FATHER

Archive for May, 2009|Monthly archive page

How Our Tax Dollars Subsidize Family Breakup

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 22, 2009 at 10:55 pm

By Stephen Baskerville
© 2009

Divorce and unwed childbearing cost taxpayers at least $112 billion each year or more than $1 trillion over the last decade. This estimate from the Institute for American Values is, as the authors suggest, likely to be an underestimate.

This staggering but plausible tally of the economic costs of family dissolution follows what we have long known about the social costs. All our major social ills – poverty, violent crime, substance abuse, truancy and more – are more closely linked to family breakdown and single-parent homes than to any other factor. A poor black child from an intact home is more likely to succeed than a rich white one from a single-mother home.

It is hardly surprising that massive financial costs follow from this: Welfare, law enforcement, education, health care – all these budgets are justified by the pathologies generated by single-parent homes. Indeed, family dissolution not only creates costs; by destroying society’s basic economic unit, it also prevents generating the wealth to meet those costs.

This is not to deny that we bear responsibility for all this through our sexually dissolute lifestyle, but the consequences of that lifestyle have already become institutionalized in coercive government policies. Diabolically, the very government programs advertised as addressing these social ills are the ones actually generating them. The result is a government perpetual-growth machine that will continue to expand until we have the courage stand up and unequivocally demand that it stop.

It began with welfare. Programs advertised as relieving families that had lost the father’s wages due to war and economic hardship became a bureaucratic mechanism for driving more fathers from the home. The result was the vast welfare underclass we usually associate with low-income minority communities – the vast breeding grounds of crime, drug abuse, truancy, teen pregnancy, child abuse and other horrors that soak up taxpayer dollars.

But now it is becoming even more serious. Divorce has transformed welfare programs into mechanisms for creating fatherless homes in the middle class. And here the welfare bureaucracies go further: After driving out the fathers, they are seizing family wealth and even incarcerating the fathers.

This criminalization of parents is not isolated. Perhaps the earliest welfare state provision was the public school system, which jealously guards its prerogatives of using children as political pawns. The recent California appeals court decision allowing the criminalization of homeschoolers is only one indication of government’s increasingly aggressive stance toward parents. The federal decision in Fields v. Palmdale, ruling that parents have no right to a voice in their children’s public school education, is another.

But schooling is only one arena. The divorce machinery is even more authoritarian. The divorce apparatus has so many methods of seizing children and family assets and for incarcerating parents that it is a wonder any families remain.

For example, child support enforcement is advertised as a way to recover welfare costs by forcing “deadbeat dads” to support children they “abandon.” In reality, it has become a massive subsidy on middle-class divorce, effectively bribing mothers to divorce with the promise of a tax-free windfall subsidized by taxpayers. It is also a means for incarcerating fathers without trial who cannot pay the extortionate sums. Far from saving money, child support enforcement loses money and – far more serious – subsidizes the divorces and unwed births that generate these additional costs.

Programs ostensibly for “child abuse” and “domestic violence” – problems also originating in single-parent welfare homes – have likewise become tools to create single-parent homes in the middle-class through divorce proceedings. Patently trumped-up accusations of child abuse or domestic violence, presented without any evidence, are used to separate fathers from their children and, likewise, to jail them not through criminal trials but through “civil” divorce proceedings and in new, openly feminist “domestic violence courts.” Thus does family dissolution also undermine our most cherished due process protections.

Further, mothers are not only enticed into divorce with promises of lucrative support payments; they are also coerced into it through threats of losing their children themselves. Mothers are now ordered to divorce their husbands on pain of losing their children through spurious child abuse accusations. Intact middle-class families now live in fear of a visit from the dreaded “child protective services” with the possibility of losing their children.

This machinery cannot be brought under control by marriage therapy programs, as the Institute for American Values advocates. While private church-based and community efforts like Marriage Savers should be encouraged, government psychotherapy merely puts more vested interests on the public payroll. We must demand that our tax dollars stop subsiding family breakup and ills that in turn require ever more tax dollars. By subsidizing the destruction of families, we are subsidizing the progressive impoverishing of our society. Indeed, by subsidizing the criminalization of both fatherless children and fathers, we are paying for the destruction of our freedom.

It is simply not possible to allow the family to unravel without having our civilization do the same. Yet that is precisely what we are doing.

Yet, even this is only the beginning. More alarming still are the political costs. For contrary to the beliefs even of most conservatives, divorce and unwed childbearing are not the products merely of a decadent culture. They are driven by government – the same government that is extracting $112 billion annually from our pockets.

The original article can be found on World Net Daily: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=62594

Newsweek’s Lies about Divorce

In adoption abuse, Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Homeschool, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 22, 2009 at 6:16 pm

Posted: December 30, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

By Stephen Baskerville
© 2009

Divorce is the main cause of family destruction today, and fatherless children are the principal source of virtually every major social pathology. Yet divorce is ignored by the mainstream media to the point of blackout. Now, Newsweek magazine offers a revealing exception that proves the rule. Newsweek’s depiction of divorce is so trite and clichéd that it seriously distorts what is happening.

Most Americans would be shocked if they knew what takes place today in the name of divorce. Indeed, millions are appalled when they discover that they can be forced into divorce, lose their children and even be jailed without trial – all without having violated any law and through procedures entirely beyond their control. Comprised of courts, bar associations and federally funded social services bureaucracies that wield police powers, the divorce machinery has become the most repressive and predatory sector of government ever created in the United States and today’s greatest threat to constitutional freedom.

Yet, we hear not a word of this from Newsweek. As is de rigueur in journalism today, reporter Susanna Schrobsdorff begins not with objective facts or disinterested analysis but by publicly displaying her own divorce. And what a joyous occasion it was. Despite pretentious pathos (also obligatory in today’s media), it is clear that no one forced her into this.

The usual assortment of divorce lawyers and feminists are then trotted out to mouth the standard clichés of the divorce industry: parents must “cooperate” and “put the children first,” caring courts are now generous to fathers, etc. “Their dad and I had read the divorce books and rehearsed our speech about how none of this was their fault, that we loved them,” she recounts. “All of this was true, but it seemed insufficient.”

It was insufficient (by her own account, the children went berserk) because it was not true. Love demands we put the needs of those we claim to love before our own desires. If divorce proceeds from love, then the word has become meaningless.

Fifteen-year-old Amy Harris, quoted in the Sunday Times, offers a scathing rejoinder to Ms. Schrobsdorff’s rehearsed speech: “Parents always say they are not leaving because of the children. Is that supposed to make the children feel better?” she asks. Amy continues:

Does that take all the guilt off the child’s shoulder? No, it’s all rubbish. Children feel that they weren’t enough to keep their parents, that their parents didn’t love them enough to keep them together. I know I did not drive my father away, but I did not keep him either.

Newsweek offers no recognition that parents who oppose divorce in principle are simply divorced without their consent, whereupon their children (with everything else they have) are seized without any further reason given. What Newsweek presents as cooperation “for the children” in reality means “cooperate with the divorce if you ever want to see your children again.”

