« Sexist T-Shirts And A Contest! | Main | Last Night's Song At The End Of "Cold Case" »

November 07, 2005

Fathers' Rights Activists Continue Attacking "Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories"

Fathers' rights activists are heavily into their second phase of attacking Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories. This is a documentary about children who claim that their fathers have been abusing them. The courts, who did not believe the children or their protective mothers, had awarded custody of these children to the fathers these children say have been abusing them. Mothers who try to protect their children from abuse are accused of "alienating" the children and "brainwashing" them against their fathers. Mothers and children are accused of having Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), junk science that is not recognized as a valid mental disorder by the American Psychological Association (APA). The mothers are not believed. The children are not believed. This is a travesty of justice that is finally getting some much-deserved media attention.

Fathers' rights activists recently have been circulating the following web document that purports that the the documentary has distorted the APA's position on PAS.

American Psychological Association Says Breaking the Silence Misrepresents Its Position on PAS

October 24, 2005

A spokeswoman for the American Psychological Association says that PBS's new documentary Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories distorts the APA's position on Parental Alienation Syndrome. The film criticizes PAS, which arises when one parent tries to turn his or her children against the other parent during a divorce or separation.

In the documentary Joan Meier, a professor of clinical law at George Washington University and one of the film's chief spokespersons, states that PAS "has been thoroughly debunked by the American Psychological Association." Connecticut Public Television, one of the film's producers, put out a press release promoting the film which stated that PAS had been "discredited by the American Psychological Association."

However, according to Rhea K. Farberman, Executive Director of Public and Member Communications of the American Psychological Association, these claims are "incorrect" and "inaccurate." Farberman says that the APA "does not have an official position on parental alienation syndrome--pro or con." She adds:

"The Connecticut Public Television press release is incorrect. I have notified both Connecticut Public Television and their PR firm of the inaccuracy in their press release."

Breaking the Silence aired on some PBS affiliates on October 20 and will air on others in the coming weeks. The film's central contention is that PAS is "junk science" which abusive fathers are using to wrest custody of children away from fit mothers. The film has been the subject of large protests by fatherhood advocates, who claim that the film is one-sided and inaccurate. Many fathers believe that they have been the target of parental alienation campaigns by their children's mothers. Meier made her statement about PAS and the APA six minutes into the show.

PAS is not in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders (DSM-IV), the "bible" of psychiatry that describes diagnoses of mental illnesses. Without a diagnosis, there can be no treatment. Mothers are overwhelming accused of having PAS, and PAS is "diagnosed" strictly in a court setting - during a contested custody case. Dr. Richard Gardner, who coined PAS, found that 90% of his PAS caseload was mothers. "Treatment" of PAS consists of removing the child from the allegedly alienating mother, and awarding that child to the father the child and mother claim is abusive. The mother often sees her contact with her own child either severely curtailed or eliminated entirely.

The APA has already taken a position regarding the lack of data to support PAS. Below is an excerpt from the APA Presidential Task Force On Violence And The Family. Bold is my emphasis.

Family courts frequently minimize the harmful impact of children's witnessing violence between their parents and sometimes are reluctant to believe mothers. If the court ignores the history of violence as the context for the mother's behavior in a custody evaluation, she may appear hostile, uncooperative, or mentally unstable. For example, she may refuse to disclose her address, or may resist unsupervised visitation, especially if she thinks her child is in danger. Psychological evaluators who minimize the importance of violence against the mother, or pathologize her responses to it, may accuse her of alienating the children from the father and may recommend giving the father custody in spite of his history of violence.

Some professionals assume that accusations of physical or sexual abuse of children that arise during divorce or custody disputes are likely to be false, but the empirical research to date shows no such increase in false reporting at that time. In many instances, children are frightened about being alone with a father they have seen use violence towards their mother or a father who has abused them. Sometimes children make it clear to the court that they wish to remain with the mother because they are afraid of the father, but their wishes are ignored.

There is also this statement, from the APA Office of Public Affairs:

Statement on Parental Alienation Syndrome
October 28, 2005

The American Psychological Association (APA) believes that all mental health practitioners as well as law enforcement officials and the courts must take any reports of domestic violence in divorce and child custody cases seriously. An APA 1996 Presidential Task Force on Violence and the Family noted the lack of data to support so-called "parental alienation syndrome", and raised concern about the term's use. However, we have no official position on the purported syndrome.

A second thing fathers' rights activists have done is to circulate documentation provided by the one of the fathers accused of abuse in the documentary. Fathers' rights activist Glenn Sacks in particular has been circulating materials by Scott Loeliger, the allegedly abusive father of one of the children covered in the documentary. Loeliger has been circulating his literature to anyone willing to listen since the documentary began filming. Sacks has an entire web page devoted to Loeliger's documentation.

What is not getting circulated is a statement the daughter has made. That statement is reproduced below. She claims her father and stepmother had abused her, and she wants to live with her mother. The documentation provided by the father is considerably older than the daughter's statement.

Please remember that this documentary is about children who speak out about abuse they experience at their father's hands who find that they are not believed. It is assumed that they are being coached by their mothers. It is telling that Glenn Sacks did post the daughter's side of the story, but he buried her statement within his web site. It is not on the main page that gives prominence to the statements of her allegedly abusive father and those who support him.

Most tellingly, the daughter's statement is on Sacks's web site entitled "The Opposition's Side Of The Story." This teenaged girl who spoke about her own experience of being abused by her father and stepmother is considered "the opposition". That's one hell of a Freudian slip. He also refers to her statement as "Story Written by or for Fatima Loeliger: Fatima's Story". The assumption is that she was coached in making her statements, which would in fathers' rights minds be evidence of PAS. What it really means is that fathers' rights activists such as Sacks do not believe a child who has written about abuse she experienced from her father and stepmother. Fathers' rights activists have silenced her voice in favor of supporting the position of her allegedly abusive father.

Keep in mind that one of the points of this documentary is that children who speak out about abuse they experience at the hands of their fathers are not being believed. Authorities and legal personnel assume that these children are being coached by their mothers, and they then recommend that custody be awarded to the abuser. In promoting Loeliger's side of the story while at the same time ignoring his daughter's own statements about her abuse, fathers' rights activists are doing exactly what the documentary is talking about - ignoring the statements of a child who says she has been abused by her father. Ms. Loeliger's experience of seeing her cries for help being ignored is being repeated on the Internet, thanks to fathers' rights activists. These people claim they are concerned with the welfare of children, yet they are lobbying against a child who has claimed that she has been abused by her father.

Here is the statement of that daugther, Fatima Busaat Loeliger.

Fatima's Story
April 4, 2004

    My name is Fatima Busaat Loeliger. I am fourteen years old and for as long as I can remember, I have been in the California court system. From about the age of four to the age of eight I was living with my mom. Previous to that, I had been living off and on with either parent. I was a happy, well cared for child. I did well in school and all my teachers liked me. I was a Spelling Bee Champion and I always had a lot of friends and toys. My mom was a single mom who supported two children on her own. She always made sure we had babysitters and whatever it takes to make us happy. The court decision then was that I would live and go to school with my mom and visit my dad two weekends a month.

In 1998 I went for a scheduled visit with my dad. He took me to CPS in Red Bluff, California and accused my mom of child abuse. The CPS worker asked me if my mom ever spanked me. Once in a while my mom gave me a swat on the butt as discipline so I answered "yes." Suddenly, my mom was accused of being a child abuser, which she wasn't. The next time I would receive contact from my mom would be in three years when I was entering the seventh grade. In the three years I was living with my dad, the only information I was given by him and his wife was that my mom abandoned me, she was a drug abuser, she didn't want me, she has a new family and forgot about me, and she was going to hurt me. I was sad and confused. I couldn't understand what I had done wrong to make her not love me anymore. My father and the people who helped him keep me from my mom brainwashed me so that I began to resent my mom.

At my school, I was the only child of color and the only one without a mother. At home I was ignored, with my dad barely taking anytime to talk to me or see how I was. His wife was mean to me and would lie about me to my dad who would ground me without even asking what happened. To this day she still calls my mother a whore, my siblings bastard children, and my step dad and ass-kisser. She would repeatedly say that I was not part of their family and that it was her house and she could do anything she wanted. She still says these things. I felt alone and like an outsider. Everyday of my life I missed my mom, my little sister, my life, everything. After I was taken away from my mom the only thing I got was an occasional picture of what I was missing in my past life.

Finally in seventh grade I got to visit my mom. At the beginning of eighth grade I decided I wanted to live with my mom. I was tired of being verbally, mentally, and emotionally abused by my father and his wife. My family went to court once again and this time it was much more painful. The reigning judge, Judge King the third, I had met a year earlier when he signed the adoption papers for my dad and his wife to adopt a son. After appealing to the judge to let me live with my mom and to be present at future court trials and being denied, I ran away from school and turned myself into the police. Jennifer Mitchell became my CPS worker when I was placed into foster care by my father. I pleaded to be able to see my mom. They enforced strict supervised visitations with my mom but let my dad come to the foster home as often as he liked even though I expressed my extreme discomfort about my dad visiting to Jennifer Mitchell, the foster mother Deborah Sheehan, and Judge King. I felt very vulnerable and overwhelmed. I felt ganged-up on. Every time I made a court appearance and I explained to the judge and Jennifer Mitchell that my dad and his wife verbally abused me and physically abused their adopted son I was told that I was lying and manipulative and that I had been in the system too long for my words to hold integrity. This is exactly what my father has said about me to the court. He told the court my mother was alienating me from him.

One of my father’s witnesses was a psychologist named Randy Robinson. This woman was a very close friend of my father. Her husband was a colleague of my father and on several occasions we had gone to her house. Most recently, we had gone on vacation with them white-water rafting and had shared a cabin for a week. My father’s attorney, Matthew McGlynn told the court that if I was allowed to be in the care of my mother I would become a juvenile delinquent and end up pregnant. These and other comments hurt me deeply. They made me experience feelings of worthlessness and made me sound like a prostitute walking the streets. I had always prized myself on being very modest and clean. The comments degraded me and my father seconded the opinion.

Jennifer Mitchell, my CPS worker, didn't help me either. She would always try to intimidate me and keep me from seeing my mom. On several occasions she promised me a visit with my mom in her office. I would drive down and wait for over three hours and when I would confront her about why she was making me sit here without seeing my mom she would send in her supervisor who would yell at me calling me manipulative, a liar, a good for nothing trying to control his office, and a "foster care throw back." He would continue to yell until I would cry and then he would leave without letting me explain my problem. Ms. Mitchell also instructed me to lie to my mom about visits I had with my father, because he was allowed to see me more than my mom was. It was later found at trial that Mrs. Mitchell had discarded a CPS report my concerned teacher had filed a few months previously, after I had complained to him about the treatment I received in my father’s house.

Finally last year I was able to live with my mom in Davis, and visit my dad on weekends. However, nothing has changed at my father's house. I am still being emotionally abused there, and because I complain about it, my dad is once against trying to get me taken away from my mom, even though I am happy here and doing great in school. My point is that my childhood was lost. I can never get back what I have lost but that is not why I am here. I am here because this abuse and disregard of the laws that should protect and nurture every child are not being upheld. It doesn't matter if this has happened to one or one million children. One is too many. I have little respect, trust, or regard for the California family court system and I will be emotionally scarred for life because my father was able to use the courts as he willed to retaliate against my mother and I. Children may be young, but we know what feels right and what doesn't. It is our lives, not yours, that you are playing with. Please help us help ourselves
.
--- Fatima- Busaat Loeliger,
written at age 14

The Los Angeles Journal and the San Francisco Daily Journal published an article by The Family Court Reform Coalition which is a response to misleading reports published by fathers' rights activists who are protesting the documentary. In particular, the article focuses on statements written by fathers' rights activist Glenn Sacks.

Los Angeles Daily Journal
(Also published in the San Francisco Daily Journal)

(CA Legal Newspapers)

11/01/05

"Critics of Child Abuse Film Miss the Point in Rush to Defend Fathers"

By: Paul J. Fink, Judge Sol Gothard,
and Tasha Amador

The Family Court Reform Coalition (FCRC), a national organization composed of many of the nation's leading experts in the fields of child custody, child abuse, psychology, and domestic violence, would like to respond to the controversy surrounding the outstanding new PBS documentary Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories.

