NEW CAMPAIGN--Veto Domestic Violence Bill Which Excludes Fathers, Children

September 5, 2006

NEW CAMPAIGN--Veto Domestic Violence Bill Which Excludes Fathers, Children from State Services!

The California Assembly just passed a domestic violence bill which deliberately perpetuates 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 the state provides victims of domestic violence. We're calling on California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto this misguided legislation.

I want all of you to write to the Governor to tell him to veto AB 2051 by clicking here. By filling out the form you will be sending a fax to the Governor.

Remember, what happens in California has a major impact on the laws and policies of other states and also at the federal level.

Sacramento lobbyist Michael Robinson and the California Alliance for Families and Children have been working to make the bill gender neutral for several months. AB 2051 is based on the discredited premise that men are rarely the victims of intimate partner abuse. However, more than 50 domestic violence researchers and treatment providers have signed an opposition letter to the Legislature in which they state:

"The data is without question--domestic violence affects both men and women. The politicization of this issue must stop and services must be provided to all children and their parent victims."

Court-certified batterer intervention provider John Hamel, LCSW, author of Gender-Inclusive Treatment of Intimate

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"Most people don't fail--they simply stop trying"--Jim Bouton


"I am a great writer because when I was a little girl and walked into a room where my father was sitting, his eyes would light up. That is why I am a great writer. That is why. There isn't any other reason."--Toni Morrison, Nobel-Prize winning novelist.

Partner Abuse: A Comprehensive Approach, asserts that research shows that a third of domestic violence-related injuries are incurred by heterosexual males.

According to domestic violence researcher Richard Gelles, co-author of the groundbreaking 1980 book Behind Closed Doors: Violence in American Families, it is very difficult for fathers who are being abused by their wives or significant others to protect themselves and their children. They can't leave because this would leave their children unprotected in the hands of an abuser. If they take their children they can be arrested for kidnapping. If they divorce or separate, they'd probably lose custody of their children in the divorce, again leaving their children in harm's way.

Tens of thousands of California children are being denied needed domestic violence services solely because their victimized parent is male. By ignoring the needs of these children, we are increasing the risk that they will continue the cycle of violence when they become adults.

AB 2051 was originally introduced for the purpose of addressing domestic violence within the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities. Neither Robinson, the CAFC, nor I have any problem with this. However, while the bill's original language was gender-neutral, the author later amended the bill back to gender-specific, discriminatory language, and therein lies the problem.

By vetoing AB 2051, Governor Schwarzenegger can make it clear that it's time to end the state's discriminatory policies. His veto will return the issue to the Legislature next year, so that a solution can be crafted to serve the needs of all victims of domestic violence--including men and their children.

Again, I want all of you to write to the Governor to tell him to veto AB 2051 by clicking here.

To learn more about AB 2051, see my co-authored column AB 2051 Moves California in Wrong Direction on Domestic Violence (Daily Breeze [Los Angeles], 6/1/06). To read the bill, click here. The bill references "battered women" 31 times, yet never once mentions "male victims" or "men."

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

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.

Will I See You at the National Family Law Reform Conference?

ACFC Announces Family Law Conference Registration Fee Reduction, Travel Deals

An announcement from the American Coalition for Fathers and Children regarding their National Family Law Reform Conference to be held September 15-16:

"We have heard from many people regarding their desire to attend the National Family Law Reform Conference September 15 -16th at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA.

"We have also listened to the concerns about the costs associated with attending the conference. We want you to be here. ACFC is pleased to let you know a patron has offered to pick up 1/2 of the full conference registration fees for the next 100 registrants. Full access to the conference (meals and program) is now available for $112.50  Click here to register.

"If you are an ACFC member and would like to attend the general session of the conference on Friday and Saturday, without meals and/or meal related programming, you can do so for $25.00  Non ACFC members may elect this option for $75.00  (So....become a member for $25, then register for the $25.00 conference option and save yourself $25.00 in the process)  Click here to elect either of these options. To join ACFC and become a member before registering for the conference, click here.

"When you make your hotel reservation, let the hotel know you are attending the National Family Law Reform Conference.  The reservation number for the hotel is:  Please contact the hotel directly at 703 920-3230 or toll free at 800 228-9290 to reserve your room. 

"Also, Southwest Airlines has just announced a nationwide airfare sale for tickets purchased prior to August 28th. Southwest flies into Baltimore Washington International Airport, which is about an hour from the hotel. Click here to check out Southwest fares to/from BWI. One way ticket prices range from $44 - $119.

"Reagan National Airport is 5 minutes from the Marriott. The hotel offers free shuttle service to and from the airport. Dulles Airport is located about 45 minutes from the hotel in Virginia. You should be able to find good airfare pricing into Washington for the conference. Book soon in order to receive 14 day advance reservation rates.

