Default Paternity Judgment Innocence Project Formed, ACFC's NDSPI Battle Heats Up

August 22, 2006

New Column: New American Bar Association Article Points to Crisis in False Paternity Judgments

My latest 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

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

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."

To write a Letter to the Editor about the column, write to the Baltimore Sun  regarding Changes opened a paternity-fraud trap for men (8/2/06) by clicking here. If your letter is published, let me know and I will link to it from a future enewsletter.

Announcing 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, Board Member of the Legislative Committee
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. States could purchase bulk DNA tests 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.

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.

ACFC's North Dakota Shared Parenting Battle Heats Up

The battle over the American Coalition for Fathers and Children's North Dakota Shared Parenting Initiative is heating up. The Initiative qualified for the November election, and has led to a backlash among that state's opponents of shared parenting. Some of you may recall my co-authored column in support of the bill, North Dakota Shared Parenting Initiative Will Help Children of Divorce (Grand Forks Herald, 7/18/06), which I penned with ACFC Executive Director Mike McCormick.

Enemies of Shared Parenting Blast NDSPI

Now that the ACFC has gotten the North Dakota Shared Parenting Initiative on the November ballot, its enemies are firing back hard. Carol Olson, the executive director of the North Dakota Department of Human Services, wrote Family-law measures would lead to cutoff of federal funds (Grand Forks Herald, 8/9/06) and columnist Lloyd Omdahl, former Lieutenant Governor, wrote Parenting initiative is the worst since 1938 (Grand Forks Herald and others, 8/14/06).

ACFC Fires Back

The ACFC and its allies have fired back in the Grand Forks Herald:

Stand up to federal bullying, North Dakota by Stephen Baskerville (ACFC President)

How courts discourage shared parenting in N.D. by John Maguire (ACFC Director of Communications).

State wants to protect revenue stream by Don Mathis, editor of The Fourteen Percenter, a newsletter for noncustodial parents.

Measure complies with federal law by Rob Port of, North Dakota's popular political Web log.

Baskerville's column criticizes Olson for attempting to play the "federal funds" card to turn North Dakotans against shared parenting. He wrote:

"Carol Olson, executive director of the North Dakota Department of Human Services, evidently feels that the intervention of Health and Human Services regional administrator Thomas Sullivan into North Dakota's internal politics constitutes an argument against the shared parenting ballot initiative.

"What it truly reveals is an alarming abuse of power and bullying of North Dakotans by the federal government.

"Under 18 USC 1913, it is a crime for federal civil servants to lobby legislatures. Lobbying politicizes the civil service and turns it from the people's servant into a taxpayer-funded advocacy group that can suppress citizens' opinions or activities it considers threatening. I would be very surprised if North Dakota does not impose similar restrictions on state officials such as Olson.

"So North Dakotans should be very disturbed that federal and state bureaucrats are or seem to be taking sides in a citizens' ballot initiative that threatens their power. Sullivan's undisguised campaign to defeat the initiative with a letter to a state senator probably is illegal and certainly is improper. But further, using federal taxpayers' money as leverage to pressure citizens from exercising their democratic prerogatives vindicates warnings that federal financial muscle is being used to centralize power in dangerously authoritarian ways.

"This becomes especially troubling when misinformation and fear tactics are used to intimidate citizens from exercising their democratic rights and protect bureaucratic power. Olson's own opinion piece opposing the referendum provides a very misleading and one-sided evaluation.

"The likely impact of prospective legislation normally is evaluated by an agency's legal counsel - without taking sides - and is subject to final interpretation through implementation and court review. Instead, Sullivan issues what amounts to an ultimatum to North Dakota: Passing the initiative "will result in immediate suspension of all federal payments for the state's child support enforcement program. Temporary Aid for Needy Families funding also would be jeopardized."

"This is not an advisory opinion. It is a threat. Under 45 CFR 305.61, no penalty can be imposed for noncompliance without a notice. At a minimum, the state would have a year for corrective action before losing any federal funds. Thereafter, the penalties are 1 to 2 percent for the first finding, 2 to 3 percent for the second and 3 to 5 percent for subsequent findings.

"States actually have been out of compliance with child support regulations for years. Like other states, North Dakota does not base its guidelines on the cost of raising children within that state, as required by federal law. Yet no state consequently has lost any funding, let alone "all" of it and "immediately."