This groundbreaking film explores the failure of many family courts to protect child abuse victims in custody cases involving domestic violence.

The national talk radio host, Glenn Sacks, has launched a nationwide protest campaign against the PBS film and has made numerous public statements strongly criticizing the documentary.

Sacks has stated that "PBS has declared war on fathers" and the film is 'an assault on fatherhood'." What is of concern is Sacks‚ near-total focus on the portrayal of fathers in the film, and what he views as the questionable behavior of mothers in custody disputes.

What Sacks fails to recognize is that this issue is not about fathers or mothers.

This issue is about children, and about ensuring that abused children are protected in the family courts. That important and salient point somehow was lost in Sacks; public statements, which reflect a multitude of accusations and concentrated diatribe against mothers and his concerns regarding the negative effects of "draconian" domestic violence policies on fathers in the documentary.

The Family Court Reform Coalition supports this compelling and powerful PBS film, as it brings to light a national scandal hidden in many family courts for the last 20 years. Many family courts are failing to protect children from their abusers, in custody cases involving domestic violence.

Over the last two decades, it has been reported that hundreds of children across the country have been placed in the custody of the parent they disclosed sexually and/or physically abused them. These abusive parents overwhelmingly have a history of domestic violence. Research indicates that at least 50% of contested custody cases involve domestic violence.

As accurately noted in the film, many domestic batterers are deliberately sexually and/or physically abusing their children as a means to traumatize the former abused partner, as they recognize hurting the children is the single most painful way to hurt the ex-partner.

These batterers then use the family court system as a continuing tool of abuse by filing for sole custody of the children in order to continue harming their families after the abused partner escapes the violent relationship.

Parents who leave abusive partners are often met with retaliatory lawsuits for child custody by batterers in family court, who seek to punish the partner for leaving by taking the children away.

Recent studies show that batterers are 4 to 6 times more likely to sexually abuse their children than non-violent parents. Multiple studies have established the high overlap between battering and incest perpetration.

In attacking the PBS documentary and its support for the abuse disclosures of children in family court custody cases, it is important to note that Family Court Reform Coalition disputes Sacks‚ public statements of fact and his representations of research findings.

Sacks has made public statements claiming that "the vast majority of accusations of child sexual abuse made during custody battles are false."

This is inaccurate. Multiple studies show that at least 50 percent of sexual abuse allegations raised during custody disputes are in fact "substantiated" or "founded". McDonald; Thoennes & Tjaden; Jones & McGraw.

While false abuse allegations do occur in contested custody cases, the research indicates that they are uncommon. The largest study to date on the topic, by Thoennes & Tjaden of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, comprising 9,000 families with custody disputes, indicated that less than 2 percent of the cases even had allegations of sexual abuse - hardly an epidemic.

While some judges and family court officials believe that most abuse allegations made during divorce are false, the research on the topic shows that the actual rates of such "false allegations" are very low.

A cross section of studies showed that the rate of false allegations in a custody context was found to be quite low, between 1 percent to 7.6 percent. McDonald; Thoennes & Tjaden; Jones & McGraw.

In attempting to discredit the PBS film, Sacks grossly misrepresents the findings of a 1996 study published in Social Science and Modern Society by Douglas Besharov and Lisa Laumann.

Sacks inaccurately claims the study shows that "the vast majority of accusations of child sexual abuse made during custody battles are false, unfounded or unsubstantiated."

Sacks‚ statement implies that the study states that these are deliberate false allegations.

The study did not say such abuse allegations were "false"; what the study actually stated was that "Upon investigation, as many as 65 percent of the reports now being made are determined to be 'unsubstantiated'."

It must be understood, however, that "unsubstantiated" or "unfounded" is not necessarily the same as false.

The 1996 study cited by Sacks directly confirms this and states that "Moreover, an unfounded report does not necessarily mean that the child was not actually abused or neglected."

In fact, the study states that "Few unfounded reports are made maliciously. Studies of sexual abuse reports, for example, suggest that, at most, from 4 to 10 percent of these reports are knowingly false. Likewise, few inappropriate or unfounded reports are deliberately false statements. Most involve an honest desire to protect children coupled with confusion about what conditions are reportable."

The 1996 study cited by Sacks also provides reasons that true cases of abuse might be labeled "unfounded" or "unsubstantiated". "Evidence of child maltreatment is hard to obtain and might not be uncovered when agencies lack the time and resources to complete a thorough investigation or when inaccurate information is given to the investigator."

In addition, there are other legitimate reasons why true cases of child sexual abuse might be labeled "unsubstantiated", including a lack of physical evidence, which often leads some judges to think the abuse allegation was "false" and the accused parent must be "innocent."

However, studies show that even in cases with proven penetration, up to 95 percent of true cases of sexual abuse will have no physical evidence. Kellogg et al; Heger et al; Adams et al. This is because children heal very quickly, and if they are not examined within 48 hours of the abuse, any genital injuries will often have already healed and there will be no detectable physical evidence to be found upon examination.

Also, most molestation/incest involves abuse that does not leave a physical trace, such as fondling or oral sex, thus, there will be no detectable physical evidence to be found in such cases. As a result, true sexual abuse cases are often labeled "unsubstantiated". which again, is not the same as false.

Sacks has also provided distorted and inaccurate information regarding the controversial theory called "parental alienation syndrome".

Parental Alienation Syndrome theory claims that exclusively in the context of a child custody dispute, parents will spontaneously develop a "mental illness" in which they seek to vilify the other parent, "brainwashing" the child into making false allegations of sexual abuse against the other parent.

The theory proposes that the proper "treatment" for this "mental disorder" is to increase the child's time with the allegedly molesting parent to counteract the "alienating" behaviors of the accusing parent.

While the idea of "badmouthing" and negative feelings in divorce sounds familiar and plausible to most people, there is no research to show that such behavior can be equated with a "mental illness."

Parental Alienation Syndrome has been used nationwide by batterers as a courtroom tactic to silence abused children by attempting to discredit their disclosures of abuse.

This theory is not recognized as valid by the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, or the American Medical Association.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is not accepted as a psychiatric diagnosis, and has been rejected by the mainstream psychological community.

Parental Alienation Syndrome is junk science; there is no valid research or empirical data to support this unproven theory. While in 1980, Wallerstein and Kelly described children temporarily aligning with one parent after divorce, they state that such normal behavior dissipates over time.

No valid studies have ever been conducted to test or confirm the validity of PAS theory. A 2004 article in the American Journal of Family Therapy states that "The review of the literature does not show evidence of any previous inter-rater reliability studies for the purpose of testing PAS as a reliable syndrome and as suggested by Gardner" Rueda.

Sacks claims that PAS is a "well-documented phenomenon" that has been validated by a study of 700 divorce cases published by the American Bar Association.

In fact, the study cited by Sacks, published in 2003 (actually a reprint of a 1991 study) by Clawar and Rivlin, was a flawed study.

A 2004 article in the Journal of Child Custody, states that Clawar and Rivlin "fail to describe their methods and measures" for their study, showing a lack of sound scientific methodology. Garber.

The tactical use of Parental Alienation Syndrome theory by batterers in family court cases is greatly endangering children, by causing their disclosures of abuse to be discounted.

In the final analysis, we must consider the reality of the immeasurable damage done to children who are forced to live by court order with a molesting or abusive parent.

Anyone who cares about children should watch this important PBS documentary.

Countless children are undergoing unspeakable suffering in the custody of an abusive parent. Some family court systems which were designed to protect children have instead put them in danger, and something must be done about it ˆ now.

Please contact the FCRC for more information or to learn when the PBS film will be aired in your state at: info@familycourtrc.org.

Dr. Paul J. Fink and Judge Sol Gothard are members of the Family Court Reform Coalition, and Tasha Amador is an executive board member of the group.

Fink is past president of the American Psychiatric Association and current president of the Leadership Council on Child Abuse and Interpersonal Violence.

Gothard is a retired 5th Circuit Court of Appeals judge, a former chief judge for the Louisiana Jefferson Parish Juvenile Court and a former faculty member for the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.

The fact that this documentary continues to be under attack from fathers' rights activists shows how effective it is. Fathers' rights activists feel threatened that their support of junk science such as PAS is getting media attention. This documentary is being shown to legislators and legal personnel in order to educate them about what protective mothers and abused children go through in court. Breaking The Silence: Children's Stories is about the children whose claims of abuse at the hands of their fathers are being ignored. Junk science such as PAS is being used in court to remove these children from their protective mother's custody, and then they are handed over to their abusive fathers. This practice must stop. Hopefully, this documentary will educate the public to prevent such tragedies from happening.

Posted on November 7, 2005 at 07:35 AM | Permalink

Comments

As a psychologist, and as someone who communicates about these matters with
professionals and non-professionals, attorneys and litigants all
over the country, I can affirm the on-the-bullseye accuracy of
the picture portrayed in the documentary. When a mother brings up allegations of DV or child abuse within the family court system, and
depending on how much money the father has to spend on scorched
earth litigation tactics against her, she often will be immediately characterized
as an "alienator," "vindictive," "malicious," "unfit," etc. This typically eventuates in her losing custody or, at best, being forced into sharing custody with a father whose primary goal is to destroy her. If he has to take the kids along with him in doing so, well, that's seen as collaterol damage.

PAS is nothing more than a litigation strategy to assist abusers in overcoming abuse allegations, no matter how credible, and in gaining custody and visitation rights that they doesn't deserve.
The family court system does NOT carefully investigate these allegations; judges hate to even hear them, and the attorneys and law guardians have a field day in "turning the victim into a criminal
and turning the criminal into the victim." After all, there's a lot of money to be made in doing so.

This scenario is what BTS is about. It is NOT about sane,
loving, fit fathers; it is not about the small proportion of
mothers who do lie and are vindictive. It is about how abuse--
woman and child abuse--are typically mishandled in the family court
system and the disastrous effect of this on so many families.

Ask the honest, ethical attorneys who work within this deplorable system, and they will admit that his is so.

Posted by: Dr. Mo Therese Hannah at Nov 7, 2005 8:13:10 AM

As an atty with 30 years experience in family law, I am familiar with what goes on in family court and with the failure of our courts to protect children from their abusers.
Too many judges lack a background that would help them discern the truth of what is in front of them. They, as well as family relations staffers, tend to side with fathers who show even a minimal interest in their children and to disparage mothers who report what the children experience.
The Father's Rights men generally have more resources than the mothers, but the truth will come out - even if they don't want to hear, especially on tv.
We need more documentaries and and we should make anyone connected with the judicial system watch them all.

Posted by: Patricia Kane, Esq. at Nov 7, 2005 9:08:22 AM

The loud, heckling, and disproportionate backlash against this film by the father's rights movement and those who make their living finding and treating "parental alienation" is metaphoric for what actually occurs in these court cases. Women's and children's voices are drowned out in the din of bullshit that is tangential and not even on point, created by those who have the time and money to make this noise and confusion for their own ulterior reasons (which have nothing to do with the well-being of any child.)

We need a primary caretaker presumption in custody law, along with appellate review rules that do not defer blindly to court discretion. The nonsense of "shared parenting" is the underlying cause of all of these court cases and miscarriages of justice, as well as the over-involvement of mental health professionals and GALs in the court system.

liz

http://www.thelizlibrary.org/liz/

Posted by: Elizabeth J. Kates, Esq. at Nov 7, 2005 9:48:36 AM

Thank you for continuing to voice the truth about male abusers in this country. As a child of a violent physical abuser who spent her entire childhood silently taking mild physical, constant emotional and finally sexual abuse until I was 21 and legally and financially free to escape, I never thought things could get worse for children of abusers. Unfortunately, they have. The courts in 1955 would never take a infant girl away from a decent mother and turn the child over to drunken, wife beater but such a father would likely get the child today if the mother dared to object to joint custody. I for one am staying in a relationship with a abuser rather than risk having to turn our child over without me there to intervene and protect her from her abusive father. At least she can escape at 18 rather than have to wait until 21.

Posted by: rainbow at Nov 7, 2005 10:46:31 AM

Both sides are wrong. In cases of abuse both parents are sick, the father and the mother. Both have a history that they dragged into the marriage. The children bond with the abuser and want to stay with that parent out of fear and hoping one day for acceptance until they realize it is something they will never get. The other parent knows there is something wrong and chooses not to do anything, ignores the situation until it is too late and even participates. Neither parent is innocent and the battered wife syndrome is an excuse, just leave. Stop justifying murder, torture and ongoing abuse just because a spouse is unwilling to pack a bag. I agree with Alan Dershowitz and his abuse excuse.

