most of it...nowhere.'
"He recommended Chadwick's release, stating, 'My God -- if he had stolen $2 million, he would have been out a couple of years ago.'"
Read the full column here.
|Help for Michigan Dads
Michigan family law attorney Mindy L. Hitchcock has experience fighting for noncustodial parents against Michigan's abusive FOC. Her holistic approach to divorce gets results for her clients while avoiding the scorched earth approach to law that leaves families emotionally and financially devastated. www.Lady4Justice.com
Concerned about Financial Issues in Your Divorce?
If you're concerned about financial issues in your divorce, contact Jim DiGabriele of DiGabriele, McNulty & Co by email here or at 973-243-2600.
Letters From a Deadbeat Dad
Have you ever been framed as a "deadbeat dad" while you were just trying to be a father? Have you ever been forced to pay child support while being denied your basic rights? Have you ever had to explain Parental Alienation Syndrome to your own child? Have you ever heard about fighting family law battles outside the law by following principles of non-violence--and winning? Read Letters From a Deadbeat Dad by Cosmo Monkhouse.
Ex-Wife Who Made False Rape Claims Faces Prison
According to the U.K. Telegraph article Ex-Wife Who Made False Rape Claims Faces Prison (9/30/06):
"A woman who falsely cried rape against her former husband was facing jail yesterday after being convicted of perverting the course of justice.
"Sally Henderson, 40, a mother of two, described by the prosecution as a 'wicked liar', claimed Richard Cooke, 39, had repeatedly raped her during their year-long marriage.
"But police discovered her claims were almost identical to false allegations she had made five years earlier against a previous boyfriend, Mark Rowe, 42, Gloucester Crown Court heard.
"Lifting an order preventing her identification, Recorder David Lane, QC, said: 'The public has a right to know the identity of a person who makes such allegations and who seeks to use the system of justice for her own, unscrupulous ends.
"'These two men were put through the extreme anxiety of facing the most serious and most grave offences that can be brought against a man.'
"...Henderson reported the false rapes only after both men left her. Mr Cooke was held in a police cell for 36 hours following his arrest.
"Mr Cooke told the court: 'It was quite shocking to have three or four police officers arrest you, manhandle you and take you away for something you've never done...
"Lynne Matthews, prosecuting, said: 'Sally Henderson is a wicked liar. There is nothing more wicked that a woman can do against her husband or partner than to claim rape. But there is very little for a man to do other than say he didn't do it. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and her claims were a tissue of lies.'"
Read the full article here.
I've discussed the problem of false marital rape claims previously, including in my co-authored column Kuehl's Spousal Rape Bill Will Harm Innocent Men (Sacramento News & Review, 6/15/06). I was blasted severely in the feminist blogosphere for the column, but this UK case--two really, since Henderson had done the false accuser number on her previous boyfriend also--is an example of what can happen. In these cases the motive was apparently vindictive, but in the column I point out the tangible, post-divorce benefits false accusers can sometimes gain.
Expose False Allegations with Technology
Don't let the anti-male bias in criminal law victimize you. If you could be falsely accused by an angry woman, be prepared! Use technology to expose the real aggressor. DontMakeHerMad.com
New Jersey Divorce and Family Law
New Jersey family law attorney David Perry Davis, Esq. can help you through your divorce. In Pasqua v. Council (2006) Davis successfully challenged New Jersey's unconstitutional practice of failing to appoint attorneys for indigent child support obligors at enforcement hearings where they face incarceration. As a result of this suit, trial courts must apply the same standard used when a defendant requests a public defender in a criminal matter. www.dpdlaw.com
Another Example of the 'Fake' Parental Alienation Syndrome
Our opponents often claim that Parental Alienation Syndrome--wherein one parent has turned his or her children against the other parent, destroying the loving bonds the children and the target parent once enjoyed--is a fake or "discredited" syndrome.
