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The state-of-the-art in what is best for children of divorce. Every parent, judge and family law attorney must view this video to save their children from the ravages of divorce.
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  • Case Law on Fathers and Children's Rights In Divorce

    From http://www.falseallegations.com/case-nat.htm
    But improved with links to most cases at this site.

    For Massachusetts Cases on Restraining orders (209a statute) click here

    The genesis of this page are cases used by the Great-Granddad of Fathers' Rights
    We are adding relevant parents rights case laws. Please send yours to condor68@comcast.net
    Nat Denman never failed to be proud that he was a descendant of Thomas, Lord Denman, Chief Justice of England (b.1779 d.1854). Some quotations which made Lord Denman memorable: "A delusion, a mockery, and a snare."
    Connell v. The Queen, 11 Clark and Finnelly Reports.
    "The mere repetition of the Cantilena of lawyers cannot make it law, unless it can be traced to some competent authority; and if it be irreconcilable, to some clear legal principle." Ibid.

    Below is a copy of some raw material which Bob Hirschfeld, who worked for Nat Denman years ago, stumbled on recently in his files. The cases were gathered years ago in this list by Nat Denman (now deceased), the great granddaddy of fathers rights across the States, and have not been checked for "obsolescence" . . .  for whether any courts' minds have changed on the subject. Many cites, particularly those to the U.S. Supreme Court, are likely still fine.

    As on September 2006 We have now gathered the full text of these cases and made them available instantly by hyperlink. They are not generally shepardized, so if you are going to use them in court you might want to get a shepardized copy from: http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/deliveryform.html or other legal sources like Lexis and Findlaw.


    Please also note that many references are to the unofficial reporters (private company which adds headnotes with a "key" system) rather than to the official reporters (entity which has contract with government to print the opinions in the form in which they are issued by court).  Note that anything gathered by government, and paid for with tax dollars is not copyrightable.  Because time is of the essence for many of you with pending cases, I have listed them in an "as is" condition.


    Note also that the citations are not necessarily in the correct format. Although as a pro se party you don't need to use the so-called correct format because much is forgiven, you should use it if you know it: it makes you appear more knowledgeable -- image, appearances. . . .  A book which should be in all law libraries is A Uniform System of Citation, published and distributed by The Harvard Law Review Association, Gannett House, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA.

    • EDITOR'S NOTE: The cases cited below usually involve many more issues than the one for which they are herein cited. The interpretation preceding the citation is that of Denman or another editor, and not necessarily an interpretation agreed upon by others. FOR YOUR PROTECTION, YOU MUST LOOK UP AND READ a cited case before you cite it in your own pleadings, to make sure that it is "on point" with what you are trying to do. Otherwise, you run the risk that the other side will look up and read your cited case and find something in it distinguishable from your case, or even usable against you.

      It is usually preferable to quote in legal pleadings the particular pertinent wording from reading the case itself, followed by the volume/reporter designation/page/year citation, rather than to quote the general, and unofficial, summary by which the cases are stated below.

      Most of the cited decisions can be found in your local (and publicly available) county, state, city or college law library.   If you haven't already done so in preparing your own legal  pleadings, it is essential that you spend some time in one of these law libraries learning how to look up and find the cited cases. There are often helpful other users of the library, or  you can ask at the desk for a reference on how to use a law library.

      Need to get other cases? Use this service to retrieve any 5 cases per day for free: http://www.lawlib.state.ma.us/deliveryform.html
      Send them to us for use by others to give back for this help.