"A great program is being put together and includes: Phyllis Schlafly, Warren Farrell, Glenn Sacks, Michael McManus, Stephen Baskerville and many others.

"Make plans to attend. You'll have a great time, make good contacts and take away valuable ideas, materials and action plans for becoming a dynamic and effective family law change agent.

"We'll see you there. There's good news on a number of fronts regarding shared parenting. We'll have another update soon on activity around the nation."

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.

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.

Answer to Reader Queries About a Couple Other Possible Campaigns

Many of you have written to me urging me to launch a campaign based on a couple of current events. Below are my views of them.

One of the proposed campaigns is in opposition to AB 2781, a California Child Support bill. California fathers' rights activist William L. Spence has distributed emails on this. Spence writes:

"AB 2781 (Leno) Child Support Collectors has passed the Legislature and will reach Governor Schwarzenegger's desk by the end of the week. It provides that, beginning in 2010, all child support orders include language establishing a judgment in favor of any private collector the obligee may choose to contract with, by which the obligation may be increased to cover the collector's fee, by up to 33.3...% of any arrearage and up to 50% of the total fee (which thus may be as high as 66.6%). To the best of my knowledge this is the first time a law has enabled a private contract to directly obligate a non-party. It seems to me especially dangerous that this extraordinary power is being granted in the context of circumstances that tend to arise as a result of serious financial hardship, and in which mischief---the vindictiveness of ex-intimate partners---is unfortunately all too common. It is, moreover, alternatively possible for warranted collection fees to be recovered through a tort action, or perhaps a new cause modeled on that by which litigation-related attorney fees are customarily handled."

Spence is calling for the Governor to veto AB 2781.

I'm not sure what Spence means about "may be as high as 66%." However, Spence makes several good points. Like Spence, I hate to see any more debt or burden placed upon California child support obligors, because they are already very overburdened. In my co-authored column Some Progress for California Fathers, but Still a Long Way to Go (Pasadena Star-News & Affiliated Papers, Daily Breeze [Los Angeles], 6/18/06) I wrote:

"In 1992 the California legislature dramatically increased the financial burdens shouldered by fathers. Many child support orders doubled and tripled overnight, quickly placing California among the five states with the highest child support guidelines.

"The legacy of this legislation is a permanent underclass of fathers buried alive under crushing debts. According to an Urban Institute study of California child support, the average arrears owed is $3,000 higher than the median annual earnings of employed child support debtors. Those in the poorest category have a child support debt amounting to their full net income for seven and a half years."

Spence is also correct in his concern that the law "has enabled a private contract to directly obligate a non-party." I investigated AB 2781 as the subject for a possible column back in April, and this was one of the first issues I raised with one of Leno's staffers. She was stumped by it, too. Apparently the California legislature has found some way around this, and Spence is correct to be concerned about its implications.

On the other hand, there are many positive aspects of this bill which also merit consideration. Noncustodial fathers are treated horribly by private collection companies--many conclude that it's worse to deal with them than with the state enforcement agencies, which is saying a lot. AB 2781 represents the first time California has reined in these private child support collection agencies, addressed their abusive tactics and brought them under government oversight. Noncustodial fathers will benefit from these protections.

In addition, custodial mothers are often the victims of predatory private child support collection agencies, and this bill will help them, also. While custodial mothers are not my primary constituency, I certainly support anything that makes life easier for them as long as it doesn't harm children of divorce and/or their fathers.

In addition, some of AB 2781's provisions about obligating noncustodial fathers aren't as unfair as they may seem. When a noncustodial father doesn't pay his child support obligation, under current law the custodial mother must pay the full cost of the private agency's collection actions. It's not unreasonable to spread that burden out between both the custodial and noncustodial parents.

My conclusion? I have mixed emotions about AB 2781. I won't be heartbroken if Governor Schwarzenegger signs it, but I won't be unhappy with a veto, either.

The full bill can be seen at AB 2781.

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.

The New Ford Divorced Dad Ad

The other campaign many readers have urged me to launch is against a new Ford commercial. We've done campaigns against TV commercials before--in 2004 our Campaign Against Anti-Father Verizon Commercial was covered by over 300 media outlets, including CNN, Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS and several hundred newspapers. The commercial, which can be viewed here, portrayed an idiot father bumbling to try to help his daughter with her homework as his wife barked at him to "go wash the dog." A few weeks after our campaign was launched Verizon informed us that the ad would no longer be aired. I explained my reasons for doing the campaign in my column Why I Launched the Campaign Against Verizon's Anti-Father Ad (Pasadena Star-News & Affiliated Papers, 11/18/04).

