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New Column: HB 315 Says
One Parent is Better Than Two
May 30, 2006

New Column: Louisiana Bill Says One Parent is Better Than Two

My new co-authored column Louisiana's HB 315 Says One Parent is Better Than Two (Shreveport Times, 5/20/06, Alexandria Town Talk, 5/11/06) criticizes a new Louisiana bill which will roll the clock back on that state's progress in moving towards shared parenting. In the column Mike McCormick, Executive Director of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, and I note:

"Current Louisiana law states 'To the extent it is feasible and in the best interest of the child, physical custody of the children should be shared equally.' This is reasonable--it presumes that as long as both parents are fit and there are no extenuating circumstances, they should both share in parenting their children. HB 315 weakens the law's wise preference for two parents instead of one. Under the bill all that children receive is a vaguely defined 'as frequent and continuing contact as is feasible with each parent.'


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However, research establishes that shared custody is what's best for kids."

The counterattack against shared parenting is based on allegations that fathers only want shared parenting in order to reduce their child support obligations. We wrote:

"Unfortunately, rather than putting the need to preserve children's relationships with both parents at the center of the discussion, advocates of HB 315 are instead focusing on child support. In Louisiana, like most states, how much time each parent spends with his or her children helps determine how much child support is ordered. Rep. Shirley Bowler (R-River Ridge), who authored the bill, asserts that dads seek shared custody as a way to decrease their child support obligations. She promotes HB 315 as a way to 'remove this angle' in the current law, which she claims divorced dads are exploiting.

"While it is true that there are fathers who put their pocketbooks above their children's best interests, Bowler and the bill's supporters ignore the obvious converse. If a dad may seek 50% physical time with his children simply to lower his child support obligation, doesn't it also hold that a mother may seek 85% physical time in order to increase it?

"Similarly, critics charge that the child support provisions of current law amount to paying men to spend time with their children. In reality, the provisions simply acknowledge that both moms and dads have child-related expenses."

To write a Letter to the Editor on this issue, write to the Shreveport Times regarding HB 315 is a step back for children of divorce by clicking here. To write to the Alexandria Town Talk about La. HB 315 will not help kids of divorce, click here.

To send a copy of the column to Shirley Bowler, the legislator who authored HB 315, go to larep078@legis.state.la.us. Tell her I send my regards.

To contact Louisiana Dads, the Louisiana affiliate of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children which is fighting the bill, click here. Thanks to Louisiana Dads president Nicholas James for his help.

The American Coalition for Fathers and Children
The American Coalition for Fathers and Children is dedicated to creating a family law system which promotes equal rights for all parties affected by divorce.  Contact the ACFC at 1-800-978-3237 or visit them on the web at www.acfc.org.

Parenting Plan Calendar Software
Shared Ground (R) is an easy-to-use custody calendar software program designed for divorced families to track visitation schedules. Includes a built-in percentage calculator, schedule templates, free training and excellent customer assistance. Parents, attorneys, arbitrators and mediators can generate equitable parenting plans, which is especially useful for parents seeking fair division of their children's time. FREE TRIAL SOFTWARE AVAILABLE by clicking here.

Dad-Bashing Judge Gets an Official Kick in the Behind

Some of you may recall Kentucky judge D. Michael "Mickey'' Foellger, who in 2004 made headlines by telling men behind on their child support obligations that they had to either have vasectomies or go to jail. I slammed Foellger on several radio shows and in my co-authored column It's Child Support Guidelines that Need Surgery, Not 'Deadbeat Dads' (Kentucky Post, Cincinnati Post, 5/12/04). Family law attorney Jeff Leving and I wrote:

"Foellger insists he's not forcing sterilization on anybody, since the offenders in his court can choose 30 days in jail instead. However, most men who fall behind on child support have led law-abiding lives and legitimately fear for their safety and mental stability if they are incarcerated.  

"For example, in McCracken County earlier this year a man slit his throat in the courtroom after being sentenced to two years in jail for being $7,000 behind on child support. According to newspaper accounts, the man pleaded to the judge 'Don't put me in jail, I'm going to kill myself' before taking out a razor blade.

"By threatening to jail the men, Foellger is in effect impelling them to get sterilized. In fact, Foellger says that all but one of the men offered his 'deal' have chosen vasectomy over jail.

"This represents a serious human rights violation. Kentucky's child support guidelines need to be overhauled to ensure that support obligations are in line with obligors' ability to pay.  In addition, the system needs to be more flexible and responsive, so men who are down on their luck don't become criminalized. And while the public may be legitimately annoyed with these 'deadbeats,' nobody should be jailed or sterilized for the 'crime' of being poor."

According to the Associated Press'  Northern Kentucky judge suspended for lack of patience, temper (5/30/06), Foellger is now being disciplined for his courtroom bullying:

"A northern Kentucky judge has been suspended for being sarcastic, insulting and verbally abusive to people who appeared in his courtroom.

"The Judicial Conduct Commission suspended Campbell County Family Court Judge D. Michael Foellger for 30 days, without pay, beginning last Friday.

"Judge Foellger displayed 'a gross lack of patience and loss of temper' in dealing with attorneys and their clients as well as clerks and court designated workers 'by shouting and by using inappropriate, demeaning, sarcastic, insulting and abusive language,' the Judicial Conduct Commission said in a written report.

"'Instances of such conduct were not isolated, but were persistent and pervasive,' the commission said Friday.

"The state judicial code of conduct requires judges to be patient, dignified and courteous to people who appear in their courtrooms.

"Foellger waived formal disciplinary proceedings and agreed to the commission's findings and accepted the suspension.

"In its report, commission members said Foellger has expressed remorse and apologized for his conduct. They said Foellger also has taken remedial steps to control his emotions and that he has pledged that the conduct will not be repeated.

"The commission said in the report that it will require periodic review of Foellger's courtroom conduct to ensure compliance."

It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy...

John Stossel Defends Divorced Dads in New Book

20/20 anchor John Stossel has a section defending divorced dads in his new book Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is Wrong.  He discusses the work of Dr. Sanford Braver, author of Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths, and Braver's debunking of the famous Weitzman hoax.

One of the most pervasive and pernicious myths of our time is the idea that men gain economically from divorce while women suffer from it. The myth stems from a now discredited study conducted over two decades ago by feminist Lenore Weitzman, author of the 1985 book The Divorce Revolution. Weitzman concluded that women's standard of living after divorce dropped by three quarters while men's rose over 40%. The media trumpeted her research and it led to sharp increases in child support guidelines. However, years later Weitzman was forced to admit that her findings were vastly overstated, due to a huge mathematical error.

Despite this, the myth that men gain economically from divorce remains pervasive, and is repeated even today by numerous writers and commentators, including conservatives like Dennis Prager, feminists like Ann Crittenden, and even by masculists like Tom Leykis.

Braver helped uncover and expose the Weitzman hoax. According to Braver, when all relevant factors are taken into account, including the numerous tax advantages custodial parents enjoy, the "men gain/women lose" idea is badly in error.

To hear Braver discuss this issue on His Side with Glenn Sacks go to Do Men Gain Economically from Divorce? (2/29/04). Braver's newer research shows that child support guidelines have become so stacked against noncustodial parents that they often push noncustodial parents' living standards far below those of custodial parents. I detail this in my co-authored column New Study Shows Massachusetts' Child Support Guidelines Among Worst in Nation (Massachusetts News (7/28/04). Family law attorney Jeff Leving and I wrote:

"A new study of child support has concluded that Massachusetts' guidelines are among the most poorly designed in the nation.