For example, when the National Organization for Women passed a resolution against PAS at its national conference in July, they labeled PAS a "defense strategy for batterers and sexual predators that purports to explain a child's estrangement from one parent, or explains away allegations against the estranged parent of abuse/sex abuse of child, by blaming the protective parent." I'm often criticized by feminists for my defense of PAS, such as the reaction to my co-authored column Protect Children from Alienation (Providence Journal, 7/7/06).
I found Amy Dickinson's "Ask Amy" advice column Daughter in law vicious in divorce interesting, particularly the second paragraph. "Sad Grandmother" wrote:
"My son and daughter-in-law are on the verge of a divorce. I believe that when a marriage ends, both parties are at fault. A few weeks ago, my daughter-in-law came to my home to tell me about the situation, and reiterated all my son's faults.
"She's very self-righteous and has a vicious temper. The concern I have is that she is turning her children (one boy and two girls) against their father. They are more than a little afraid of her. The oldest girl has told me things about her mother, and I know that she must follow the rules or else! She lines them up in front of their father and tells them what's wrong with him. She tells them that their father doesn't love them.
"This is sad because he loves them and works long hours in his law practice to support them handsomely. His practice takes a lot of his time, but he is always home for dinner to give them his attention. However, there is never dinner for him and only a meager dinner for the kids, followed by more sweets than necessary. How should I get involved with this, if at all?"
I guess "Sad Grandmother" is also an apologist for "batterers and sexual predators."
This Is Useful
I recently received a "WoodGas Camp Stove" from one of my advertisers, and since my son is a Boy Scout who frequently goes on camping trips, I thought we'd try the stove out. The manufacturers claim that the stove "burns almost any fuel nature provides--including twigs, pine cones or any plant-based fuel--and provides the cleanest heat in even the remotest area." We discovered that the stove works exactly as they say it does--you get as much heat or more than from the traditional propane camping stoves, and it runs on anything you happen to find in the forest. We fried a bunch of bacon and eggs using only dried weeds, leaves and sticks. www.woodgas-stove.com.
|Lisa Scott Launches RealFamilyLaw.com
Shared Parenting Advocate/Family Law Attorney Lisa Scott has launched www.RealFamilyLaw.com to expose the truth about what is happening in our family law system. Lisa, the all-time leader in appearances on His Side with Glenn Sacks, says that she was "tired of having her stuff rejected by elitist bar publications and politically-correct newspapers" and decided to start her own website. www.RealFamilyLaw.com
Congressional Candidate Takes Strong Stand for Noncustodial Parents' Rights
In 2004 Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik had a strong noncustodial parents' rights platform. Badnarik is clearly aware of and sensitive to the basic problems fathers today face, particularly the sole custody norm and the denigration of noncustodial parents to "second class parent" status. Badnarik is running for Congress in 2006--to learn more, go to www.badnarik.org.
Give Us a Break, Huh?
The media often carries stories which greatly exaggerate the findings of studies when those studies go against men and fathers. The article Joint custody fails to reduce violence by ex-spouses, researcher says (Ottawa Citizen, 9/25/06) is an example. We're told:
"Shared child custody after marriage breakdown can perpetuate spousal violence instead of promoting an amicable divorce settlement, according to a study by a University of Quebec sociologist.
"Denyse Cote, who has completed a study of residents of women's shelters in the Outaouais and Montreal, says most of the women she interviewed told her that their former partners continued to abuse them after courts decided on joint custody for their children...
"The Gatineau, Que., sociologist said the problem with joint custody arrangements is that they can lead to frequent contact between female victims of violence and males who feel they must remain in control and cannot manage their anger.
"Cote said the judicial system should reconsider the idea that joint custody is the best solution in most cases of marriage breakdown.
'''Joint custody is popular nowadays and corresponds to our idea of parental roles being changed,' Cote said. 'But the problem is that joint custody puts a victim of spousal violence in constant contact with her aggressor.
'''One of the misconceptions about joint custody is that it can help couples solve their conflicts. Sometimes it is best if the woman or the man has sole custody because it means there will be less contact and less risk of violence.'