The new Ford ad, which can be seen here, is described by Slate as follows:

"A family drives through some gorgeous hills and along a pretty coastline, making picturesque stops at a roadside farm stand and a beach. 'The Ford Freestyle crossover,' says the voiceover. 'More than 500 miles on a tank of gas.' Then the SUV pulls to a stop in front of a housing complex, where the dad gets out with his luggage. 'Thanks for inviting me this weekend,' he says to the mom. He hugs his kids, they say their goodbyes ('See you next week'), and the SUV drives off...

"The ad begins with ho-hum familiarity. The stock shots of the smiling family; the artfully filmed vehicle; the announcer's cheerful pitch about fuel efficiency. We're waiting for the lease/buy figures to pop up on screen when...BAM! With no warning, we find ourselves in the grip of a stern domestic drama. The music goes quiet. Dad gazes wistfully at mom, thanking her for this time with his kids. Mom looks back with wet eyes, barely able to muster a reply. The camera pulls out and we see Dad standing alone, with his sad little duffel bag, in front of what one reader termed the 'Recent Divorce Condo Complex.'"

One reader wrote "The bottom line is that it makes the fact that Dad gets the kids every other weekend OK and he should be grateful for anything else that he gets that is parceled out according to the mother's wishes. It treats as normal the fact that the father is a second class parent."

Perhaps, but I can't help but wonder how Ford could have made a divorced dad commercial without angering many in the fathers' rights movement.

If the ad had portrayed a shared parenting arrangement instead of an every other weekend dad, our side would complain that Ford is papering over the oppression of divorced dads by pretending that shared parenting is standard.

If Ford had made a commercial where it was the mother who was left behind, our side would be angry because it shows a victimized woman when, in this context, it's usually men who are victimized.

If the dad hadn't appeared cheerful and "grateful," our side would say that Ford is portraying divorced dads as angry, bitter men.

Some are angered that dad was dropped off in front of the sad 'Recent Divorce Condo Complex,' but if he had been dropped off at a big house then we'd accuse Ford of perpetuating the rich divorced dad/Porsche/trophy wife stereotype.

I can't see how Ford could have approached this much better than they did. And when television doesn't show divorced dads or pretends they don't exist, we complain that our culture makes divorced dads invisible.

My conclusion? I'm not crazy about the commercial, but I don't see it as something that merits launching a protest.

Accurate Paternity Testing
There are many important reasons why people choose to have a paternity test done. A child is entitled to the sense of belonging and identity that comes from knowing his/her parents. An alleged father also has the right to know if a child is biologically his. Paternity fraud in the United States is unfortunately a fairly common occurrence, affecting perhaps millions of men. Now you can get the accurate, fast and affordable answers to your paternity questions. Visit or call 877-434-0292 to talk to a DNA testing expert or to order a confidential test today.

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Attention California Child Support Obligors
Under the Compromise of Back Child Support Program, when money is owed to the government (not the mother), the government may compromise on back child support for up to 90% off. This law was passed in recognition of the fact that there have been many inequitable child support judgments that can no longer be appealed. We operate anywhere in California--to learn more about this program, contact family law attorney Robert Ackermann at (310) 442-8240 or at

Michigan Family Law Official Calls Glenn a 'Moron'

Apparently dad-bashing child support hardliner Dean Winnie of the 30th Circuit Court Family Division in Ingham County in Michigan is full of love for me. According to a Dads of Michigan member, at a recent lunch meeting he blasted me for being a "moron reporter" who felt sorry for "deadbeat dads." Read a short account of the lunch meeting here.

Winnie is a supporter of Michigan Attorney General Michael Cox, who has taken numerous punitive measures against noncustodial fathers. I've criticized Cox on many occasions. In early 2004 Cox launched a billboard campaign which featured a large pair of handcuffs, and boasted of jail time for fathers struggling with child support obligations. We did two His Side with Glenn Sacks shows on it--to listen, go to Michigan Fathers Under Siege (3/7/04) and Showdown in Motown: Michigan Dads vs. Leader of ACES (4/18/04).

That fall Cox announced an even more misguided and asinine billboard campaign--a contest wherein children would draw billboard designs critical of noncustodial fathers who have allegedly not paid child support. Fox News quoted me on the subject as follows:

"Custodial mothers are encouraged to coach their children to make designs critical of noncustodial parents behind on child support. And it doesn't take much imagination to figure out which noncustodial father many mothers will be encouraging their children to denounce."

I and others launched a Campaign to Help Michigan Activists Defeat Anti-Father Billboard Contest, and the Michigan activists did an excellent job protesting Cox's campaign. Cox pulled the contest in response to the protests. To read my radio call to action on the issue, click here.

I did two His Side with Glenn Sacks shows on the issue--see Michigan's Top Cop Tells Kids: Denounce Your Daddy (10/3/04) and Fathers Targeted by Cox Speak Out (10/10/04).