"At no point has anyone demonstrated that Sullivan has the statutory authority to immediately cut off all funds. Threatening to do so with authority he does not have is intimidation. Actually doing so is breaking the law.

"Rather than allowing themselves to be intimidated, North Dakotans should be outraged at these pressure tactics by bureaucrats and politicians who are supposed to be the peoples' servants. State referenda exist precisely to use participatory democracy to overcome inaction by politicians, inertia by bureaucrats and power centralized in Washington.

"The eyes of the nation will be on North Dakota this fall. Standing up to federal bullying will leave all Americans in North Dakota's debt."

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.

Warren Farrell to Address ACFC Conference

The ACFC has just announced that Dr. Warren Farrell will be speaking at the National Family Law Reform Conference, September 15 -16, 2006 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Virginia.

Dr. Farrell has authored half-a-dozen books including: Father and Child Reunion and his most recent release Why Men Earn More. Warren is completing work on a compilation of research studies which support Shared Parenting and will be sharing with conference attendees information on making the case for shared parenting.

This is the time for Shared Parenting and Fatherhood advocates to come together and demonstrate the existence of a viable Family Law Reform movement. Our efforts are being endorsed by significant organizations outside our movement. A partial list of confirmed speakers includes: Dr. Warren Farrell; Phyllis Schlafly; Michael McManus; Dr. Stephen Baskerville; and Glenn Sacks. Click here to register for this event. 

PBS Documentary on Family Law to Be Aired

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.

PBS broadcast the anti-father documentary Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories on many of its affiliates last October. The film accused family courts of anti-mother bias, attacked Parental Alienation Syndrome, and portrayed divorced dads seeking shared custody as batterers and child molesters aiming to steal children from their mothers. The film was extremely one-sided, and presented a harmful and inaccurate view of divorce and child custody cases.

Working with Fathers and Families, the American Coalition for Fathers & Children and others, we organized a campaign against the film, and over 10,000 of you called or wrote PBS to protest. Our demand was that "PBS provide fatherhood and shared parenting advocates a meaningful opportunity to present our side."

The campaign generated considerable media attention and controversy, and both PBS's ombudsman and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's ombudsman expressed sympathy with many of our aims.

In November we made the bombshell announcement that one of the women profiled as a heroic mom in the film had been found culpable of multiple acts of child abuse by a California Juvenile court. While the film claims that the mother lost custody of the daughter because of the father's legal machinations, in reality the Juvenile court transferred custody to the father to protect the girl.

In December PBS issued a statement saying they would commission an hour-long documentary to examine the issues raised in the film and by our campaign. PBS said that "plans call for the documentary to be produced and broadcast in Spring 2006" and that the "hour-long treatment of the subject will allow ample opportunity" for those of differing views to "have their perspectives shared, challenged and debated."  We commended PBS for understanding our concerns and taking action to address the situation.

In April PBS filmed and interviewed Fathers & Families members. PBS describes Kids & Divorce: For Better or Worse as follows:

"Millions of American families are affected by divorce. Divorce and its aftermath generate strong emotions, sometimes influencing children into rebellion and bad behavior. By profiling several children and parents going through a divorce, the program explores how divorce affects children, how parents can lessen the negative effects and the efforts to reform how the way custody decisions are made."

Where the New PBS Film Is Airing

Below is a list of some of the stations and dates where Kids & Divorce: For Better or Worse is scheduled to air. Most are airing multiple times--we listed the most convenient dates below. 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), KQED in the Bay Area/San Francisco (9/15/06, 9/16/06), New Hampshire Public Television (9/21/2006), Alabama Public Television, (9/1/9/06, 9/21/06), KRLU in Austin, Texas (9/17/06), Louisiana Public Broadcasting (9/14/06, 9/15/06), Wisconsin Public Television (9/14/06), KUED in Salt Lake City (9/14/06), WPSU in Central Pennsylvania (9/16/06), KTWU in Topeka, Kansas (9/17/06), MPTV in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (9/16/06), KTSC in Denver/Rocky Mountains (9/28/06), Iowa Public Television (9/14/06), KTNW in Washington state (9/15/06) and Kentucky Educational Television (9/14/06).

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.

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

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.

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.

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...

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.

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 received a feeding tube last week. 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.

The Syracuse Post-Standard, Murtrari's home newspaper, just printed several letters defending John--see Custody Battle: Readers defend John Murtari's fight for parental rights.

