The American Coalition for Fathers
The American Coalition for Fathers
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promotes equal rights for all
parties affected by divorce.
Contact the ACFC at 1-800-978-3237
or visit them on the web at
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Dad-Bashing Judge Gets an Official Kick
in the Behind
Some of you may recall
Kentucky judge D. Michael "Mickey'' Foellger,
who in 2004 made headlines by telling men
behind on their child support obligations
that they had to either have vasectomies or
go to jail. I slammed Foellger on several
radio shows and in my co-authored column
It's Child Support Guidelines that Need
'Deadbeat Dads' (Kentucky Post,
Cincinnati Post, 5/12/04). Family law
attorney Jeff Leving and I wrote:
"Foellger insists he's
not forcing sterilization on anybody,
since the offenders in his court can
choose 30 days in jail instead. However,
most men who fall behind on child
support have led law-abiding lives and
legitimately fear for their safety and
mental stability if they are
"For example, in
McCracken County earlier this year a man
slit his throat in the courtroom after
being sentenced to two years in jail for
being $7,000 behind on child support.
According to newspaper accounts, the man
pleaded to the judge 'Don't put me in
jail, I'm going to kill myself' before
taking out a razor blade.
"By threatening to jail
the men, Foellger is in effect impelling
them to get sterilized. In fact,
Foellger says that all but one of the
men offered his 'deal' have chosen
vasectomy over jail.
"This represents a
serious human rights violation.
Kentucky's child support guidelines need
to be overhauled to ensure that support
obligations are in line with obligors'
ability to pay. In addition, the system
needs to be more flexible and
responsive, so men who are down on their
luck don't become criminalized. And
while the public may be legitimately
annoyed with these 'deadbeats,' nobody
should be jailed or sterilized for the
'crime' of being poor."
According to the Associated
Northern Kentucky judge suspended for lack
of patience, temper (5/30/06), Foellger
is now being disciplined for his courtroom
"A northern Kentucky judge
has been suspended for being sarcastic,
insulting and verbally abusive to people who
appeared in his courtroom.
"The Judicial Conduct Commission
suspended Campbell County Family Court Judge
D. Michael Foellger for 30 days, without
pay, beginning last Friday.
"Judge Foellger displayed 'a gross lack
of patience and loss of temper' in dealing
with attorneys and their clients as well as
clerks and court designated workers 'by
shouting and by using inappropriate,
demeaning, sarcastic, insulting and abusive
language,' the Judicial Conduct Commission
said in a written report.
"'Instances of such conduct were not
isolated, but were persistent and
pervasive,' the commission said Friday.
"The state judicial code of conduct
requires judges to be patient, dignified and
courteous to people who appear in their
"Foellger waived formal disciplinary
proceedings and agreed to the commission's
findings and accepted the suspension.
"In its report, commission members said
Foellger has expressed remorse and
apologized for his conduct. They said
Foellger also has taken remedial steps to
control his emotions and that he has pledged
that the conduct will not be repeated.
"The commission said in the report that
it will require periodic review of
Foellger's courtroom conduct to ensure
It couldn't have happened to a nicer
John Stossel Defends Divorced Dads in New
20/20 anchor John Stossel has a section
defending divorced dads in his new book
Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get
Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is
Wrong. He discusses the work of Dr.
Sanford Braver, author of
Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths,
and Braver's debunking of the famous
One of the most pervasive and pernicious
myths of our time is the idea that men gain
economically from divorce while women suffer
from it. The myth stems from a now
discredited study conducted over two decades
ago by feminist Lenore Weitzman, author of
the 1985 book The Divorce Revolution.
Weitzman concluded that women's standard of
living after divorce dropped by three
quarters while men's rose over 40%. The
media trumpeted her research and it led to
sharp increases in child support guidelines.
However, years later Weitzman was forced to
admit that her findings were vastly
overstated, due to a huge mathematical
Despite this, the myth that
men gain economically from divorce remains
pervasive, and is repeated even today by
numerous writers and commentators, including
conservatives like Dennis Prager, feminists
like Ann Crittenden, and even by masculists
like Tom Leykis.
Braver helped uncover and
expose the Weitzman hoax. According to
Braver, when all relevant factors are taken
into account, including the numerous tax
advantages custodial parents enjoy, the "men
gain/women lose" idea is badly in error.
To hear Braver discuss this
His Side with Glenn Sacks go to
Do Men Gain Economically from Divorce?
(2/29/04). Braver's newer research shows
that child support guidelines have become so
stacked against noncustodial parents that
they often push noncustodial parents' living
standards far below those of custodial
parents. I detail this in my co-authored
New Study Shows Massachusetts' Child Support
Guidelines Among Worst in Nation (Massachusetts
News (7/28/04). Family law attorney Jeff
Leving and I wrote:
"A new study of child
support has concluded that Massachusetts'
guidelines are among the most poorly
designed in the nation.
"The study examines the child support
guidelines of seven geographically and
politically diverse states, including
Massachusetts. The researchers conclude that
'under current child support guidelines, the
majority of custodial parents currently have
higher standards of living than their
matched noncustodial parents,' and that
Massachusetts' guidelines represent the most
'dramatic' example of this inequity...
"Leaving aside the popularity of anti-father
politics, the authors conclude that the
support guidelines have become tilted
against noncustodial parents because they
fail to consider the large tax benefits
custodial parents enjoy, as well as
noncustodial parents' child-related
"After accounting for taxes and noncustodial
parent expenses, Braver and Stockburger
conclude that a Massachusetts custodial
parent need earn only 40% of what a matched
noncustodial parent earns in order to enjoy
a standard of living equal to that of the
noncustodial parent. By contrast, U.S.
Census data shows that the median income of
the category closely resembling female
divorced custodial parents is far
higher--85% of that of male noncustodial
parents. In fact, in six of the seven states
studied, the median income a custodial
parent needs to have a standard of living
equal to that of the noncustodial parent is
below 85%, often dramatically so.
"The guidelines have been
slanted against divorced dads so sharply
that their obligations often cause them to
fall deeply in arrears, particularly if they
have been laid off or have suffered drops in
income. Some struggle to stay out of jail,
while others feel it's hopeless and
disappear. Most of these men aren't
deadbeats, but instead fathers who supported
their children honorably while married and
after their divorces. What rationale is
there for Massachusetts' child support
guidelines if they serve to drive away one
of the two people who most love a child?"
Stossel also discusses Parental Alienation
Syndrome and the way divorced dads are often
driven out of their children's lives by
vindictive mothers. He says:
"The media automatically
cast divorced parents in the roles of
villainous father and heroic mother. Many
mothers are heroic, but so are many fathers.
But a divorced mother as the villain? Heaven
forbid! That would stand the world of media
victimology on its head."
To learn more about Braver's
work, see his web page
here. Thanks to
Jane Spies of the
National Family Justice Association for
the news tip.