Help for Midwest Fathers
Cordell & Cordell is one of the largest domestic relations firms for men in the Midwest, representing fathers in Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Kansas, Indiana and Georgia. Men who come to Cordell & Cordell know that their interests and the interests of their children will be aggressively championed.

Civil War - A Father's Guide to Winning Child Custody
Joseph E. Cordell's Civil War - A Father's Guide to Winning Child Custody gives fathers clear, easy-to-understand tips on how to achieve the best results possible in a divorce. Comprehensive chapters explain every step of the divorce process, the meaning of legal terms, how courts determine custody, and how to maximize chances of victory at every stage. Cordell is the founder of Cordell & Cordell.

The North Dakota Shared Parenting Initiative

There were two more good articles about the North Dakota Shared Parenting Initiative last week--Wendy McElroy's North Dakota Debates Shared Parenting Law (Fox News, 8/29/06) and Dave Usher's Trust Parents, Not the System (Men's News Daily, 8/22/06).

Both authors question the legality and propriety of state and federal officials openly campaigning against the Initiative. The campaigning is also revealing as to how the government bureaucracies gain from the sole custody norm. Usher writes that, for these officials, "the only thing that matters is maximizing federal income to the state, even if it means senselessly destroying the lives of children and, indeed, fatherhood itself...[HHS Executive Director Carol Olson] cares only about maximizing federal revenues, pretending that decreases in state expenditures [and correspondingly federal entitlements] somehow represent a 'loss' to the state."

To learn more about the events in North Dakota, see ACFC's North Dakota Shared Parenting Battle Heats Up.

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, 

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.

AlterNet Controversy Over Leving/Sacks Piece

Our AlterNet debate over reproductive rights last month drew so many reader comments that AlterNet Associate Editor Laura Barcella wrote a whole separate piece--Birth Control and 'Men's Rights'--on the controversy. Family law attorney Jeff Leving and I had squared off against feminist columnist Kai Ma--our column was Respect a Man's Choice, Too, Ma's was The Difference Between a Womb and a Wallet. Our column was the 3rd most read on AlterNet that week.

Barcella's article doesn't give much space or chance to our side of the issue, and she dismisses many of our side's viewpoints as "tired anti-feminist ideas," etc. She also put men's rights in quotation marks. However, I do try to be positive when I can, so, to Barcella's credit, while she misspelled my co-author Jeff Leving's name all three times, she did manage to spell mine correctly two out of three times...

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.

Save Money and Get Better Gas Mileage
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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.

PBS Update

As I explained in the last enewsletter, the documentary on family law which PBS promised after our Campaign Against PBS's Father-Bashing Breaking the Silence is called Kids & Divorce: For Better or Worse, and it will be airing on PBS affiliates in mid-September. To learn more, see PBS Documentary on Family Law to Be Aired (8/22/06).

Below is a list of some of the stations and dates where Kids & Divorce: For Better or Worse is scheduled to air. Just as Breaking the Silence did not air on some PBS stations, Kids & Divorce won't either. However, if you know of an airing of Kids & Divorce which is not listed, please email us at

WGBH in Boston (9/12/06, 9/15/06, 9/17/06)
KQED in the Bay Area/San Francisco (9/15/06, 9/16/06, 9/17/06)
KTSC in Denver/Rocky Mountains (9/28/06)
KLRN in San Antonio, Texas (9/14/06, 9/17/06, 9/19/06)
KNME in Albuquerque, New Mexico (9/17/06)
WNET in New York City (10/25/06, 10/26/06)
GTE in Toledo, Ohio (9/14/06, 9/18/06)
New Hampshire Public Television (9/21/2006)
Alabama Public Television, (9/15/06, 9/19/06, 9/21/06)
KLRU in Austin, Texas (9/15/06, 9/16/06)
Louisiana Public Broadcasting (9/14/06, 9/15/06)
Wisconsin Public Television (9/14/06)
KUED in Salt Lake City (9/14/06, 9/16/06, 9/18/06)
WPSU in Central Pennsylvania (9/16/06, 9/18/06)
KTWU in Topeka, Kansas (9/15/06, 9/17/06)
MPTV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (9/16/06, 9/17/06)
Iowa Public Television (9/14/06)
KTNW in Washington state (9/15/06, 9/17/06)
Kentucky Educational Television (9/14/06, 9/16/06, 9/17/06, 9/18/06)
KACV in Amarillo, Texas (9/14/06, 9/15/06, 9/18/06, 9/20/06)
NMU in Michigan (9/14/06, 9/18/06)
WTVP in central Illinois (9/17/06, 9/18/06)
KEDT in Corpus Christi, Texas (9/14/06)
WNED in Buffalo, New York (9/24/06)

PBS is also selling DVDs of Kids & Divorce: For Better or Worse at Shop PBS here.