Part of the answer is for the family and criminal court system to send both parents to mandatory counseling, but only after the child(ren) takes a lie detector test. Children lie all the time with little understanding of the consequences and the media has turned this issue into a nightmare with the proliferation of information on TV, the Internet and movies. So if everyone would just do his or her job of polygraphing the child (which is admissible at the federal level within set parameters), bagging evidence, taking photos, making tape recordings and submitting to a physical and psychological exam – the legal process can take its course. The rest is just emotional hot air, whereby reputations are needlessly ruined and not based on evidence. Therefore, it is unconstitutional and none of it should be sensationalized or even enter the realm of entertainment. False and true allegations have been around for years and it is time for the authorities, caseworkers and authorities to get the job done right without bringing their own judgment to the table. The punishment should be just as severe for false accusations and any one who tampers with the process, because the devastation is the same on both sides of the isle.

Has Fatima taken a polygraph test?

Posted by: Dece Nettles at Nov 7, 2005 10:47:21 AM

Rainbow, I feel for you. One of the worst parts of losing custody myself, as great as the impact on myself and my child, was the fear it seemed to inspire in women I knew. Here I am--an non-drinking, non-drugging, non-abusive mom with fancy college degrees and such, who STILL lost custody to a chronically unemployed abuser. For what's it worth, I'm about as boring and inoffensive as you can get. Heck, I've even taught Sunday School at our Methodist Church! As that made the fear even worse for other women who knew me or heard of me. They figure that if someone like her can lose, then ANY mom can lose. So I've heard women at church, in the library, other places come up to me and tell me that they have resolved to stay with their alcoholic husband, their "screamer" until their kids can leave on their own. It's one of the most depressing parts of my "legacy".

Posted by: silverside at Nov 7, 2005 11:04:30 AM

Thank you for posting your analysis. The attack on this documentary is what protective mothers feel every day in the family courts when and if they dare to stand up to their abuser.

Manette

Posted by: Manette Dennis, Esq. at Nov 7, 2005 11:54:47 AM

"Part of the answer is for the family and criminal court system to send both parents to mandatory counseling, but only after the child(ren) takes a lie detector test."

I'll go for this as long as all the ADULTS involved including the attorneys, GALS and Evaluators are subject to one too...

Then we can analyis EVERYONE'S motives...

Okay...

Make some sense will you please...

Plus what about if a parent drinks or uses drugs and does abusive things during that? Do they even remember...so can they abuse a child while drunk and then STILL pass a lie detector test????

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 7, 2005 11:58:18 AM

This film is so important. Why would anyone want to silence children telling about how their were left unprotected by the courts even after they did everything right and took the risk to report the abuse? This is what we tell kids to do, report abuse, so it is not OK
to punish them when they do by keeping them from the parent who is trying to stop the abuse.

Posted by: Jane Camming at Nov 7, 2005 12:39:25 PM

Dr Hannah I'm glad you're posting here. I have some questions:

Whatever happened to Genia Shockome? You don't seem to be helping her case anymore and I see she's not on your speaker list for Siena college this year?

How come Genia wouldn't pay any child support to her ex-husband?

What's the difference between a parent who stays home to take care of the chldren and one who is "out of work?"

How's the Chase case going?

Posted by: jiminy at Nov 7, 2005 1:02:27 PM

But seriously, Ms Hannah.

I read Mr Port's article in the Tu last week and it's hard to pass by the contradictions in the article. I mean, I know that these things happen to some women, but I also note that he states that many fathers don't go for custody because they see it as impossible. I know many like that myself. So how on the one hand is it impossible for a good Dad, and at the same time a useful weapon against women?

Has anyone ever stopped to think that maybe a good solution is to share parenting between good parents and then free up resources to fight the abusive? In NY today there's not really any sort of provision made for shared parenting.

I also know for a fact that there are a lot of abusive women out there who get the kids no problem. When my wife started telling our daughter that "Daddy hates you", laid her down (2yo) behind the car in the driveway to keep me from leaving an escalating argument and nearly ran me over in the parking lot of Albany Academy (she just missed) I began talking to several lawyers. Regardless of the abusive behavior on her part, none of the attornies I spoke with felt that I had a snowball's chance in hell of gaining primary custody. We're still together because I'm afraid of the alternative for our daughter and myself.

On the other hand, another man I know in Columbia County was removed from his home with supervised visitation for throwing a collander against the kitchen wall when his wife and children were in a different room.

Could you please explain to me then how there's a bias against women in the Albany family court system?

Posted by: jiminy at Nov 7, 2005 1:19:16 PM

I would be happy to address the difference between a stay-at-home parent and an unemployed layabout, having experienced an unemployed layabout who was successful in marketing himself as a stay-at-home dad in court.
1) Stay-at-home moms (according to the sociological research) tend to take on the vast majority or all of the household chores when their husbands work full time. This is generaly considered a fair trade-off by both parties concerned. When both parties work, men tend to do more, but on average, but still not 50%. When fathers stay at home, they to do LESS than working fathers.
I did ALL the housework, including throwing out milk and other perishables left out at lunch that he did not put away. I had to do all the grocery shopping and cooking when I got out of work, as he never bothered. He actually had the nerve to complain during the divorce proceedings that we ate out too much. He was home, yet he never even started a meal. Never put clothes in the washing machine, so at least I didn't have to do that before hanging them out on the line. On and on. Because you see, all this is the woman's job according to him.
2) This was not an arrangement formed by mutual agreement, but because of an utter refusal to be employed. Pushing a new mother into exhaustion and post-partum depression is abuse, a refusal to put anybody or anything above your entitlement to be laziness. Especially when you back it up with threats, shoving, etc.
3)Even though the woman now assumes the role of family breadwinner, she gets none of the respect or deference traditionally given to the male breadwinner. Not only does she have all the traditionally female chores, but she can get harangued for being a lousy working mother who "neglects" the kids. The abuser plays it both ways. The woman is worthless crap who is doing both fronts. He is doing neither, and yet asserts his superiority.
4) He demands every cent you earn as his due because he is the man.

Posted by: silverside at Nov 7, 2005 2:16:26 PM

I just tried to post this comment, but Typepad ate it. I'm trying again.

Alice Hector is a primary caregiving mom who lost custody to a ne'er do well unemployed layabout who presented himself as a stay-at-home dad. Ms. Hector worked as a high-powered attorney. She received help from her mother with the kids. Her layabout husband initially won custody when he fooled the court into thinking he was a stay-at-home dad, but the decision was reversed later. Ms. Hector was given custody, as she should have been in the first place.

I agree with Liz. A primary caregiver presumption would go a long way towards stopping these contested custody cases. This "shared parenting" garbage is only keeping people in court longer, and driving up the costs of litigation and "extras" that benefit only people who make their livings from divorce and custody cases, like parenting coordinators, mediators, and GALs.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 7, 2005 3:52:07 PM

"How's the Chase case going?"

We're still working on getting that kid back from his 'excessively drinking' father, who threatened to kill a sheriff's deputy and his whole family...

We'll let you know...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 7, 2005 4:21:38 PM

"I agree with Liz. A primary caregiver presumption would go a long way towards stopping these contested custody cases. This "shared parenting" garbage is only keeping people in court longer, and driving up the costs of litigation and "extras" that benefit only people who make their livings from divorce and custody cases, like parenting coordinators, mediators, and GALs."


But as Jan said what do we do about these lazy loafers just pretending to be interested in their kids so they can hang around the house all day and do nothing. I mean with this Hector case, this guy didn't even bring the kids to school. His wife actually had a full-time nanny and maid to do everything for them...

Basically he abandoned his family, came back after a year and then instead of looking for a job, he began to get involved with his kids recreational activities after school, playing with them, bringing them to the girl scouts, stuff like that and then used this to claim he was the primary care parent...He never even discussed this with their mother if this was okay to do this, instead of looking for work...

AND their mother to keep her kids had to resign from a $250,000 annual partnership at a law firm...that was the price she paid to keep custody of her children...

So what about men like him who try to work this primary caretaker system????

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 7, 2005 4:42:44 PM

I think you have to not just count where bodies are located, but who is really doing the job of being a primary parent. In that case, working wives of layabouts are still doing a lot of the work of primary parent(for instance, I used to drive my daughter to preschool a few mornings a week, then drive her home at lunchtime. It took my whole lunch hour because preschool was in a different town from our house. How many stay-at-home moms with transportation would be having their working husbands do that? Not many, unless they were drunk.) I know there may be cases where the father is really doing the double load, because mom is sleeping off her hangover or whatever, and they should get credit for it. But in many cases, it's the woman bringing home the bacon, cooking it, cleaning up after cooking it, then listening the complaints about how it wasn't crispy enough. If the courts weren't lazy, they'd realize that this isn't a true stay-at-home dad, 'cause he isn't really doing the work of raising children. He isn't really a primary parent. He's a leach. But I think the courts are under such pressure from FR people to give dads custody that they will take a subfunctional layabout who has acted in a consistently abusive manner, and say he's a male June Cleaver, that it's a "role reversal." Just ain't so.

Posted by: silverside at Nov 7, 2005 7:10:36 PM

"He isn't really a primary parent. He's a leach. But I think the courts are under such pressure from FR people to give dads custody that they will take a subfunctional layabout who has acted in a consistently abusive manner, and say he's a male June Cleaver, that it's a "role reversal." Just ain't so."

But that's so difficult to prove you know.

I guess it comes back to what we discussed in the beginning some years back...you just got to watch who you have kids with...I can't think of anything else that can be done...

Sorry...but the invasion of privacy that would have to occur for the courts to figure out stuff like this is so high that most people would be against it...so basically if you have a kid with a slacker who just refuses to work, you're toast.

I mean it could be worse...he could be a drunker idiot as well, at least he's not that...just a layabout working the system so he can continue being a leech...

Hopefully your daughter needs figures him out and just thinks he's a great dad...


Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 7, 2005 7:22:45 PM

"This "shared parenting" garbage is only keeping people in court longer, and driving up the costs of litigation and "extras" that benefit only people who make their livings from divorce and custody cases, like parenting coordinators, mediators, and GALs."

What do you care it's not your money? Women aren't paying the bills. If these guys want to gamble their money to try to get shared parenting they have the right. Let me remind you, this is still a free country. You should be more concerned about the millions of disadvantaged kids.

Posted by: Bud at Nov 7, 2005 8:01:00 PM

When I was in court I had extra bills to pay because my ex kept me in court fighting for custody. He lost. He even lost a moveaway. My case was not nearly as bad as most cases I've heard of, but it still cost me a bunch of money. Children are not something to "gamble" with. Sure, dads have the "right" to gamble their money on their children, but that isn't the best thing for the children. "Shared parenting" makes things worse for the children, mainly because dad will keep mom in court and making her life and the children's lives miserable because he keeps funding lawyers and "experts" to get his way. Custody battles are power plays, and any mother who has ever been in a contested custody battle knows that. A primary caregiver presumption - which would recognize the established parental authority of the primary caregiving parent, most often mom - would make these custody and "shared parenting" cases go away really fast.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 7, 2005 8:12:34 PM

Uh, no. Women do pay for all this extra litigation, too.

What makes you think they don't?

Plus, since some savvy husbands are using custody as a bargaining chip (when they don't even want custody), wives are giving up rights to pensions, assets, houses, just to keep the kids. So they are even more dead broke then they used to be.

Posted by: silverside at Nov 7, 2005 8:14:46 PM

I'm getting tired of the stupid logic on this blog. Just because a man goes to work
everyday and makes 2x, 4x , 10x or 1000x more money than his wife, it doesn't mean that
he is smarter, more intelligent and more competent than she is. OK

Just because a women spends 2x, 4x, 10x or 1000x more time caring for their children, it
doesn't mean that she is a more competent caregiver for the children than her husband.

Just because someone spends most of their time pursuing one enterprise more than another
doesn't mean they wouldn't be just as good or better at another interest.

Let me remind you that there are thousand of wealthy people in this country paying
immigrants $6.00 an hour to basically raise their kids while they are pursuing other
interests. So it can't be that hard to do.