"The study examines the child support guidelines of seven geographically and politically diverse states, including Massachusetts. The researchers conclude that 'under current child support guidelines, the majority of custodial parents currently have higher standards of living than their matched noncustodial parents,' and that Massachusetts' guidelines represent the most 'dramatic' example of this inequity...

"Leaving aside the popularity of anti-father politics, the authors conclude that the support guidelines have become tilted against noncustodial parents because they fail to consider the large tax benefits custodial parents enjoy, as well as noncustodial parents' child-related expenses...

"After accounting for taxes and noncustodial parent expenses, Braver and Stockburger conclude that a Massachusetts custodial parent need earn only 40% of what a matched noncustodial parent earns in order to enjoy a standard of living equal to that of the noncustodial parent. By contrast, U.S. Census data shows that the median income of the category closely resembling female divorced custodial parents is far higher--85% of that of male noncustodial parents. In fact, in six of the seven states studied, the median income a custodial parent needs to have a standard of living equal to that of the noncustodial parent is below 85%, often dramatically so.

"The guidelines have been slanted against divorced dads so sharply that their obligations often cause them to fall deeply in arrears, particularly if they have been laid off or have suffered drops in income. Some struggle to stay out of jail, while others feel it's hopeless and disappear. Most of these men aren't deadbeats, but instead fathers who supported their children honorably while married and after their divorces. What rationale is there for Massachusetts' child support guidelines if they serve to drive away one of the two people who most love a child?"

Stossel also discusses Parental Alienation Syndrome and the way divorced dads are often driven out of their children's lives by vindictive mothers. He says:

"The media automatically cast divorced parents in the roles of villainous father and heroic mother. Many mothers are heroic, but so are many fathers. But a divorced mother as the villain? Heaven forbid! That would stand the world of media victimology on its head."

To learn more about Braver's work, see his web page here. Thanks to Jane Spies of the National Family Justice Association for the news tip.

Leving's Divorce Magazine
The second edition of Leving's Divorce Magazine, the new magazine for the modern divorced men, is now available online with articles focusing on issues such as men's reproductive rights (or lack thereof), Parental Alienation Syndrome and child support. Visit now and get a free subscription. 

Help, Resources for Dads
The National Fathers' Resource Center is a division of Fathers For Equal Rights, Inc. (FER), located in Dallas, Texas, with offices in both Dallas and Houston. In existence for over three decades, it has services and resources for dads nationwide and is one of the largest and most active fathers' rights organizations in the U.S. www.fathers4kids.org


Woman Framed in Sex Abuse Case

I've written on numerous occasions of men being falsely accused of rape or child sexual abuse, or being framed on false sex abuse charges as part of a custody battle. In an interesting twist, this article discusses a case where a woman was apparently framed by her adopted son on a false sex abuse charge, and was sentenced to a staggering 25 to 50 years in prison.  According to Was a woman wrongly convicted in sex case?:

"Lorinda Swain is serving 25-50 years at the Huron Valley Women's Complex in Ypsilanti for having oral sex with her adoptive son when he was eight.

"But her chief accuser - her adoptive son, Ronnie - admits that he lied about the entire abuse. 'I never meant for it to happen like this,' said Ronnie.

"Ronnie Swain, now 18, was a troubled youth. He used drugs, watched porn, ran with the wrong crowd. He also molested his young niece.

"'I touched her private parts,' he told 24 Hour News 8.

"As the investigation began, he thought of a way to protect himself. He was repeatedly asked if he'd ever been molested.

"Upset with Lorinda because she was stealing money from family members to feed her own drug habit at the time, Ronnie told the investigators she abused him.

"'I thought she'd get clean (of drugs,)' he said. 'Next thing you know I'm in court testifying about something I lied about,' he said.

"His biological grandmother, Mary Stephens, said she knew 'from day one' that Ronnie lied to about the whole thing.

"'When that verdict came down I just about fell out,' Stephens said, with tears in her eyes. 'It's hard.'

"'I've been here wrongfully and I'm worried that I'm not going to get justice,' Lorinda, 45, said in a phone interview with 24 Hour News 8.

"At her trial, Ronnie is remembered as being wishy-washy on the stand. He fell silent while testifying when he was asked if he was telling the truth.

"The 2001 trial in Calhoun County had no DNA evidence, only Ronnie's word against Lorinda. The jury found her guilty, and in 2002 she was sentenced to 25-50 years in prison.

"Ronnie said he is 'furious about' the verdict, and has since tried to kill himself.

"Over the past five years, through various appeals, questions about the case still remain.

"While awaiting her original trial, Lorinda's cell mate in Calhoun County Jail was Deborah Charles, a woman with 12 aliases and 24 felony convictions. Charles testified that Lorinda admitted her guilt."

Read the rest of the article here.

As an aside, I'm always extremely distrustful of alleged confessions of guilt by defendants to jailhouse informants, as happened here. I always figure that if the prosecution has to rely on a jailhouse informer, they must have a very weak case, or even that they are trying to frame somebody. If I ever served on a jury where the prosecution pulled a stunt like that, I think I'd immediately vote to acquit...

Agape Press Covers Defeat of SB 1482

Agape Press covered our successful campaign against SB 1482--see Senator Withdraws Bill Giving Custodial Parents Free Rein to Move Away (5/26/05). The article also quoted me on one of my pet peeves--the way taxpayer funded domestic violence groups are able to lobby against fathers on our dime and our time.

According to the article:

"Among the legislation's supporters, Sacks notes, were the California National Organization for Women and the California Commission on the Status of Women, and he says several domestic violence groups were lobbying in favor of the bill as well.

"Such groups 'want to insist that if there's a divorce or separation, Mom should be able to do whatever she wishes with her kids,' Sacks insists. 'Those groups are funded by your tax dollars and my tax dollars,' he says, 'and basically all of these groups are trying to do whatever they can to change the law so that if a divorced or separated mother wants to get rid of her children's father, she can -- and there's going to be very little that can stop her.'"

Glenn Discusses SB 1482 Campaign on American Family Radio

I discussed the Campaign Against California Senate Bill 1482 on American Family Radio on May 17.

Help for Michigan Dads
Michigan family law attorney Mindy L. Hitchcock has experience fighting for noncustodial parents against Michigan's abusive FOC. Her holistic approach to divorce gets results for her clients while avoiding the scorched earth approach to law that leaves families emotionally and financially devastated. www.Lady4Justice.com

The Second Wives Club
The Second Wives Club is what women in blended families are looking for: Remarriage, divorce, child custody, and step parenting discussed in a solution-oriented, mature, and intelligent way; articles and news written by thought-provoking experts and journalists; personal accounts and advice from some of life's most interesting women. www.SecondWivesClub.com


Jane Spies Exposes Missouri Child Support Enforcement Whitewash

I've written before of the case of Herbert L. Chalmers, a St. Louis man who committed a quadruple murder-suicide in April over a child support dispute which left him to survive on $400 a month. Chalmers claimed that he was the victim of a child support enforcement mistake. It turned out, of course, that child support enforcement had made an error, and was charging Chalmers five times what he actually owed. For my previous commentary, see I Couldn't Be Less Surprised.