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.

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.

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)."

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.

Column: Philadelphia Daily News Unfairly Stereotypes Dads

My recent co-authored column, Philadelphia Daily News Unfairly Stereotypes Dads (Philadelphia Daily News, 8/2/06), fires back at the newspaper for two recent father-bashing "news" stories--Jail Threat Springs $$ (7/20/06) and Woman starts Web site to shame vanished dads (7/20/06). In the column family law attorney Jeff Leving and I criticized anti-father webmistress Fadia Ward, who the paper praised. We wrote:

"In [reporter Dana] DiFillippo's other article, 'Woman starts Web site to shame vanished dads,' she salutes activist Fadia Ward and her website Ward excoriates dads and calls on her fellow sisters to publicly humiliate them, saying 'our men have got to get it together...the only way to do that is to take their manhood away.' Certainly there are fathers who do not come through for their children. Yet Ward, who at age 27 has had four children by four different fathers, eschews any personal fault for her own situation, claiming that none of her four births were intended."

"The home page of Ward's website depicts an African-American father shouting 'get outta here with all that' as his two little children cry at his feet, begging for his affection, and the children's mother cries and holds out a baby to him. This is a terrible distortion of the lives of divorced or separated dads, many of whom struggle to remain a part of their children's lives.

"According to the Children's Rights Council, a Washington, DC-based children's advocacy group, more than five million American children each year have their access to their noncustodial parents interfered with or blocked by custodial parents. These fathers must wage expensive court battles in order to see their children. Some can't afford it and give up, and are understandably unenthused about sacrificing to pay support to the exes who separated them from their kids."

I do commend the Philadelphia Daily News for allowing our criticism onto its opinion pages. To write a Letter to the Editor about Unfairly stereotyping dads (8/2/06), click here.

Anti-Father Blogger Wrong but Not Completely Wrong

One of the things I sometimes regret about writing is that, given the tight word limits and fierce competition in newspaper columns, I'm often not able to give my columns the subtlety I'd like to. And while Ward's accusations are unfair, they're not completely unfair--there is some truth to what she says. I told the story below on the radio a couple years ago:

"And it's true that there are people who just don't care about their kids. Let me tell you one of the saddest stories I ever heard. The secretary at another radio station where I used to do the show told me a story about her son. The father and the mother broke up when the boy was about four or five, and the father soon disappeared from the boy's life. When the boy started school he always worked very hard and did all his homework and got good grades, even though his mother never pushed him to do well in school or to do his homework. She didn't have to push him--he always did it on his own.

"One day when the boy was about nine the mother got curious about this. After all, most boys don't take to school so well, and aren't as conscientious about their studies. I know--I've lived it with my son for many, many years. So at one point the mom asked the boy 'why do you work so hard at school and do so well?' The boy looked at her and replied 'well, I think if I do really well in school, maybe my daddy will come back.'"

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

 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.

Column: Glenn Debates Feminist over 'Roe v. Wade for Men' Lawsuit

Family law attorney Jeff Leving and I squared off against feminist columnist Kai Ma over the controversial 'Roe v. Wade for Men' lawsuit on the prominent left-wing website AlterNet. Our column is Respect a Man's Choice, Too, Ma's is The Difference Between a Womb and a Wallet. In our column we wrote:

"Ma condemns men who 'lie, deceive, break their promises, or pull a 180...who agree to marry but don't,' and laments that 'millions of women' have been 'trapped into single motherhood for life with, often, next to no recourse.' Yet according to a randomized study of 46,000 divorce cases published in the American Law and Economics Review, two‑thirds of all divorces involving couples with children are initiated by mothers, not fathers, and in only 6% of cases did the women claim to be divorcing cruel or abusive husbands.

"The out-of-wedlock birth rate in the United States hovers around 33%--given the wide variety of contraceptive and reproductive choices women enjoy, this can hardly be blamed primarily on men. Yes, in some of these cases the mother and father shared a relationship which the mother (and the father) may have expected would become a marriage. Yet these relationships fail for many reasons besides male perfidy. These include: youth; economic pressure and the lack of living wage jobs (how many couples fight over money?); and the mothers' post-partum depression and mood-swings. It's doubtful that many men really wake up in the morning and say to themselves 'my child loves me and needs me, my girlfriend loves me and needs me--I'm outta here.'"