Posted by: Bud at Nov 7, 2005 8:23:05 PM

Bud, when a woman establishes herself as the parent doing "2x, 4x, 10x or 1000x more time caring for their children", she has established herself as the primary caregiver of the children long before divorce became an issue. That is why mothers most often get custody of the kids in the majority of divorces. Most divorces (90%) settle out of court. Both parents realize that mom had been doing "2x, 4x, 10x or 1000x more time caring for their children", so they know she deserves custody. It's because she had done the bulk of the work from day one, not because she's female. These guys with power and control issues who contest custody - and they are over-represented in contested custody cases - make her pay through the nose keeping her in court year after year. If there was a primary caregiver presumption. those control freaks wouldn't be able to keep her in court. The problem is that the "shared parenting" advocates who make money from those kinds of cases don't want them to be solved. They want those parents to stay in court and pay for their beach houses, new BMWs, and yachts.

The rest of your comment has nothing to do with anything, and isn't worthy of response.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 7, 2005 8:36:08 PM

Gee, all those underpaid nannies can't provide a mother's love, though. But when you think of kids as just a bargaining chip to screw women, why would you care who's looking after them? Look for the cheapest, poorest quality solution. By all means---

Posted by: silverside at Nov 7, 2005 8:52:26 PM

Bud, when a woman establishes herself as the parent doing "2x, 4x, 10x or 1000x more time caring for their children", she has established herself as the primary caregiver of the children long before divorce became an issue. That is why mothers most often get custody of the kids in the majority of divorces. Most divorces (90%) settle out of court. Both parents realize that mom had been doing "2x, 4x, 10x or 1000x more time caring for their children", so they know she deserves custody. It's because she had done the bulk of the work from day one, not because she's female.

Number one I don't give a rat's ass what either parent "deserves". I'm concerned about
the well being of the children. Second, thank you for making my point that women are "primary givers" because they do the bulk of the work. Not because they are any good at it, or
because they're better at than their husband would be, or the spanish house keeper. They're the
primary caregivers "because she had done the bulk of the work from day one, not because she's female". OK. So let's talk about what's best for sissy and junior, not what's best for mom.

"These guys with power and control issues who contest custody - and they are over-represented in contested custody cases - make her pay through the nose keeping her in court year after year. If there was a primary caregiver presumption those control freaks wouldn't be able to keep her in court."

You sound as naive as NYMOM. Anyone with finances can keep anyone else in court. Look at what happened to Bill Clinton. When you say " These guys with power and control issues who contest custody - and they are over-represented in contested custody cases", who are you talking
about, specifically? You can't mean every man who files for joint custody or sole
custody, can you? You have to believe some of these men have legitimate concerns about
the well being of their kids. So how do you judge which men are 'power and control freaks', and which ones made the mistake of having a kid with a unfit mother? It sounds like you throw
all men into the same barrel. I don't think all men marry unfit mothers.


"The problem is that the "shared parenting" advocates who make money from those kinds of cases don't want them to be solved. They want those parents to stay in court and pay for their beach houses, new BMWs, and yachts."

Like I've been saying for years, too many people are making too much money exploiting women and children in the family courts. But my take on it is the problem is caused by the presumption
that mothers should get custody in divorce.

It sounds like your position is women should be able to walk with their kids from any relationship, any time they want, with no accountability to anyone except to themselves? And the fathers of their kids should be responsible to continue to give her money no matter what she decides to do, with no say in the matter? And government should be responsible to enforce any decisions that women make, no matter how much it cost?

I would agree that it should be this way. Except for one minor problem. Kids raised in
single mother homes like your kid are disadvantaged.

disadvantaged as in socially handicapped, boxed in, cornered, depressed, deprived, destitute, discriminated against, hard up, have-not, impoverished, locked out, poor, struggling, truly needy, underdog, underprivileged, vulnerable.

The first thing women do during or after a divorce is try to find another man that will take her
into his bed and will help support her and her kids. And this further impairs a
child's judgment.


Posted by: Bud at Nov 7, 2005 11:15:13 PM

Bud, it's important for the child to preserve the bond between the child and the primary caregiving parent. What children need most in determining custody is stability, and that is why most parents (the 90% who settle out of court) believe that it's best for the child that custody be given to the mother.

There is no presumption that mothers should get custody. I've already explained that the reason mothers most often get custody is that the vast majority of divorcing parents decide mom should have it on their own, without needing a judge to make their decisions for them.

My son is not disadvantaged. Do not attack me again by saying he is. He's doing fine in school, he has plenty of friends, and he's getting ready to go to college. Most children from divorced homes do just fine. Researcher E. Mavis Hetherington found that about 75% to 80% of children from divorced homes are "coping reasonably well and functioning in the normal range."

The rest of your post is merely your opinion that you haven't backed up with any valid research. And your opinion is wrong.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 8, 2005 7:54:45 AM

"Plus, since some savvy husbands are using custody as a bargaining chip (when they don't even want custody), wives are giving up rights to pensions, assets, houses, just to keep the kids. So they are even more dead broke then they used to be."

Exactly...

In California, so many women appear to be getting brow beaten into accepting these weird custody/no property agreements and walking away with nothing; that they have been trying to overcome this situation by making alimony like child support, where it's against public policy to waive it...

But it's been beaten back by the mostly male legislature every time.

The OTHER issue a lot of women don't realize is that once you sign off on the property part of the agreement that can NEVER be re-opened again.

It's settled...

Whereas courts have been allowing men to come back at anytime, anytime, for any reason or none at all and relitigate the CUSTODY part of the agreement again.

It used to be that a substantial change in circumstances in the cusodial parent's household was the only reason to make a custody switch. NOW, that's not the case any longer, at least not for fathers. The courts now have a whole different standard for them...

I've heard of mothers being dragged back to court just because a father decides he wishes to see the kids more, after giving up custody earlier and keeping all the property, house, pensions, cars, etc.,...and then the visitation request morphing into a custody trial and switch in the father's favor...

Actually this is exactly what happened in the Bridget Marks case. John Aylsworth was AT THE HOSPITAL to see the twins when they were BORN and then didn't bothering signing their birth certificates for over three years. To me his actions signaled his agreement with the fact that Marks had defacto custody, which should ONLY have been re-looked at if a substantial change in circumstances took place in her household.

Suddenly he wants formal visitation, after no visitation schedule for all that time, just seeing them whenever he happened to be in NY...and that morphed into a full-blown custody trial and him getting custody of the twins after ALL THAT TIME.

People overlooked the beginnings of that case and keep focusing on her making supposedly false accusations; but we need to look at the roots of that situation before we can adequate judge the resultant charges from all sides...

Anyway, we also might need to start looking at laws allowing re-opening of some of those property settlements AFTER divorce, if men are going to keep sneaking back into court and retroactivley trying to get custody, after they've already walked away with all the financial assets...

I mean a custody trial can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $250,000 and if women have to face this AFTER the property issues are supposedly settled, well maybe they need to be able to re-open these issues again.

It's only fair.

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 8, 2005 9:45:03 AM

Bud vomits up bile:
"Let me remind you that there are thousand of wealthy people in this country paying immigrants $6.00 an hour to basically raise their kids while they are pursuing other interests. So it can't be that hard to do.

Then Bud vomits up more by saying:
"Number one I don't give a rat's ass what either parent "deserves". I'm concerned about the well being of the children. Second, thank you for making my point that women are "primary givers" because they do the bulk of the work. Not because they are any good at it, or because they're better at than their husband would be, or the spanish house keeper. They're the primary caregivers "because she had done the bulk of the work from day one, not because she's female". OK. So let's talk about what's best for sissy and junior, not what's best for mom."

Bud continue sprewing forth bile along with his worthless thoughts:
"I would agree that it should be this way. Except for one minor problem. Kids raised in single mother homes like your kid are disadvantaged.
disadvantaged as in socially handicapped, boxed in, cornered, depressed, deprived, destitute, discriminated against, hard up, have-not, impoverished, locked out, poor, struggling, truly needy, underdog, underprivileged, vulnerable."

The first thing women do during or after a divorce is try to find another man that will take her into his bed and will help support her and her kids. And this further impairs a child's judgment.


NYMOM said:
You see what I mean Trish.

YOU were VERY lucky to meet the Count and he is unique...as many many men are like Bud here...Only interested in their kids when they see might hit them in the checkbook. AND quite willing to destroy the lives of these children by getting custody of them and then prompting dumping them off with a bargain basement housekeeper.

I didn't even mention the damage he would do to the childrens' mothers here since I know these stingy cheapskates could care less about us.

But this is what I meant when I said you got a very special companions there in the Count. As sadly, many men appear to be closer to the Bud mode...

Stingy, selfish cheapskates.

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 8, 2005 10:00:31 AM

"...which should ONLY have been re-looked at if a substantial change in circumstances took place in her household."

It did.

Posted by: Anne at Nov 8, 2005 11:15:23 AM

"Gee, all those underpaid nannies can't provide a mother's love, though. But when you think of kids as just a bargaining chip to screw women, why would you care who's looking after them? Look for the cheapest, poorest quality solution. By all means---"
Posted by: silverside

This is one reason why I'm for automatic father custody. Too many fathers, probably 90%,
agree that moms should get custody of the kids in divorce. No one thinks it's because single mothers are good at raising kids or because they're responsible or because they are females. It's because they've always been the primary caregiver and as you say men are looking for the "the cheapest, poorest quality solution. By all means---"

Posted by: Bud at Nov 8, 2005 7:42:53 PM

"This is one reason why I'm for automatic father custody. Too many fathers, probably 90%,agree that moms should get custody of the kids in divorce. No one thinks it's because single mothers are good at raising kids or because they're responsible or because they are females. It's because they've always been the primary caregiver and as you say men are looking for the "the cheapest, poorest quality solution. By all means---"


You know what's going to happen to you Bud.

When you get old, your children are going to be the ones picking our YOUR NURSING HOME or your HOME ATTENDANT...

Now guess who's winding up in the Nursing Home where all the attendants sit up front where the tv set is, smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee all day...

They usually just tie the old people to a chair or in bed so they don't have to be bothered with them...

That's where you're going Bud...to the cheap place where everyone is paid $6.00 an hour to ignore you...you're just going to sit in diapers all day because the hired help is too lazy to help you go to the bathroom..

Okay.

Pleasant dreams...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 8, 2005 8:25:09 PM

"...which should ONLY have been re-looked at if a substantial change in circumstances took place in her household."

"It did."

Sorry Anne...

...but a father getting a guilty conscious and changing his mind after ignoring his kids for three years does NOT constitute a substantial change in circumstances or shouldn't...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 8, 2005 8:27:36 PM

"The Countess" wrote:

"When I was in court I had extra bills to pay because my ex kept me in court fighting for custody. He lost. He even lost a moveaway. "

This explains a lot. Perhaps "The Countess" has guilt issues because she took her kid from his father and is now working to resolve them and prove herself "right" by arguing for the preservation of her right to do it again if she wants to...?

"My case was not nearly as bad as most cases I've heard of, but it still cost me a bunch of money."

And you weren't capable of negotiating an equitable solution instead? No, clearly not, since you moved away (and now crow about it).

"Children are not something to "gamble" with. "

No, they aren't, but a loving father faced with a storm of grief from a vindictive ex isn't given much choice but to go to the courts, and he might just as well go to Las Vegas (the house always wins, after all). Oh, he could just throw in the towel, and let her do what she wants to the kids, but then he'd be a useless man who didn't care, wouldn't he?

"Sure, dads have the "right" to gamble their money on their children, but that isn't the best thing for the children."

So, we are talking about what's best for the children. But what you're not saying is that the father has a right to decide what's best for his children, although you are saying that a mother does.

'"Shared parenting" makes things worse for the children, mainly because dad will keep mom in court and making her life and the children's lives miserable because he keeps funding lawyers and "experts" to get his way.'

That is a non sequiteur. Parents going into the divorce courts knowing that they will most likely be expected to share the responsibility for the children's lives in every sense, as everyone should indeed expect them to anyway, will be forced away from the kind of meat grinder many experience now. But do tell us, please, what makes you think that mom isn't keeping dad in court by messing with his status as their father? Some women *like* to fight. You seem to be very observant of the possibility that a father might try to terrorize a mother through his financial resources, but quite blind to the idea that a mother can fight with a much more valuable currency - the love and company of the children.

"Custody battles are power plays, and any mother who has ever been in a contested custody battle knows that."