Missouri child support enforcement is under some pressure because of this, and is being investigated. Jane Spies of the National Family Justice Association reports that this "investigation" is a whitewash. According to the story Review finds few child support errors (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/16/06).

"Spurred by a shooting rampage in St. Louis last month, a quick review of Missouri's child support system indicates 99.24 percent of support records contain no errors, officials said Tuesday.

"The results were viewed as either a hearty validation of the system or too good to be true.

"The Department of Social Services was 'very, very pleased' with the findings, said spokeswoman Deborah Scott. The department felt the glowing results showed a wider review was unnecessary. But state Auditor Claire McCaskill said she doubted the findings, criticized the review's limited scope and said she now harbored even more interest in auditing the state's child support enforcement program.

"The Family Support Division, which handles the child support duties, ran the internal review after Herbert L. Chalmers, reportedly upset by his child support payments, killed four people and himself on April 18. He was supposed to be paying $133 a month in current child support, but a state worker entered a figure of $724.92, which is what he owed in back support. State officials later admitted to a data entry error. So they set out to determine if the mistake was an aberration or part of a pattern.

"The division spot-checked 396 cases in St. Louis and St. Louis County, a representative sample of the more than 88,000 cases in the region. It hunted for just one specific error: whether the amount on the child support order matched the amount logged into the state's computer database. In 393 cases, the amounts matched.

"The three cases with errors featured two cases off by $1 each and one case with an $161.50 error in each monthly payment. But the severe miscalculation had little impact: The noncustodial parent had not made a payment in years, Scott said. The errors were fixed.

"It is possible to use the limited review to hint at the number of mistakes statewide, assuming the St. Louis samples were representative, said the Rev. Mike May, chairman of the mathematics and mathematical computer sciences department at St. Louis University.

"Using the state's error rate of .75 percent, May expected 1,868 to 3,737 cases to contain these particular data entry errors out of the state's total caseload of 373,677.

"Scott said even an error rate below 1 percent allowed room for improvement. The department recently won funding from state lawmakers to establish a new call center dedicated to fielding questions in child custody cases. Scott said the move would allow caseworkers more time to work cases and boost collections.

"McCaskill said she was skeptical of the review's success because previous audits from her office have found a range of problems with the state's child support enforcement system, such as improperly distributing child support payments and not using all available resources to locate parents who owe money.

"This analysis by the department goes under the category 'too good to be true,'" McCaskill said.

"For the department to come out with this self-review, McCaskill said, "that probably moves them up on our list of where we need to do audit work."

"Jane Spies, executive director of the National Family Justice Association, a Georgia-based family advocacy group, also criticized the state's finding as too narrow and not independent.

"'I just think it is really misleading,' Spies said."

The statement that a "review of Missouri's child support system indicates 99.24 percent of support records contain no errors" is outrageous--they only looked for one, narrow type of error. There are a wide variety of error committed by Child support enforcement bureaucracies. As I noted in my co-authored column Persecuting Low Income Parents (Cincinnati Post, Kentucky Post, 8/26/05):

"Beyond mistaken identity...common agency errors include: mathematical errors; failure to record or transfer records of payments; billing men for children they did not father; failing to stop child support when a child reaches the age of emancipation; accepting custodial parents' false reports of nonpayment; and failure to update child support orders with later court rulings affecting modifications." 

Finding Your N.U.T.s.--Non-negotiable Unalterable Terms
Wayne M. Levine, M.A., founder of BetterMen, has written a new book with sage advice and proven tools for men who want to be BetterMen in their relationships and in their lives. Finding Your N.U.T.s offers men the truth about themselves, their relationships, their responsibilities as men, and the power they have to be BetterMen. www.bettermen.org

Tom Ellis Rides Against the Wind
Congratulations to Thomas Ellis on selling 1,000 copies of his self-published The Rantings of a Single Male: Losing Patience with Feminism, Political Correctness... and Basically Everything. It's quite an accomplishment, given that the publishing industry gives vastly more attention to Women's Studies books than Men's Studies. Rantings describes the rise of feminism from the mid '70s to the present, through Ellis' personal experiences, and is loaded with outrageous stories.  Available at Amazon, Barnes&Noble Online and in Bulk.

Dead Guy Falls Behind on His Child Support, Has Taxes Seized--'Being Dead Is No Excuse for Not Paying,' D.A. Says

According to Dead Man Billed For Child Support:

"A widow says she's still getting bills from the Nebraska Child Support Office addressed to her late husband, asking for money. The Nebraska Child Support Office is asking for payments, even though her husband passed away a year ago.

"'He has two children that live in Texas and he had been paying child support on them,' said Dawn Hunt.

"Hunt used to live in Lincoln, but after her husband died, she moved to Des Moines, IA, and got a new job.

"'Mid-November, I received a bill in Chad's name to my new address in Iowa. It was from the Nebraska Child Support Office. I opened it up and it said, 'your child support is past due,' and I was like 'what is this?'" said Hunt.

"Hunt said she was told that the child support office knew he was deceased. Hunt said the office person she spoke with told her that an order needed to be made to stop payments and that the office would take care of it...

"Hunt has racked up around $4,000 in owed child support since his death. Due to the owed child support, Dawn Hunt's federal tax refunds were withheld for about a month because she filed jointly with her husband."

Perhaps the least trustworthy words ever are when an error is pointed out to child support enforcement and they promise to "take care of it."

BTW, I was just joking about "'Being Dead Is No Excuse for Not Paying,' D.A. Says." No district attorney would ever say such a thing. I think.

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 attorneydawn@marylandfamilylawfirm.com or go to www.marylandfamilylawfirm.com
Concerned about Financial Issues in Your Divorce?
If you're concerned about financial issues in your divorce, contact Jim DiGabriele of DiGabriele, McNulty & Co by email here or at 973-243-2600.

Domestic Violence Expert Says DV Policies Based on Gender Politics, not Science

Dr. Donald Dutton's new book Rethinking Domestic Violence is out. Dutton is one of North America's leading proponents of sanity in the domestic violence sphere. According to Dutton, his new book "reviews all research on causes, incidence and policy toward domestic violence called Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). It concludes IPV causation is best explained by personality disorder and that gender analysis is not supported by the data. It shows how the male perpetrator-female victim stereotype is not typical. Similarly, it reviews evidence for both mandatory arrest and no drop prosecution and finds that both have failed. It recommends a more flexible professional approach that blends, criminal justice, community psychology and community mental health approaches."

Dutton appeared on His Side with Glenn Sacks last summer--to listen, go to Congress to Vote on Renewing Anti-Male Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) (7/3/05). I also quoted him extensively in my column Domestic Violence Treatment Policies Put Abused Women in Harm's Way (Daily Breeze [Los Angeles], 11/7/05). I criticized domestic violence treatment programs for following an ideological, women good/man bad model, as opposed to actually dealing with the psychological problems that abusive men have. I wrote:

"Psychologist Donald G. Dutton, author of The Abusive Personality: Violence and Control in Intimate Relationships, asserts that personality disorders are the cause of most domestic violence. According to Dutton:

"'Treatment providers who work with abusive men are very frustrated by the current domestic violence treatment paradigm. Research shows that Duluth-oriented treatments are absolutely ineffective, and have no discernible impact on rates of recidivism.  These methods cannot work because they preclude patients from developing the crucial therapeutic bond with their treatment providers. However, when we treat offenders like normal patients by focusing on personality disorders and employing cognitive-behavioral treatments, we see progress.'"