The column also provided me the opportunity to present my view on "Roe v. Wade for Men" in a more subtle, nuanced way than when I've written on the issue for newspapers:

"Whenever a child is born outside of the context of a loving, two-parent family, there are no good solutions. Ma overstates her case, but she is correct that 'Choice for Men' is a flawed solution. However, the current regime, which provides women with a variety of choices and men with none, is also flawed.

"Dubay's conduct is not particularly admirable, and he's certainly not a candidate for father of the year; however, he does have a point. Over the past four decades women's advocates have successfully made the case that it is wrong to force a pregnancy on an unwilling mother. Despite the backlash against Dubay, hopefully his lawsuit will result in a greater societal awareness that it is also wrong to force a pregnancy on an unwilling father."

Respect a Man's Choice, Too is drawing a lot of comments--to join the debate, click here.


A Foray into a Feminist Stronghold

Respect a Man's Choice, Too was ranked as the 3rd most read article at AlterNet for the week in which it ran, and drew almost 400 reader comments. In part because AlterNet is a left-wing/pro-feminist news website, many of the comments are negative. AlterNet's regular columnists include liberal luminaries Arianna Huffington, Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Molly Ivins and Robert Scheer. According to Wikipedia, the San Francisco-based AlterNet is "a project of the Independent Media Institute, and politically left-of-center. AlterNet's content is mostly progressive and ostensibly independent of any particular political party...they get over 1.5 million visitors per month."

I believe this is a positive thing. As I've noted on many occasions, while I welcome our conservative allies, we're not going to win shared parenting without a wide base--one which very much includes the left. This is one of the reasons I've felt it's important to be published in mainstream newspapers, which tend to be liberal and pro-feminist. There are constituencies on the left which would be very sympathetic to our message. The best example are black Democrats. Pardon the generalization, but American whites are largely in denial about the damage caused by fatherlessness. They're also addled by anti-male feminism. Blacks, because of their experiences, see the cost of fatherlessness more clearly than whites do.

This is Feminist Territory--No Sacks Allowed...

Many of the comments (and the comments about the piece on feminist blogs) are of the "This is our turf--why is Sacks allowed on it?" variety. I've seen this attitude many times in mainstream newspapers--they don't expect men's and fathers' advocates to be there, and they sure as hell don't expect a male men and fathers' advocate to be there.

Among those who have publicly displayed this attitude towards me are Esta Soler, president of the Family Violence Prevention Fund (in the San Francisco Chronicle) and Marcia Pappas, president of the New York state chapter of the National Organization for Women (in the Albany Times-Union). I was once banned from a newspaper (sorry--can't publicly reveal which one) after a feminist leader who I had criticized made a phone call. I guess they don't want their views challenged or debated. 

Help for Seattle Fathers
The Law Offices of O. Yale Lewis III is a one-person law firm that focuses on customer care. Mr. Lewis can help you identify and focus on the outcome that you want and implement the steps necessary to get there.

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.

Column: Brett Myers Case Obscures an Important Truth About Domestic Violence Arrests

My recent co-authored column, Brett Myers Case Obscures an Important Truth About Domestic Violence Arrests (Delaware County Daily Times [Philadelphia], 8/2/06, Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star, 8/5/06), has a different take on the highly-publicized Brett Myers incident. In the column Mike McCormick, Executive Director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, and I wrote:

"An important truth has been lost in the controversy over the way the Philadelphia Phillies handled pitcher Brett Myers after his recent arrest for spousal abuse. Mrs. Myers' injuries and the accounts of several witnesses leave little reason to doubt her husband's culpability. Nevertheless, the Phillies at first reserved judgment about the case, and allowed Myers to pitch.

"This was wrong, as the team admitted after widespread criticism, and Myers was given a leave of absence. However, in many domestic violence cases the men arrested do deserve the open mind and support which the Phillies' mistakenly extended Myers. Spousal abuse arrests are often dubious, in part because of misguided domestic violence laws and law enforcement policies...

"Contrary to the charges leveled by the Phillies' numerous critics, the club wasn't wrong in its desire to afford its player the benefit of the doubt. The problem is that in Myers' case there is no doubt. However, the next time an athlete is arrested for domestic violence, there probably will be. Will the team involved turn its back on its player because of the precedent set in the Myers case?"

Read the full column here.