Help for Maryland Fathers
Family law attorney Dawn Elaine Bowie works to protect parents' relationships with their children and reduce post-divorce conflict. She practices in Montgomery, Anne Arundel and Prince George's Counties. Contact her at or go to

Tree House Solutions 
Tree House Solutions, LLC is a growing and evolving resource designed to meet the emotional and informational needs of parents who are going through divorce and those already divorced. Tree House activities are composed of live, real time 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.

John Murtari Update

Last enewsletter I wrote about John Murtari, a loving father to his 13 year-old son Domenic, who refused food and water after his incarceration on July 31 for a questionable child support arrearage. Murtari subsequently received a feeding tube. I've read John's e-newsletter for the past several years, and while at times I've disagreed with his tactics, I do respect his courage, courteous manner and fighting spirit. To learn more about John's situation, and for the latest updates, go to Teri Stoddard's blog here.

Also, see the Syracuse TV news broadcast Syracuse inmate on hunger strike.

Online Support for Men Going Through Divorce
Don't feel isolated, frightened, confused or alone when going through your divorce. Get the help and support you need without leaving your home at the Ottawa Divorce Forums

MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "" claiming to be Lisa Scott Launches
Shared Parenting Advocate/Family Law Attorney Lisa Scott has launched 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.

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.

I Get Letters Like This All the Time

The Associated Press story Police: De Queen woman slaps self, tells cops that husband did it sounds like something out of my email box:

"DE QUEEN, Ark. Police at De Queen say a woman slapped herself several times in an effort to fake injuries from domestic abuse after she had stabbed her husband. But the effort didn't prevent police from arresting Dorris J- Holcombe on a charge of second-degree domestic battery.

"The 41-year-old Holcombe pleaded not guilty to the charge in Sevier (suh-VEER') County Circuit Court. Her 38-year-old husband Gary said his wife beat herself in the face after he called police to report she had stabbed him on August Tenth.

"Deputy Cameron Petross said Gary Holcombe suffered a minor cut in his chest. A police report filed in the case said the couple's landlord saw Dorris Holcombe slapping herself.

"Police said that, while in the back of the patrol car following her arrest, Dorris Holcombe started hitting her head on the restraining cage, causing a small cut near her right eye."

If it weren't for the witness, and had the woman behaved herself in the patrol car, the scam probably would have worked...

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.

Time for Family Fun Without the Burning Sun
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In Defense of the National Organization for Women

Obviously I'm a frequent critic of the National Organization for Women. A few examples include: NOW at 40: Group's Opposition to Shared Parenting Contradicts Its Goal of Gender Equality (New York Daily News, 7/27/06); Alito and the Rights of Men (Los Angeles Times, 11/1/05); HB 5267 Will Help Michigan's Children of Divorce (Lansing State Journal, 5/28/06); California NOW Takes Stand Against Working Mothers (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 2/23/04); New California Move-Away Law Hurts Children of Divorce (Long Beach Press Telegram, 10/18/03); Fathers Bear the Brunt of Gender Bias in Family Courts (Insight magazine, 8/19/02); and Why Are There so Many Women in the Fathers' Movement? (Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 6/21/02).

However, though NOW is often wrong, it doesn't mean that they're always wrong, and it certainly doesn't mean they're responsible for every damn thing which is wrong in the world of gender relations. NOW is often scapegoated, and is the target of incessant stupid criticism from both men's activists and conservatives. On His Side with Glenn Sacks I once explained:

"Over the past three decades women and feminists have locked men into endless double-binds, where whatever men do, they're wrong. However, on a much smaller scale, men's activists have begun to lock women into double binds, too.

"For example, when groups such as the National Organization for Women oppose the war in Iraq, we accuse them of betraying the men who are abroad putting their lives on the line for our country. Yet when women support military action (like the war hawk columnist/talk show host Tammy Bruce) we say 'yes, you want to send all the men off to die and women don't even have to register for the draft!'

"When women want a larger role in the military, we point to biological gender differences and say women will screw up the military. When they don't, we talk about how unfair it is that only men get drafted.

"When a mother pursues her career, some MRAs blame her for putting her self-fulfillment above her kids. Yet if she doesn't work, she's condemned for burdening her husband and not pulling her weight.

"Many, such as radio talk show host Tom Leykis, condemn women for grinding out children they and their husbands can't afford. Yet they are the first ones to call a woman who looks for a high-earning man a 'gold-digger.' And the guy who blames feminists for the loose sexual morality and mores of modern society is the first guy to condemn the woman who won't put out."