To learn more about Dutton's new book, click here. Dutton's email address is dondutton@shaw.ca.

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. www.dadstimetracker.com

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. www.TenEssentialElements.com


Sorry but I'll Have to Pass

It's almost the one year anniversary of the death of Perry Manley, a Seattle fathers' activist who committed "suicide by cop" last June.  Manley entered the federal courthouse in Seattle with what appeared to be a grenade, refused to surrender or negotiate, and made a sudden move, after which police fired, killing him. Unfortunately in the wake of his death Manley has been made into a hero by certain misguided fathers' activists. For example, one activist recently wrote:

"I have never forgotten Perry Manley...I grieved for him then. I grieve for him now. I remember when they shot him down. I watched it all unfold on TV...Perry wasn't asking for much. He just wanted justice and to be a Dad. Instead people treated him like a 'kook.' But we know he was a martyr for our cause--no matter what anyone says to the contrary. I will never forget him. He fought alone like so many of us...I will never forget Perry, I will always honor what he stood for."

Another wrote:

"Manley devoted his life fighting government imposed control of our income and interference in our lives when parents divorce.  He stood largely alone and was essentially driven crazy to a degree...it's important that we don't forget about him and honor what he stood for."

Sorry, but I'll have to pass. I gave my opinion in this enewsletter at the time of the shooting last year, and was greatly criticized by some for it. What I wrote still seems accurate to me. It appears below, exactly as it was a year ago:

My Opinion of Perry Manley's 'Suicide by Cop'

Many of you have written to me asking my opinion of Perry Manley's 'Suicide by Cop' Monday in Seattle. Manley, angry over a family court matter, entered the courthouse with what appeared to be a grenade. According to police, Manley refused to surrender or negotiate, and made a sudden move, after which police fired, killing him. The grenade turned out to be a fake--Manley was unarmed.

As for Manley's family court grievance, the facts, as far as I can ascertain them, are:

Manley divorced in 1990 from his wife, with whom he had 3 kids.

Manley claimed the child support system had treated him unfairly. I don't know if this is true, but it certainly is a common problem for divorced dads.

Manley claimed that his ex-wife interfered with his visitation with his kids and alienated them against him. Again, I don't know if this is true, but it certainly is a common problem.

Manley claimed that paying child support in and of itself was unconstitutional and a violation of his human rights. He made this his central issue, as opposed to the alleged violations of his custody and visitation rights.

Manley claimed that a judge who had ruled against him had violated the constitution in his dealings with him, thus violating his oath of office and committing "treason" which, Manley said, is punishable by death.

I have received many letters telling me that Manley is a hero, and even that I should honor him (or his memory) on my radio show this Sunday. I'll pass. Manley was unarmed, and that certainly counts in his favor, but his actions were reckless and needlessly put innocent civilians in harm's way. It served no constructive purpose but instead makes it easier for our many enemies to portray divorced dads as violent nuts.

While many divorced dads are abused by the child support system, it is unclear whether the child support demands upon Manley, who had three children in need of support, were unreasonable. Manley made child support, not his rights as a father, his central issue.

Had Manley done what David Chick did, I could support him. David Chick is a hero.  Gary LaMusga is a hero. Jolly Stansby and Ron Davis and Gary S. and Edgar P. and John Brumbaugh and Benoit Leroux are heroes. Manley may (or may not) have been a victim of a family law system which has torn millions of fathers and children apart. But either way there was nothing heroic about his actions this week."

Around the same time last year, in a letter to one of my detractors, I wrote:

"If Manley had talked about his access to his children and made them the issue, I would be a lot more sympathetic. But he rarely mentioned that, instead focusing on this child support constitutionality nonsense. He was asked to pay $650 a month to support three children (apparently it was only $210 a month in the beginning). Was that unfair? Is that what he died for? OK, he didn't like paying through the government, which I understand, but where's the real grievance here? He had 3 kids in need of support, he was the family breadwinner so he was obligated to pay it--so what? I've got 10,000 letters in my email box from guys who have bigger grievances than this. If he made the issue his access to his kids I'd sympathize, but he hardly even mentioned his kids. Also, given his mental instability (which many who knew him have written to me about), it's possible that he was alienated from his kids in part because of his own actions, not his ex-wife's."
Time for Family Fun Without the Burning Sun
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Lisa Scott Launches RealFamilyLaw.com
Shared Parenting Advocate/Family Law Attorney Lisa Scott has just launched www.RealFamilyLaw.com to expose the truth about what is happening in our family law system. Lisa, the all-time leader in appearances on His Side with Glenn Sacks, says that she was "tired of having her stuff rejected by elitist bar publications and politically-correct newspapers" and decided to start her own website. www.RealFamilyLaw.com


Mom Who Killed Son Still Entitled to Alimony From Father, Court Rules

One of my readers sent me this incredible story--Alimony Upheld For Mom Who Kicked Son To Death:

"Linda Calbi admitted she kicked her 14-year-old son, causing injuries that led to his death. But a judge has ruled that she's still entitled to alimony payments from her ex-husband.

"Christopher Calbi had sought to end the payments, claiming his ex-wife violated her moral obligation to provide a safe home for their two children after the couple divorced.

"Superior Court Judge Eugene Austin refused. He suspended the $3,183 monthly payments while Linda Calbi spends 30 months in jail; however, the judge said that when she gets out, she can apply to have them resumed.

"Her ex-husband also must continue to make $400 monthly payments toward the $50,000 back alimony debt that he had amassed.

"'I am not going to terminate the contract,' Austin said. 'It's a valid obligation negotiated between the parties. Mrs. Calbi has pleaded guilty. She will do her time. But for the next 30 or 40 years, you two are parents of the same child and you both are going to have to deal with that.'

"During a court hearing in Bergen County, the Teaneck man said he has a 'huge hole' in his heart and has become 'financially destitute' since the Aug. 2003 death of his elder son, Matthew.

"Linda Calbi was originally charged with murder, but was allowed to plead guilty to aggravated assault after admitting that she kicked Matthew in her Old Tappan home, causing injuries that led to his death.

"'That someone like me should have to support the woman who did this to my child is beyond comprehension,' Christopher Calbi said after the court hearing.

"His ex-wife's attorney, Ian Hirsch, called the ruling fair, arguing that the woman's crime cannot be used as a legal reason to end alimony payments.

"'Mr. Calbi is using his son's death to take away any obligations he has,' Hirsch said. 'I think he's trying to take advantage of a tragedy and turn it around to his economic benefit.'"

You gotta love this attorney--dad not wanting to pay money to the woman who killed his son is "taking advantage of a tragedy and turning it around to his economic benefit." Bad dad--how could he be so rotten?

One more question--can you imagine a judge ordering a woman to pay alimony to the ex-husband who murdered her child? In fact, in California has a recent law which created a presumption that a victim of domestic violence should not be required to pay support to a violent spouse.

Letters From a Deadbeat Dad
Have you ever been labeled 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.

Father: A Child's Right
Visit www.fatherachildsright.org to find information about child custody issues related to fathers and their children's rights, as well as book reviews on parenting, custody and divorce. A fun and exciting father & son baseball component is added for enjoyment. Buy books, magazines and DVDs for your children. Learn about the Michigan Shared Parenting bill. www.fatherachildsright.org


Divorced Dads in Annie's Mailbox

There are a couple of interesting letters from divorced dads in recent Annie's Mailbox columns. One involves a mother undermining a dad's attempt to teach his son the value of money and of keeping commitments. In our current climate, whenever dads try to teach their children financial restraint they are stereotyped as cheap or as deadbeats.