"Cote said joint custody is possible only when both parents are able to manage their differences. She said high-conflict separations should not lead to joint custody of children."
Sounds impressive, right? Except that Cote's pool of interview subjects consisted entirely of battered women's shelter workers and women living at the shelters. She wants to know if women in joint custody situations are abused by their exes, so she goes to shelters--where the only attendees are women who (supposedly) have been battered--to look for interview subjects. This would be similar to declaring a new cancer drug a failure after conducting studies only of those currently in the hospital, ignoring others--perhaps the vast majority--who are not in the hospital because the drug worked.
To their credit, Cote and reporter Dave Rogers do acknowledge that the study is not an attempt to find out how common this problem is. But that's not the way the article is spun, and that's certainly not how the study will be reported by opponents of joint custody and fatherhood.
Also, we have no independent substantiation that the women Cote studied have been battered. Certainly some of the women at battered women's shelters have been victimized, sometimes quite horribly. Others are there because they were injured in mutual combat, or in combat which they themselves initiated. Others haven't been abused at all but are there because they are using the shelters' facilities as transitional housing. Some contact battered women's services as custody maneuvers. I'm deeply suspicious of any study which declares women to be victims simply because they and the shelter workers--many of whom are anti-male--declare they are.
Conclusion? The study may (or may not) have turned up a small handful of women who were genuinely abused and should not be in joint custody situations, but it says nothing about joint custody in general. To write to the Ottawa Citizen regarding Joint custody fails to reduce violence by ex-spouses, researcher says (9/25/06), go to email@example.com.
|Help for Seattle Fathers
The Law Offices of O. Yale Lewis III is a one-person law firm that focuses on customer care. Mr. Lewis can help you identify and focus on the outcome that you want and implement the steps necessary to get there. www.yalelewislaw.com.
Help for California Divorced Dads
The Divorced Fathers Network helps dads in Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Santa Cruz. Local chapters sponsor free weekly co-parenting classes, individual mentoring for fathers and much more. www.divorcedfathers.com.
The Secrets of Happily Married Men
How can a man achieve a long and happy marriage? If you've been checking out advice columns or seeing a therapist, you may have been looking in the wrong place. Despite all the advances in brain technology, and all of that we have learned about developmental psychology--men and women are given the same advice about solving problems. But when we ask men what works for them, we hear a different story. www.SecretsofMarriedMen.com
The Children's Rights Council's 20th Anniversary Conference in November
The Children's Rights Council's 20th Anniversary conference--"Shared Parenting in the 21st Century: Exploring the Best Interests of Children"--will be held in the Washington, DC area from November 3rd through the 6th. To learn more about the conference, click here. To read the conference flyer, click here.
The guest list is very impressive, and includes:
Wally "Famous" Amos, founder of Famous Amos Cookies in 1975, and father of the gourmet chocolate chip cookie industry.
Congressman Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-MD), a co-sponsor of a proposed resolution in favor of joint custody.
Margot Bean, J.D., head of the Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE).
Syndicated advice columnist Amy Dickinson.
Ron Henry, J.D., author of The Innocent Third Party: Victims of Paternity Fraud (Family Law Quarterly, Summer 2006).
Daniel B. Hogan, J.D., Ph.D., Executive Director of Fathers & Families.
Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S., Chair of the Board of Fathers and Families.
Teresa L. Kaiser, J.D. A member of the Children's Rights Council Board of Trustees, and former Director of the Child Support Enforcement systems in Maryland, Idaho and Missouri.
Jean-David Levitte, French Ambassador to the United States.
David L. Levy, J.D., Chief Executive Officer of the Children's Rights Council and a nationally known expert on children and family rights.
Hadassah Luther Hadassah, popular recording artist.
Jayne A. Major, Ph.D., founder of Breakthrough Parenting Services Inc., a non-profit agency providing educational services parents affected by divorce and child custodial issues.