To write a Letter to the Editor about the column, write to the Delaware County Daily Times  regarding "Myers Case Obscures an Important Truth About Domestic Violence Arrests" (8/2/06) at Write to the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star regarding Spousal abuse: One strike and you're out, even if you didn't swing (8/5/06) at If your letter is published, let me know and I will link to it from a future e-newsletter.

I've previously discussed the Brett Myers incident in this e-newsletter--see The Brett Myers Saga: Baseball Player Beats Wife on Boston Street. Also, see my discussion of a 1901 baseball player's arrest for domestic violence and the public's reaction to it at Violence Against Women Culturally Acceptable?

The Secrets of Happily Married Men
How can a man achieve a long and happy marriage? If you've been checking out advice columns or seeing a therapist, you may have been looking in the wrong place. Despite all the advances in brain technology, and all of that we have learned about developmental psychology--men and women are given the same advice about solving problems. But when we ask men what works for them, we hear a different story.

Baseball Pitcher Scott Erickson Got the Shaft

In the column we wrote "An excellent example of what can happen to an athlete, or any man, is the saga of another major league pitcher arrested for spousal abuse--Scott Erickson."  I've complained about the Erickson case numerous times in print and on the air over the past several years. The Free Lance-Star published an Associated Press picture of Erickson, with a nice caption:

"Though former Orioles pitcher Scott Erickson tried to avoid a fight with an out-of-control girlfriend, the authors say, he still found himself in handcuffs under Maryland's mandatory-arrest policy in domestic-abuse complaints."

Of Erickson we wrote:

"Erickson was arrested after he called the police during an altercation with his girlfriend in July of 2002. According to the Associated Press, the Baltimore police concluded that Erickson's girlfriend Lisa Ortiz: initiated the fight by hurling objects; decided to come back twice after Erickson carried her out of the apartment; repeatedly kicked the apartment door; caused Erickson two minor injuries, one of them to his pitching arm; and herself suffered no injuries.

"Nonetheless, the police arrested Erickson under Maryland's mandatory arrest law. Afterwards Ortiz publicly stated that Erickson, who did not pursue her either time after carrying her out, 'has never been physically abusive toward me.'

"After Erickson's arrest he was excoriated by sportswriters and domestic violence activists. Later, even as a police spokesperson announced that the charges against Erickson were being dropped, the spokesperson continued to refer to Ortiz as 'the victim.' To this day the influential Family Violence Prevention Fund lists Erickson in its 'Hall of Shame.'"

Dads, Learn to Take Charge of Your Case in Family Court
Go to to take a comprehensive ONLINE course that teaches you how to handle your case--with or without a lawyer. Learn to Fight for your rights and your children--all for one-hour of a lawyer's fees. Learn to tell public about the tyranny that fathers face in these courts: Reason for Revolution: The Tyranny Against Fathers, Family, and Freedom.

Philly News Reporter Has History of Man-Bashing

One of my Philadelphia readers saw Philadelphia Daily News Unfairly Stereotypes Dads (Philadelphia Daily News, 8/2/06), in which I criticized reporter Dana DiFilippo, and wrote to me about DiFilippo's previous manbashing. According to the reader:

"In May, a Philadelphia woman sexually mutilated her husband by ripping off part of his scrotum with her fingernails. She was arrested, and I'm happy to say most media outlets in this area treated the story with gravity, not attempts at humor. DiFilippo was the exception."

DiFilippo's article was A GENITAL REMINDER (5/18/06). DiFilippo wrote:

"With their wedding anniversary less than two weeks away, Howard Randolph was thinking romance. He hoped to take his wife, Monica, out for an intimate dinner and maybe an oldies-but-goodies show to celebrate 11 years of matrimony.

"But yesterday, his mind was more on divorce and jail for his wife after she almost became Philadelphia's own Lorena Bobbitt.

"Monica Randolph didn't need a kitchen knife. She took matters into her own hands.

"The Nicetown man said he had been sleeping peacefully in the couple's bed Tuesday night when his wife pounced on him without warning, grabbed his groin, dug her manicured fingernails in and flayed him, leaving his gore-slicked gonads dangling much lower than normal.

"'She didn't use no weapon - this was just sheer brute strength and fingernails. She grabbed me by my [scrotum] and ripped it apart with her bare hands,' Randolph said yesterday from his hospital bed at Albert Einstein Medical Center, where he was in stable condition with stitched and bandaged genitals...