"Dear Annie: I have a 16-year-old son whom I love very much. I have been divorced from his mother for eight years, remarried for the last six. 'Brendan' lives with his mother in the same city, so I see him a lot.

"We had a good relationship until recently. I told Brendan I would give him a car and pay for the insurance if he kept his grades up. He agreed. His first report card, he got a D in one subject. The car stayed at my house. Four weeks later, he got another D on his mid-term.

"The day after he received his grades, Brendan gave my wife and me a very impressive presentation, with charts and everything. He promised to work hard, do extra credit and show us his test scores every week. We caved and let him have the car. Well, he had an excuse every week why he didn't have his test scores. When his grades came, he had two Ds.

"I told Brendan to bring back the car, and he said I needed to talk to his mom, my ex. Naturally, she took his side and wanted the car to stay at her house, and didn't care that Brendan and I had an agreement. The car is now back at my place, but Brendan is angry with me, and my ex is probably going to buy him a car.

"I want my son to learn that there are consequences for being irresponsible. Am I wrong? -- Worried Dad

"Dear Dad: You are not wrong. A car is a privilege, not a right, no matter what some kids think. You kept your end of the bargain, and if his mother buys him a Porsche, let it be HER problem. Your ex is teaching Brendan that he doesn't have to work for anything and that it's OK to renege on agreements. We hope you will keep trying to teach him otherwise, Dad."

One can almost hear 16 year-old Brendan fuming to his friends that his dad is a cheapskate. I wonder who taught him to think that way about his dad?

Another recent column deals with Parental Alienation Syndrome:

"Dear Annie: My son's mother and I broke up more than four years ago, when he was an infant. My son is now 5 years old. Unfortunately, I have heard my son tell his friends and others some very bad things about me. The verbal poisoning from his mother is getting worse. Almost every time I see him, I hear something new or he tells me about the horrible things he was told I did to his mother.

"Up until now I have answered him by saying, 'I am sorry you had to hear that, but let's move on.' However, I am concerned if I do not respond to his comments, he will have no choice but to believe the terrible things she (and possibly her family) are saying about me.

"I realize I have no control over what my ex says, but I am sure this poison can be very damaging to a child in the long run. How do I respond to my son without being derogatory toward his mother?
The High Road Is a Lonely Place

"Dear High Road: Try diplomacy first. Talk to your ex-wife and explain what you are hearing from your son. Tell her you understand that she holds a grudge, but such comments undermine your child's emotional stability and security. Ask her to cease and desist for his sake. If this doesn't work, we recommend family counseling for you and your son, and if possible, include your ex. Sometimes an unbiased third party can work through these destructive behavior patterns.

"Lastly, there is nothing wrong with telling your son, 'Mommy sometimes says angry things because she is unhappy that our family isn't together anymore. I am very sorry that Mommy is unhappy, but I want you to know how much I love you.' This says nothing derogatory about Mom, but does reassure your son about your feelings for him - and that is what counts."

Help for California Divorced Dads
The Divorced Fathers Network helps dads in Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Santa Cruz.  Local chapters sponsor free weekly co-parenting classes, individual mentoring for fathers and much more. www.divorcedfathers.com

Help for Boston Dads
Boston family law attorney Nick Palermo is a shared custody advocate who believes that divorced dads are parents, not visitors. The Law Offices of Nicholas Palermo is a dedicated and committed trial law firm which has worked to make shared custody for all fit parents the law of the land. LAW OFFICES OF NICHOLAS PALERMO



In her recent article Mothers Make a Beautiful Mark on Public Life Peggy Drexler, author of Raising Boys Without Men, writes:

"Are mothers goddesses? Or are we responsible for everything that's wrong with our children, our families and the world?

"We hail mothers as life-givers and supreme nurturers, then blame them--and ourselves--when children and families develop problems.

"Cultural convenience continues to define good and bad mothering, just as it has through the ages. Mothers have traditionally been viewed as saints, victims or villains. It wasn't that long ago when clinicians thought mothers caused autism and schizophrenia, along with 70 other psychopathologies. Even today, mothers are easy targets of blame when children develop disorders of one kind or another or when marriages go sour."

Drexler pounds home her "mothers get all the blame" theme through her book, too. Peggy and I must live in different countries. In the United States men and fathers are blamed for all family problems, including divorce, and Drexler is part of the problem. In my column Raising Boys Without Men: Lesbian Parents Good, Dads Bad (World Net Daily, 9/10/05) I wrote:

"Drexler, like many feminists, has a double standard about divorce. When men divorce women, they're rats and deserters. When women divorce men, they're independent and liberated. Raising Boys makes numerous critical references to fathers who've divorced their wives: Martha's husband 'left her high and dry'; Beverly's husband abandoned her 'abruptly' when their children were small; and Pam's marriage ended because of her ex-husband's alleged 'lack of family commitment.' In fact, the only father who departed from his family against the mother's wishes and isn't vilified for it is a guy who died.

"Yet not one of the many divorced mothers and divorced-turned-lesbian mothers in Raising Boys is ever criticized or even chided for breaking up her family by divorcing her children's father. The vast majority of divorces involving children are initiated by women, and research shows that the primary reason is not abuse or adultery, but instead emotional reasons such as a perceived lack of closeness or of not feeling loved and appreciated. Legitimate concerns, but were they proffered by a man who had broken up his family they would engender little sympathy."

After my column Are Boys Really Better off Without Fathers? (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/31/05) came out last fall Peggy was invited to debate the issue with me on one of the biggest radio shows in the country (sorry--I can't reveal which one) but declined.

In her new article Drexler also propounds the Drexler Doctrine--boys don't need fathers. She writes:

"It's increasingly clear that even without the presence of a strong father, mothers are fully capable of engendering character, self-confidence and ambition in their children. Just ask San Francisco's mayor, Gavin Newsom; bicyclist and cancer survivor, Lance Armstrong; and former President Bill Clinton. All credit their single mothers by circumstance as instrumental in their success."

That Newsom was raised by a single mother is of some dispute. One of my San Francisco readers wrote me:

"I question whether he was raised by a divorced mom, and if it is true, that he didn't suffer. His father is William Newsom, a long time State Court of Appeal judge and somewhat of a kingmaker in San Francisco politics...I  seriously doubt he was raised by a single mother and if he was, his father, who was a political advisor to him, was very influential in his promotion to County Supervisor and Mayor."

The idea that Bill Clinton is an example of good character is also of some dispute, though obviously to become president of the United States is a fantastic achievement. As for Armstrong, Paul Coughlin, author of No More Christian Nice Guy: When Being Nice--Instead of Good--Hurts Men, Women, and Children and a cycling fan, writes:

"I keep an eye on Lance Armstrong and I'm amazed by his abilities, especially his cadence and lightness on the pedals as he flies up mountains. I'm also familiar with his background, apparently more so than Drexler. Young Lance Armstrong was not 'emotionally healthy.' He was, by his own admission, a lost and angry young jerk. Two trainers, Chris Charmichael and Johann Bruyneel, took him under their paternal wing and coaxed stellar talent out of his troubled body and soul. Eddy Merckx, perhaps the greatest cyclist ever, was also a huge influence in Lance's life. When others abandoned him professionally, his agent Ken Stapleton stayed by his side.