Woman Framed in Sex Abuse Case
I've written on numerous occasions of men
being falsely accused of rape or child
sexual abuse, or being framed on false sex
abuse charges as part of a custody battle.
In an interesting twist,
this article discusses a case where a
woman was apparently framed by her adopted
son on a false sex abuse charge, and was
sentenced to a staggering 25 to 50 years in
prison. According to
Was a woman wrongly convicted in sex case?:
"Lorinda Swain is serving 25-50 years at
the Huron Valley Women's Complex in
Ypsilanti for having oral sex with her
adoptive son when he was eight.
"But her chief accuser - her adoptive son,
Ronnie - admits that he lied about the
entire abuse. 'I never meant for it to
happen like this,' said Ronnie.
"Ronnie Swain, now 18, was a troubled youth.
He used drugs, watched porn, ran with the
wrong crowd. He also molested his young
"'I touched her private parts,' he told 24
Hour News 8.
"As the investigation began, he thought of a
way to protect himself. He was repeatedly
asked if he'd ever been molested.
"Upset with Lorinda because she was stealing
money from family members to feed her own
drug habit at the time, Ronnie told the
investigators she abused him.
"'I thought she'd get clean (of drugs,)' he
said. 'Next thing you know I'm in court
testifying about something I lied about,' he
"His biological grandmother, Mary Stephens,
said she knew 'from day one' that Ronnie
lied to about the whole thing.
"'When that verdict came down I just about
fell out,' Stephens said, with tears in her
eyes. 'It's hard.'
"'I've been here wrongfully and I'm worried
that I'm not going to get justice,' Lorinda,
45, said in a phone interview with 24 Hour
"At her trial, Ronnie is remembered as being
wishy-washy on the stand. He fell silent
while testifying when he was asked if he was
telling the truth.
"The 2001 trial in Calhoun County had no DNA
evidence, only Ronnie's word against Lorinda.
The jury found her guilty, and in 2002 she
was sentenced to 25-50 years in prison.
"Ronnie said he is 'furious about' the
verdict, and has since tried to kill
"Over the past five years, through various
appeals, questions about the case still
"While awaiting her original trial,
Lorinda's cell mate in Calhoun County Jail
was Deborah Charles, a woman with 12 aliases
and 24 felony convictions. Charles testified
that Lorinda admitted her guilt."
Read the rest of the article
As an aside, I'm always extremely
distrustful of alleged confessions of guilt
by defendants to jailhouse informants, as
happened here. I always figure that if the
prosecution has to rely on a jailhouse
informer, they must have a very weak case,
or even that they are trying to frame
somebody. If I ever served on a jury where
the prosecution pulled a stunt like that, I
think I'd immediately vote to acquit...
Agape Press Covers Defeat of SB 1482
Agape Press covered our
successful campaign against SB 1482--see
Senator Withdraws Bill Giving Custodial
Parents Free Rein to Move Away
(5/26/05). The article also quoted me on one
of my pet peeves--the way taxpayer funded
domestic violence groups are able to lobby
against fathers on our dime and our time.
According to the article:
"Among the legislation's supporters,
Sacks notes, were the California National
Organization for Women and the California
Commission on the Status of Women, and he
says several domestic violence groups were
lobbying in favor of the bill as well.
"Such groups 'want to insist that if
there's a divorce or separation, Mom should
be able to do whatever she wishes with her
kids,' Sacks insists. 'Those groups are
funded by your tax dollars and my tax
dollars,' he says, 'and basically all of
these groups are trying to do whatever they
can to change the law so that if a divorced
or separated mother wants to get rid of her
children's father, she can -- and there's
going to be very little that can stop her.'"
Glenn Discusses SB 1482 Campaign on
American Family Radio
I discussed the
Campaign Against California Senate Bill 1482
on American Family Radio on May 17.
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
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
Jane Spies Exposes Missouri Child Support
I've written before of the case of Herbert L.
Chalmers, a St. Louis man who committed a quadruple
murder-suicide in April over a child support dispute
which left him to survive on $400 a month. Chalmers
claimed that he was the victim of a child support
enforcement mistake. It turned out, of course, that
child support enforcement had made an error, and was
charging Chalmers five times what he actually owed.
For my previous commentary, see
I Couldn't Be Less Surprised.
Missouri child support enforcement is under some
pressure because of this, and is being investigated.
Jane Spies of the
National Family Justice Association reports that
this "investigation" is a whitewash. According to
Review finds few child support errors (St.
Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/16/06).
"Spurred by a shooting rampage in St. Louis last
month, a quick review of Missouri's child support
system indicates 99.24 percent of support records
contain no errors, officials said Tuesday.
"The results were viewed as either a hearty
validation of the system or too good to be true.
"The Department of Social Services was 'very,
very pleased' with the findings, said spokeswoman
Deborah Scott. The department felt the glowing
results showed a wider review was unnecessary. But
state Auditor Claire McCaskill said she doubted the
findings, criticized the review's limited scope and
said she now harbored even more interest in auditing
the state's child support enforcement program.
"The Family Support Division, which handles the
child support duties, ran the internal review after
Herbert L. Chalmers, reportedly upset by his child
support payments, killed four people and himself on
April 18. He was supposed to be paying $133 a month
in current child support, but a state worker entered
a figure of $724.92, which is what he owed in back
support. State officials later admitted to a data
entry error. So they set out to determine if the
mistake was an aberration or part of a pattern.
"The division spot-checked 396 cases in St. Louis
and St. Louis County, a representative sample of the
more than 88,000 cases in the region. It hunted for
just one specific error: whether the amount on the
child support order matched the amount logged into
the state's computer database. In 393 cases, the
"The three cases with errors featured two cases
off by $1 each and one case with an $161.50 error in
each monthly payment. But the severe miscalculation
had little impact: The noncustodial parent had not
made a payment in years, Scott said. The errors were
"It is possible to use the limited review to hint
at the number of mistakes statewide, assuming the
St. Louis samples were representative, said the Rev.
Mike May, chairman of the mathematics and
mathematical computer sciences department at St.
"Using the state's error rate of .75 percent, May
expected 1,868 to 3,737 cases to contain these
particular data entry errors out of the state's
total caseload of 373,677.
"Scott said even an error rate below 1 percent
allowed room for improvement. The department
recently won funding from state lawmakers to
establish a new call center dedicated to fielding
questions in child custody cases. Scott said the
move would allow caseworkers more time to work cases
and boost collections.
"McCaskill said she was skeptical of the review's
success because previous audits from her office have
found a range of problems with the state's child
support enforcement system, such as improperly
distributing child support payments and not using
all available resources to locate parents who owe
"This analysis by the department goes under the
category 'too good to be true,'" McCaskill said.
"For the department to come out with this
self-review, McCaskill said, "that probably moves
them up on our list of where we need to do audit
"Jane Spies, executive director of the National
Family Justice Association, a Georgia-based family
advocacy group, also criticized the state's finding
as too narrow and not independent.