One example of this incessant stupid criticism is political commentator Carol Liebau's recent criticism of NOW on the Independent Women's Forum blog. In the blog entry "Misplaced Outrage" Liebau writes:

"The New York Times runs a blood-chilling piece on the disregard for human rights--and brutal mistreatment of women -- that's taking place in Chechnya.

"So what do the American feminists have to say?  Typically, NOW has chosen instead to focus on the really important complaining that Plan B's placement behind pharmacy counters may mean that a woman seeking emergency contraception must endure 'a moralizing lecture from the cashier or pharmacy clerk.' Oh, the horror."

A few points:

1) As far as I can tell, NOW's position that Emergency Contraception should be available over-the-counter is correct. NOW President Kim Gandy's statement on it is here.

2) More importantly, what on earth does one issue have to do with the other? NOW wasn't immediately on top of the Chechnya story, so that means they're wrong for taking a public position on Emergency Contraception in the US? Because there's something else horrible going on in the world, efforts to change the things which we have the power to change are invalidated? NOW is often criticized by men's activists and conservatives this way, and while it's sometimes fair, it usually strikes me as a cheap shot.

It also reminds me of some of the logic of critics of my Campaign Against 'Boys are Stupid' Products. I was slammed in newspapers and on TV and radio because, after all, "Boys are Stupid" products aren't the most important thing on the planet, and there are other, more pressing problems in the world. Gee, no kidding...

The best one was some guy who saw me on TV and told me that I was wrong to use my radio show to attack the "Boys are Stupid" T-shirts when there's so much hunger in the world. I told him "You're right--you've got me. I should've used my radio show to end world hunger instead."

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Help for California Divorced Dads
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Column: New American Bar Association Article Points to Crisis in False Paternity Judgments

My recent co-authored column, New American Bar Association Article Points to Crisis in False Paternity Judgments (Baltimore Sun, 8/20/06), discusses the problem of fallacious default paternity judgments and attorney Ron Henry's excellent new Family Law Quarterly article The Innocent Third Party: Victims of Paternity Fraud (Summer, 2006). In the column Mike McCormick, Executive Director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, and I wrote:

"Child support enforcement programs are supported by all sides of the political spectrum, from women's advocates on the left to traditionalists on the right. While this popularity is sometimes understandable, it has also allowed glaring and inexcusable abuses to fester and grow. Of these, none is more egregious than when men are forced to pay 18 years of child support for children who are not theirs, and who in many cases they've never even met...

"Because of the indifference of both the states' child support enforcement systems and their federal funders, no firm figures exist on how many men have been mistakenly defaulted into fatherhood. Henry estimates that the number could exceed one million.

"Child support debtors receive little public sympathy, at times with reason. Yet the victims of false paternity judgments aren't men trying to evade their legitimate responsibilities, nor are they Nicholas Barthas determined to ensure that their exes will never get a penny. They are instead victims of one of the most indefensible civil rights violations in America today--an injustice which cries out for redress."

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The Default Paternity Judgment Innocence Project

We have formed the Default Paternity Judgment Innocence Project for the purpose of ending the cruel practice wherein unsuspecting men are trapped by default judgments into paying 18 years of child support for children who are not theirs, and who in many cases they've never even met.

This money rarely goes to children, but instead to the state. The problem is a result of bureaucratic bungling and misguided state and federal child support enforcement policies which benefit no one, and which could be corrected at a relatively small cost.

The DPJIP has been endorsed by numerous family law and mental health professionals, African-American and Latino community leaders, journalists and others. DPJIP members have written about or been quoted on this issue in numerous publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Reason Magazine, the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Daily News, the Detroit News, the Washington Times and many others.

Dozens of Family Law, Mental Health Professionals Endorse the Default Paternity Judgment Innocence Project

The Default Paternity Judgment Innocence Project has been endorsed by nearly 50  family attorneys, mental health professionals, journalists and others. Some of our endorsers include:

Reginald Brass, president of My Child Says Daddy, a parenting organization which works with young African-American fathers in Los Angeles.

Linda S. Ferrer, the Orange County, California attorney who won the decisive Navarro default judgment case.

David Perry Davis, the New Jersey family law attorney who won the Pasqua v. Council case, wherein 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.

Taron James, founder of Veterans Against Paternity Fraud.

Marc Angelucci, the Los Angeles attorney who represents Taron James.

Psychiatrist Michael Friedman, M.D., a Board Member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts of California.

Jayne A. Major, Ph.D., Executive Director of Breakthrough Parenting Services in Los Angeles.

Diana Mercer, an Attorney-Mediator with Peace Talks Mediation Services in Playa del Rey, CA.

Bert Riddick, the nation's poster boy for false default judgment victims.

Michael Robinson, Legislative Advocate & Policy Consultant for the California Alliance for Families and Children in Sacramento.