Elizabeth Marquardt, author of Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce.
Michael L. Oddenino, J.D., General Counsel for the Children's Rights Council.
Kathleen Parker, syndicated columnist.
Dwight Twilley, popular recording artist.
Cathy Young, columnist.
I will also be speaking.
Erring on the Side of Hidden Harm: The Granting of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
In commenting on the ACFC's National Family Law Reform Conference last week I discussed what I believe is excessive judge-bashing in the fathers' movement. You can read my comments at Criticism of Judges.
David N. Heleniak, Esq., author of "The New Star Chamber: The New Jersey Family Court And The Prevention Of Domestic Violence Act" (Rutgers Law Review, Spring 2005) spoke at the conference as part of a panel discussion called "VAWA and DV Issues in Shared Parenting." Apparently he agrees with some of my sentiments about judge-bashing--he sent me his recent article Erring on the Side of Hidden Harm: The Granting of Domestic Violence Restraining Orders. In the section quoted below he discusses an interesting case which says volumes about the problems fathers face in family court.
"On September 19, 2005, Yvette Cade went before Judge Richard A. Palumbo seeking an extension of a domestic violence restraining order against her husband, Roger Hargrave. Palumbo, whether from confusion, clerical error, or a genuine belief that the extension was unwarranted, dismissed the restraining order. One month later, Hargrave walked into the cell phone store where Cade worked, doused her with gasoline, and set her on fire.
"Two weeks after the attack, Palumbo was removed from all domestic violence cases and placed on administrative duty. On July 20, 2006, Cade was interviewed by Nancy Grace on CNN's Headline Prime. Grace, emblematic of the media reaction, introduced the interview with:
"'Tonight, a primetime exclusive. She went before a trial judge and begged for help, begged for protection. He refused to hear her pleas for help. And then her nightmare came true. Her estranged husband came to her office and set her on fire. But against all odds, she lived, and tonight she wants justice. And PS, to the judge that sentenced her to being burned alive, Maryland judge Richard Palumbo, you are in contempt!'
"Adding to this, one of Grace's other guests, Congressman Ted Poe, commented: 'Well, Nancy, you know I believe that judges need to be accountable for their actions just like we make criminals accountable. And this judge, whether it's a mistake or incompetence on his part, he needs to leave the bench.' A judicial misconduct hearing scheduled for the end of August was cancelled when Palumbo announced he planned to retire on August 4th because of health problems.
"Whether or not the horrific criminal act committed by Hargrave would have been prevented had Palumbo extended the restraining order, the Yvette Cade tragedy and the ensuing backlash against Palumbo is likely to have just one result. As if things weren't bad enough already in the family courts, judges are going to be even more likely to grant restraining orders, regardless of the facts, rather than risk being held responsible for a similar tragedy."
Read the full article here.
Dave's speech regarding restraining orders at the ACFC conference was very interesting--I'm told that the ACFC is planning to make the video of it available. I was moderating his panel, and as he was speaking right next to me I tried to figure out whether he was extremely nervous or suffering from some kind of illness. It turned out it was the former. I tried to calm him down with these words of wisdom--"What are you so worried about? Here you can only look foolish in front of 100 people. I've made a fool of myself in front of millions of people..."
Ann Richards and Men
Former Texas Governor Ann Richards died recently and is being given high praise in eulogies from many of America's political leaders. I can't say I share their high opinions.
During the 1988 Democratic Party convention Richards was unmerciful towards then-president George Bush, deriding him as a spoiled, wimpy little boy who'd never done anything for himself. Among many other things, she described him as a man "who was born with a silver foot in his mouth" and as "being born on third base and thinking he hit a triple."
I remember thinking at the time how strange it was that Richards would deride Bush as "spoiled" and "wimpy" when he had served in World War II with such distinction. After all, what on earth had Richards ever done that gave her the moral authority to portray Bush as never having to had suffer or sacrifice? Richards' life was a hell of a lot safer and easier than Bush's.