"'I just think it is really misleading,' Spies
The statement that a "review of Missouri's child
support system indicates 99.24 percent of support
records contain no errors" is outrageous--they only
looked for one, narrow type of error. There are a
wide variety of error committed by Child support
enforcement bureaucracies. As I noted in my
Persecuting Low Income Parents (Cincinnati
Post, Kentucky Post, 8/26/05):
"Beyond mistaken identity...common agency errors
include: mathematical errors; failure to record or
transfer records of payments; billing men for
children they did not father; failing to stop child
support when a child reaches the age of
emancipation; accepting custodial parents' false
reports of nonpayment; and failure to update child
support orders with later court rulings affecting
Finding Your N.U.T.s.--Non-negotiable
Wayne M. Levine, M.A., founder
of BetterMen, has written a new book
with sage advice and proven tools
for men who want to be BetterMen in
their relationships and in their
lives. Finding Your N.U.T.s
offers men the truth about
themselves, their relationships,
their responsibilities as men, and
the power they have to be BetterMen.
Ellis Rides Against the Wind
Congratulations to Thomas
Ellis on selling 1,000 copies of his
The Rantings of a Single Male:
Losing Patience with Feminism,
Political Correctness... and
Basically Everything. It's
quite an accomplishment, given that
the publishing industry gives vastly
more attention to Women's Studies
books than Men's Studies.
Rantings describes the rise
of feminism from the mid '70s to the
present, through Ellis' personal
experiences, and is loaded with
outrageous stories. Available at
Barnes&Noble Online and
Dead Guy Falls Behind on His Child Support, Has
Taxes Seized--'Being Dead Is No Excuse for Not
Paying,' D.A. Says
Dead Man Billed For Child Support:
"A widow says she's still getting bills from the
Nebraska Child Support Office addressed to her late
husband, asking for money. The Nebraska Child
Support Office is asking for payments, even though
her husband passed away a year ago.
"'He has two children that live in Texas and he
had been paying child support on them,' said Dawn
"Hunt used to live in Lincoln, but after her
husband died, she moved to Des Moines, IA, and got a
"'Mid-November, I received a bill in Chad's name
to my new address in Iowa. It was from the Nebraska
Child Support Office. I opened it up and it said,
'your child support is past due,' and I was like
'what is this?'" said Hunt.
"Hunt said she was told that the child support
office knew he was deceased. Hunt said the office
person she spoke with told her that an order needed
to be made to stop payments and that the office
would take care of it...
"Hunt has racked up around $4,000 in owed child
support since his death. Due to the owed child
support, Dawn Hunt's federal tax refunds were
withheld for about a month because she filed jointly
with her husband."
Perhaps the least trustworthy words ever are when
an error is pointed out to child support enforcement
and they promise to "take care of it."
BTW, I was just joking about "'Being Dead Is No
Excuse for Not Paying,' D.A. Says." No district
attorney would ever say such a thing. I think.
Concerned about Financial Issues in Your
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.
Domestic Violence Expert Says DV Policies
Based on Gender Politics, not Science
Dr. Donald Dutton's new book Rethinking
is out. Dutton is one of North America's leading
proponents of sanity in the domestic violence
sphere. According to Dutton, his new book "reviews
all research on causes, incidence and policy toward
domestic violence called Intimate Partner Violence
(IPV). It concludes IPV causation is best explained
by personality disorder and that gender analysis is
not supported by the data. It shows how the male
perpetrator-female victim stereotype is not typical.
Similarly, it reviews evidence for both mandatory
arrest and no drop prosecution and finds that both
have failed. It recommends a more flexible
professional approach that blends, criminal justice,
community psychology and community mental health
Dutton appeared on
His Side with Glenn Sacks
last summer--to listen, go to
Congress to Vote on Renewing Anti-Male Violence
Against Women Act (VAWA) (7/3/05).
I also quoted him
extensively in my column
Domestic Violence Treatment Policies Put Abused
Women in Harm's Way (Daily Breeze [Los
Angeles], 11/7/05). I
criticized domestic violence treatment programs for
following an ideological, women good/man bad model,
as opposed to actually dealing with the
psychological problems that abusive men have. I
"Psychologist Donald G. Dutton,
author of The Abusive Personality: Violence and
Control in Intimate Relationships, asserts that
personality disorders are the cause of most domestic
violence. According to Dutton:
"'Treatment providers who work with
abusive men are very frustrated by the current
domestic violence treatment paradigm. Research shows
that Duluth-oriented treatments are absolutely
ineffective, and have no discernible impact on rates
of recidivism. These methods cannot work because
they preclude patients from developing the crucial
therapeutic bond with their treatment providers.
However, when we treat offenders like normal
patients by focusing on personality disorders and
employing cognitive-behavioral treatments, we see
learn more about Dutton's new book, click
here. Dutton's email address is
Dad's Time Tracker - Get More Time With Your
Children and Manage Your Child Support
Dad's Time Tracker helps divorced
fathers collect the information necessary to
get more parenting time, lower their child
support, or gain custody of their children
by creating a child support payment record
and thorough tracking of expenses. This
tool makes co-parenting easier because key
"friction" areas--expenses, medical issues,
contacts, day care information, parenting
time--are addressed in advance.
How to Win Shared Custody
If you are an active, engaged, committed,
dedicated, loving parent facing a divorce,
family law attorney
Nicholas Palermo's The Ten Essential
Elements to Winning Joint Shared Physical
and Legal Custody can help you protect
your relationship with your children.
Sorry but I'll Have to Pass
It's almost the one year anniversary of the death
of Perry Manley, a Seattle fathers' activist who
committed "suicide by cop" last June. Manley
entered the federal courthouse in Seattle with what
appeared to be a grenade, refused to surrender or
negotiate, and made a sudden move, after which
police fired, killing him. Unfortunately in the wake
of his death Manley has been made into a hero by
certain misguided fathers' activists. For example,
one activist recently wrote:
"I have never forgotten Perry Manley...I grieved for
him then. I grieve for him now. I remember when they
shot him down. I watched it all unfold on TV...Perry
wasn't asking for much. He just wanted justice and
to be a Dad. Instead people treated him like a
'kook.' But we know he was a martyr for our
cause--no matter what anyone says to the contrary. I
will never forget him. He fought alone like so many
of us...I will never forget Perry, I will always
honor what he stood for."
"Manley devoted his life fighting government imposed
control of our income and interference in our lives
when parents divorce. He stood largely alone and
was essentially driven crazy to a degree...it's
important that we don't forget about him and honor
what he stood for."
Sorry, but I'll have to pass. I gave my opinion
in this enewsletter at the time of the shooting last
year, and was greatly criticized by some for it.
What I wrote still seems accurate to me. It appears
below, exactly as it was a year ago:
My Opinion of Perry Manley's 'Suicide by Cop'
Many of you have written to me
asking my opinion of
Perry Manley's 'Suicide by Cop' Monday in
Seattle. Manley, angry over a family court matter,
entered the courthouse with what appeared to be a
grenade. According to police, Manley refused to
surrender or negotiate, and made a sudden move,
after which police fired, killing him. The grenade
turned out to be a fake--Manley was unarmed.