Peter M. Walzer, a family law attorney who was one of the important figures in our 2004 and 2006 campaigns to preserve the California Supreme Court's LaMusga decision.

What's the Solution?

The Default Paternity Judgment Innocence Project proposes several solutions to this problem. State child support collection efforts are heavily subsidized by federal dollars. The federal government could greatly reduce the problem of false paternity establishments by reimbursing states only for establishments which are confirmed by DNA tests. DNA tests could be purchased in bulk at a cost per unit considerably less than even one month of child support.

States should also act to reduce default judgments by improving service of process and by making the procedure more understandable for litigants, few of whom have legal representation. In default judgment cases, DNA testing should be required as soon as the child support enforcement agency locates the putative father.

To be a part of our efforts, sign up for the DPJIP's e-newsletter on this page.

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Father Sues Adoption Agency for Giving Away His Baby Boy

Mark Huddleston is the biological father of a two year-old boy he says he wants to raise. But a judge has ruled the child should remain with its adoptive parents, who have had custody since the infant was three days old. Huddleston claims he didn't know the baby existed until two months after its birth, and the state said the private adoption agency hadn't properly notified Huddleston.

Despite doing everything possible to be a father to his son, Huddleston's baby boy was given away by a vindictive mother working hand in glove with a predatory adoption agency. Last summer we covered the Mark Huddleston case on His Side with Glenn Sacks--to listen, go to Father Fights Adoption Agency for Right to Raise His Son (7/17/05).

Jane Spies of the National Family Justice Association, who has done wonderful work on the Huddleston case, informs me that Huddleston is now suing the adoption agency. According to Biological parent of toddler files lawsuit against Albuquerque Agency (Albuquerque Tribune, 8/22/06):

"The biological father of a 2-year-old boy has filed a lawsuit against the Albuquerque agency he says put his son up for adoption without his permission.

"The lawsuit, filed late Monday in state District Court in Albuquerque, charges that Adoptions Plus knew or should have known that Mark Huddleston, 40, was the father of the child but purposely failed to notify him of the existence of his child and failed to obtain his consent to the adoption...

"Huddleston's lawsuit comes nearly a month after the state Court of Appeals reversed a decision by state District Judge John Pope in Valencia County to terminate Huddleston's parental rights.

"According to that opinion, it was not sufficiently proven that Huddleston had abandoned the child after the birth and that his consent was required before the mother proceeded with the adoption.

"The appellate court also ruled that Huddleston's actions, or lack of them, before the baby's birth didn't prove that he caused the parent-child relationship to disintegrate.

"According to the appellate opinion, the child was the result of a six-month relationship that ended June 2003 between Helen G., an Albuquerque hotel employee, and Huddleston, an account executive for a company that delivered chemicals to the hotel.

"Huddleston's lawsuit said that the mother kept her pregnancy a secret and that she 'insisted' that he have no further contact with her once the couple split up.

"In January 2004, the lawsuit said that Helen contacted the agency to put her unborn son up for adoption and that she identified Huddleston and another man as the possible fathers.

"The baby was born Feb. 14, 2004. According to previous court documents, the infant was placed three days later into the adoptive home of Bobby and Rosario Romero...

"But Huddleston said he did not know he had fathered a child until he received a notice from the adoption agency three days after the notice date of April 16, 2004, the lawsuits said.

"Huddleston, the lawsuit states, immediately called the agency but was told to call back in the morning. That day, he and his wife spoke with Catherine Troy, Adoptions Plus executive director and placement supervisor, in person and were told by her that he had no right to the child, the lawsuit said.

"'She said he would never get custody of the child and that the child had been placed in a good home,' the lawsuit said. 'Ms. Troy also admitted that she never notified Mr. Huddleston about the adoption and termination proceedings.'"

"That same day, Huddleston hired an attorney. Later that month, he filed a paternity suit to contest the adoption.

"A DNA test court-ordered in May 2004 was delayed by the Romeros and finally conducted in June 2004; the test indicated that Huddleston was the father, the lawsuit said.

"Despite that, the lawsuit said Huddleston was denied visits with and photos of his son until December 2004 when he was allowed limited, supervised visits after the state Children, Youth and Families Department intervened.

"Those visits were stopped with Pope's decision to terminate his parental rights on April 14, 2005.

"The lawsuit says that as a result of the actions of Adoptions Plus Huddleston has suffered severe emotional pain, distress and anxiety, loss of earnings and substantial financial expenses.

"The lawsuit seeks financial compensation of more than $40,000 in legal fees as well as punitive damages."

Read the rest of the article here. Let's hope Huddleston wacks the agency good--perhaps that will provide these adoption agencies with the incentive to stop giving fathers' children away...

Are You Really the Father?
Find out the underlying flaws in the DNA paternity testing system and learn how a man with results in the 90%, 95% or even 99% positive range may not be the father. Learn what most lawyers and judges don't know about paternity testing.