"And it was another racer who, seeing young, brash, angry Lance in a field sprint with him near the finish line, who taught Lance a lesson in humility that he never forgot. The well-respected racer hit his brakes because he did not want to appear on the same podium as troubled Armstrong. This man gave up money and fame to distance himself from a young racer whose emotional immaturity and reckless disregard earned him a growing list of detractors who rightly complained that Armstrong did not know how to win well or live well.

"He was not always the good ambassador of one of the world's most incredible sports that he is today. It took the intervention of some big souls to make that happen."

In other words, Armstrong's childhood was not the "fatherless but happy" experience that Drexler pretends it was. I'm sure his mother did her best but it wasn't until there was intervention by some male father figures that Armstrong changed from a antagonistic young man into the man he is today.

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The Rise of America
According to author John D. Diamond, "We are fighting a war in defense of our homes, our families, and posterity. This war is being fought in our courts and it is being fought in our schools...It is a war of ideology and it is war for the very future of this nation." To order The Rise of America click here.

Our PBS Campaign, Parental Alienation Syndrome Discussed in 300+ Newspapers

Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker, whose columns appear in over 300 newspapers, discusses our Campaign Against PBS's Father-Bashing Breaking the Silence in her recent column on Parental Alienation Syndrome--Let's not alienate parents in custody battles.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is when one parent--usually the custodial parent--tries to poison his or her children's minds and turn the children against the noncustodial parent. Parker describes Parental Alienation Syndrome as "agony for a noncustodial parent and emotional problems for children alienated from one parent," and commends a recent proclamation signed by Maine's Governor John E. Baldacci that recognizes April 25 as "Parental Alienation Awareness Day."

In my column PBS Declares War on Dads (World Net Daily, 10/20/05) I described in detail numerous examples of PAS. One of them, experienced by one of my readers, is as follows:

"After Jim L.'s wife divorced him and moved his daughters out of state, she sent the two girls fake or altered e-mails purporting to be Jim. Afterwards, Jim's daughters refused to see him, explaining only 'you know what you've done, you know what you said, you know what you wrote.'

"Once when Jim flew to see his girls for his scheduled weekend visit, his ex-wife decided at the last minute to block the visit. Jim flew home on Sunday without having seen his girls. When he arrived at the airport back home he checked his messages and found a message from his ex-wife. On the recording his girls could be heard crying in the background. His ex-wife said:

"'Jim, the girls are here at the restaurant waiting for you to come pick them up. You said you'd meet them here for breakfast and spend the day with them, and you didn't show up. The girls are very upset. Jim, where are you?!?'"

Parker also wrote:

"Fathers who feel disenfranchised when courts award custody of their children to the mother during divorce have used PAS successfully to pressure judges to allow greater access to their children. One can hardly blame men for trying to be fathers.

"But critics claim that abusive fathers sometimes use PAS to force access where none should be granted. Mothers claim in such cases that they're trying to protect their children, not alienate them.

"This latter argument became the centerpiece last fall of a controversial PBS documentary about abused women and children, 'Breaking the Silence,' that fathers' groups attacked as unbalanced and unfair.

"No fathers were interviewed, and the cases reviewed tended to be extreme and sensational.

"Several women interviewed, for instance, said that they lost custody of their children to abusive fathers (confirmed by the children themselves) when fathers used PAS to 'prove' that the women were systematically teaching their children to hate their fathers.

"Glenn Sacks, a radio show host and columnist, called the film a 'direct assault on fatherhood,' and organized a protest on his Web site. Others - many of whom I know and respect as fellow toilers in trying to advance fatherhood - joined in.

"Sacks' campaign had an effect, and PBS ombudsman Michael Getler wrote a lengthy response agreeing that the show was unbalanced."

As we've noted, in the end PBS agreed to commission a new film to examine the issues raised by the film and our campaign in a more balanced, detailed light. To learn more, click here. The groups to which Parker refers when she writes "fellow toilers in trying to advance fatherhood" include Fathers and Families, the American Coalition for Fathers & Children, and Help Stop PAS Inc.

As for Parker's comment that "Several women interviewed, for instance, said that they lost custody of their children to abusive fathers (confirmed by the children themselves)" this "confirmation" is dubious in several cases. We revealed court findings, records and testimony show that Sadia Loeliger--portrayed as a heroic mom in the film--abused children under her care. In fact, a Tulare County Juvenile Court concluded in August of 1998 that Sadia Loeliger had committed multiple acts of abuse, and adjudged both her daughters as dependents of the Juvenile Court. To learn more, click here.

Parker concludes:

"The biggest losers in such cases, of course, are neither the mothers nor the fathers, but the children, who deserve to have unfettered access to both parents, assuming there's no abuse, without having to tote the adults' emotional baggage.

"Whether parental alienation meets the scientific standards of a 'syndrome' is a battle researchers can wage among themselves. The underlying message, meanwhile, is that there needs to be a presumption of shared custody following divorce, again, assuming no abuse.

"Life is alienating enough without the help of one's own parents."


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.  www.treehousesolutions.org

ACFC Issues New Report: Family Violence in America: The Truth about Domestic Violence and Child Abuse

The American Coalition for Fathers and Children has just issued a new report, Family Violence in America: The Truth about Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, which explains the many ways the war on domestic violence has separated children from the fathers they love and need, and has led to "by far the most severe and alarming violation of constitutional freedoms in the United States today."

The report, penned by ACFC President Stephen Baskerville, PhD., concludes that family dissolution is creating child abuse, and that child custody disputes are a large factor both in fabricated accusations of domestic violence and actual incidents. According to the report:

"The public and policymakers have been seriously misled [about domestic violence]. Gaping inconsistencies separate what the scientific data demonstrate about family violence from current public policy. When the scientific knowledge of these problems is understood, it becomes clear that current policy is not likely to alleviate these problems. More disturbingly, by destabilizing families it is likely to be contributing to them...

"To break this circle, we call for a radical departure from existing programs and offer the following recommendations:

"Government must adhere to the Bill of Rights and other constitutional protections.

"Reform constitutionally questionable programs, such as the Violence Against Women Act, that politicize and distort law enforcement and target individuals because of their membership in groups or their political beliefs rather than their deeds.

"Statutory protection for parental rights to ensure that law enforcement programs are not commandeered to create unaccountable police actions against innocent parents, depriving them of their children without due process of law.

"A legal presumption of equal and shared legal and physical custody of children in cases of divorce, separation, and unmarried parents. By strengthening families and the bonds between parents and their children, we will be addressing the roots of family violence, including child abuse."

To read the 72 page report, click here. To contact the ACFC about the report, write to info@acfc.org or call 800-978-DADS (3237).

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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 www.OttawaDivorce.com/forum/


Dr. Phil Trashes Dads--Again

Popular daytime TV host Dr. Phil is father-bashing again. In the past I've criticized Dr. Phil for supporting and whitewashing abusive mother Bridget Marks, who was found by five separate judges to have coached her little girls to believe that they had been sexually molested by their father. 

Marks became a cause celebre after (briefly) losing custody of her twin girls to their father, against whom she had waged a vicious parental alienation campaign. Marks had appeared on Dr. Phil during the custody battle, and Dr. Phil held a joyous reunion with her on the air in May of last year to celebrate her victory in the custody battle.