As for Manley's family court
grievance, the facts, as far as I can ascertain
Manley divorced in 1990 from his
wife, with whom he had 3 kids.
Manley claimed the child support
system had treated him unfairly. I don't know if
this is true, but it certainly is a common problem
for divorced dads.
Manley claimed that his ex-wife
interfered with his visitation with his kids and
alienated them against him. Again, I don't know if
this is true, but it certainly is a common problem.
Manley claimed that paying child
support in and of itself was unconstitutional and a
violation of his human rights. He made this his
central issue, as opposed to the alleged violations
of his custody and visitation rights.
Manley claimed that a judge who
had ruled against him had violated the constitution
in his dealings with him, thus violating his oath of
office and committing "treason" which, Manley said,
is punishable by death.
I have received many letters
telling me that Manley is a hero, and even that I
should honor him (or his memory) on my radio show
this Sunday. I'll pass. Manley was unarmed, and that
certainly counts in his favor, but his actions were
reckless and needlessly put innocent civilians in
harm's way. It served no constructive purpose but
instead makes it easier for our many enemies to
portray divorced dads as violent nuts.
While many divorced dads are
abused by the child support system, it is unclear
whether the child support demands upon Manley, who
had three children in need of support, were
unreasonable. Manley made child support, not his
rights as a father, his central issue.
Had Manley done what
David Chick did, I could support him.
David Chick is a hero.
Gary LaMusga is a hero.
Jolly Stansby and
Ron Davis and
Gary S. and
Edgar P. and
John Brumbaugh and
Benoit Leroux are heroes. Manley may (or may
not) have been a victim of a family law system which
has torn millions of fathers and children apart. But
either way there was nothing heroic about his
actions this week."
Around the same time last year,
in a letter to one of my detractors, I wrote:
"If Manley had talked
about his access to his children and made them the
issue, I would be a lot more sympathetic. But he
rarely mentioned that, instead focusing on this
child support constitutionality nonsense. He was
asked to pay $650 a month to support three children
(apparently it was only $210 a month in the
beginning). Was that unfair? Is that what he died
for? OK, he
didn't like paying through the government, which I
understand, but where's the real grievance here? He
had 3 kids in need of support, he was the family
breadwinner so he was obligated to pay it--so what?
I've got 10,000 letters in my email box from guys
who have bigger grievances than this. If he made the
issue his access to his kids I'd sympathize, but he
hardly even mentioned his kids. Also, given his
mental instability (which many who knew him have
written to me about), it's possible that he was
alienated from his kids in part because of his own
actions, not his ex-wife's."
Mom Who Killed Son Still
Entitled to Alimony From Father, Court Rules
One of my readers sent me this
Upheld For Mom Who Kicked Son To Death:
"Linda Calbi admitted she kicked
her 14-year-old son, causing injuries that led to
his death. But a judge has ruled that she's still
entitled to alimony payments from her ex-husband.
"Christopher Calbi had sought to end the payments,
claiming his ex-wife violated her moral obligation
to provide a safe home for their two children after
the couple divorced.
"Superior Court Judge Eugene Austin refused. He
suspended the $3,183 monthly payments while Linda
Calbi spends 30 months in jail; however, the judge
said that when she gets out, she can apply to have
"Her ex-husband also must continue to make $400
monthly payments toward the $50,000 back alimony
debt that he had amassed.
"'I am not going to terminate the contract,' Austin
said. 'It's a valid obligation negotiated between
the parties. Mrs. Calbi has pleaded guilty. She will
do her time. But for the next 30 or 40 years, you
two are parents of the same child and you both are
going to have to deal with that.'
"During a court hearing in Bergen County, the
Teaneck man said he has a 'huge hole' in his heart
and has become 'financially destitute' since the
Aug. 2003 death of his elder son, Matthew.
"Linda Calbi was originally charged with murder, but
was allowed to plead guilty to aggravated assault
after admitting that she kicked Matthew in her Old
Tappan home, causing injuries that led to his death.
"'That someone like me should have to support the
woman who did this to my child is beyond
comprehension,' Christopher Calbi said after the
"His ex-wife's attorney, Ian Hirsch, called the
ruling fair, arguing that the woman's crime cannot
be used as a legal reason to end alimony payments.
"'Mr. Calbi is using his son's death to take away
any obligations he has,' Hirsch said. 'I think he's
trying to take advantage of a tragedy and turn it
around to his economic benefit.'"
You gotta love this attorney--dad
not wanting to pay money to the woman who killed his
son is "taking advantage of a tragedy and turning it
around to his economic benefit." Bad dad--how could
he be so rotten?
One more question--can you imagine
a judge ordering a woman to pay alimony to the
ex-husband who murdered her child? In fact, in
California has a recent law which created a
presumption that a victim of domestic violence
should not be required to pay support to a violent
Divorced Dads in Annie's Mailbox
There are a couple of
interesting letters from divorced dads in recent
Annie's Mailbox columns. One involves a mother
dad's attempt to teach his son the value of money
and of keeping commitments. In our current climate,
whenever dads try to teach their children financial
restraint they are stereotyped as cheap or as
"Dear Annie: I have a
16-year-old son whom I love very much. I have been
divorced from his mother for eight years, remarried
for the last six. 'Brendan' lives with his mother in
the same city, so I see him a lot.
"We had a good relationship
until recently. I told Brendan I would give him a
car and pay for the insurance if he kept his grades
up. He agreed. His first report card, he got a D in
one subject. The car stayed at my house. Four weeks
later, he got another D on his mid-term.
"The day after he received his
grades, Brendan gave my wife and me a very
impressive presentation, with charts and everything.
He promised to work hard, do extra credit and show
us his test scores every week. We caved and let him
have the car. Well, he had an excuse every week why
he didn't have his test scores. When his grades
came, he had two Ds.
"I told Brendan to bring back the car, and he said I
needed to talk to his mom, my ex. Naturally, she
took his side and wanted the car to stay at her
house, and didn't care that Brendan and I had an
agreement. The car is now back at my place, but
Brendan is angry with me, and my ex is probably
going to buy him a car.
"I want my son to learn that there are consequences
for being irresponsible. Am I wrong? -- Worried Dad
"Dear Dad: You are not wrong.
A car is a privilege, not a right, no matter what
some kids think. You kept your end of the bargain,
and if his mother buys him a Porsche, let it be HER
problem. Your ex is teaching Brendan that he doesn't
have to work for anything and that it's OK to renege
on agreements. We hope you will keep trying to teach
him otherwise, Dad."
One can almost hear 16
year-old Brendan fuming to his friends that his dad
is a cheapskate. I wonder who taught him to think
that way about his dad?