Yeah, because without the kids she doesn't have a lever with which to control the hated ex. If it's a power play, it's a power play on both sides. You can't have your cake and eat it.

"A primary caregiver presumption - which would recognize the established parental authority of the primary caregiving parent, most often mom - would make these custody and "shared parenting" cases go away really fast"

Yes, well, that's a self-fulfilling prophecy, isn't it? If you ban shared parenting, then no-one can fight for it, can they? But if you ban shared parenting, you allow the custodial parent the option to blackmail the non-custodial parent with the kids. Tricky, that.

Interesting phrasing, too: "established parental authority". Didn't the "authority" of men used to drive the feminists up the wall? And now we have one who wants her own special kind of "authority". Yup, you're right, it's a power play alright.

"Bud, when a woman establishes herself as the parent doing "2x, 4x, 10x or 1000x more time caring for their children", she has established herself as the primary caregiver of the children long before divorce became an issue."

Indeed, so Dad should recognize that he's irrelevant to the children's lives and just get lost.

"That is why mothers most often get custody of the kids in the majority of divorces."

So, you do recognize that there is "a primary caregiver presumption" already?

"Most divorces (90%) settle out of court. Both parents realize that mom had been doing "2x, 4x, 10x or 1000x more time caring for their children", so they know she deserves custody."

Ah, so we're not talking about the children's best interest after all, we're talking about what mom "deserves". You betray your real motivation. What do the kids deserve, countess? Obviously not their father.

"It's because she had done the bulk of the work from day one, not because she's female."

I.e. she's been working for supremacy of parenthood. Good grief.

"These guys with power and control issues who contest custody - and they are over-represented in contested custody cases - make her pay through the nose keeping her in court year after year."

And what about those gals with power and control issues who try to eject the father from the children's lives? Nice dig there about over-representation, tarring with the same brush those genuine dads who are getting shafted and have no choice but to take it to court.

"If there was a primary caregiver presumption. those control freaks wouldn't be able to keep her in court."

And what if mom's a control freak? What if mom knows that the kids are dad's reason for being? What if mom has no compunction in using the kids to leverage him for all he's worth?

"The problem is that the "shared parenting" advocates who make money from those kinds of cases don't want them to be solved. They want those parents to stay in court and pay for their beach houses, new BMWs, and yachts.."

For once, we agree on something, except that if you got your way, the lawyers would get their beach houses, BMWs and yachts anyway from desperate fathers locked out of their children's lives. But I forget, these fathers have the right to fight and waste their money like that even if they haven't a hope in hell. 'Serve him right if he ends up on the street, eh?

"Bud, it's important for the child to preserve the bond between the child and the primary caregiving parent."

Trish, it's important for the child to preserve the bond between child and both parents, "primary" or not. By supporting the ascendency of one parent over the other, you automatically belittle the "secondary" parent as an also-ran. You make the "secondary" parent into a second-class parent, with echoes of the second-class citizens your forebears and betters fought so hard against.

You see parents as one good and one bad if they should fail to see eye to eye about how the children should be treated in the separation. You assume that one person's to blame, and it's always the secondary care-giver, aka dad.

"What children need most in determining custody is stability, and that is why most parents (the 90% who settle out of court) believe that it's best for the child that custody be given to the mother."

My God, but I envy those 90%! But what if mom is causing problems herself? What if mom is a self-indulgent control freak who's looking for her own way and free money regardless of what it costs the kids (aka the leverage)?

"There is no presumption that mothers should get custody."

Ah, but there would be a presumption of "primary care giver" if you ran the world (and there already is, so it's clear your ilk do run the world). Implying the presumption of a "secondary care giver". Followed by the presumption that whoever's done most with the kids should get to take off with them. Followed by the presumption that the secondary care giver who's been out working his butt off to put food on the table (and, by the way, perhaps to please an unpleasable mom) should lose what little parenthood he might have had. But he'd better not forget he's got to keep working his butt off to put food on a table he no longer sits at and the kids are shown as graphically as possible that fathers are unnecessary and disposable. If he should try to prove otherwise, he has "power and control issues".

Gosh, what marvellous values we're teaching our kids these days. Fully half of the human race is there to provide kids for the other half, and having done so, provide for them, and can be made to leave at the other half's behest. So, it would seem that freedom of choice for the "primary care giver" is what matters here. And should that "primary care giver" not give a good god damn about the "secondary care giver", then very secondary he's going to be. And that's what you want kids to learn, respect for, even fear of, power, because a "primary care giver" has the power to eject the "secondary care giver" from their lives no matter how much they may care about and love him. And you think dad has a power complex if he doesn't want to accept that...?

"My son is not disadvantaged. Do not attack me again by saying he is. He's doing fine in school, he has plenty of friends, and he's getting ready to go to college."

Good for him. Does he miss his dad? Would he tell you if he did? Are you sure?

"Most children from divorced homes do just fine. Researcher E. Mavis Hetherington found that about 75% to 80% of children from divorced homes are "coping reasonably well and functioning in the normal range.""

Which means that 20 to 25% aren't. Congratulations, your son is one of the 3 or 4 out of 4 or 5 who's doing alright. This is not a defense, but it could easily be an "in spite of".

Posted by: Jadd at Nov 8, 2005 8:36:03 PM

"Most children from divorced homes do just fine. Researcher E. Mavis Hetherington found that about 75% to 80% of children from divorced homes are "coping reasonably well and functioning in the normal range."

This makes me sick. You're saying that your kid isn't even doing as well as my neighbors dogs?
My neighbors dogs didn't come from a broken home and they win dog shows. The point is, children from single mother homes are generally underachievers and are "coping reasonably well and functioning in the normal range." Whereas, children from intact two parent homes are generally high achievers and function in an above normal range. A friend's daughter was just valedictorian of her high school and excepted with a scholarship to CalPoly SanLuisObispo. Her half sister who was raised by her single mother was just excepted by L.A.P.D. See the difference. There was just an article in the L.A.Times about how all these kids from upper middle class families getting into the good colleges and are swooping up all the good academic scholarships and the disadvantaged kids getting left out and are made to take loans and pay their own way. The bottom line is, kids raised in single mother homes are at a disadvantage. That's why women who have
remarried insist that they're no longer single mothers and kids are no longer disadvantaged. But that's like saying a person who lost their leg in a motorcycle accident is no longer
disabled because they were fitted with a prosthesis. Sure, you might fool yourself.....

Posted by: Bud at Nov 8, 2005 11:33:17 PM

...but a father getting a guilty conscious and changing his mind after ignoring his kids for three years does NOT constitute a substantial change in circumstances or shouldn't...

I know a single father who's wife left to shack up with her boss. She was gone for over a
year and someone told her if she didn't file for visitation or something (within, I think
18 months) she would forfeit any rights to her daughters. So she took him to court to try to
get the house and custody and alimony and child support. But all she was able to get was
alimony and child support and visitation every other weekend. Do you think that's fair? He has his hands full with the responsibility of supporting his daughters and as primary
caregiver and paying her alimony and child support. Very few women ever have the "responsibility" of supporting their own kids. The vast majority of women have husbands that do it, and or, collect welfare or child support. Men are held to much higher standard than
women have ever known. At least men have conscious. That's more than you can say for
yourself.

Posted by: Bud at Nov 8, 2005 11:49:45 PM

Bud Says:
The point is, children from single mother homes are generally underachievers and are "coping reasonably well and functioning in the normal range." Whereas, children from intact two parent homes are generally high achievers and function in an above normal range. A friend's daughter was just valedictorian of her high school and excepted (sic) with a scholarship to CalPoly SanLuisObispo. Her half sister who was raised by her single mother was just excepted (sic) by L.A.P.D. See the difference.

You are really stretching here bud. Your posting has become littered with ad hom attacks on our hostess along with aweful grammar. And your post doesn't even make sense. Do you really think that all children from 'intact two parent homes' are valedictorians while other kids are all below average?

Posted by: mb at Nov 9, 2005 12:25:34 AM

Wow, I'm totally convinced. Some asswipe bithces about women online and calls them conscienceless. He tells a story about 'a friend' with a horrible wife.

Gee, maybe Bud is a scientist or something. His logic is perfect.

Posted by: ginmar at Nov 9, 2005 12:26:36 AM

It's sure is fun watching Bud rant. He's even gone as far as to attack me. I'll let his garbage stay up just so everyone can see how angry and vindictive father's rights activists really are. He says he's for a presumption for dads getting custody. I've only heard of one other person who said that. I suspect he's that poster - whom I had banned - who found a way to post under another name just so he can rant here. Let him. It's fun to watch him crash and burn.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 9, 2005 7:50:09 AM

How many times do I have to repeat that the is no presumption to give moms custody? Most divorces - 90% - settle out of court. Both parents decide on their own, without need a judge to decide for them that mom should get custody because she had been doing the nuts and bolts childrearing from the beginning. It provides stability for the child to preserve the child-primary caregiver bond. Dad most often is the primary breadwinner. The method of childrearing has already been established in families before the divorce, and that 90% of divorcing parents with children decide on their own that mom should continue in the capacity of childrearing she had been doing from the beginning - so she gets sole custody. This isn's a presumption to give moms custody.

When dad makes an issue of custody - which happens in that 10% of cases that must be decided by a judge - he gets some form of it between 50 - 70% of the time. Most often he gets joint legal custody. The documentary shows that even abusive dads are gaining sole custody because garbage junk science like PAS is introduced in cases when it should not have been introduced in the first place. Abusive dads should not get custody of their children, yet it happens. The documentary hopes to shed light on that heinous practice, and hopefully educate people enough to stop it.

So, there is no presumption for mother custody, despite what fathers' rights activists may think. Yes, dads - even abusive dads - are able to get some form of custody if they make an issue out of it. So, no, dads are not routinely discriminated against in court.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 9, 2005 7:58:03 AM

Kids raised in
single mother homes like your kid are disadvantaged.

disadvantaged as in socially handicapped, boxed in, cornered, depressed, deprived, destitute, discriminated against, hard up, have-not, impoverished, locked out, poor, struggling, truly needy, underdog, underprivileged, vulnerable.

The first thing women do during or after a divorce is try to find another man that will take her
into his bed and will help support her and her kids. And this further impairs a
child's judgment.

That's got to be the most patently offensive, crap-filled statement I've ever read in a comment.

First of all, many single mothers don't have much choice in the matter. Men (and women, to be fair) sometimes JUST LEAVE (don't want the responsibility of marriage/commitment, want to be able to sleep around, want to find a woman who works outside the home, whatever), regardless of the wife/mother's desire to keep the family intact for the benefit of the children. Then the bastard wants to say he wants the kids? PLEASE! Do you have any idea what others go through with divorce? Or do you think your situation represents all? And do you actually think a man who will dissolve the family unit out for his own selfish purposes would make a decent parent? HA!

And this $hit about "the first thing women do"...maybe your ex-wife is a whore, but I ASSURE YOU, with many (if not most) of us, that's about as far from the truth as could be. That's just laughable. How about I just say "the first thing men do is whore around looking for another woman to do all their cooking and cleaning and housework?" Sounds kind of stupid, doesn't it?

I don't even know why I'm bothering to respond to Bud, except out of a desire to spew his bile back at him. And I'm trying to be polite out of respect for the Countess' blog.

Bud, I think I can understand why you're divorced. Give up the hate and bitterness, and maybe you'll have better luck next time.

Posted by: Beth at Nov 9, 2005 10:00:59 AM

You were very polite, Beth; more polite than Bud deserved.

Bud says he's for a presumption for father custody. He sounds like a typical fathers' rights activist, whining about the supposed presumption that mothers get custody because they are mothers. I've already demonstrated that that's not true.

I'll let Bud's posts stay up to show just how angry and malicious fathers' rights activists can be. This post is about the latest attacks by fathers' rights activists against a documentary about protective mothers who lose custody of the children they are trying to protect to their abusive fathers. Fathers' rights activists have gone full-swing into attacking this documentary. It show up Parental Alienation Syndrome for the garbage that it is. PAS is a favorite weapon of control freaks and abusive men in the court room. This documentary shows the truth about PAS and the kinds of men who use it in court. Fathers' rights activists don't like that, so they've been attacking this documentary in droves. The kind of attacks they've done mirror what abused mothers go through in court when they try to protect their children from abuse. A lot of unsupported crap is brought out, overwhelming the protective mother. I'm not surprised to see such obnoxious comments here from fathers' rights activists.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 9, 2005 10:12:32 AM

Aren't there two different guys responding here?