After Pearl Harbor Bush enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday and became the youngest naval aviator in the US military at that time. According to the Department of the Navy's George Bush in World War II: A Short Bibliography:
"[Bush's] squadron was based on USS San Jacinto...San Jacinto commenced operations against the Japanese in the Bonin Islands...Bush piloted one of four aircraft from VT-51 that attacked the Japanese installations on Chi Chi Jima...During their attack, four TBM Avengers from VT-51 encountered intense antiaircraft fire. While starting the attack, Bush's aircraft was hit and his engine caught on fire. He completed his attack and released the bombs over his target scoring several damaging hits. With his engine on fire, Bush flew several miles from the island, where he and one other crew member on the TBM Avenger bailed out of the aircraft."
None of Bush's other crewmen survived. Bush flew 58 combat missions in 1944 and was later awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and three Air Medals. Amazing how he could do all of that with a silver spoon in his mouth...
Richards also annoyed me during the California Gubernatorial recall election in 2003. Richards campaigned for Democratic Governor Gray Davis. At one rally she made the following domestic violence "joke":
"I know you all are worried about the economy in California but I want to assure you that it's a problem all over the country. In fact in Texas the price of gas has gone up so high that women who want to run over their husbands are car-pooling."
Richards' "joke" referred to the Clara Harris 'Murder by Mercedes' Case. Harris murdered her husband by running him down repeatedly as the man's teenage daughter begged Harris not to kill her father.
I have covered the Harris case extensively--so extensively that one of Clara's friends once wrote me an angry letter. Apparently Harris didn't like one of my columns about her case. When I think of poor Clara sitting in a jail cell fuming over a Glenn Sacks column my heart just breaks...
I don't know a lot about Richards' career as a whole--if anyone has more positive memories of her than I have, feel free to let me know. To learn more about the Clara Harris case, see my columns "In Defense of David Harris" (LewRockwell.com, 3/4/03) and "Convicted Murderess Can Get Custody but Decent Fathers Can't" (Houston Chronicle, 9/19/03), and listen to the His Side shows Oprah Whitewashes Clara Harris' 'Murder by Mercedes' (5/1/05) and CBS' 'Suburban Madness': It's OK to Kill Your Husband (10/4/04).
When Women Do It, It's Not Domestic Violence
When a man destroys or attempts to destroy the property of his wife, girlfriend, or ex, we call it "domestic violence." I have mixed emotions about this--on one hand such acts are abusive, on the other, I don't like to apply the label "violence" to anything but violence.
Regardless, our society takes a very different approach to such acts when a woman commits them. Witness the lighthearted story "When trying to get revenge, details are important" (Chicago Sun-Times, 9/20/06):
"Two Aurora residents might have learned that lesson the hard way when one woman apparently tried to get back at her allegedly unfaithful husband this past weekend.
"According to the Kane County state's attorney's office, Tamieka Ayanech, 31, called co-worker Johnnie Logan, 45, to ask for help in punishing Ayanech's husband for supposedly cheating on her.
"Ayanech wanted to damage her husband's silver truck, so both women went looking for the vehicle on River Street, according to charging documents.
"About 8 p.m. Saturday, Ayanech was seen slashing the tires of a silver truck parked in front of the Aurora police station in the 300 block of North River Street, prosecutors said. Ayanech had stuffed a candy bar into the gas tank, and, with Logan, was attempting to remove the truck's spare tire when an officer approached, prosecutors said.
"One problem: the women apparently didn't check the license plate. The truck Ayanech and Logan are charged with vandalizing was the personal vehicle of an Aurora police officer -- not Ayanech's husband.
"The truck sustained $569 damage, and both women were charged with felony criminal damage to property, prosecutors said."
Notice that no domestic violence-related charges will be made.
I've discussed this double standard on numerous occasions. For example, listen to the His Side with Glenn Sacks radio commentary Road Rage or Domestic Violence?
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