The father's side spoke for the first time publicly on His Side with Glenn Sacks--to listen or to read a transcript of the that show, go to Father's Side in Bridget Marks Custody Case Speaks Publicly for First Time, 4/5/05.  Several New York newspapers quoted from our show in their news articles.

To learn more about the Marks case, including Marks' legal team taunting me over their court victory, Marks' unkind comments for me, and my newspaper columns on the Marks case, see Bridget Marks Ruling: It's OK to Coach Little Girls Into Saying They'd Been Molested (4/7/05)

Now Dr. Phil is again on the warpath against dads, pushing the discredited "lazy husband" myth. The promo for one of his shows this week is called The Divorce Experiment and reads:

"Are you married to a man who doesn't know how good he has it? You do the cooking, the cleaning, take care of the kids, and he still takes you for granted? After seven years, Amy finds herself in a marriage where she is expected to wait on her husband hand and foot, and never voice her opinion. Her husband, Greg, is a self-proclaimed male chauvinist pig and says his wife's job is to take care of the family without questioning his role as 'king' of the house. Amy says if Greg doesn't learn to treat her like his equal and not his servant, she's going to divorce him. Dr. Phil sends in a Relationship Rescue team of strong women to teach Greg a lesson! While Amy is sent off on a special trip to build her self-esteem, Greg gets three new 'wives' who give him a dose of his own medicine as they put him through all that he demands of his wife on a daily basis. Will he finally see Amy as his equal and become a better spouse in the process?"

While it's certainly possible to find lazy husbands (and lazy wives), as I've noted in many columns and on the radio, the idea that husbands don't do their share or that "women work two jobs, men only work one" is a complete myth. In my co-authored column Are American Husbands Slackers? (Tallahassee Democrat, 3/22/06) family law attorney Jeff Leving and I wrote:

"Feminist critics compare the work men and women do at home but fail to properly account for their disparate obligations outside the home. Census data shows that only 40% of married women with children under 18 work full-time, and over a quarter do not hold a job outside the home.

"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2004 Time Use Survey, men spend one and a half times as many hours working as women do, and full-time employed men still work significantly more hours than full-time employed women.

"When both work outside the home and inside the home are properly considered, it is clear that men do at least as much as women. A 2002 University of Michigan Institute for Social Research survey found that women do 11 more hours of housework a week than men but men work 14 hours a week more than women. According to the BLS, men's total time at leisure, sleeping, doing personal care activities, or socializing is a statistically meaningless 1% higher than women's. The Families and Work Institute in New York City found that fathers now provide three-fourths as much child care as mothers do--50% more than 30 years ago."

We also noted that men do the most dangerous and demanding jobs, and that men are vastly more likely than women to be killed or injured on the job. We wrote of  the "sacrifices made by men like Terry Helms, one of the 12 miners killed in the Sago Mine disaster [in January]...Terry's son Nick told the Associated Press that his father 'had endured numerous injuries in a 30-year career and hated mining because of the dangers'..'[My father] is very selfless,' Nick said. '[He] refused to quit because the job put food on the table...He gave his life in there so I could go to the movies.'"

Dads, Learn to Take Charge of Your Case in Family Court
Go to www.libertybellunion.org 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.

Has Your Career Been Impacted by Custody Issues?
After empowering people's careers for over 20 year, I was duly initiated into family law just like you--through a 30 month, $520,000 custody suit.  I learned that a solid home-based business could be the best option, allowing one to shake the financial shackles while still experiencing a "no limits" career.  More than ever, our kids now need a free and available parent.  Be there for them... and for yourself.  Darrell W. Gurney, www.CEOinShorts.com
Another Rich, High-Living Deadbeat Goes to Jail (aka Another Low Income Dad Goes to Debtors' Prison)

From the Akron Beacon Journal article Dad who escaped procreation ban jailed on child support charges (make sure to check out the next to last paragraph):

"A judge who was forced to lift his probation condition that a deadbeat dad not father more children has sentenced the man to six months in jail for continuing to fail to pay child support.

"Sean Talty, 34, of Akron, pleaded guilty on Friday to violating terms of his five-year probation by failing to stay current on the payments.

"Medina County Common Pleas Judge James Kimbler, who sentenced Talty to probation in 2002 and modified the terms under Ohio Supreme Court order in 2004, said Talty can reduce the sentence through community service.

"Talty has fathered seven children by five women and also owes support in Butler, Summit and Wayne Counties. The Medina County case involves $30,000 he owes for three of the children by two of the women, including a former wife.

"Court records show the probation violations involve $3,600 owed for 2005 and this year and failure to get a high school equivalency degree.

"In 2004, Kimbler lifted one of his probation conditions imposed in 2002, that Talty not father any more children while on probation. The Ohio Supreme Court had ruled the sentence was overbroad because it didn't include a method for lifting the ban if Talty caught up with his payments."

A few thoughts:

1) Obviously Talty's no model citizen. However, you're not supposed to be imprisoned for debt in this country--debtors prisons were abolished a long time ago. Talty is being jailed because of failure to pay child support, but nobody questions whether his child support was commensurate with his income. This is a guy who can't even get a high school GED--it's doubtful he earns or could earn enough to pay the obligation he's being imprisoned for.

2) Why are the five women who bore Talty's children held blameless? All of these women did exactly what Talty did‑‑they had children whom they could not financially support. In fact, given the much wider range of birth control and reproductive choices that women have, these women had a much larger say in the decision to have children than Oakley did. Low income mothers get sympathy and assistance--fathers get blame and jail.

3) I've checked the top 10 most wanted deadbeat parents lists put out by the states on many different occasions, usually in preparation for an article on the war against so-called "deadbeat dads." In my co-authored column Federal Child Support Enforcement Cuts Will Hurt Bureaucrats, not Children (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 12/17/05, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/16/05) family law attorney Jeff Leving and I wrote:

"In the past few months, 'deadbeat parents' have been the targets of highly-publicized law enforcement actions in Virginia, Texas, Kentucky, and Arizona. Yet Virginia's 'Most Wanted Deadbeat Parents' list is topped by a laborer, a carnival hired hand, and a construction worker, who collectively somehow owe over a quarter million dollars in child support. Of all the parents on Texas' and Kentucky's lists, only one appears to have an education, and the most common designation for occupation is 'laborer.' Near the top of Arizona's list is a maintenance man who owes $90,223, an unemployed man of no known occupation who owes $54,298, and, best of all, a roofer who owes $240,581.

"This week Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott boasted that he had arrested one of the 'deadbeats' on his 'Most Wanted' list--Charles Silva, who owes almost $40,000 in child support. Yet it's doubtful that Silva will be writing a five figure check any time soon--Silva's occupation is 'general laborer.'  Far from being lists of well-heeled businessmen, lawyers, and accountants, the vast majority of the men on these lists do low wage and often seasonal work, and owe large sums of money which they could never hope to pay off. 

"Child support enforcement agencies are notorious for their abusive tactics towards such men..."

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

How Does Sex Discrimination Affect Men and Boys?
The National Coalition of Free Men is a non-profit educational & civil rights organization that looks at the ways sex discrimination affects men and boys. NCFM helps provide men a unified voice on important political and social issues. www.NCFM.org


Speaking of the Boy Crisis in Education...