The mendacity is especially glaring regarding fathers. “Changes in child-support laws, and a push by fathers for equal time, are transforming the way this generation of ex-spouses raise [sic] their children,” claims the carefully worded headline. Yet, Newsweek provides no evidence of any such changes; in fact, it concedes that “Most often, children still end up living primarily with the mother” and that “moms are the official primary residential parent after a divorce in five out of six cases, a number that hasn’t changed much since the mid-’90s.”

One divorce lawyer claims that “most states have provisions that say gender can’t be the determining factor in deciding who is going to be the primary custodial parent,” but he does not tell us that such provisions are ignored.

The magazine’s account of child support is likewise distorted. Advertised as providing for children who have been “abandoned” by their fathers, child support is in reality the financial engine driving divorce, offering generous windfalls to mothers who break their vows, while criminalizing fathers with debts most have done nothing to incur and that are far beyond their means.

“Most states have passed legislation that ties child-support payments to how much time a child spends with the nonresident parent paying the support,” says Newsweek, commenting that “if a father spends more than a given threshold of nights with his kids, he can have his child support adjusted according to formulas that vary by state.” No, what this means is that he is less likely to see his children, because both the mother and the state government will lose child support money. Both have a financial incentive to reduce his time with his children as much as possible. Child support makes children fatherless.

A lawyer from the American Academy of “Matrimonial” Lawyers claims that men want custody half the time so that they can pay half the support. This dishonest slur on fathers constitutes an open admission that child support payments vastly exceed the cost of raising children.

Divorce destroys many more families than same-sex “marriage” – which itself has arisen only because of the debasement of marriage through divorce. It is time for the responsible media to expose the unconstitutional divorce apparat. Otherwise, our professed concern for marriage and the family will ring hollow.

The original article from Stephen Baskerville can be found on World Net Daily: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?pageId=84810

A Criminal Defense Attorney’s View of the Family Violence Industry

In Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 21, 2009 at 4:50 pm

© 2004 Paul G. Stuckle


TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. THE SPECIAL NATURE OF FAMILY VIOLENCE ALLEGATIONS
    1. TRUE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE MUST STOP
    2. INNOCENT FAMILY MEMBERS CAN BE FALSELY ACCUSED OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

II. EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS NOT FAMILY VIOLENCE

III. WHO IS THE REAL VICTIM ANYWAY?

IV. ZERO TOLERANCE AND NO-DROP POLICIES

V. THE FAMILY VIOLENCE INDUSTRY
    1. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IS A POLITICAL CRIME
    2. THE FAMILY ADVOCACY CENTER
    3. FOLLOW THE MONEY

    4. TEAM UNITY: TAKE OUT A FAMILY FOR THE TEAM
    5. PSSST…. THEY ARE COMING….OR ARE THEY ALREADY HERE?

VI. CHANGING THE RULES TO CONVICT
    1. LEGISLATIVE CHANGES
    2. HEARSAY EVIDENCE

    3. SYNDROME EVIDENCE MAY BE ADMISSIBLE AGAINST THE ACCUSED
    4. CONVICTIONS WITHOUT PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
    5. SUMMARY : RECIPE FOR CONVICTION

VII. FAMILY VIOLENCE LEGAL FACTS: A CHECKLIST
    1. ISSUES UPON ARREST
    2. CONSEQUENCES OF A CONVICTION

VIII. SELECTING THE RIGHT ATTORNEY
    1. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS ON YOUR OWN
    2. RULES FOR THE ACCUSED
    3. FINDING THE RIGHT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
        A. LENGTH OF PRACTICE AND EXPERIENCE
        B. REJECT PLEA BARGAINS

        C. PREPARE A VIGOROUS PRE-CHARGE DEFENSE TO AVOID PROSECUTION
        D. PREPARE A VIGOROUS DEFENSE FOR TRIAL. 

IX. CONCLUSION

BIBLIOGRAPHY


“HUSBANDS AND WIVES HAVE ARGUMENTS. DOES THAT NOW MEAN A TRIP TO JAIL AND A CRIMINAL
CONVICTION?”

“A CASE OF ALLEGED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE NOW BELONGS TO ‘THE FAMILY VIOLENCE INDUSTRY.’” 

“THE BELIEF SYSTEM IS ALSO ONE OF EXTREME ARROGANCE, THAT THE FAMILY VIOLENCE TEAM KNOWS BETTER THAN ANYONE, PARTICULARLY THE FAMILY ITSELF, OF WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM."
Paul G. Stuckle, Attorney at Law


I. THE SPECIAL NATURE OF FAMILY VIOLENCE ALLEGATIONS

1. True Domestic Violence Must Stop

No rational person condones violence toward anyone, particularly a family member. In America there are many tragic domestic relationships, which involve battered wives, husbands, and members of a household. A true victim in a violent family relationship needs immediate support and protection. A true battering spouse needs to face the legal consequences of their actions.

2. Innocent Family Members Can Be Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence

The legislature has enacted laws to assist police and prosecutors convict the guilty and stop the abuse of spouses and family members. The intent behind these laws is well meaning and necessary. Problems arise when laws designed to protect a victim of domestic violence are used too broadly and are applied to normal families. A big difference exists between an abusive spouse repeatedly committing violent acts, and a nonviolent family in which a single argument went too far.

Unfortunately, the politicians and authorities do not see the difference!!! 
To the self-proclaimed saviors and protectors of abused “victims,” any allegation of domestic violence means the household must be one continuously engaged in abusive
behavior.

‘The domestic violence entrepreneurs and state officials live in a different world from us. A sense of nameless vague threat is always in the background. To hear the pros talk, all the men they deal with are batterers, sexual abusers, or virtually time bombs of violence. Repeated
clichés like “at risk” and “a safe place” and “maintaining safety” pepper their sentences . . . 

John Maguire, Massachusetts News
www.massnews.com, “The Booming Domestic Violence
Industry”

If an argument between spouses was the benchmark for domestic violence, then almost every family in America would be defined as an abusive relationship. This governmental over-reaction and dragnet targeting of normal families and treating them as criminals has led us to massive injustice across the nation.


II. EXAMPLES OF WHAT IS NOT FAMILY VIOLENCE

Human beings make mistakes and act at immaturely at times. Everyone has past conduct they wish could be taken back. Part of being human is sometimes hurting those loved the most. The absurdity is to classify a single out of character nonviolent act as “criminal.” 

For instance, it is not family violence to:

– Yell and scream at our spouse or another household member;

– Use profanity during an argument with a spouse or household member;
– Engage in minor pushing incidents with a spouse or household member;
– Hold the arm or hand of a spouse or household member while arguing;
– Momentarily block the path of a spouse or household member;
– Throw and break items during an argument;
– Say hurtful and mean things to a spouse or household member;

– Use self defense to stop the other spouse or household member from attacking you.