      Parental rights may not be terminated without "clear and convincing evidence."
      SANTOSKY V. KRAMER, 102 S.Ct. 1388 (1982)   PDF

      A child has an equal right to be raised by the father, and must be awarded to the father if he is the better parent, or mother is not interested.
      STANLEY V. ILLINOIS, 405 US 645 (1972)       PDF

      If custodial mother has boyfriend living with her, state can change custody to father.
      JARRETT V. JARRETT, 101 S.Ct. 329

      Visitation (parenting time) is a constitutionally protected right which can be protected in federal court, even if father is in prison.
      MABRA V. SCHMIDT, 356 F.Supp. 620

      Custody can be awarded to father of girls of "tender years" if mother commits perjury, and is otherwise immoral.
      BEABER V. BEABER, 322 NE 2d 910

      Arguments that Joint Custody constitutes a "fundamental right."
      BECK V. BECK, 86 N.J. 480, see also 23 Ariz. Law Review 785

      Mother cannot take child out of state if that prevents "meaningful" relationship between father and child.
      (Coming soon)
      Amicus Brief Filed by Fathers and Families in XXX case

      WEISS V. WEISS, 436 NYS 2d 862, 52 NY 2d 170 (1981)
      See also:
      DAGHIR V. DAGHIR, 82 AD 2d 191 (NY 1981)
      MUNFORD V. SHAW, 84 A.D. 2d 810, 444 NYS 2d 137 (1981)
      SIPOS V. SIPOS, 73 AD 2d 1055, 425 NYS 2d 414 (1980)
      PRIEBE V. PRIEBE, 81 AD2d 746, 438, NYS 2d 413 (1981)
      STRAHL V. STRAHL, 66 AD 2d 571, 414 NYS 2d 184 (1979)
      O'SHEA V. BRENNAN, 88 Misc.2d 233, 387 NYS 2d 212 (1976)
      WARD V. WARD, 150 CA 2d 438, 309 P.2d 965 (Calif. 1957)
      MARRIAGE OF SMITH, 290 Or.567, 624 P.2d 114 (Oregon 1981)
      MEIER AND MEIER, 286 Or. 437, 595 P.2d 474 (1979), 47 Or. App. 110, 613 P.2d 763 (Oregon 1980)
      All of these cases deal with preventing the custodial mother from taking the child out of the jurisdiction.

      Ex Parte conferences, hearings or Orders denying parental rights or personal liberties are unconstitutional, cannot be enforced, can be set aside in federal court, and can be the basis of suits for money damages.
      RANKIN V. HOWARD, 633 F.2d 844 (1980);
      GEISINGER V. VOSE, 352 F.Supp. 104 (1972)
      Fuentes v. Shevin, 407 U.S. 67, 92 S. Ct. 1983, 32 L. Ed. 2d 556 (1972)

      (1999 Warning from Bob Hirschfeld. Rankin later overturned in part in 9th Circuit.
      See Petition for Certiorari, Hirschfeld v. Rogers, http://www.how2.org/nolawyer/rogersup.html

      Judges' refusal to consider evidence and psychologist reports denies due process right to "meaningful hearing."
      ARMSTRONG V. MANGO, 380 US 545, 552; 85 S.Ct.1187 (1965)

      Laws and Court procedures that are "fair on their faces" but administered "with an evil eye and a heavy hand" (discriminatorily) are unconstitutional.
      YICK WO V. HOPKINS, 118 S.Ct. 356 (1886)

      Federal Courts can rule on federal claims (constitutional questions) involved in state divorce cases and award money damages for federal torts or in diversity of citizenship cases involving intentional infliction of emotional distress by denial of parental rights, "visitation", as long as the Federal Court is not asked to modify custodial status.
      LLOYD V. LOEFFLER, 518 F.Supp 720 (custodial father won $95,000 against parental kidnapping wife)
      FENSLAGE V. DAWKINS, 629 F.2d 1107 ($130,000 damages for parental kidnapping)  PDF
      KAJTAZI V. KAJTAZI, 488 F.Supp 15 (1976)
      SPINDEL V. SPINDEL, 283 F.Supp. 797 (1969)
      HOWARD V. KUNEN, USDC Mass CA No. 73-3813-G, 12/3/73 (unreported)
      SCHWAB V. HUTSON, USDC, S.Dist. MI, 11/70 (unreported)
      LORBEER V. THOMPSON, USDC Colorado (1981)
      DENMAN V. VENEY, DENMAN V. WERTZ (200 pp. [had been] avail from Nat Denman for $35--PO Box 689, Falmouth MA 02541)