Another recent column deals
Parental Alienation Syndrome:
"Dear Annie: My son's mother and
I broke up more than four years ago, when he was an
infant. My son is now 5 years old. Unfortunately, I
have heard my son tell his friends and others some
very bad things about me. The verbal poisoning from
his mother is getting worse. Almost every time I see
him, I hear something new or he tells me about the
horrible things he was told I did to his mother.
"Up until now I have answered him by saying, 'I
am sorry you had to hear that, but let's move on.'
However, I am concerned if I do not respond to his
comments, he will have no choice but to believe the
terrible things she (and possibly her family) are
saying about me.
"I realize I have no control over what my ex
says, but I am sure this poison can be very damaging
to a child in the long run. How do I respond to my
son without being derogatory toward his mother?
The High Road Is a Lonely
"Dear High Road: Try diplomacy first. Talk to
your ex-wife and explain what you are hearing from
your son. Tell her you understand that she holds a
grudge, but such comments undermine your child's
emotional stability and security. Ask her to cease
and desist for his sake. If this doesn't work, we
recommend family counseling for you and your son,
and if possible, include your ex. Sometimes an
unbiased third party can work through these
destructive behavior patterns.
"Lastly, there is nothing wrong with telling your
son, 'Mommy sometimes says angry things because she
is unhappy that our family isn't together anymore. I
am very sorry that Mommy is unhappy, but I want you
to know how much I love you.' This says nothing
derogatory about Mom, but does reassure your son
about your feelings for him - and that is what
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.
Help for Boston Dads
Boston family law attorney Nick
Palermo is a shared custody advocate
who believes that divorced dads are
parents, not visitors. The Law
Offices of Nicholas Palermo is a
dedicated and committed trial law
firm which has worked to make shared
custody for all fit parents the law
of the land.
LAW OFFICES OF NICHOLAS PALERMO
In her recent article
Mothers Make a Beautiful Mark on Public Life
Peggy Drexler, author of Raising Boys Without Men,
"Are mothers goddesses? Or are we responsible for
everything that's wrong with our children, our
families and the world?
"We hail mothers as life-givers and supreme
nurturers, then blame them--and ourselves--when
children and families develop problems.
"Cultural convenience continues to define good and
bad mothering, just as it has through the ages.
Mothers have traditionally been viewed as saints,
victims or villains. It wasn't that long ago when
clinicians thought mothers caused autism and
schizophrenia, along with 70 other
psychopathologies. Even today, mothers are easy
targets of blame when children develop disorders of
one kind or another or when marriages go sour."
Drexler pounds home her "mothers get all the
blame" theme through her book, too. Peggy and I must
live in different countries. In the United States
men and fathers are blamed for all family problems,
including divorce, and Drexler is part of the
problem. In my column
Raising Boys Without Men: Lesbian Parents Good,
Dads Bad (World Net Daily, 9/10/05) I
"Drexler, like many feminists, has a double
standard about divorce. When men divorce women,
they're rats and deserters. When women divorce men,
they're independent and liberated. Raising Boys
makes numerous critical references to fathers who've
divorced their wives: Martha's husband 'left her
high and dry'; Beverly's husband abandoned her
'abruptly' when their children were small; and Pam's
marriage ended because of her ex-husband's alleged
'lack of family commitment.' In fact, the only
father who departed from his family against the
mother's wishes and isn't vilified for it is a guy
"Yet not one of the many divorced mothers and
divorced-turned-lesbian mothers in Raising Boys
is ever criticized or even chided for breaking
up her family by divorcing her children's father.
The vast majority of divorces involving children are
initiated by women, and research shows that the
primary reason is not abuse or adultery, but instead
emotional reasons such as a perceived lack of
closeness or of not feeling loved and appreciated.
Legitimate concerns, but were they proffered by a
man who had broken up his family they would engender
After my column
Are Boys Really Better off Without Fathers? (San
Francisco Chronicle, 8/31/05) came out last fall
Peggy was invited to debate the issue with me on one
of the biggest radio shows in the country (sorry--I
can't reveal which one) but declined.
In her new article Drexler also propounds the
Drexler Doctrine--boys don't need fathers. She
"It's increasingly clear that even without the
presence of a strong father, mothers are fully
capable of engendering character, self-confidence
and ambition in their children. Just ask San
Francisco's mayor, Gavin Newsom; bicyclist and
cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong; and former
President Bill Clinton. All credit their single
mothers by circumstance as instrumental in their
That Newsom was raised by a single mother is of
some dispute. One of my San Francisco readers wrote
"I question whether he was raised by a divorced
mom, and if it is true, that he didn't suffer. His
father is William Newsom, a long time State Court of
Appeal judge and somewhat of a kingmaker in San
Francisco politics...I seriously doubt he was
raised by a single mother and if he was, his father,
who was a political advisor to him, was very
influential in his promotion to County Supervisor
The idea that Bill Clinton is an example of good
character is also of some dispute, though obviously
to become president of the United States is a
fantastic achievement. As for Armstrong, Paul
Coughlin, author of
No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice--Instead
of Good--Hurts Men, Women, and Children and
a cycling fan, writes:
"I keep an eye on Lance
Armstrong and I'm amazed by his abilities,
especially his cadence and lightness on the pedals
as he flies up mountains. I'm also familiar with his
background, apparently more so than Drexler. Young
Lance Armstrong was not 'emotionally healthy.' He
was, by his own admission, a lost and angry young
jerk. Two trainers, Chris Charmichael and Johann
Bruyneel, took him under their paternal wing and
coaxed stellar talent out of his troubled body and
soul. Eddy Merckx, perhaps the greatest cyclist
ever, was also a huge influence in Lance's life.
When others abandoned him professionally, his agent
Ken Stapleton stayed by his side.
"And it was another racer who, seeing young, brash,
angry Lance in a field sprint with him near the
finish line, who taught Lance a lesson in humility
that he never forgot. The well-respected racer hit
his brakes because he did not want to appear on the
same podium as troubled Armstrong. This man gave up
money and fame to distance himself from a young
racer whose emotional immaturity and reckless
disregard earned him a growing list of detractors
who rightly complained that Armstrong did not know
how to win well or live well.
"He was not always the good ambassador of one of the
world's most incredible sports that he is today. It
took the intervention of some big souls to make that
In other words, Armstrong's childhood was not the
"fatherless but happy" experience that Drexler
pretends it was. I'm sure his mother did her best
but it wasn't until there was intervention by some
male father figures that Armstrong changed from a
antagonistic young man into the man he is today.
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The Rise of America
According to author John D. Diamond, "We are
fighting a war in defense of our homes, our
families, and posterity. This war is being
fought in our courts and it is being fought
in our schools...It is a war of ideology and
it is war for the very future of this
nation." To order
The Rise of America click
Our PBS Campaign, Parental Alienation Syndrome
Discussed in 300+ Newspapers
Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, whose
columns appear in over 300 newspapers, discusses our
Campaign Against PBS's Father-Bashing
Breaking the Silence in her recent
column on Parental Alienation Syndrome--Let's
not alienate parents in custody battles.