With “Zero Tolerance” arrest policies and “No Drop” prosecutions, the number of arrests for petty family arguments has skyrocketed. A former prosecuting attorney explains the
phenomena:

Christopher Pagan, who was until recently a prosecutor in Hamilton
County, Ohio, estimates that due to a 1994 state law requiring police on a domestic call either to make an arrest or to file a report explaining
why a no arrest was made, “domestics” went from 10 percent to 40 percent of his docket. But, he suggests, that doesn’t mean actual abusers were coming to his attention more often. “ We started getting a lot of push-and-shoves,” says Pagan, “or even yelling
matches.” In the past, police officers would intervene and separate the parties to let them cool off. Now those cases end up in criminal courts. It’s exacerbating tensions between the parties, and it’s turning law-abiding middle class citizens into criminals.
Cathy Young, Vice President, Women’s Freedom Network “Domestic Violations,” Reason On Line, April
1998


III. WHO IS THE REAL VICTIM ANYWAY?

In Texas, the legal definition of a crime “victim” is not what one might think. The word “victim” seems to mean the person who was assaulted, stabbed, murdered, or had their property stolen. Under the law, the “victim” of a crime is the “State.” All criminal cases are therefore styled: “ The State of Texas vs. The
Defendant.”

Once the authorities become involved in a domestic disturbance, they will forever be intertwined with the eventual outcome of the incident. The State, meaning the government, police, and prosecutors, solely decide if a case will be prosecuted or dismissed. Even if the “real victim,” i.e. the person, who supposedly was assaulted, informs the authorities of their desire to have the case dismissed, the charging decision is still left up to the
government.

The allegedly assaulted person can provide the government with an “affidavit of non-prosecution,” a document stating prosecution is not desired and requesting the case to be dropped. Until recently, such affidavits were given substantial consideration from the government. After all, why would the authorities want to prosecute when the actual victim did not desire it? The answer is simple: 

A case of alleged domestic violence now belongs to “The Family Violence
Industry.”

A constant complaint from those at the center of a family violence investigation is how
irrelevant the family is to the investigative team. The team wants to win the case. It wants a criminal conviction. And will do anything to get it. The team, despite its public overtures, does not care about the individual family it is making life-altering decisions for. The family, alleged victim, defendant, and children alike are all mere pawns, literally at the mercy of this governmental machine.

The machine knows very well how to destroy families, yet it knows nothing of healing them.

‘The woman sitting across the table often breaks into tears and fits of trembling. She lives in fear. She says she has been threatened and emotionally battered by those who call themselves “front-line workers” in the war against violence against women.” Since the violence against women specialists invaded their lives a year ago,
husband and wife have developed ulcers, been financially battered and say they survived many attempts to break up their marriage.

Now they’re angry . . . From the start the advice from support workers connected to the Domestic Violence Court was that she should break up her marriage. She should not risk living with a violent man. Her attempts to
defend her husband were met with we- understand- and- we- know- better attitudes; she was afraid of him and was trying to protect him so he wouldn’t be angry. When it became clear she had no intention of separating from her husband, the threats from domestic violence specialists connected to the court moved to a new level that still terrifies her.

“They seemed to be threatening to take my child. They said if I wasn’t going to protect my child from his father, then the system would have
to.”

“ I learned it’s a system that doesn’t listen.”

Dave Brown, The Ottawa Citizen, 2001 “Cult of The Domestic Violence
Industry”


IV. Zero Tolerance and No-Drop Policies

‘In the Domestic Violence industry, when the accusation is made, the case is
closed.’ 

John Maguire, Massachusetts News, www.massnews.com
“The Booming Domestic Violence Industry”

In response to supply the necessary bodies to perpetuate the family violence industry, law enforcement has adopted a new tool:
“Zero Tolerance.” 

What does “Zero Tolerance” mean? Two police officers will be dispatched to a home regarding a domestic disturbance. They will not arrive empty handed. Patrol units, equipped with computers, enable officers to quickly determine if this household has had any prior domestic incidents. Officers will know the complete criminal history of each spouse before arrival.

The police will find a household in which spouses have argued and are emotionally upset. The officers will separate the parties and conduct a brief interview of each’s version of events. The police will look for physical signs of violence, such as bleeding, red marks, or scratches. Then the two officers will confer with each other and compare stories. A decision to arrest will then be made. This entire “investigative” process can be completed in mere minutes, with the arrest decision made in a split second.

‘What couple does not encounter stress, especially when they have children? But in the fever of emotion, a woman can call “911″ and have three police cars there in minutes. After this fateful act, she loses all control. The state
prosecutes her husband whether she likes it or not. He is jailed and prohibited from returning home . . . And all they wanted was the police to defuse a tense situation . . . This policy ( Zero Tolerance) is designed to accustom society (both police and victims) to the intrusion of the state into
private lives. Couples are arrested just for having an argument. Neighbors phone the police. What’s next? Cameras in our homes just like George Orwell’s “1984″’? 

Editorial,
Winnipeg Free Press, “Zero Tolerance,” February 10, 2002

The Dallas County Texas Task Force on Domestic Violence was a federal grant award recipient in 1998 for $1,333,951.00. The title of the award, “Grants To Encourage Arrest Policies,” is a federal directive encouraging “Zero Tolerance.” The grant states: 

‘Purpose: These funds will allow the Dallas County Task Force to continue ensuring arrests and prosecution of domestic violence offenders, provide counseling and support to victims, and ensure that victims have access to
protective orders. Funds will support the addition of staff attorneys and prosecutors.’
www.ojp.usdoj.gov/vawo/map/arrest/1998/txgtea.htm

AND THEN THE CASE WILL NOT BE DROPPED.

“Zero Tolerance” by the police leads to a “No-Drop” policy by the prosecution. An arrest means the case will be prosecuted. Prosecution offices associated with Family Advocacy Centers will proceed with the case even if the family situation has been resolved. An “Affidavit of Non-Prosecution” is ineffective as this legal document merely reflects what the victim wants to do. The affidavit indicates the family is in healing and desires to work on repairing the marital relationship. The Family Violence Industry does not consider salvaging the marital relationship as an acceptable end result. 

The “protectors” view their job entails ending the relationship. Prosecutors are not concerned with the wishes or needs of the real victim. The “No –Drop” policy requires the case to go to trial even if the real victim wants the charges dismissed. “No-Drop” means the government will push the case all the way regardless of hardship upon
the family. To the entrepreneurs of the Family Violence Industry, “helping” the victim
may necessitate separation of the family enforced through protective orders, followed by divorce. In
addition, the helping agenda may include loss of employment for the accused spouse, financial
hardship, and adding unnecessary emotional stress to a family.

“Zero Tolerance” means that the government, not you, the government knows what is best for your
family.

If the government is so concerned about stopping family violence and helping families, why would they push prosecution when the family is asking them not to?