"A neighbor who heard the commotion also called police, who took Monica Randolph into custody and charged her with aggravated assault and related offenses.

"Talk about a strict violation of the penal code...

"Monica Randolph told arresting officers that she had attacked her husband because he was cheating on her. But her husband denied having any affairs. He remains mystified as to his wife's motive and demanded that she receive a stiff punishment...

"News of the genital mangling aroused a mixture of horrified gasps and guilty giggles in the Randolphs' neighborhood, where few knew the couple who had moved into the brick rowhouse on Pulaski Avenue near Bouvier Street in April.

"Meanwhile, neighbors were left to speculate on explanations for the attack.

"'She got to be crazy,' said Dionne Martin, 18, who basked in the spring sunshine on friend Rochelle Odd's porch steps.

"Odd, 21, agreed: 'That woman was crazy, but I'm on her side. I don't think no guy deserves to have his balls ripped off. But she's got to be deep in love - that's what would make a woman do this. If they was together all those years and he cheated on her, she wanted him to feel what she was feeling. There's a lesson to be learned here: Don't cheat on your woman.'"

Read the full article here. I'm particularly annoyed by Rochelle Odd's comment. Talk about a vindictive woman. Does this mean a man has the right to beat his girlfriend up if she cheats on him? I guess so. And while our opponents fall all over themselves to deny that there is such a thing as Parental Alienation Syndrome, is there any doubt that vindictive women like this would attempt to alienate their children from their children's fathers?

DiFilippo can be reached at

Glenn Discusses Shared Parenting Movement on Morning Beat with Curtis Wright

I discussed the shared parenting movement and my co-authored column NOW at 40: Group's Opposition to Shared Parenting Contradicts Its Goal of Gender Equality (New York Daily News, 7/27/06) on Morning Beat with Curtis Wright on 106.3 FM "The Big Talker" in Wilmington, North Carolina on Thursday, August 3.

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

Dear Abby: Mom Wants Help to End Her Violent Nature

An interesting new Dear Abby column:

"Dear Abby:

"Last week I hit my husband. My daughter saw me do it. My parents were violent when they were drunk, and I swore I would never do that, but it happened.

"Abby, can my children forget my mistakes, or are they doomed to keep repeating this violence from generation to generation? Can it stop here if I get proper help? How do I prevent my children from following in my -- and my parents' -- footsteps?

"SORRY MOM in Canada

"Dear Sorry Mom:

"Your children are not 'doomed.' They can learn better ways to manage their anger, and so can you. Tell your daughter you were wrong to hit her father, and you regret it. Explain that you are going to see a counselor and learn more appropriate ways to deal with your anger and frustration, and that you'll share what you learn with her and your other children.

"Make an appointment with a therapist soon, and locate the nearest chapter of Adult Children of Alcoholics. ACA is a 12-step group of people who grew up much as you did. They'll help you understand the dynamics of your behavior and assist you in overcoming your learned reaction to problems.

"You can write to Adult Children of Alcoholics World Services Organization, P.O. Box 3216, Torrance, CA 90510 for the location of the nearest chapter. You may also access

"My compliments to you for acknowledging your problem and seeking help. You're two-thirds of the way toward resolving it."

As I've written before, one of the many problems with the current domestic violence system is that, for political reasons, all of the forces involved--the police, the judges, the domestic violence treatment providers, etc.--are forced to pretend that only men commit domestic violence. As a result, when a woman is abusive there usually is little help available for her male victim, as well as for abusive women who want to change. The Woods case in California, which is currently at the center of a controversial lawsuit, is a classic example. I and Marc Angelucci, the attorney in the case, co-authored Domestic Violence Lawsuit Will Help Secure Services for All Abuse Victims (Los Angeles Daily Journal, San Francisco Daily Journal, 12/28/05). In the column we wrote:

"At the age of 11, Maegan Woods tried to stop a domestic dispute between her parents. She soon found herself staring down the barrel of her father's shotgun. She watched helplessly as the trigger was pulled. She is only alive today because the gun didn't fire--the safety was on.

"Maegan was abused and witnessed domestic violence in her home for most of her childhood. By age seven there had been knife attacks, punches, kicks, and more. It was hard to leave--the abuser was the one who earned the money, and the victim was unable to work because of a disability. On numerous occasions they looked for help to escape the abuse but were refused. Why?