Just after the publication of my co-authored column Resolving the Boy Crisis in Schools (Chicago Sun-Times, 5/7/06) I was given another reminder of it in my son's life. My son's Boy Scout troop had planned to participate in a big, week long Boy Scout campout in August. The trip sounded fantastic--a week up in the mountains in Northern California with all sorts of fun activities--hiking, archery, boating, etc. Except it turns out that the troop won't be going. The reason? Most of the boys couldn't sign up, because they were all in danger of having to go to summer school. Somehow I doubt that many Girl Scout summer trips are being cancelled for that reason...

My daughter's school recently instituted a new after school policy. Now instead of the kids going out to the yard to play, all students who don't go home immediately after school are corralled into the lunch area to do homework under supervision for 30 minutes.

This is a perfect example of the problems inherent in our almost all-female elementary school system. The school means well, but any group of male teachers would know that after being cooped up for almost eight hours those boys need to go out and run around. Instead, after being forced to sit all day--quite unnatural for little boys--when the bell rings they must be forced marched over to yet another half hour of sitting.

It also turns into a chore for the supervising teachers, who must stand guard over the boys for a half hour. No doubt many boys get punished because they can't sit still and do their homework after school--as if they don't already get punished enough during the day for being unable to sit still. I prefer the school National Review Washington Editor Kate O'Beirne describes in her latest book, where the students work hard and achieve, but also "have recess twice a day, play in the rain, wreck their good shoes, and...they like school."


Legal Help for Fathers
If you live in Los Angeles, Riverside or Orange counties and you're facing a divorce, separation, or a child custody issue, the law firm of Oddenino & Gaule can help.

Congressional Candidate Takes Strong Stand for Noncustodial Parents' Rights
In 2004 Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik had a strong noncustodial parents' rights platform.  Badnarik is clearly aware of and sensitive to the basic problems fathers today face, particularly the sole custody norm and the denigration of noncustodial parents to "second class parent" status. Badnarik is running for Congress in 2006--to learn more, go to www.badnarik.org.


Hero Dad Tells Story in Parents Magazine

Heroic father Joe Seldner tells of his long, hard and ultimately successful for his children in his Parents Magazine article "My Fight to Keep My Kids" (April, 2000). Joe's trial by ordeal will sound familiar to many of you:

"The nightmare began with a knock on the door. On that hot August afternoon in 1993, my wife was out shopping, and the kids, Dan, 9, and Laura, 6, were at swimming lessons with my parents, who had flown in from New Jersey. The visitor identified herself as a caseworker for Child Protective Services and told me that I had been accused of physically abusing my son. I laughed. She didn't. When I asked who would make such a ridiculous charge, she said the information was confidential. 'I'd like you to leave,' I said, barely containing my anger and incredulity. Having dropped her bombshell, she complied.

"When my wife got home, she refused to discuss the matter and referred me to her lawyer. It was clear that my accuser was the woman I had been married to for ten years. I had known our relationship was in trouble, but I'd never imagined she would do anything like this. It felt as if someone had hit me in the hack of the head with a sledgehammer.

"Two days later the sheriff's office served me with divorce papers. The following week, the caseworker came back to interview both of the kids. When she came downstairs afterward, looking a little annoyed, she declared there was nothing to the allegations. I was momentarily relieved -- but the war had just begun."

Read the full article here. To contact Joe, click here.

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. www.paternitytestflaw.com.

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Canadian Court Nails Jell-O to a Wall

In my co-authored column PBS Declares War on Dads (World Net Daily, 10/20/05) family law attorney Jeff Leving and I discussed the hard struggle so many noncustodial parents face to get courts to properly address Parental Alienation Syndrome in their cases. We wrote:

"As a society we pretend that broken families are all men's fault, pay lip service to the importance of fathers, and close our eyes while millions of children are separated from the fathers they love and need. Because that's what mom wants. Because it's easier to blame everything on dad than it is to confront mom on her destructive behavior. Because trying to hold a divorcing mother accountable for her behavior is like trying to nail Jell-O to a wall. Because there's a high political cost to be paid for crossing mothers and none to be paid for crossing fathers."  (emphasis added)

Well, last week a Canadian court nailed Jell-O to a wall. According to the story Mother loses kids after hindering father's access:

"A divorced woman who sabotaged her children's relationship with their estranged father has been stripped of their custody in a decision by Ontario's top court which sends a message that 'parental alienation' harms children and will not be tolerated.

"'We recognize, as did the trial judge, that the remedy of granting custody to the father is a dramatic one. However, that remedy was supported by the expert evidence and by the mother's persistent, ingrained and deep-rooted inability to support the children's relationship with the father,' said three judges of the Ontario Court of Appeal in a unanimous decision this week.

"The court dismissed the appeal of the Jarvis, Ontario mother against a lower court decision last year which ordered that the primary residence of her five-year-old twin boys be switched from the mother -- who had sole physical custody of them since their birth -- to her ex-husband who resides in Hamilton.

"Calling that decision 'amply supported by the evidence,' the Appeal Court said that although the mother was 'otherwise a good parent,' her persistent 'troublesome conduct' against the children's best interests included unilaterally restricting the father to daytime visits and failing to inform him about the children's medications, or to give him their prescription drugs, so that they would return home from visits with him sicker than when they left.

"Obstructed access affects thousands of divorced parents and their children across Canada, according to a 1998 parliamentary report which urged the federal government and the provinces and territories to devise a nationwide co-coordinated response to failed parenting orders...

"The appeal court was also critical of the mother's unilateral decision -- without warning, just before the custody case went to trial -- to uproot the boys from their school and community to move to another town further away from their father. 'Moreover, the mother said that if the father moved to her new town, she would move again,' the Court of Appeal noted.

"'This conduct, in addition to many other instances of alienating conduct, was properly viewed by the trial judge as evidence of the mother's inability to support the father's relationship with the children and to consider the best interests of the children.'

"By court order, the boys now reside with their father, but live with their mother most weekends and see her for mid-week evening visits."

The case is also another example of how move-aways are used by alienating custodial parents to destroy the relationships between children and their noncustodial parents. This is one of the reasons our two defeats of move-away legislation in the California legislature (click here and here) are so important.


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Double-Standard in Reporting on Male DV Victims

Dr. Charles Corry, the leader of the Equal Justice Foundation, the American Coalition for Fathers and Children affiliate in Colorado, discusses the recent murder of Clifford Evans, a Denver, Colorado male victim of domestic violence. According to Corry:

"His wife, Debra, had stabbed him to death and if you Google on Debra Evans you'll find a few brief notes, e.g., the Denver Post gives it a few short paragraphs. Typical when a woman kills a man.

"What isn't mentioned is that Debra Evans, aka Debrah  Wellington, had two prior domestic violence convictions, one in 2001 and another as far back as 1990. Presumably the 2001 conviction required her to take the standard 36-week DV treatment program. But perhaps she was one of the 50% of convicted offenders who never complete the program because it certainly didn't change her behavior.

"According to a Fox News reporter, the neighbors in the apartment building had become inured to the couple fighting, and that Clifford was always the victim. By any definition, Debra Evans is a 'batterer' but you'll never find that out from the press. It hasn't gone to trial yet but my guess is she will be the 'battered woman' then.

"But imagine if Clifford had a couple of prior DV convictions and then killed Debra? Front page, above the fold coverage would be the norm. But since Debra is the killer the case can be buried by the press."

Best Wishes,
Glenn Sacks

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