V. THE FAMILY VIOLENCE INDUSTRY

1. Domestic Violence Is a Political Crime

“Hello. I’m from the Government and here to help.” This old saying is satirically funny. Governmental intervention into anything usually creates nameless, faceless bureaucracies, solving nothing, complicating everything, and resulting in higher taxes.

The government has definitely made its way into family violence:

‘Like many crusades to stamp out social evils, the War on Domestic Violence is a mix of good intentions (who could be against stopping spousal abuse?), bad information, and worse theories. The result has been a host of unintended consequences that do little to empower victims while sanctioning interference in personal relationships.’ 
Cathy Young, Vice President, Women’s Freedom Network “Domestic Violations”, Reason On Line, April
1998

Ever few years a new “crime de jour “ (crime of the day) is created. This phenomenon begins with a legitimate social problem needing to be addressed. Examples in recent years of “crimes de jour” include “Driving While Intoxicated” and “Child Sexual Abuse.” The tragic consequences of isolated worst-case scenarios of these crimes are highly publicized. The nation is inundated with media coverage and informed the problem is not being adequately dealt with by the criminal justice system. Crime victims form support groups (such as M.A.D.D.- “Mothers Against Drunk Driving”), and these support groups in turn create lobby groups. The lobbyists influence the media, judges, and politicians. Political candidates sense community outrage and run campaigns with platforms designed to solve the “crime de jour.” After each campaign year and legislative session, new laws address perceived omissions, loopholes, and provide additional punishment for those convicted of the “crime de jour.”

The enactment of such special interest group legislation officially converts the “crime de jour” into a “political
crime.”

‘Some crusaders openly argue that domestic violence should be taken more seriously than other crimes. In 1996, the sponsor of a New York bill toughening penalties for misdemeanor assault on a family member (including ex-spouses and unwed partners) vowed to oppose a version extending the measure to all assaults: “The whole purpose of my bill is to single out domestic violence,” Assemblyman Joseph Lentol said. “ I DON’T WANT THE WORLD TO THINK WE’RE TREATING STRANGER ASSAULTS THE SAME WAY AS DOMESTIC ASSAULTS.”
Cathy Young, Women’s Freedom Network,” Domestic Violations” Reason On Line, April
1998

The new “crime de jour” is domestic
violence.

2. The Family Advocacy Center 

A strange conglomeration of individuals pushing varying agendas comprise the force behind the family violence movement. The movement combines legitimate victims and their advocate supporters with professional vendors who have much to gain through concentrated efforts to expand the industry:

‘These people, some idealistic and some merely pragmatic, have networked, talked with each other, served on various commissions, boosted each other’s careers, and helped to expand the definition of family violence, and the
size of state and federal funding massively . . . Only ten years ago, the women’s safety-advocates were a small group of idealists, operating on pennies. Today the movement has
grown large on state and federal tax monies. Every month, it seems spawns new sub-programs, clinics, shelters, research institutes, counseling centers, visitation centers, poster campaigns. Today, domestic violence is a big industry . . . Mapping the full extent of the domestic violence industry is not easy, because it’s a cottage industry, spread out in hundreds of places. State and federal money (in each state) goes to well over a hundred institutes, clinics, programs for counseling or outreach or coordination or training, computer databases, coalitions, shelters, PR agencies and other groups.’
John Maguire, “The Booming
Domestic Violence Industry, ”Massachusetts News
www.massnews.com 

The media, pressured by women’s safety advocate groups has perpetuated public hysteria by over inflating the true incidence of domestic violence. While a legitimate social problem and cause for reasonable concern, the response to the force-fed hysteria has been legislative overkill. In order to facilitate the legislative demands, bureaucracies must be formed. The result is “The Family Advocacy
Center.”

A typical family advocacy center combines many agencies and individuals into one facility. The center will house police, legal, medical, social service, substance abuse, housing, women’s advocacy, victim’s rights, and counselors in one facility. The Irving Texas “Family Advocacy Center” defines itself as
“one stop shopping for victims.” www.irvingpd.com/IFAC.htm). 

3. Follow the Money

Federal law provides funding to states for the creation, development, and utilization of Family Advocacy Centers through the “Family Violence Prevention and Services Act.” (Title III of the Child Abuse Amendments of 1984, Pub. L. 98-457, 42 U.S.C. 10401). The bottom line for the falsely accused is this:
Domestic Violence is now an enormous financial industry. Each state receives millions of federal dollars in grant money by adopting provisions of federal
law.

‘(Women’s Shelter Centers) provide DSS (Department of Social Services) with additional clients. The women’s groups get more money and DSS gets more state and federal money. They both are artificially inflating their numbers. They inflate domestic violence statistics this way and through the use of coerced restraining orders. By artificially inflating the domestic violence statistics they are able to create political hysteria– leading to more funding.’
Nev Moore, “Unhealthy Relationship between DSS and Domestic Violence Industry.”

In effect, the government has created a self-fulfilling prophecy. Federal money is awarded to communities who can statistically justify the need for a family violence center. In so doing, the government itself perpetuates charges of domestic violence. It creates a “Family Violence Industry.” This circular reasoning mirrors the previous “crime de jour” of child sexual assault in the 1990’s. A comparison of the governmental domestic violence movement with the prior special interest group-driven child sexual assault hysteria
illustrates:

‘According to the late Dr. Richard Gardner, the reason for the alarming rise in child abuse allegations and specifically false allegations can be rationally explained. “ There’s a complex network of social workers, mental health professionals, and law enforcement officials that actually encourages charges of child abuse–- whether they are reasonable or not.” Dr. Gardner is referring to the fact that the Mondale Act (CAPTA) is responsible for the dramatic increase in child abuse charges. “ In effect, the Mondale Act, despite its good intentions, created and continued to fund a virtual child abuse industry, populated by people whose livelihoods depend on bringing more and more allegations into the system”’.
Armin Brott, “A system out of Control: The Epidemic of False Allegations of Child Abuse” 

The Federal Government will award $20 million in grants in 2004 to communities across the nation to plan and develop Family Advocacy Centers. (United States Department of Justice “Fact Sheet” on “The President’s Family Justice Center Initiative”;
www.ojp.usdoj.gov). The DOJ’s “Fact Sheet” reveals hidden financial incentives in the formation of centers to promote domestic violence cases. Family violence “services” will create a large number of jobs and benefit center associated professionals. Dropping cases will not. According to the DOJ Fact Sheet, the Family Violence Centers may include the following
“services”:

– Medical Care, Including On-site or Off-site Primary Physical Care, Mental Health Counseling for Victims and
Dependents, Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Collection;

– Law Enforcement and Legal Assistance Services, Including On-site Help to Get Protective Orders Signed and Enforced, to Investigate and Prosecute Offenders, and Provide Witness Assistance and Court-based Victim Advocates;

– State-of-the-art Information Sharing and Case Management Systems;

– Social Services, Including Federal and State Welfare Assistance for Parents and Children;

– Employment Assistance, Including Employment and Career Counseling and Training Through Local One Stop Employment Centers or Other Local Services;

– Substance Abuse Treatment;

– Child-related Needs Such as Parenting Classes, Teen Pregnancy Services, Supervised
Visitation and Safe Exchange Programs, Services for Child Witnesses of Domestic Violence, Assistance for Relocating Children into New Schools, Truancy Programs, and Youth Mentoring Programs;

– Housing and Transportation Assistance to Cover Immediate Needs and Help with Long-term Housing Solutions; and

– Chaplaincy or Faith-based Counseling Programs Providing Victims and Their Families with Non-sectarian Spiritual Guidance. 