"Because in Maegan's family, the abused spouse was her father, and the battering and child abuse were perpetrated by her mother.

"The California Battered Women Protection Act of 1994, codified in Health & Safety Codes Section 124250, et. seq., created funding for domestic violence shelter-based services. However, by defining domestic violence as something only experienced by women, the statutes exclude male victims from receiving state-funded domestic violence services, including shelter, hotel arrangements, counseling and legal services.

"Maegan, now 21, and her father, David Woods, are the lead plaintiffs in a new lawsuit against the State of California and numerous state agencies and state-funded domestic violence service providers. Beginning in the mid-1980s, David was violently attacked on numerous occasions by his wife Ruth, who suffers from a bi-polar disorder which, in her case, creates a propensity toward violence.

"On several occasions David decided that he and Maegan should get out of the house to escape Ruth's violence. However, with his disabling condition and inability to work, David had no money to provide for himself and his daughter. Numerous times he contacted a Sacramento domestic violence agency he had heard of in the media, WEAVE, but they always told him "we don't help men," and never offered him a referral to another facility. David tried churches and various programs, but all they could offer for men were homeless shelters with waiting lists. He found nothing for abused men and their children. David gave up and sank into a heavy depression.

"By February 2003, Maegan began telling her father to find a place of safety from Ruth's violence. He again called WEAVE and again was told "we don't help men." Maegan, then 18, became so frustrated watching David being abused that she called WEAVE herself and insisted they help her father. According to Maegan, WEAVE said they do not help men, and that men are the perpetrators of domestic violence, not the victims."

In a letter written earlier this year Maegan wrote:

"As a child I grew up watching my mother commit multiple acts of violence against my dad. The earliest incident I remember occurred when I was four, and my mother continued to be violent up until April of 2003.

"No one would help. Teachers, parents of friends, anyone I tried to talk to about what was going on at home basically told me I didn't understand, and that my mother couldn't possibly be the violent party. The few times the police came to our home, they would always be ready to arrest my father, sometimes getting so far as to put the handcuffs on him, and it was up to me to scream as loud as possible that it was my mommy and not my daddy so they wouldn't take him away and leave me with her.

"Sometimes when my mom would attack, Pops would try to defend himself, just to get her off him, stop hitting him, whatever. Every time he defended himself, whether he left bruises or not, Mom would go get a restraining order. She didn't have to show bruises or prove she was in danger or anything, just saying she was 'afraid' was enough.

"I grew up in this sort of environment and I learned the only way to survive was to watch every argument they had and be ready to interject myself as a distraction if I could before violence happened. I grew up paranoid and feeling like the safety in my house was something only I was responsible for. If Mom became violent, it meant I FAILED. That feeling would hit me like a bucket of cold water, but there wouldn't be any time for feeling sorry for myself. My next task was to try to break it up, screaming, threatening, pleading, whatever. I had to make sure no details escaped me because if the cops got called they'd just believe my mom without question, and it was MY job to make sure the truth at least got heard."

To read the full letter, see Abused Man's Daughter Speaks Out--Maegan Woods Talks About Her Childhood. Also, see my column Domestic Violence Treatment Policies Put Abused Women in Harm's Way (Daily Breeze [Los Angeles], 11/7/05).

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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.

Tiger Woods and Fathers

One of my readers, Chris Anderson, sent the letter below to the Kansas City Star:

"When Tiger Woods won his third British Open last Sunday, he dedicated it to his father, Earl, who passed away this year. It was clear that Tiger cried tears of joy and tears of sorrow that "Pop" was missing. Tiger credits 'Pop' as being his best friend and for helping him become the golfer and man he is today.

"Something occurred before Tiger finished his round that created a timely juxtaposition. A protester ran onto the 18th green, dropped purple chalk in several places, and shouted something like 'Fathers for Justice.' Apparently, this man is part of a British organization that works on behalf of fathers who seek joint custody of their children.

"It begs the question: What kind of world have we created where parents have to stage protests to stay a part of their children's lives? Imagine if Tiger had been prevented from seeing his father simply because his parents divorced. Would the world ever have known this champion, who is admirable both on the course and off? And most importantly, isn't it time we asked our children what they want?

"Just ask Tiger Woods. He will tell you how important fathers are to their children."

Best Wishes,
Glenn Sacks

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