      Right to jury trial in Contempt:
      BLOOM V. ILLINOIS, 88 S.Ct. 1477
      DUNCAN V. LOUISIANA, 88 S.Ct. 1444

      Right to have an appointed attorney in Appeal

      Contempt of Court is quasi-criminal, merits all constitutional protections:
      EX PARTE DAVIS, 344 SW 2d 925 (1976)

      Excessive fine on Contempt
      COOPER V. C. 375 NE 2d 925 (IL 1978)

      Payment of support tied to visitation:
      BARELA V. BARELA, 579 P.2d 1253 (1978 NM)
      CARPENTER V. CARPENTER, 220 Va.299 (1979)
      COOPER V. COOPER, 375 NE 2d 925 (Ill. 1978)
      FEUER V. FEUER, 50 A.2d 772 (NY 1975)
      NEWTON V. NEWTON, 202 Va. 515 (1961)
      PETERSON V. PETERSON, 530 P.2d 821 (Utah 1974)
      SORBELLO V. COOK, 403 NY Supp. 2d 434 (1978)

      Child Support:
      ANDERSON V. ANDERSON, 503 SW 2d 124 (1973)
      ONDRUSEK V. ONDRUSEK, 561 SW 2d 236, 237 (1978; support paid by mother to custodial father)
      SMITH V. SMITH, 626 P.2d 342 (1981)
      SILVIA V. SILVIA, 400 NE 2d 1330 (1980 Mass,)
      Flaherty v. Flaherty Mass. 40 Mass. App. Ct. 289; 663 N.E.2d 280; 1996 Mass. App.

      Although court may acquire subject matter jurisdiction over children to modify custody through UCCJA, it must show independent personal jurisdiction (significant contacts) over out-of-state father before it can order him to pay child support.
      KULKO V. SUPERIOR COURT, 436 US 84, 98 S.Ct. 1690, 56 L.Ed.2d 132 (1978); noted in 1979 Detroit Coll. L.Rev. 159, 65 Va. L.Rev. 175 (1979) ; 1978 Wash. U.L.Q. 797. Kulko is based upon INTERNATIONAL SHOE V. WASHINGTON, 326 US 310, 66 S.Ct. 154, 90 L.Ed 95 (1945) and HANSON V. DENCKLA, 357 US 235, 78 S.Ct. 1228, 2 L.Ed.2d 1283 (1958)

      Attorney's Fees:
      SAUMS V. SAUMS, 610 SW 2d 244.

      Attorney's fees only if court-appointed in contempt for non-payment of child support.
      EX PARTE MCMANUS, 589 SW 2d 790 (1981)

      Custody can be changed if visitation is denied.
      ENTWISTLE V. ENTWISTLE, 402 NYS 2d 213

      Habeas Corpus:
      NGUYEN DA YEN V. KISSINGER, 528 F.2d 1194 (1975)

      Unlawfully retaining noncustodial parent cannot argue change of custody at Habeas Corpus hearing.
      SMART V. CANTOR, 117 Ariz. 539, 574 P.2d 27 (1977)
      MCNEAL V. MAHONEY, 117 Ariz. 543, 574 P.2d 31 (1978)

      Process service in family matters must provide due process protection.
      GRASZ V. GRASZ, 608 SW 2d 356 (TX 1980)

      Stay of execution by Court of Appeal protects its jurisdiction, not to protect Appellant's rights.
      PACE V. MCEWAN, 604 SW 2d 231 (1980) Also bearing on supersedeas bond.

      Justice delayed is justice denied.
      MAGNA CHARTA, Art.40, June 15, 1215.

      Attorney can be sued for malpractice under consumer protection laws.
      DEBAKEY V. STAGG, 605 SW 2d 631 (1980)

      Money damages in federal civil rights suits need not exceed $10,000
      HAGUE V. CIO, 307 US 496.

      But claim under $10,000 is cause of dismissal of diversity of citizenship action in federal court.
      DELOACH V. WOODLEY, 405 F2d 496 (1969).