United States Department of Justice
www.ojp.usdoj.gov

Fact Sheet: The President’s Family Justice Center
Initiative

Which professionals directly benefit from a community-based Family Violence Center?

– Medical: Physicians, S.A.N.E (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners), and Nurses;

– Law Enforcement: Police Investigators, Patrol, Polygraph Operators; Supervisors, Staff;

– Legal: District Attorney’s Offices; Assistant District Attorneys, Investigators, Staff;

– Social Services: Department of Protective and Regulatory Services, Caseworkers, Investigators, Supervisors, and Support Staff;

– Employment Offices: Employment Agencies, Workers, and Staff;

– “Forensic Interviewers”; – Substance Abuse Centers: Substance Abuse Counselors;

– Child Related Vendors; Counselors and Therapists;

– Housing Authorities; Placement and Personnel

– Counseling Services: Mental Health, Rage and Anger, Battering Intervention Prevention Program Counselors, Marriage Counselors, Family Counselors;

– Women’s Advocacy Group Personnel – Women’s Shelter Placement Personnel and Shelter Personnel

– Victim Advocate Services Personnel (Advocates to Support Victims and Monitor the Individual Case from Arrest Through
Trial).

Who on the above list benefits if no arrest and charge are made?

Ultimately, this begs the big question:

Is the government interested in the quality or the quantity of domestic abuse cases?
Silverstorn, “The Truth About Child Protective Services”,
www.home.attbi.com/-silverstorm/cps.htm

A critic of the Family Violence Industry, John Flaherty, co-chairman of the Fatherhood Coalition states:

‘This industry is an octopus. It’s got its tentacles in more and more parts of everyday life. It’s a
political movement . . . This industry doesn’t answer to anybody. They’re in it mainly for the
money . . . The industry’s problems may be about to increase, because it is becoming clear
through scientific research that the whole premise of the movement and the industry it spawned
– – that “domestic violence” means bad men hitting helpless, innocent women – – is just plain wrong.’
 
John Maguire, Massachusetts News
www.massnews.com, “The Booming Domestic Violence
Industry”

The Family Advocacy Centers will operate with the group mindset of most bureaucracies.

“ The agencies’ main objective is self preservation: to perpetuate the bureaucracy and to expand the bureaucracy.” 

(Silverstorn,“The Truth About Child Protective Services,” www.home.attbi.com/-silverstorm/cps.htm).

The method for doing this is by seeking and making cases. 

How will the advocacy centers get the number of cases they need? A philosophical change at the most basic level was needed. In order to make the numbers work, the definition of family violence had to be expanded to extend beyond battering spouses and include normal family arguments. In essence, the system adapted by accepting each family violence “911″ call as a potential customer. 

‘A call to 911 is generally mutually assured destruction of a relationship, marriage, family, and the lives of all involved. It doesn’t matter that you’re innocent. Or that she attacked you first. Or that you both went over the line and that both of you want to put it behind you and work it out. The system will prosecute you and persecute you until you’ve confessed your sins– even if you’ve none to confess. And you’re not cured until they say you’re cured– even if you were never sick to begin with.’ 

Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., quoting Glenn Sacks, 
“What Happens When 911 is Dialed Under Current Colorado
Law”

“Zero Tolerance” and “No- Drop” policies create a constant stream of what the advocacy centers need most: bodies. More arrests result in more persons charged. The assembly line then takes over, and the unwitting family becomes passed on from one self-interested protector to another. Post arrest the victim is ”assisted” by the police detective, “forensic interviewer,” and the prosecutor. Incriminatory statements secured, the prosecution team will temporarily lose interest until trial.

At this point, the victim support groups take over, advocates are appointed, and shelters are called, counselors engaged. The list goes on until the family is emotionally, psychologically, and financially drained. And if it all goes perfectly for the team: conviction.

In essence, a great food chain is created, in which many professionals, counselors, physicians, and vendors, are feeding off persons arrested and charged under “Zero Tolerance” programs. Family advocacy salesmen freely admit the concept is a direct springboard from the child advocacy centers. An Allen Texas Police Investigator states: “The children’s advocacy center works very well in Collin County . . . crime victims groups in Collin County work well together. So having a family justice center would encourage that more.” (Dallas Morning News, Collin County Edition, March 14, 2004, “Groups Unite To End Domestic
Violence”).

The financial rewards for Family Advocacy Centers will not be dependent upon criminal convictions. The funding will be given to the centers regardless of the outcome of the case, or truth of the allegations. With absolute immunity from liability, the Family Advocacy Center team members have no fear of any repercussions for their actions.

4. Team Unity: Take Out A Family For the Team

The majority of District Attorney’s Offices in North Texas follow the national model of having specialized family violence units, where assigned prosecutors and investigators handle only domestic violence cases. Many North Texas law enforcement agencies have specialty family violence teams. All of the law enforcement agencies affiliated with an advocacy center assign officers to the center as part of a domestic violence task
force.

The creation of specialized domestic violence prosecution teams has but one goal: conviction of a suspected perpetrator. The advocacy team collaboration of prosecutors, police, social workers, medical professionals, counselors and others are a team in every sense of the word. They share more than a central location. They share belief systems, ideologies, strategies, and a game plan. That game plan is to convict any person charged with domestic violence. The belief system is one that every person charged with domestic violence is a batterer. The belief system also finds every victim of domestic violence to be a battered spouse.

The belief system incorporates extreme arrogance. The family violence team knows better than anyone, particularly the family itself, of what is best for them. The team works together in secret, planning and mapping out strategy to forge the future of the family, whether it is in their best interests or not.

‘Unfortunately, it won’t really matter what happened that night or how capable she (alleged victim) is of deciding for herself whether or not she needs protection– the court and the prosecutors can still say no. They can stand by and tell that victim that she doesn’t really know what’s best for her and her family. She is a victim– how can she possibly know what’s after what she’s been
through?

Many of these people know exactly what is best for them and their families, and yet are revictimized by the powerlessness imposed upon them by a system of people who know better.’
Janeice T. Martin, Attorney at Law,Naples (Florida) Daily News, 
November 3, 2002, “Domestic Violence- The Other Side of Zero Tolerance” 

The above statement is not an aberration. It is common to find family service plans forced upon alleged victims by advocacy center social workers to include conditions, which require:

1. The alleged perpetrator to reside out of the household while the case is pending;

2. The alleged perpetrator to have no contact with the family while the case is pending;
3. The alleged victim to “assist” in the prosecution of the alleged perpetrator.