Parental Alienation Syndrome is when one
parent--usually the custodial parent--tries to
poison his or her children's minds and turn the
children against the noncustodial parent. Parker
describes Parental Alienation Syndrome as "agony for
a noncustodial parent and emotional problems for
children alienated from one parent," and commends a
recent proclamation signed by Maine's Governor John
E. Baldacci that recognizes April 25 as "Parental
Alienation Awareness Day."
In my column
PBS Declares War on Dads (World Net Daily,
10/20/05) I described in detail numerous
examples of PAS. One of them, experienced by one of
my readers, is as follows:
"After Jim L.'s wife divorced him and moved his
daughters out of state, she sent the two girls fake
or altered e-mails purporting to be Jim. Afterwards,
Jim's daughters refused to see him, explaining only
'you know what you've done, you know what you said,
you know what you wrote.'
"Once when Jim flew to see his girls for his
scheduled weekend visit, his ex-wife decided at the
last minute to block the visit. Jim flew home on
Sunday without having seen his girls. When he
arrived at the airport back home he checked his
messages and found a message from his ex-wife. On
the recording his girls could be heard crying in the
background. His ex-wife said:
"'Jim, the girls are here at the restaurant waiting
for you to come pick them up. You said you'd meet
them here for breakfast and spend the day with them,
and you didn't show up. The girls are very upset.
Jim, where are you?!?'"
Parker also wrote:
"Fathers who feel disenfranchised when courts
award custody of their children to the mother during
divorce have used PAS successfully to pressure
judges to allow greater access to their children.
One can hardly blame men for trying to be fathers.
"But critics claim that abusive fathers sometimes
use PAS to force access where none should be
granted. Mothers claim in such cases that they're
trying to protect their children, not alienate them.
"This latter argument became the centerpiece last
fall of a controversial PBS documentary about abused
women and children, 'Breaking the Silence,' that
fathers' groups attacked as unbalanced and unfair.
"No fathers were interviewed, and the cases reviewed
tended to be extreme and sensational.
"Several women interviewed, for instance, said that
they lost custody of their children to abusive
fathers (confirmed by the children themselves) when
fathers used PAS to 'prove' that the women were
systematically teaching their children to hate their
"Glenn Sacks, a radio show host and columnist,
called the film a 'direct assault on fatherhood,'
and organized a protest on his Web site. Others -
many of whom I know and respect as fellow toilers in
trying to advance fatherhood - joined in.
"Sacks' campaign had an effect, and PBS ombudsman
Michael Getler wrote a lengthy response agreeing
that the show was unbalanced."
As we've noted, in the end PBS agreed to
commission a new film to examine the issues raised
by the film and our campaign in a more balanced,
detailed light. To learn more, click
here. The groups to which Parker refers when she
writes "fellow toilers in trying to advance
Fathers and Families, the
American Coalition for Fathers & Children, and
Help Stop PAS Inc.
As for Parker's comment that "Several women
interviewed, for instance, said that they lost
custody of their children to abusive fathers
(confirmed by the children themselves)" this
"confirmation" is dubious in several cases. We
revealed court findings, records and testimony show
that Sadia Loeliger--portrayed as a heroic mom in
the film--abused children under her care. In fact, a
Tulare County Juvenile Court concluded in August of
1998 that Sadia Loeliger had committed multiple acts
of abuse, and adjudged both her daughters as
dependents of the Juvenile Court. To learn more,
"The biggest losers in such cases, of course, are
neither the mothers nor the fathers, but the
children, who deserve to have unfettered access to
both parents, assuming there's no abuse, without
having to tote the adults' emotional baggage.
"Whether parental alienation meets the scientific
standards of a 'syndrome' is a battle researchers
can wage among themselves. The underlying message,
meanwhile, is that there needs to be a presumption
of shared custody following divorce, again, assuming
"Life is alienating enough without the help of one's
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of parents who are going through divorce and
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teleconferences on a weekly basis. These
sessions are conducted by two highly
experienced mental health practitioners,
versed in high conflict divorce. Drs. Bone
and Evans offer a wide spectrum of
suggestions and education regarding the
divorce process and co-parenting with
difficult former spouses.
ACFC Issues New Report: Family Violence in
America: The Truth about Domestic Violence and Child
The American Coalition for Fathers and Children
has just issued a new report,
Family Violence in America: The Truth about Domestic
Violence and Child Abuse, which explains the
many ways the war on domestic violence has separated
children from the fathers they love and need, and
has led to "by far the most severe and alarming
violation of constitutional freedoms in the United
The report, penned by ACFC President
Stephen Baskerville, PhD., concludes that family
dissolution is creating child abuse, and that child
custody disputes are a large factor both in
fabricated accusations of domestic violence and
actual incidents. According to the report:
"The public and policymakers have been seriously
misled [about domestic violence]. Gaping
inconsistencies separate what the scientific data
demonstrate about family violence from current
public policy. When the scientific knowledge of
these problems is understood, it becomes clear that
current policy is not likely to alleviate these
problems. More disturbingly, by destabilizing
families it is likely to be contributing to them...
"To break this circle, we call for a radical
departure from existing programs and offer the
"Government must adhere to the Bill of Rights and
other constitutional protections.
"Reform constitutionally questionable programs, such
as the Violence Against Women Act, that politicize
and distort law enforcement and target individuals
because of their membership in groups or their
political beliefs rather than their deeds.
"Statutory protection for parental rights to ensure
that law enforcement programs are not commandeered
to create unaccountable police actions against
innocent parents, depriving them of their children
without due process of law.
"A legal presumption of equal and shared legal and
physical custody of children in cases of divorce,
separation, and unmarried parents. By strengthening
families and the bonds between parents and their
children, we will be addressing the roots of family
violence, including child abuse."
To read the 72 page report, click
here. To contact the ACFC about the report,
firstname.lastname@example.org or call
Dr. Phil Trashes Dads--Again
Popular daytime TV host Dr. Phil is
father-bashing again. In the past I've criticized
Dr. Phil for supporting and whitewashing abusive
mother Bridget Marks, who was found by five separate
judges to have coached her little girls to believe
that they had been sexually molested by their
Marks became a cause celebre after
(briefly) losing custody of her twin girls to their
father, against whom she had waged a vicious
parental alienation campaign. Marks had appeared on
Dr. Phil during the custody battle, and Dr. Phil
held a joyous reunion with her on the air in May of
last year to celebrate her victory in the custody
The father's side spoke for the first time
His Side with Glenn Sacks--to listen or to
read a transcript of the that show, go to
Father's Side in Bridget Marks Custody Case Speaks
Publicly for First Time, 4/5/05. Several New
York newspapers quoted from our show in their news
To learn more about the Marks case, including
Marks' legal team taunting me over their court
victory, Marks' unkind comments for me, and my
newspaper columns on the Marks case, see
Bridget Marks Ruling: It's OK to Coach Little Girls
Into Saying They'd Been Molested (4/7/05)
Now Dr. Phil is again on the warpath against
dads, pushing the discredited "lazy husband" myth.