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

Conservative Censorship?

One of my readers wrote me and told me that when he tried to post my recent column Respect a Man's Choice, Too (AlterNet, 8/1/06) on, a popular conservative website where he frequently participates in forums, freerepublic blocked him and sent him the following message:

"Source is Blocked, article not posted material not wanted on FR."

Perhaps there's more to this than I'm aware of--if anybody knows anything, feel free to educate me. But at first glance it appears to be the same type of suppression of voices that conservatives often claim liberals are guilty of.

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Legal Help for Fathers
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Men 'Deserve What They Get'?

A few weeks ago Metro Silicon Valley published a large article on the problem of fallacious default paternity judgments--Who's Your Daddy? (Metro Silicon Valley, 7/19/06). As I noted in my co-authored column New American Bar Association Article Points to Crisis in False Paternity Judgments (Baltimore Sun, 8/20/06), these men "are forced to pay 18 years of child support for children who are not theirs, and who in many cases they've never even met...the victims of false paternity judgments aren't men trying to evade their legitimate responsibilities, nor are they Nicholas Barthas determined to ensure that their exes will never get a penny. They are instead victims of one of the most indefensible civil rights violations in America today--an injustice which cries out for redress."

Metro Silicon Valley has a circulation of 200,000 and is one of the largest weekly publications in California. The article has quotes from numerous people involved in the struggle against paternity fraud, including: longtime paternity fraud crusader Carnell Smith; Taron James, the founder of Veterans Fighting Paternity Fraud; Santa Ana family law attorney Linda Ferrer, winner of the Navarro case; myself; and others. To learn more see CA Weekly Does Cover Story on Problem of Default Paternity Judgments

Since then there have been some interesting reactions to the piece. One is feminist Theresa Vander Horn's Men Deserve What They Get. Vander Horn writes:

"Leave it to Metro to trumpet a men's cause that isn't ("Who's Your Daddy?," MetroNews, July 19). By any measure, the overwhelming problem in child support is lack of it. Yet Metro finds a few hapless men who couldn't be bothered even to show up in court on their own behalf. This is not a child support problem, not even a paternity problem. This is a delinquency problem. Their problems would be the same if they had failed to show up in traffic court or small claims court. What the public does need to know is that "men's rights" groups are often tied to religious groups. The "right" that men's groups are protecting is the "right" to have sex whenever they please with whomever, the right to parent if and when they feel like doing so and the right to "move on" if and when it suits them. This is the assertion of biblical domination of women. Any attempt to hold them accountable is assailed as flawed and unfair. (Heaven forbid life be unfair to a man.) If a man is so indiscriminate that he doesn't even know if he has fathered a child, that man is not so innocent after all. These men are reckless, just as reckless as the men who show up months or years later to claim babies they didn't even know they had (i.e., Baby Jessica, Baby Richard ...). The "right" being protected for these men is the right to be reckless and carefree--a rare luxury for women on this globe. Women have been dealing for centuries with the fall-out of men's reckless sexual behavior and all women ever got was advice to be more chaste. Yet when a few not-so "innocent" men are caught in the undertow, they squeal like drowning pigs and their meager cries drown out the wails of women going down shit's creek by the millions. Given the magnitude of paternal delinquency, the gerrymandering of support guidelines and the disparate impact of women, why does Metro trumpet the cause of these few hapless delinquents?"

Another interesting letter is Men R Not Always Pigs from shared parenting advocate Adryenn Ashley. Ashley writes:

"The default rate [in Los Angeles] was so high because the County of Los Angeles hired a process serving company that is known in the industry for less than professional service. So while a default may have been taken against a man, that in no way means that he actually got served. That really depends on who said he got served. Process servers are like roofers, you have some excellent ones and some shabby ones who will do anything to earn the fee, even signing that they served a man in an apartment complex that burned down the month before. Or in Taron James' case, served him at the corner two-story blue house, when he lives in the middle of the block in a one-story white house. And in court, I have seen that evidence not make a bit of difference to the judge."

(A quick note to Metro Silicon Valley's headline writer--we men aren't always pigs? Gee, thanks!)

Another interesting letter is Amazing Expose from one of my readers, John Lehman. Lehman writes:

"The most astounding thing in the whole article is near the end, where Ms. Ruttenberg shows that the government makes no attempt to hold mothers accountable even when (as illustrated earlier in the article) they wreak such havoc by naming the wrong father. Many readers will also have noticed that women generally are not held accountable for lying about anything: rape, domestic violence, and so on ad nauseum. A lot of us have been their victims. (Women are sometimes victims in other ways, but that's beyond the scope of this letter)."

Best Wishes,
Glenn Sacks

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