Assisting in prosecution means the victim must testify against the defendant. It also often means the victim must pursue divorce proceedings against the defendant. If the victim does not want to divorce or testify, advocates for failing to protect her children will eventually threaten her. Then the protectors will threaten removal of the children unless the victim pledges allegiance to the team and assists in convicting the defendant.

‘Women are coerced into accepting their cultish indoctrination via the use of threats, intimidation, and the fear of losing their
children . . . Women are ordered to leave their husbands, even in the absence of real domestic violence or abuse. They are ordered to never let the fathers see their children, or DSS will charge the women with neglect.’

Nev Moore, “Unhealthy Relationship between DSS and Domestic Violence Industry.” 

5. Pssst . . . They Are Coming . . . Or Are They Already Here?

Family Advocacy Centers are a relatively new innovation in the “War on Domestic Violence.” They are quickly following in the footsteps of Child Advocacy Centers. Many communities are combining the two into one super center. The City of Phoenix Arizona may have been the first to create a strictly domestic violence center upon opening the “Family Advocacy Center” in August 1999. The Phoenix model is a good indicator of the self fulfilling prophecy behind Family Advocacy Centers,
“Build It – They Will Come.” Statistics of cases from the Phoenix Center
show:

Since August 1999, Phoenix has had 16,439 domestic violence “contacts” in which 59% have received “services.” Translated, this figure means roughly 9700 domestic violence cases in five years since the opening of the Phoenix Family Advocacy Center. (www.phoenix.gov/CITZASST/fac.html).

How many of those cases resulted in criminal convictions could not be ascertained.

The first known Family Advocacy Center in Texas opened its doors in January of 2002. The City of Irving “Family Advocacy Center” describes its goal to “bring together those police units and outside agencies that provide support, prosecution, and therapy for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.”
(www.irvingpd.com/IFAC.htm). To no one’s surprise, the Irving Police Department adopted a “Zero Tolerance” stance on domestic violence. Again, not surprisingly, Irving boasts of rising statistical increases in the number of domestic violence cases received since the creation of its Family Advocacy Center. Consistent with Phoenix, the Irving police department website does not cite statistics regarding actual criminal convictions.

Rest assured, the Family Advocacy Center is coming soon to a neighborhood near you.

According to the Department of Justice, the federal government will award $20 million in grants in 2004 to communities across the nation to plan and develop Family Advocacy Centers. (United States Department of Justice Fact Sheet on The President’s Family Justice Center Initiative;
www.ojp.usdoj.gov).

Collin County, Texas is one of the communities applying for the federal grant money. However, a spokesman for the Collin County District Attorney’s office indicated the county “ would pursue the center even if it did not win the grant. But without financial backing, the project would take longer.” (Dallas Morning News, Collin County Edition, March 14, 2004, “Groups Unite To End Domestic
Violence”).

North Texas is an active participant in the domestic violence industry. Dallas and Denton Counties have instituted specialty family violence courts, in which domestic violence cases are primarily the only cases on the docket. Specialized courts allow prosecutors and judges to create a uniform method to streamline cases. The accused faces a tremendous obstacle in a family violence court. The court’s very existence is silently predicated upon convicting as many defendants as possible. Only convictions can feed the system, as with convictions come fines, community supervision fees, battering intervention program costs, and other methods of pouring money back into the industry. Rising numbers of convictions mean the need for more prosecutors, judges, probation officers, domestic violence counselors, domestic violence programs
and more specialized domestic violence courts. Convictions also support the propaganda generating the movement: “family violence is prevalent in your community at an unconscionable
rate.”

The government substantiates its national cry of a plethora of domestic violence through statistical data. Since there is not a nationwide plethora of domestic violence, the protectors needed assistance in the form of fuzzy math. The fuzzy math was easily solved. Simply cite statistics that show the number of domestic violence “contacts” or “services provided” rather than domestic violence convictions. By using “contacts” as the statistical benchmark, family violence crusaders are able to point to every police dispatch to a family argument as a “case.” These “cases” then secure the numbers needed for federal and state grant
money.

Another problem facing the protectors was dealing with the end result of minuscule criminal activity. How would prosecutors secure criminal convictions in court after arresting family members for arguments and trivial push-shove matches? For this, the protectors and politicians needed to change the law.

The legislature responded with open arms.


VI. CHANGING THE RULES TO CONVICT

1. Legislative Changes

Pro football star, Warren Moon, former quarterback of the Houston Oilers and Minnesota 
Vikings was charged with domestic violence assault in July 1995. The case captured national attention as his wife, the alleged victim, Felicia Moon did not want to testify or pursue charges. 

The prosecution forced Felicia Moon to testify after the Texas Legislature amended and limited the “Husband – Wife” privilege. Prior to the change in the law, a spouse could elect not to be a witness for the state to testify against the other
spouse.

‘The couple said they scuffled at their home July 18 after an argument over credit cards provoked Mrs. Moon to throw a 2-pound candleholder at Moon’s back. Mrs. Moon ended up with scratches and bruises around her neck and shoulders. Moon said that he was probably responsible for the injuries but that he was trying to calm his wife, not harm her.

Mrs. Moon likewise insisted her husband never intended o hurt her. She had pleaded with prosecutors to not press charges but was forced to take the stand under a 1995 law eliminating the right to refuse to testify against one’s spouse. More than 40 states have eliminated
the spousal privilege.’
Terri Langford, Associated Press, February 23,
1996.

It took the jury merely 27 minutes yesterday to acquit Warren Moon of the assault.

The 1995 amendment to the Code of Criminal Procedure and Rules of Evidence authorize the prosecution to mandate a spouse to testify against the other spouse. The provisions read: 

ART. 38.10 EXCEPTIONS TO THE SPOUSAL ADVERSE TESTIMONY PRIVILEGE

The privilege of a person’s spouse not to be called as a witness for the state does not apply in any proceeding in which the person is charged with a crime committed against the person’s spouse, a minor child, or a member of the household of either spouse.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 38.10

(b) Privilege Not to Testify in Criminal Case

(4) Exceptions: The privilege of a person’s spouse not to be called as a witness for the state does not apply:

(A) Certain criminal proceedings.

In any proceeding in which the person is charged with a crime against the person’s spouse, a member of the household of either spouse, or any minor. 

Texas Rules of Evidence 504 : Husband – Wife Privileges

In addition to the legislative changes, Texas Appellate Courts have broadened hearsay exceptions, authorizing the prosecution to introduce supposed prior statements of an alleged victim. 

2. Hearsay Evidence

Hearsay is defined as “ a statement, other than one made by the declarant while
testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.” (Tex. Rules. Evid. 803 (2)). In layman’s terms, hearsay occurs when a witness testifies regarding what they heard someone else say. Hearsay is inadmissible at trial; however, there are many exceptions to the hearsay
rule.