Posted by: Mandos at Nov 9, 2005 11:10:00 AM

The attacks against single-mother households need to be put in context.

One statistic that may clarify matters is one from the Third National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect. Under "Family Structure" it is noted that children in single-parent households are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect. Statistically, we know that this is no surprise, as low-income teens make up approximately a quarter of single moms so that skews that the statistics. Low-income, youth, and low education are heavily correlated with abuse, so basically single-parent household statistics become an indicator for those measures. In addition, stats on single-parent households also include households that end up single-parent for any number of other pathologies that may include male violence or other dysfunction. FR groups, as we know, try to spin these statistics on single-parent households to smear moms. But check this out:

"Among children in single-parent households, those living with only their fathers were approximately one and two-thirds times more likely to be physically abused than those living with only their mothers."

In addition, while low-income teen girls may not be the most effective in terms of parenting skills, their boyfriends are even worse. The vast majority of Shaken Baby Sydrome perpetrators (70-90% according to the studies) are young men in their teens and twenties, most of whom are in fact the biological father. Refs available on request.

http://www.healthieryou.com/cabuse.html

Posted by: silverside at Nov 9, 2005 11:14:33 AM

What I mean to say is that Jadd's posts were more interesting in some ways than Bud's, and more honest. A sort of cri de coeur.

"...a mother can fight with a much more valuable currency - the love and company of the children."

"Indeed, so Dad should recognize that he's irrelevant to the children's lives and just get lost."

"You make the "secondary" parent into a second-class parent, with echoes of the second-class citizens your forebears and betters fought so hard against."

"But he'd better not forget he's got to keep working his butt off to put food on a table he no longer sits at and the kids are shown as graphically as possible that fathers are unnecessary and disposable."

I quote these with little comment except to remark at the angst behind these statements.

I myself have no children nor immediate plans to have any, nor do I come from a divorced home. But I've fascinated by this issue for many years now.

Posted by: Mandos at Nov 9, 2005 11:29:38 AM

"And do you actually think a man who will dissolve the family unit out for his own selfish purposes would make a decent parent?"

Well, if he's a primary caregiver, yeah, I guess so. No one here would question a caregiving mom's decision to dissolve the family unit, which is usually the case.

Just pointing out that if you really support a primary caregiver presumption, you don't want to ask the above question.

Posted by: Anne at Nov 9, 2005 11:58:19 AM

Well spotted Anne, you unearth the fundamental hypocrisy of much of the discussion here.

And thank you, Mandos. You are right, I am not Bud. People like Bud distress me because although they may have very real grievances and valid points, they cannot see the trap that they fall into. While they will claim, rightly, that men are held to much higher standards than women in certain arenas, they do not realize that the only way they can fight this is by trying to live up to those standards, no matter how unreasonable. This is true despite the fact that they are deliberately set high to handicap the victim's ability to defend himself. Moreover, the more accomplished the victim, the higher the standards (viz. the successful man's ability to pay lawyers can actually become a count against).

By not living up to them, the victims leave themselves open to attack on the very basis of the double standards they are trying to fight. In contrast, the other side has no such restraint imposed upon them and can fight as low and hard and dirty as they like. My preference would not be to lower the bar for the one side, but to raise it for the other. (Are you listening, ladies? I am suggesting that you try to reclaim the high ground of feminism rather than wallowing in the mud that you've stirred up.)

I am used to being ignored by Trish. Once she's gotten out her tired old lines about PAS being "junk science", despite its obvious reality, and 50/50 custody being bad for the kids, which is patent rubbish, she then sits back and watches her hairy-knuckled croney NYMOM play the easy game of Bud-baiting and occasionally dips in to claim that she's not actually saying what she's heavily implying. What she never does is respond to coherent criticism. This is because she knows her arguments have valid counter-arguments and does not want to risk getting caught out in the open.

She will not recognize the anguish of the good father destroyed by a vindictive mother because it would not fit the rosey picture of motherhood wronged that she wants you to believe in with all your heart. Why does she want this? Because it fits her own personal narcicism. She has, after all, played that role herself, as she confesses higher up in this post. The last thing the guilty who have gotten away with it will do is admit that the other side might have any kind of point at all.

In the meantime, let's all meditate again on Anne's observation. I conclude that, no, I do not actually think that a woman who will dissolve the family unit for her own selfish purposes would make a decent parent, most especially one who does so through specious claims of abuse and using the children as leverage and I don't care if she is the "primary care-giver" or not. This is because I believe that children have a right to have both parents present in their lives, even if one is somehow "better" than the other, and that parents have no right at all to use their kids as vehicles for revenge against or manipulation of the other.

Posted by: Jadd at Nov 9, 2005 1:23:59 PM

Anne, when dad is a true primary caregiver, he gets custody. True primary caregiving dads are uncommon, but they do get custody. The primary caregiver, regardless of gender, is the parent who should get custody. Most of the time that's mom, but when it's dad, he deserves to have custody too.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 9, 2005 1:41:35 PM

That's why women who have remarried insist that they're no longer single mothers and kids are no longer disadvantaged. But that's like saying a person who lost their leg in a motorcycle accident is no longer disabled because they were fitted with a prosthesis. Sure, you might fool yourself.....

Well the son of God here on earth, was raised by a 'single mother' Mary with the aid of a 'prosthesis' Joseph...

And if it was good enough for Jesus Christ it's damn sure good enough for the rest of you...

Sorry Trish...I just couldn't help myself with this Bud and now Judd, it became a little too much listening to IT.


Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 9, 2005 2:29:12 PM

That's okay, NYMOM. It's Bud and Jadd, though. Those two are too much fun to let get away with their crap.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 9, 2005 2:38:54 PM

"And do you actually think a man who will dissolve the family unit out for his own selfish purposes would make a decent parent?"

Well, if he's a primary caregiver, yeah, I guess so. No one here would question a caregiving mom's decision to dissolve the family unit, which is usually the case.

Just pointing out that if you really support a primary caregiver presumption, you don't want to ask the above question."


Well let's just wait a minute here...what if he's a primary caregiver because he just up and quit his job and then refused to find another one...

Then what.

Every unemployed father is not a primary caretaker...

In that Hector case cited, the mother was still employing a nanny and housekeeper while her husband, after disappearing for a year, just laid around the house everyday and played with the kids after they finished school...and I know quite a few mothers who told me that their exs who drank or used drugs, was an ex-con, etc., did the same thing.

Courts need to have a very SOLID definition of 'primary caretaker' BEFORE women can go along with this automatic presumption of custody for them...Otherwise we leave the door open for a lot of dirtbags to try to twist the definition to get themselves that label and use our kids to 'juice' money/benefits out of the taxpayers and us...

I don't want some unemployed ex-con being automatically eligible for custody just because he can't find a job and there are no banks handy for him to holdup...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 9, 2005 2:47:59 PM

My neighbors dogs didn't come from a broken home and they win dog shows.

Why, yes, cupcake. Trish's son isn't doing well because he has yet to win a dog show. We all know how winning a dog show is important to a child's physical, mental, and emotional growth.

With that line alone, you've established yourself as not just a troll, but a particularly ridiculous troll.

Posted by: Sheelzebub at Nov 9, 2005 3:18:41 PM

Trish, I'm not arguing your point. I'm just saying that Beth asked a question which can be turned around against primary caregiving mothers in a flash, and I wanted to point that out.

Posted by: Anne at Nov 9, 2005 3:20:02 PM

"My neighbors dogs didn't come from a broken home and they win dog shows.

Why, yes, cupcake. Trish's son isn't doing well because he has yet to win a dog show. We all know how winning a dog show is important to a child's physical, mental, and emotional growth.

With that line alone, you've established yourself as not just a troll, but a particularly ridiculous troll."

Yes, I missed that one...

He is pretty funny however...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 9, 2005 3:46:21 PM

"Well let's just wait a minute here...what if he's a primary caregiver because he just up and quit his job and then refused to find another one..."

There are always going to be what-ifs on each side. No system will render perfect justice for everyone. You can have a solid definition of what a primary caretaker is but you'll have a lot of trouble proving who did what and how in every pre-divorce household.

Look, I support a primary caretaker presumption (or presumed joint custody for divorcing parents only, whenever that happens), and it certainly would not have worked well for me as a child, as my "primary caretaking" mom (who just up and quit her job and refused to find another one) was emotionally abusive and while she got a dinner on the table and laundry done most of the time, she otherwise spent the greater part of each day sleeping, watching TV and talking on the phone. Luckily my dad put me first and stayed till I was 18, and even more luckily my mom did not take a notion to file for divorce and throw him out or I would really have been screwed. But, what is a better alternative???

Posted by: Anne at Nov 9, 2005 3:49:02 PM

"Trish, I'm not arguing your point. I'm just saying that Beth asked a question which can be turned around against primary caregiving mothers in a flash, and I wanted to point that out."

You better keep that in mind Anne...as even though you are the primary caregiving parent, many of your comments and questions here and other places essentially do the same thing.

You keep undercutting mothers and you could find yourself essentially one day having all your grand theories coming back to haunt you...

As no state has a primary caretaker presumption...

That's just one of a number of criteria; and for some Judges not a very important one...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 9, 2005 3:56:05 PM

I understand, Anne. I just wanted to make it clear that primary caregiving fathers, although rare, do get custody. Beth was clearly talking about men who were not the primary caregivers of their children.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 9, 2005 4:20:05 PM

Countess: "That's okay, NYMOM. It's Bud and Jadd, though. Those two are too much fun to let get away with their crap."

Well, Trish, it does seem that you are letting me get away with "my crap" because I have yet to see a coherent rebuttal of the vast majority of my points in this and other posts. Even NYMOM seems to be unable to come back with something suitably snide most of the time.

The only issue I've touched on that you have addressed here is that of a "presumption of primary caregiver" which you choose to address in its strictly legal sense and say "When dad makes an issue of custody - which happens in that 10% of cases that must be decided by a judge - he gets some form of it between 50 - 70% of the time." To which I offer (from here):

Men win custody in only 10% of contested custody cases"
(Note: To avoid confusion: the sources below do not all indicate 10%--some indicate 15 or 20%, some indicate less than 5%. As a whole, the average is around 10%).

Source: Eleanor E. Maccoby and Robert H. Mnookin, Dividing the Child (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992), pp. 104-105, 149-150.

Source: Stephen J. Bahr, J.D. Howe, M. Morrill Mann, "Trends in Custody Awards: Has the Removal of Maternal Preference Made a Difference?", Family Law Quarterly, Vol, pp. 247-267, Summer 1994.

Source: Wendy Reiboldt and Sharon Seiling, "Factors Related to Men's Award of Custody," Family Advocate, Winter 1993, pp. 42-44. Published by the Family Law Section of the American Bar Association.

Source: William T. K. Dolan, Esq., Empirical Study of Child Custody in Divorce Decrees in Arlington County, Virginia: July 1, 1989--December 30, 1990, © 1991.

Source: Rich Blake, "Father Says System is Unfair to Men in Custody Battles," Alexander (VA) Gazette Packet, October 22, 1992 .

Source: Robert Seidenberg, The Father's Emergency Guide to Divorce-Custody Battle, JES Books, 1997, pp. 11-15, 60-61.

John P. McCahey, J.D., LL.M, et al., Child Custody and Visitation Law and Practice. Matthew Bender, New York. Volume 3, 1983, Section 13.01.

The commonly cited factoid that “men win custody half of the time or more when they contest it” is a myth.

Source: "Do fathers have the edge in divorce?," Cathy Young, Detroit News, December 10, 1996. See: http://www.vix.com/menmag/youngdet.htm.

Source: Robert Seidenberg, The Father's Emergency Guide to Divorce-Custody Battle, JES Books, 1997, pp. 11-15, 60-61.


Posted by: Jadd at Nov 9, 2005 4:36:13 PM

"You better keep that in mind Anne...as even though you are the primary caregiving parent, many of your comments and questions here and other places essentially do the same thing...You keep undercutting mothers and you could find yourself essentially one day having all your grand theories coming back to haunt you..."

You say I undercut mothers (I don't think I really do, I just don't worship them, and I like to see everyone held to the same standards of fairness) and you most definitely undercut fathers. But I know I would take no pleasure in seeing you or yours get screwed by the system because of gender as some kind of a deserved "lesson." Something tells me the same would not be true of you.