      Spouses can sue each other while still married for torts, intentional and unintentional.
      BLUNS V. CAUDLE, 560 SW 2d 925 (TX 1978)

      In Massachusetts, the common law rule of  interspousal immunity was abolished in
      Lewis v. Lewis, 370 Mass. 619, 629-630, 351 N.E.2d 526 (1976).
      Interspousal immunity is also inapplicable to claims of fraudulent conveyance, fraud, breach of fiduciary duty as trustee of property held in trust for wife.  Garrity v. Garrity, 399 Mass. 367, 371-372, 504 N.E.2d 617, 620 (1987).

      Judge's dismissal for no cause is reversible.
      FOMAN V. DAVIS, 371 US 178 (1962)

      Non-lawyers can assist or represent litigants in court.
      JOHNSON V. AVERY, 89 S.Ct. 747

      Members of group who are competent nonlawyers can assist other members of group achieve the goals of the group in court without being charged with "unauthorized practice of law"
      NAACP V. BUTTON, 371 US 415 (1962);
      SIERRA CLUB V. NORTON, 92 S.Ct. 1561;

      Pro Se (Without a Lawyer, representing self) pleadings are to be considered without technicality; pro se litigants pleadings are not to be held to the same high standards of perfection as lawyers.
      HAINES V. KERNER, 92 S.Ct. 594;
      JENKINS V. MCKEITHEN, 395 US 411, 421 (1969);
      PICKING V. PENNA. RWY. CO. 151 F.2d 240;
      PUCKETT V. COX, 456 F.2d 233

      Federal judges can set aside or overturn state courts to preserve constitutional rights.
      MITCHUM V. FOSTER, 407 US 225 (1972)
      Title 28 US Code sec. 2284

      Right to electronically record one's own conversations without "beep note" when life, liberty or property is threatened, or to preserve sanctity of home.
      BEABER V. BEABER, 322 NE2d 910;
      18 US Code Sec. 2511(d)(20) (A 200 pp collection re: right to tape record one's own phone conversations and use in court [was prior to his passing] available from Denman, Box 689 Falmouth MA 02541 for $20.00 postpaid)

      A conspirator is responsible for the acts of other conspirators who have left the conspiracy before he joined it, or joined after he left it; statutes of limitations tolled for previous acts when each new act is done.
      US v. GUEST, 86 S.Ct. 1170;
      US V.COMPAGNA,US V.COMPAGNA, 146 F.2d 524

      State statute of limitations is tolled (does not run) in SOME STATES while same action is pending in federal court; action can be brought in State Court after federal court dismisses for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
      ADDISON V. STATE, 21 Cal. 3d 313 (1978);
      NICHOLS V. CANOGA IND., 83 Cal. App 3d 956 (1978) (Equitable tolling)

      Either parent can sue for interference with parental rights.
      STRODE V. GLEASON, 510 P.2d 250 (1973);
      Prosser: HANDBOOK OF THE LAW OF TORTS (West Publ. 1955) page 682;
      CARRIERI V. BUSH, 419 P.2d 132 (1966)
      SWEARINGEN V. VIK, 322 P.2d 876 (1958)
      LANKFORD V. TOMBARI, 213 P.2d 627, 19 ARL 2d 462 (1950); 7 F.L.R. 2071
      RESTATEMENT OF TORTS section 700A
      MARSHALL V. WILSON, 616 SW 2d 934

      Children must be returned to home state before child support payments are continued.
      FEUER V. FEUER, 376 NYS 2d 546 (1975)

      Custody can be changed if wife is "disrespectful" of "visitation" order.
      MURASKIN V. MURASKIN 283 NW 2d 140 (N. Dakota 1979)

      Wife held in contempt for denial of visitation; new judge should not suspend contempt order.
      PETERSON V. PETERSON, 530 P.2d 821 (Utah 1974)

      Wife can be held in contempt if visitation is denied
      ENTWISTLE V. ENTWISTLE, 402 NYS 2d 213 (1978)

      Alimony and wive's lawyers fees are civil debts, not enforceable by contempt procedures, since the Constitution did away with debtor's prison.
      DAVIS V. BROUGHTON, 382 SW 2d 219.