In domestic violence cases hearsay evidence is often admitted as substantive evidence of guilt. It is typical for courts to allow a police officer to testify to the officer’s memory of what the victim supposedly said at the time of the incident. This testimony is admitted even though the victim’s alleged statements were not recorded by the officer. Rather, the officer is testifying from notes in the police report
made several hours or even days after the arrest. This testimony is admitted as an “excited utterance.”

An excited utterance is defined as “A statement relating to a startling event or condition made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition.” (Tex. Rules. Evid. 803 (2)). It is common for a statement to be admitted at trial as an excited utterance even if the incident occurred several hours prior to the officer obtaining the statement from the victim. The hearsay exception of excited utterances also allows the state to play the recorded “911″ call from the victim to the jury. Whether an “excited utterance” is admissible is within the discretion of the trial court
judge.

A criminal defense attorney will object to hearsay testimony as a violation of the defendant’s right to confront their accuser at trial. When a witness at trial is reciting hearsay testimony, the defendant cannot cross-examine or confront the person who actually made the statement. The person who made the statement, called the declarant, is not the witness on the stand. The United States Constitution and state constitutions guarantee the defense the right to confront the accuser at trial. Generally speaking, an objection on the grounds the confrontation clause was violated is overruled by the trial court judge if the state can prove a hearsay exception.

On March 8, 2004, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of
Crawford v. Washington, 2004 U.S. Lexis 1838, 72 U.S.L.W. 4229. The court interpreted the Sixth Amendment “Confrontation Clause” of the United
State’s Constitution. In Crawford, the Court found the confrontation clause was violated when a recorded statement by Crawford’s spouse was played for the jury. Crawford’s wife did not testify at trial under Washington’s “Husband-Wife” privilege.

The case may not impact traditional hearsay rule exceptions. The Court made a distinction between “testimonial” and “non-testimonial” hearsay. The spouse in
Crawford, had also been arrested and gave her statement while in police custody. The Court found those circumstances to be testimonial hearsay, inadmissible as a violation of the confrontation clause when the recording was played at trial and she did not
testify.

Crawford does not cover “non-testimonial” statements such as when a spouse makes incriminating statements against the alleged battering spouse on a “911″ call. Additionally,
Crawford‘s ruling may not apply to “excited utterance” hearsay statements made by the victim when police first arrive on the scene. That question will be addressed by state appellate courts.
With anticipated pressure from the Family Violence Industry, state appellate courts may take a very narrow view of
Crawford’s holding and allow hearsay statements into evidence.

3. Syndrome Evidence May Be Admissible Against the Accused

A new strategy is being urged by the state in domestic violence cases, particularly when the alleged victim has recanted or changed her story. The prosecutors are borrowing concepts from child sexual assault cases and attempting to expand them to family violence cases. In many states, prosecutors in child abuse cases can offer expert testimony that a child is suffering from the “Child Sexual Abuse Accommodation Syndrome”(C.S.A.A.S.). This syndrome is based on the theory that abused children will exhibit certain character traits indicative of abuse.

Prosecutors in adult assault cases are now attempting to show a victim who recants or changes the original story is suffering from “Battered Woman’s Syndrome.” The new prosecutorial trend is to use the syndrome to explain why a victim of domestic violence would recant. The state wants the jury to hear expert testimony explaining that a victim is likely to recant, not due to the absence of violence, but because she is a battered
woman.

“Battered Woman Syndrome describes a pattern of psychological and behavioral symptoms found in women living in battering relationships.”
People v. Romero, 13 Cal Rptr 2d 332, 336 (Cal App 2d Dist. 1992). 

The nation’s leading expert on the syndrome, Dr. Lenore Walker, states:

There are four general characteristics of the syndrome:

1. The woman believes that the violence was her fault.
2. The woman has an inability to place the responsibility for the violence elsewhere.
3. The woman fears for her life and/or her children’s lives.

4. The woman has an irrational belief that the abuser is omnipresent and omniscient.

Walker, found nine typical characteristics of the battered wife:

(1) has low self-esteem;
(2) believes all the myths about battering relationships;
(3) is a traditionalist about the home, strongly believes in family unity and the prescribed feminine sex-role stereotype; 
(4) accepts responsibility for the batterer’s actions;

(5) suffers from guilt, yet denies the terror and anger she feels;
(6) presents a passive face to the world but has the strength to manipulate her environment enough to prevent further violence and being killed;
(7) has severe stress reactions, with psychophysiological complaints;
(8) uses sex as a way to establish intimacy; and
(9) believes that no one will be able to help her resolve her predicament except herself. 
Dr. Lenore Walker, ‘The Battered Woman Syndrome’
(1984)

Slowly the syndrome is appearing in domestic violence courts throughout the country as a means to strengthen the state’s case against the accused. The majority of courts are disallowing expert testimony without specific proof the victim in that case suffers from the syndrome. However, it is anticipated this syndrome will soon gain the same status as C.S.A.A.S. and become a routine prosecutorial tactic against defendants in domestic violence cases.

With syndrome evidence, the state replaces its lack of real proof with speculation. Expert
testimony stating the wife is a battered woman is fatal to the falsely accused. A wife testifying for the defendant describing the incident may tell the jury she exaggerated or was the instigator herself. The prosecution in rebuttal will call an expert witness to inform the jury that she is testifying in a manner consistent with being a battered spouse and merely protecting her husband.

A variety of state law cases indicate this prosecutorial trend seeking to introduce evidence the victim belongs to the class of persons known as “Battered Woman’s
Syndrome”:

1. Russell v. State, Court of Appeals of Alaska, 2002 Alas. App. LEXIS 237, ( 2002) (Memorandum decision, not legal precedent);
2. People v. Williams, Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Four, 78 Cal. App. 4th 1118; 93 Cal. Rptr. 2d 356;
3. State v. Yusuf, Appellate Court of Connecticut, 70 Conn. App. 594; 800 A.2d 590; 2002 Conn. App. LEXIS 349 (2002);

4. State v. Niemeyer, Appellate Court of Connecticut, 55 Conn. App. 447; 740 A.2d 416; 1999 Conn. App. LEXIS 408 (1999);
5. Michigan v. Christel, 449 Mich. 578, 537 N.W.2d 194, 1995 Mich. LEXIS 1477;
6. State v. Cummings, Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth Appellate District, 2002 Ohio 4178; 2002 Ohio App. LEXIS 4353 (2002);
7. Garcia v. State, NO. 01-99-01068-CR, Court of Appeals of Texas, First District, Houston, 2000 Tex. App. LEXIS 3774, (2000)(Unpublished, not legal precedent). 

4. Convictions Without Physical Evidence

Defendants have been convicted of domestic violence without any physical evidence introduced against them at trial. In many cases, the argument resulting in the arrest was so slight the alleged victim does not need or seek medical treatment. Frequently, the accused is convicted for intentionally causing “bodily injury” without any testimony from a qualified medical expert. The victim’s testimony alone that she felt pain or suffered bodily injury is sufficient for a conviction. 