And if DH gets a wild hair one day and decides he needs a divorce, he's welcome to joint custody--he already does nearly half the parenting work anyway.


Posted by: Anne at Nov 9, 2005 4:41:07 PM

"Well, Trish, it does seem that you are letting me get away with "my crap" because I have yet to see a coherent rebuttal of the vast majority of my points in this and other posts. Even NYMOM seems to be unable to come back with something suitably snide most of the time."

Because between you and Bud, you're wearing me out...

I've been laughing so hard at Bud actually, it's becoming more and more difficult to take the issues you are addressing seriously...

Although I agree they are serious issues.

Everytime I try to get serious however, Bud comes up with another stupid remark...like the $6.00 an hour housekeeper being cheaper then paying child support or how his neighbor's dog winning first place at a dog show somehow demonstrates that Trish's son isn't being raised properly, since he's not even placing in a dog show...

How can I be expected to take anything seriously that you say when this clown keeps commenting right before or after you...

Sorry.

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 9, 2005 4:44:31 PM

"You say I undercut mothers (I don't think I really do, I just don't worship them, and I like to see everyone held to the same standards of fairness) and you most definitely undercut fathers. But I know I would take no pleasure in seeing you or yours get screwed by the system because of gender as some kind of a deserved "lesson." Something tells me the same would not be true of you."


I don't worship mothers either as you put it.

I just happen to think that in most cases mother ARE the best parent and should have custody...

I don't say it just to undercut men or teach them a lesson, believe me...

After all God, nature, evolution itself is on my side in this argument as mothers have been the caretakers of the young in every species, as well as our own, since human beings first crawled out of the primal mists...

AND I see no reason to change that now just because a few public policy experts wish to engage our kids as guinea pigs in a grand social-engineering experiment OR some men would rather not pay child support.

Neither reason is good enough for me to accept that any mother should lose her children...unless she is unfit in some way...that's the only criteria I would accept as legitimate.

And if DH gets a wild hair one day and decides he needs a divorce, he's welcome to joint custody--he already does nearly half the parenting work anyway."

Sure...I've heard that before UNTIL it happens...then it's a whole other story

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 9, 2005 4:55:11 PM

"The commonly cited factoid that “men win custody half of the time or more when they contest it” is a myth."

Cathy Young is a biased source.

Nothing she saids can be believed.

Some of the rest of your sources are old...like from the 80s...Men starting winning more custody cases in the 90s so you need to update your sources.

The 2000 census showed father custody increased by 67%...so men are getting custody of children since the 90s....

AND ARRP shows grandparents having custody of almost 5 million children...versus fathers having custody of 2.7 million...so I think a lot of those 5 million are parental grandparents taking custody away from mothers to help their sons not pay child support...

AND many of those grandparents are just as big alienators as fathers are...

Richard Gardner your PAS expert said over 50% of his practice consisted of custodial fathers alienating their children's mothers from them...and that's before many men even had custody...even Gardner was surprised at the numbers.

So update your sources...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 9, 2005 5:03:02 PM

NYMOM appears to calm down for a moment:

"How can I be expected to take anything seriously that you say when this clown keeps commenting right before or after you..."

Er, well, given that I have no control over what Bud says or when he says it, your inability to differentiate his comments from mine really reflects on you rather more than me or Bud.

"Sorry."

I'm astonished. Apology accepted.

"Cathy Young is a biased source."

Er, so are you and Trish Wilson.

"Some of the rest of your sources are old...like from the 80s...Men starting winning more custody cases in the 90s so you need to update your sources."

One out of the nine sources derives from the eighties. Let's not exaggerate.

"The 2000 census showed father custody increased by 67%...so men are getting custody of children since the 90s...."

The US census runs every ten years, so, by your numbers, the 2000 census indicates a 67% increase in the 90's over the 80's. If the father custody rate in 1990 was 10% given by my sources over the 90's, which would be an over estimate if it's increasing, then the 2000 rate ought to be something like 17%. We've gone another 5 years since then so let's assume a continued, linear rate of increase, then it'll be something like 20% this year. Hmmm. Not quite 50-70% is it?

"AND ARRP shows grandparents having custody of almost 5 million children...versus fathers having custody of 2.7 million...so I think a lot of those 5 million are parental grandparents taking custody away from mothers to help their sons not pay child support..."

Do you have any statistical evidence to back up that claim, or is it just what you think? Anecodotal stories don't count. Not only that, but it occurs to me to ask if you think that grandparent custody is free of expenses?

"AND many of those grandparents are just as big alienators as fathers are..."

Uh-huh. But not the mothers, eh? Never the mothers.

"Richard Gardner your PAS expert said over 50% of his practice consisted of custodial fathers alienating their children's mothers from them...and that's before many men even had custody...even Gardner was surprised at the numbers."

First, he's not "my" PAS expert. Second, his practice was unlikely to be a statistically unbiased sample. Third, "over 50%" still implies a healthy fraction of mothers alienating the children from their father.

"So update your sources..."

I don't think I have to, they still rebutt the claims being made here unless there has been some drastic change in the US divorce culture over the past 5 years and for which I respectfully submit that the burden of proof is yours.


Posted by: Jadd at Nov 9, 2005 6:18:54 PM

I don't think I have to, they still rebutt the claims being made here unless there has been some drastic change in the US divorce culture over the past 5 years and for which I respectfully submit that the burden of proof is yours."

Ummm no Jadd it isn't...because I have no intention of getting into a statistically 'pissing' contest with you.

As I believe what Trish and others say that MOST parents settled cusody between themselves with mothers getting custody MOST of the time and only about 10% or so litigating.

Of that number many fathers win and some number of that 10% total is abusive. I don't know what it is and I kind of bet none of you know either...

So if you wish me to believe differently from that, then you need to get newer statistics...

Or else, I'm going to continue believing others...

It's that simple, you wish to change my mind, but I don't care to change yours...

I could care less what you think...

I've been involved with this issue for a number of years now and what Trish saids regarding it, in most cases, I agree with...

It makes both common sense and matches many statistics I've seen as well and also matches many anecdotal stories other mothers have told me over the years regarding their experience in court...

So guess what, I think she knows what she is talking about on this issue and you don't...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 9, 2005 8:28:29 PM


"I have no intention of getting into a statistically 'pissing' contest with you."

Don't start what you can't finish.

"Of that number many fathers win and some number of that 10% total is abusive. I don't know what it is and I kind of bet none of you know either..."

I'm sure that no-one does, and no-one's arguing against the idea that the wrong parent will sometimes win custody when it is contested. The courts are a human institution and therefore fallible. Likewise, they will inevitably fall prey to bias and therefore we might hope they will be ever vigilent against this. Refusing to accept the possibility of a bias in a direction you don't like is, per definition, bias, and, ultimately, it betrays the children just as much as the reverse.

"So if you wish me to believe differently from that, then you need to get newer statistics..."

It is fairly clear that no amount of statistics will convince you.

"you wish to change my mind, but I don't care to change yours..."

I wouldn't be so sure about that. I think you're a better ally as an opponent than you would be on my side, much as I am sure Trish Wilson looks on the likes of Bud.

"It makes both common sense and matches many statistics I've seen as well and also matches many anecdotal stories other mothers have told me over the years regarding their experience in court..."

Since you seem to be incapable of listening to opposing opinions with any degree of tolerance, I find this entirely likely.

"I think she knows what she is talking about on this issue and you don't..."

Well, I'm sure we'll all bow to the power of your reasoning eventually, so you just keep it up.


Posted by: Jadd at Nov 9, 2005 9:55:46 PM

The Census is a hard source to use to document father custody, as head of household is defined as the person who rents or owns the home. This is often the male. So the census may define someone as male, head of household no wife present when the biological mother is living there. However, you can sometimes get anecdotal evidence of increasing father custody in certain jurisdictions. For instance, in my county, which caters to the fathers rights people (they managed and financed the campaign of our family court judge, have their people on the boards of all the non-profit counseling services, etc.) a Head Start teacher mentioned to me recently that they have seen a dramatic increase in father only households in their programs. Since they serve several hundred low-income families, I think that's a pretty good indicator of where things are going in the past few years.

And, as the FR folks are fast and quick with causations and correlations, I can play that game too. Since it just so happens that I've been collecting child well-being statistics for a work project, it's interesting that child abuse statistics, foster care placements, and Persons in Need of Supervision (PINS) petitions have also risen over the past 10 years. Coincidence? Hmm, maybe. But it's also possible that for all the sins smeared against single mothers, the single fathers as a group will come out looking even worse once the data is in.

One thing for sure. All the FR folks used to say that single moms are just lazy and stupid and that's why they're low income. If so, we shouldn't be seeing any single father households in the Head Start program, since the income eligibility requirements are quite low. So how come these guys are income eligible when society values their work and contributions so much more highly than women's? Of course, if you point this out, you are "insensitive" to low income dads, or so the FR folks say. But gee, I thought you said that dads provide middle class homes because they're superior to all those lazy gals out there and that's why they deserve mandatory custody. SO confused...

Posted by: silverside at Nov 9, 2005 10:14:03 PM

Exactly...

I think a lot of these men you are talking about are losers who seek custody of children to get an income. I noticed it upstate when I visit my sister. It's simply incredible to me how many ex-cons, alcoholics and drug addict fathers at her church have custody of children.

Women, on the other hand, have always been the ones raising children, long before governmental benefits and child support became things associated with kids.

We have to go back to making children worth no money again...this is the ONLY thing that will solve this crisis...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 9, 2005 11:26:22 PM

"One thing for sure. All the FR folks used to say that single moms are just lazy and stupid and that's why they're low income. If so, we shouldn't be seeing any single father households in the Head Start program, since the income eligibility requirements are quite low. So how come these guys are income eligible when society values their work and contributions so much more highly than women's? Of course, if you point this out, you are "insensitive" to low income dads, or so the FR folks say. But gee, I thought you said that dads provide middle class homes because they're superior to all those lazy gals out there and that's why they deserve mandatory custody."

This is true...I mean they are using the statistics from middle class fathers to justify giving custody of children to some crack head or alcoholic father...it's just outrageous.

I mean this is the sort of thinking and social engineering that lead to Christopher Rhodes getting custody of that little girl...

It's the reason she's dead.

To me that fathers' rights Judges and all the others up there are just as responsible for her death as if they stabbed her themselves.

She was part of a vast social engineering experiment that led to this happening.

How's that trial going anyway...We hear NOTHING about it down here...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 9, 2005 11:32:02 PM

We have to go back to making children worth no money again...this is the ONLY thing that will solve this crisis...
Posted by: NYMOM


Are you suggesting that child support is abolished?

Posted by: Stevie at Nov 10, 2005 12:23:02 AM

"Are you suggesting that child support is abolished?"

I'm suggesting that it be abolished for never married couples.

AND that a divorced parent be allowed to legally waive it if they are making over a certain income.

In other words they demonstrate that they are not going to become a burden on the taxpayers if they legally waive the rights to child support...


Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 10, 2005 12:47:38 AM

No one here would question a caregiving mom's decision to dissolve the family unit, which is usually the case.

Anne, The Countess is right; I didn't mean primary caregiver dads. But even so, a primary caregiver who dissolves the family unit for SELFISH purposes (i.e., abandons the family or otherwise breaks marital vows--thereby invalidating the marriage and family, in my opinion) relinquishes his or her right to be the primary caregiver, as far as I'm concerned. If you leave your spouse and kids, you're SOL.

I'm not talking about a mother or father who files for divorce but doesn't leave. I'm talking about those who just LEAVE, then file. I don't know the statistics, and maybe they don't even exist for something that detailed, but from what I've seen myself, most of the time it's the dads that move out or decide not to "be a husband" and cheat on their wives. Again, as far as I'm concerned, such selfishness would indicate that person is probably not the best parent.

Sorry, I didn't mean to hijack the current discussion by going back to my old one. Just wanted to clarify. :-)

NYMOM--you said: "I'm suggesting that it be abolished for never married couples."

Really? Child support is supposed to be for the children, not as a reward for the spouse or other parent. Shouldn't a biological parent still be responsible for his or her children, regardless of marital status?
And don't you think this might discourage a lot of men from marrying their pregnant girlfriends, when they might otherwise do so? You know, to "keep their options open?" (This of course could apply to some women, too.)