The promo for one of his shows this week is called
The Divorce Experiment and reads:
"Are you married to a man who doesn't know how
good he has it? You do the cooking, the cleaning,
take care of the kids, and he still takes you for
granted? After seven years, Amy finds herself in a
marriage where she is expected to wait on her
husband hand and foot, and never voice her opinion.
Her husband, Greg, is a self-proclaimed male
chauvinist pig and says his wife's job is to take
care of the family without questioning his role as
'king' of the house. Amy says if Greg doesn't learn
to treat her like his equal and not his servant,
she's going to divorce him. Dr. Phil sends in a
Relationship Rescue team of strong women to teach
Greg a lesson! While Amy is sent off on a special
trip to build her self-esteem, Greg gets three new
'wives' who give him a dose of his own medicine as
they put him through all that he demands of his wife
on a daily basis. Will he finally see Amy as his
equal and become a better spouse in the process?"
While it's certainly possible to find lazy husbands
(and lazy wives), as I've noted in many columns and
on the radio, the idea that husbands don't do their
share or that "women work two jobs, men only work
one" is a complete myth. In my co-authored column
Are American Husbands Slackers? (Tallahassee
Democrat, 3/22/06) family law attorney Jeff
Leving and I wrote:
"Feminist critics compare the work men and women
do at home but fail to properly account for their
disparate obligations outside the home. Census data
shows that only 40% of married women with children
under 18 work full-time, and over a quarter do not
hold a job outside the home.
"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics'
2004 Time Use Survey, men spend one and a half times
as many hours working as women do, and full-time
employed men still work significantly more hours
than full-time employed women.
"When both work outside the home and inside the
home are properly considered, it is clear that men
do at least as much as women. A 2002 University of
Michigan Institute for Social Research survey found
that women do 11 more hours of housework a week than
men but men work 14 hours a week more than women.
According to the BLS, men's total time at leisure,
sleeping, doing personal care activities, or
socializing is a statistically meaningless 1% higher
than women's. The Families and Work Institute in New
York City found that fathers now provide
three-fourths as much child care as mothers do--50%
more than 30 years ago."
We also noted that men do the most dangerous and
demanding jobs, and that men are vastly more likely
than women to be killed or injured on the job. We
wrote of the "sacrifices made by men like Terry
Helms, one of the 12 miners killed in the Sago Mine
disaster [in January]...Terry's son Nick told the
Associated Press that his father 'had endured
numerous injuries in a 30-year career and hated
mining because of the dangers'..'[My father] is very
selfless,' Nick said. '[He] refused to quit because
the job put food on the table...He gave his life in
there so I could go to the movies.'"
Another Rich, High-Living Deadbeat Goes to Jail (aka
Another Low Income Dad Goes to Debtors' Prison)
From the Akron Beacon Journal article
Dad who escaped procreation ban jailed on child
support charges (make sure to check out the next
to last paragraph):
"A judge who was forced to lift his probation
condition that a deadbeat dad not father more
children has sentenced the man to six months in jail
for continuing to fail to pay child support.
"Sean Talty, 34, of Akron, pleaded guilty on Friday
to violating terms of his five-year probation by
failing to stay current on the payments.
"Medina County Common Pleas Judge James Kimbler, who
sentenced Talty to probation in 2002 and modified
the terms under Ohio Supreme Court order in 2004,
said Talty can reduce the sentence through community
"Talty has fathered seven children by five women and
also owes support in Butler, Summit and Wayne
Counties. The Medina County case involves $30,000 he
owes for three of the children by two of the women,
including a former wife.
"Court records show the probation violations involve
$3,600 owed for 2005 and this year and failure to
get a high school equivalency degree.
"In 2004, Kimbler lifted one of his probation
conditions imposed in 2002, that Talty not father
any more children while on probation. The Ohio
Supreme Court had ruled the sentence was overbroad
because it didn't include a method for lifting the
ban if Talty caught up with his payments."
A few thoughts:
1) Obviously Talty's no model citizen. However,
you're not supposed to be imprisoned for debt in
this country--debtors prisons were abolished a long
time ago. Talty is being jailed because of failure
to pay child support, but nobody questions whether
his child support was commensurate with his income.
This is a guy who can't even get a high school
GED--it's doubtful he earns or could earn enough to
pay the obligation he's being imprisoned for.
2) Why are the five women who
bore Talty's children held blameless? All of these
women did exactly what Talty did‑‑they had children
whom they could not financially support. In fact,
given the much wider range of birth control and
reproductive choices that women have, these women
had a much larger say in the decision to have
children than Oakley did. Low income mothers get
sympathy and assistance--fathers get blame and jail.
3) I've checked the top 10 most
wanted deadbeat parents lists put out by the states
on many different occasions, usually in preparation
for an article on the war against so-called
"deadbeat dads." In my co-authored column
Federal Child Support Enforcement Cuts Will Hurt
Bureaucrats, not Children (Las Vegas
Review-Journal, 12/17/05, Riverside
Press-Enterprise, 12/16/05) family law attorney
Jeff Leving and I wrote:
"In the past few months, 'deadbeat parents' have
been the targets of highly-publicized law
enforcement actions in Virginia, Texas, Kentucky,
and Arizona. Yet Virginia's 'Most Wanted Deadbeat
Parents' list is topped by a laborer, a carnival
hired hand, and a construction worker, who
collectively somehow owe over a quarter million
dollars in child support. Of all the parents on
Texas' and Kentucky's lists, only one appears to
have an education, and the most common designation
for occupation is 'laborer.' Near the top of
Arizona's list is a maintenance man who owes
$90,223, an unemployed man of no known occupation
who owes $54,298, and, best of all, a roofer who
"This week Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott
boasted that he had arrested one of the 'deadbeats'
on his 'Most Wanted' list--Charles Silva, who owes
almost $40,000 in child support. Yet it's doubtful
that Silva will be writing a five figure check any
time soon--Silva's occupation is 'general laborer.'
Far from being lists of well-heeled businessmen,
lawyers, and accountants, the vast majority of the
men on these lists do low wage and often seasonal
work, and owe large sums of money which they could
never hope to pay off.
"Child support enforcement agencies are notorious
for their abusive tactics towards such men..."
Speaking of the Boy Crisis in Education...