I used to think that exes should be able to quit paying child support when the custodial parent remarries. I don't any more, because again, child support is supposed to be for the children, not for the ex-spouse. No matter what the custodial parent does, the non-custodial parent should ALWAYS live up to his or her responsibilities to his or her children.

Posted by: Beth at Nov 10, 2005 6:43:26 PM

AND that a divorced parent be allowed to legally waive it if they are making over a certain income.

I don't know all the state laws, but I'm pretty sure that can be done.

Posted by: Beth at Nov 10, 2005 6:46:37 PM

There is no such thing as a "lie detector test", for the person up there who suggested giving one to a 14 year old girl. There is a "stress detector test", which can detect that a person shows stress when making a statement, but sociopaths and people with reality disorders can make demonstrably false statements without any detectable stress, so this test does not work.

My own experience with the family court system is with friends of my mother. They had a child who was born with schizophrenia. This child had difficulty telling the difference between reality and the voices she heard in her head, and was extremely difficult to parent. In addition, these people were relatively uneducated and ignorant when it came to modern child-rearing practices. Rather than assist these parents with their difficult-to-parent child by helping them with parenting classes, psychological assistance for their child, etc., the family court instead ripped the children from the family (after the girl abused her younger brother and the school found out) and placed them with a foster family, an older wealthier family where the wife was childless.

This family showered the children with toys and clothes and the girl played them like a violin because she preferred being there to being with her natural parents, who were poor and did not have nice things. Eventually CPS did figure out that it was the girl who had abused her younger brother, not the mother or father, and the judge placed them back with their natural parents -- but *still* with no assistance on how to parent a difficult-to-parent child, and with the younger brother still at risk.

Note that the parents did not know about even simple techniques like timeout. When they were visiting my mother for Thanksgiving dinner, I ended up as de-facto babysitter for the kids in the living room (since the women were in the kitchen and the men were outside smoking, other than me, who was watching television). The girl was playing checkers with her younger brother, and became upset because he had jumped her piece and threw the checkerboard across the room. I told her she was not playing nicely and she needed to apologize to her brother and clean up the mess she'd made, and she started shouting "I don't have to!". I took her to a corner of the room and said she had to stay there in timeout for a few minutes because she wasn't playing nicely, and she needed to think about what she should have done. She wasn't clear on the concept. I made it clear, in a firm but calm manner, that she was to stay there for at least three minutes and would stay there until I felt she was ready to apologize to her brother and play nicely. Once she realized that I wasn't going to just let her wander away, that I meant what I said, she stood there quietly and I went back to the television for a few minutes until her mother came in the room and asked what was going on because it was so quiet, and I explained. The girl was still quietly standing, and I asked her if she was ready to clean up the checkers and play nicely, and she said she was, in a subdued voice, and did so.

Nothing special there, and responded well to firm but calm intervention using well-known techniques. She might have heard voices in her head, but being crazy didn't make her inhuman -- she still responded to common well-known child rearing techniques. Well, well-known if you were trained in dealing with children with behavior problems, as I was. But apparently such training was too good for poorly-educated parents trying to cope with a child who would be difficult to rear even with that training. At least, that's what the family court system appeared to think. The CPS worker duly filed reports with the family court that the parents were unable to cope with the girl's behavior, and the family court, rather than ordering such training, instead yanked the kids out of their family and put them back with the rich foster parents (who had been lobbying for just that outcome). Eventually their parental rights were terminated and the rich foster parents adopted the children. The End.

It is unfortunate, but true, that wealth is the primary detirminant of who wins what in family court (or any court, for that matter). These parents were penalized for being poor -- had their children yanked away from them and awarded to another set of parents for the crime of being poor. Poverty is a crime in America today, a crime which is heavily punished by all parts of society, from the patrolman on the beat who punishes the homeless man by handcuffing him for the crime of sleeping on a park bench, seizing his earthly possessions, and destroying them, to the young girl who died of a ruptured appendix in Phoenix for the crime of being born to parents who spoke little English and had no health insurance, to the mothers, mostly poor, who lose custody of their children to wealthier and more aggressive fathers. And do not expect this to change until poverty is de-criminalized in America, something which I do not expect to have happen within what remains of my life.

- Badtux the Semi-elderly Penguin

Posted by: BadTux at Nov 11, 2005 3:47:20 AM

"Really? Child support is supposed to be for the children, not as a reward for the spouse or other parent. Shouldn't a biological parent still be responsible for his or her children, regardless of marital status?

And don't you think this might discourage a lot of men from marrying their pregnant girlfriends, when they might otherwise do so? You know, to "keep their options open?" (This of course could apply to some women, too.)

I used to think that exes should be able to quit paying child support when the custodial parent remarries. I don't any more, because again, child support is supposed to be for the children, not for the ex-spouse. No matter what the custodial parent does, the non-custodial parent should ALWAYS live up to his or her responsibilities to his or her children."


I used to feel the same way. Unfortunately over the last decade or so I've come to the opposite conclusion.

As money is what is fueling these custody wars that are currently raging across our country. These custody fights are even responsible for the vast increase in parental abductions many of them committed by fathers trying to get custody through loopholes in state laws. Over 300,000 abductions of children by parents takes place annually in the country according to the FBI, which now has a website totally devoted to apprehending parents who abduct their children.

It's just getting out of control.

I guess I have to say it, but marriage is the legal framework that society has set up for men to have legal rights vis-a-vis children. Men who chose to procreate outside of it should have no rights to children or corresponding liabilities to pay child support. It's not fair to anyone involved to continue allowing never-married fathers to have rights or mothers to expect money when neither one of you signed on board to the implicit contract of marriage BEFORE deciding to go have a child...

We cannot continue allowing people, either men or women, to be rewarded for bad behavior.

Men do NOT marry their pregnant girlfriends today, in part, because they are treated exactly the same as married men vis-a-vis children whether or NOT they marry...as never married and married fathers are treated exactly alike once their names are on the birth certificate...

So where is the incentive for men to marry?

Sorry...it just causes too many problems in our society to continue allowing this to go on...


"AND that a divorced parent be allowed to legally waive it if they are making over a certain income.

I don't know all the state laws, but I'm pretty sure that can be done."

Actually no, it can't be done...it's not a legally enforceable agreement...

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 11, 2005 9:33:49 AM

"It is unfortunate, but true, that wealth is the primary detirminant of who wins what in family court (or any court, for that matter). These parents were penalized for being poor -- had their children yanked away from them and awarded to another set of parents for the crime of being poor. Poverty is a crime in America today, a crime which is heavily punished by all parts of society, from the patrolman on the beat who punishes the homeless man by handcuffing him for the crime of sleeping on a park bench, seizing his earthly possessions, and destroying them, to the young girl who died of a ruptured appendix in Phoenix for the crime of being born to parents who spoke little English and had no health insurance, to the mothers, mostly poor, who lose custody of their children to wealthier and more aggressive fathers. And do not expect this to change until poverty is de-criminalized in America, something which I do not expect to have happen within what remains of my life."


Well yes that is true to a large extent...

But I'm not quite certain that your example was a good one to demonstrate this, as those parents did NOT just lose their kids due to JUST poverty since there were a number of other issues involved as well.

AND schizophrenia is one of the more dangerous of the mental illnesses. Actually some of our most horrific crimes involving children have been committed by people suffering from it and not taking their medication.

That woman who just threw the three children off a bridge in San Francisco, for instance. She was suffering from schizophrenia and off her medication. We've had a number of subway pushings here in NY also from mental patients who just stopped taking their medications...

The problem is the person is fine while they are on the medicine, but if they stop for any reason (and you cannot force them to continue) they become extremely dangerous.

So in this case that little girl's brother was at risk for gettting injured or even killed if these parents were not responsible enough and consistent enough with her care...

Sorry but I could see the court stepping in here.

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 11, 2005 9:45:23 AM

Except BadTux's point is that the court didn't first order some simple training of the parents but instead rushed to remove the children.

Posted by: Mandos at Nov 11, 2005 10:42:37 AM

Trish,

I can't even begin to tell you how helpful your MRA/divorce/custody posts have been in the past year or so as I have struggled with my own divorce from a very manipulative, abusive spouse. I don't think I have the energy to keep up with all of this bullshit while at the same time dealing with my own situation, so I'm glad that you have the fortitude to do so, and I am so grateful to you for that.

Posted by: drublood at Nov 11, 2005 11:35:23 AM

Trish,

I can't even begin to tell you how helpful your MRA/divorce/custody posts have been in the past year or so as I have struggled with my own divorce from a very manipulative, abusive spouse. I don't think I have the energy to keep up with all of this bullshit while at the same time dealing with my own situation, so I'm glad that you have the fortitude to do so, and I am so grateful to you for that.

Posted by: drublood at Nov 11, 2005 12:40:07 PM

"Except BadTux's point is that the court didn't first order some simple training of the parents but instead rushed to remove the children."

Yes, but the children were old enough to play chess, so these weren't actually toddlers we are talking about here. These parents had years with them to get their act together...How long should her brother's life be place in jeopardy or he be abused by her before steps were taken???

Sibling abuse is actually quite prevalent and a good part of it is a parent's inadequate supervision allowing it to happen...Generally by leaving an older child in charge of the others and ignoring anything going on afterwards and with a girl with schizophrenia, I mean that doesn't get better...and adults who are inconsistent with care and follow up (even if not abusive) are just not going to be able to handle this with 'simple' training.

It wouldn't have been fair for either child to remain with them.

The girl needed structure and consistent parenting, her medication given, etc., and the boy needed protection as well...

I think this was a difficult but fair decision.

AND this come from a woman who was placed in an orphanage, with my 7 siblings after my father abandoned my mother and all of us...my mother couldn't cope and had a nervous breakdown. She eventually recovered but we had to all remain in care for YEARS...

I, for instance, went in at five years old and my mother was incapable of taking care of me until I was 14 years old...my youngest sister was 3 months...she never went home but was semi-adopted by foster parents and left in limbo until she aged out of the system.

So was that fair to us???

Our mother wasn't abusive but simply incapable of functioning as a mother of 8 kids after her husband, my father, abandoned her.

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 11, 2005 1:11:25 PM

Oh Mandos...

I just wanted to say that I don't hate my mother or anything. She was never abusive to me, but simply an incompentent parent on her own.

My main point is that the needs of the CHILDREN must ALWAYS come first and being incompetent as a parent, even if an otherwise good person, must be grounds for removal of children.

Sorry.

Posted by: NYMOM at Nov 11, 2005 1:14:10 PM

You're welcome, Dru. I know your case has been hard on you. It was good to see these kinds of ugly contested custody cases involving abusers get air time with the documentary. At least you know you're not alone.

Posted by: The Countess at Nov 11, 2005 2:48:41 PM

Clearly Fathers Rights activists are angry over the airing of this Documentary.

They have made this clear across the county. Their attacks give a very good view of just how abusive behavior plays out.

Instead of concern for the children brave enough to speak up, there is concern for self. Instead of wanting to make the system safer for women children and indeed families, there are demands for equal time, but that time is not used to solve the problems of the system but to again spin their version of the truth, not the real truth.

I want again to say Thank You to all those involved in the Documentary "Breaking the Silence Childrens Stories".

I think that the response of the Fathers Rights Industry especially the very very nasty public comments against a child and her mother show the abuse that these men are capable of.
Most women and children are afraid of speaking out on this issue due to fear. These guys are so loud that fear is what they spread.

Again Thank you for giving voice to those who are not able to be heard over the LOUD angry Fathers Rights Industry.

Renee Beeker
Director
National Family Court Watch Project

Posted by: Renee Beeker at Nov 14, 2005 10:29:13 AM

What do you think dads are gonna do? Continue to allow themselves to be libeled?
You think PAS is a litigious strategy? Well...we'll see what a congressional investigation thinks.

Posted by: Masculiste at Nov 14, 2005 5:58:53 PM

how else can a father get to see his kid's if he can't use
PAS as "litigious strategy"? I would pay an attorney all I
have if my ex wife pulled that crap on me.

Posted by: sonny at Nov 14, 2005 6:12:16 PM

Lick my balls Ronnie.

Posted by: sonny at Dec 11, 2005 6:43:31 PM

homo

Posted by: sonny at Dec 11, 2005 6:45:46 PM