Just after the publication of my co-authored
Resolving the Boy Crisis in Schools (Chicago
Sun-Times, 5/7/06) I was given another reminder
of it in my son's life. My son's Boy Scout troop had
planned to participate in a big, week long Boy Scout
campout in August. The trip sounded fantastic--a
week up in the mountains in Northern California with
all sorts of fun activities--hiking, archery,
boating, etc. Except it turns out that the troop
won't be going. The reason? Most of the boys
couldn't sign up, because they were all in danger of
having to go to summer school. Somehow I doubt that
many Girl Scout summer trips are being cancelled for
My daughter's school recently instituted a new
after school policy. Now instead of the kids going
out to the yard to play, all students who don't go
home immediately after school are corralled into the
lunch area to do homework under supervision for 30
This is a perfect example of the problems
inherent in our almost all-female elementary school
system. The school means well, but any group of male
teachers would know that after being cooped up for
almost eight hours those boys need to go out and run
around. Instead, after being forced to sit all
day--quite unnatural for little boys--when the bell
rings they must be forced marched over to yet
another half hour of sitting.
It also turns into a chore for the supervising
teachers, who must stand guard over the boys for a
half hour. No doubt many boys get punished because
they can't sit still and do their homework after
school--as if they don't already get punished enough
during the day for being unable to sit still. I
prefer the school National Review Washington
Editor Kate O'Beirne describes in
her latest book, where the students work hard
and achieve, but also "have recess twice a day, play
in the rain, wreck their good shoes, and...they like
Legal Help for Fathers
If you live in Los Angeles, Riverside or
Orange counties and you're facing a divorce,
separation, or a child custody issue, the
law firm of Oddenino & Gaule can help.
Congressional Candidate Takes Strong Stand
for Noncustodial Parents' Rights
In 2004 Libertarian presidential candidate
Michael Badnarik had a strong noncustodial
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
Hero Dad Tells Story in Parents
Joe Seldner tells of his long, hard and
ultimately successful for his children in his
Parents Magazine article
"My Fight to Keep My Kids" (April, 2000). Joe's
trial by ordeal will sound familiar to many of you:
"The nightmare began with a knock on the door. On
that hot August afternoon in 1993, my wife was out
shopping, and the kids, Dan, 9, and Laura, 6, were
at swimming lessons with my parents, who had flown
in from New Jersey. The visitor identified herself
as a caseworker for Child Protective Services and
told me that I had been accused of physically
abusing my son. I laughed. She didn't. When I asked
who would make such a ridiculous charge, she said
the information was confidential. 'I'd like you to
leave,' I said, barely containing my anger and
incredulity. Having dropped her bombshell, she
"When my wife got home, she refused to discuss the
matter and referred me to her lawyer. It was clear
that my accuser was the woman I had been married to
for ten years. I had known our relationship was in
trouble, but I'd never imagined she would do
anything like this. It felt as if someone had hit me
in the hack of the head with a sledgehammer.
"Two days later the sheriff's office served me with
divorce papers. The following week, the caseworker
came back to interview both of the kids. When she
came downstairs afterward, looking a little annoyed,
she declared there was nothing to the allegations. I
was momentarily relieved -- but the war had just
Read the full article
here. To contact Joe, click
Canadian Court Nails Jell-O to a Wall
In my co-authored column
PBS Declares War on Dads (World Net Daily,
10/20/05) family law attorney Jeff Leving and I
discussed the hard struggle so many noncustodial
parents face to get courts to properly address
Parental Alienation Syndrome in their cases. We
"As a society we pretend that broken families are
all men's fault, pay lip service to the importance
of fathers, and close our eyes while millions of
children are separated from the fathers they love
and need. Because that's what mom wants. Because
it's easier to blame everything on dad than it is to
confront mom on her destructive behavior. Because
trying to hold a divorcing mother accountable for
her behavior is like trying to nail Jell-O to a
wall. Because there's a high political cost to
be paid for crossing mothers and none to be paid for
crossing fathers." (emphasis added)
Well, last week a Canadian court nailed Jell-O to
a wall. According to the story
Mother loses kids after hindering father's access:
"A divorced woman who sabotaged her children's
relationship with their estranged father has been
stripped of their custody in a decision by Ontario's
top court which sends a message that 'parental
alienation' harms children and will not be
"'We recognize, as did the trial judge, that the
remedy of granting custody to the father is a
dramatic one. However, that remedy was supported by
the expert evidence and by the mother's persistent,
ingrained and deep-rooted inability to support the
children's relationship with the father,' said three
judges of the Ontario Court of Appeal in a unanimous
decision this week.
"The court dismissed the appeal of the Jarvis,
Ontario mother against a lower court decision last
year which ordered that the primary residence of her
five-year-old twin boys be switched from the mother
-- who had sole physical custody of them since their
birth -- to her ex-husband who resides in Hamilton.
"Calling that decision 'amply supported by the
evidence,' the Appeal Court said that although the
mother was 'otherwise a good parent,' her persistent
'troublesome conduct' against the children's best
interests included unilaterally restricting the
father to daytime visits and failing to inform him
about the children's medications, or to give him
their prescription drugs, so that they would return
home from visits with him sicker than when they
"Obstructed access affects thousands of divorced
parents and their children across Canada, according
to a 1998 parliamentary report which urged the
federal government and the provinces and territories
to devise a nationwide co-coordinated response to
failed parenting orders...
"The appeal court was also critical of the
mother's unilateral decision -- without warning,
just before the custody case went to trial -- to
uproot the boys from their school and community to
move to another town further away from their father.
'Moreover, the mother said that if the father moved
to her new town, she would move again,' the Court of
"'This conduct, in addition to many other
instances of alienating conduct, was properly viewed
by the trial judge as evidence of the mother's
inability to support the father's relationship with
the children and to consider the best interests of
"By court order, the boys now reside with their
father, but live with their mother most weekends and
see her for mid-week evening visits."
The case is also another example of how
move-aways are used by alienating custodial parents
to destroy the relationships between children and
their noncustodial parents. This is one of the
reasons our two defeats of move-away legislation in
the California legislature (click
here) are so important.
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Double-Standard in Reporting on Male DV Victims
Dr. Charles Corry, the leader
Equal Justice Foundation, the
American Coalition for Fathers and Children
affiliate in Colorado, discusses the recent murder
Clifford Evans, a Denver, Colorado male victim
of domestic violence. According to Corry:
"His wife, Debra, had stabbed him to death and if
you Google on Debra Evans you'll find a few brief
notes, e.g., the Denver Post gives it a few
short paragraphs. Typical when a woman kills a man.
"What isn't mentioned is that Debra Evans, aka
Debrah Wellington, had two prior domestic violence
convictions, one in 2001 and another as far back as
1990. Presumably the 2001 conviction required her to
take the standard 36-week DV treatment program. But
perhaps she was one of the 50% of convicted
offenders who never complete the program because it
certainly didn't change her behavior.
"According to a Fox News reporter, the neighbors
in the apartment building had become inured to the
couple fighting, and that Clifford was always the
victim. By any definition, Debra Evans is a
'batterer' but you'll never find that out from the
press. It hasn't gone to trial yet but my guess is
she will be the 'battered woman' then.
"But imagine if Clifford had a couple of prior DV
convictions and then killed Debra? Front page, above
the fold coverage would be the norm. But since Debra
is the killer the case can be buried by the press."
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