This testimony can be supported by police officer testimony of having observed red marks, scratches, or bleeding, to substantiate the decision to arrest. These claimed injuries may or may not be photographed and preserved for trial. Commonly, a defendant is convicted of causing bodily injury without medical or photographic evidence.

The creation of the Family Advocacy Center is anticipated to follow their Child Advocacy Center predecessors. Medical nurses and employees, whose livelihoods depend upon their contracts with the centers, will give opinions that a victim was abused. Failure to give the right opinion will mean the contract is not renewed. These opinions from medical “experts” will say the findings are “consistent with” abuse. Of course, “consistent with abuse” is not a true medical diagnosis. This testimony, when attacked by the defense attorney will reveal the findings given, as “consistent with abuse” are just as “inconsistent with
abuse”.

Instead of physical and medical evidence, the falsely accused are now and will continue to be convicted upon theories, inferences, and speculation. Prosecutors secure convictions by manipulating the juries’ fear of releasing a battering spouse back into the home. This fear will be combined with hearsay, expert witness “syndrome evidence”, misleading medical testimony, and the biased opinions of family advocacy investigators. Immediately after arrest the alleged victim will be hustled to the Family Advocacy Center to be interviewed. At the center, a “forensic interviewer” with the help of state agents will orchestrate a video taped interview. The prosecutor and police detective will be monitoring the process through a two-way mirror in the adjacent room. The interviewer will be in communication and fed questions from the agents through a wireless microphone earpiece. The interviewer will question the alleged victim when she is still highly emotional and upset, prone to exaggeration and motivated to hurt the accused. Many cases have shown investigators to require an alleged victim to add the phrase “ I felt pain” to any written or verbal description of the incident. The alleged victim is unaware that “pain” is the legal buzzword authorities must have to prosecute. 

5. Summary: Recipe for conviction:

1. “911” call from the alleged victim claiming assault and
injury;

2. Recorded preservation of the “911″ call for trial; 

3. A biased police investigation;

4. A Zero Tolerance policy requiring the police to make an arrest;

5. A biased interviewer requiring the alleged victim to state or write that she felt “pain”; 

6. A biased medical report by a “nurse” contracted by the domestic violence
industry;

7. Syndrome evidence from an “expert” witness if the victim recants or changes her story; 

8. Trial testimony through “excited utterance” hearsay and denial of the husband – wife privilege not to testify against their spouse; 

9. Conviction on little or no physical evidence.


VII. FAMILY VIOLENCE LEGAL FACTS: A CHECKLIST

1. Issues Upon Arrest 

– What Is Family Violence?
Family violence is defined as “an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.”
Tex. Fam. Code § 71.004 (2004)

– What Is An Assault Family Violence Offense?

There is not a Texas penal code statute entitled “Assault – Family Violence.”
Despite what offense may have been written on the magistrate’s warning or bail bond, the actual offense is for “Assault”. In Texas, an assault offense can range from a Class C misdemeanor (similar to traffic citation) to a felony. The charge is a Class C misdemeanor if the physical contact is merely regarded as “ offensive “ or “provocative”. In those situations, the suspect usually receives a citation and promises to appear later in a Municipal Court where the maximum punishment is by fine up to $500.00.

The vast majority of family violence cases are charged as Class A misdemeanors in which it is alleged the defendant caused ”bodily injury” to the victim. In cases in which “serious bodily injury “ is alleged, the offense is characterized as a felony. It also will be a felony if “the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense against a member of the defendant’s family or
household”.

– What Evidence Do The Police Need To Make An Arrest?
An officer must arrest if probable cause exists to believe that bodily injury has occurred.

– Do the Police Need A Warrant To Arrest Me?

Texas state law authorizes the police to make an arrest without a warrant of:

“ persons who the peace officer has probable cause to believe have committed an assault resulting in bodily injury to a member of the person’s family or household.”
Tex. Code. Crim. Proc. Art. 14.03 (a) (4).

This legal authorization leads to an automatic arrest or “zero tolerance” policy by many police departments. Once a call for assistance was made to a “911″ operator regarding a domestic disturbance, someone is going to jail if there is any evidence, credible or not, of bodily
injury.

– What is Bodily Injury?

“Bodily Injury means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition”.
Tex. Pen. Code § 1.07 (8) 

It does not take much to make an allegation of “bodily injury”. Bodily injury does not require a trip to the doctor, any medication, or even any sign of injury such as a bruise or red mark. The alleged victims’ statement they felt pain is sufficient for an arrest to be made. This is why the police officer will ask the alleged victim if she was “hurt” or felt “pain”. If the victim says yes, then the officer has been provided with probable cause the bodily injury provision has been
met.

– What Happens If the Alleged Victim Decides She Does Not Want to Prosecute?
The State will prosecute the case anyway.

– What Is Zero Tolerance?
Zero Tolerance means the police will make an arrest without exception after a family argument if they have probable cause to believe any bodily injury has occurred.

– What Is A No Drop Policy
A “No Drop Policy” means the State will prosecute all domestic violence cases without exception, even if the victim wants the case dismissed and has filed an affidavit of non-prosecution. 

– Can I Be Held in Jail Even after I Make Bail?
The magistrate (judge) can hold the arrested person in jail for four (4) hours after making bail, if there is probable cause to believe any violence would continue if the person were immediately released. 

This period can be extended up to forty -eight hours if authorized in writing by a magistrate. If the extended time period exceeds twenty four (24) hours, the magistrate must make a finding the violence would be continued if the person were released and the person has previously been arrested within ten (10) years on more than one occasion for family violence or for any other offense involving the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 17.291 (2004)

– What Is the Arraignment?

After an arrest the accused will be brought before the magistrate for the arraignment. At this hearing, the magistrate will read the accused their legal rights, set bail, and usually issue an emergency protective order. 
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 15.17

– What Is an Emergency Protective Order?
An emergency protective order is issued against the accused by the magistrate at the arraignment hearing. The protective order may:

– evict the accused from their residence for sixty (60) days;

– prohibit the accused from possessing a firearm;
– prohibit the accused from communicating directly with a person protected by the order or a member of the family or household in a threatening or harassing manner;
– going to or near the residence, place of employment, or business of a member of the family or household or of the person protected under the order; or the residence, child care facility, or school where a child protected under the order resides or attends.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– What Happens If I Violate The Emergency Protective Order?

Violation of the emergency protective order results in a separate criminal offense punishable by a fine of as much as $ 4,000 or by confinement in jail for as long as one year or by both. An act that results in family violence or a stalking offense may be prosecuted as a separate misdemeanor or felony offense. If the act is prosecuted as a separate felony offense, it is punishable by confinement in prison for at least two years. 
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– Can the Judge Kick Me out of My Own House?
The protective order may evict the accused from their residence for sixty (60) days.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– Can I Be Ordered Not to Have Any Contact with My Wife or Children?

An emergency protective order by itself cannot prohibit the arrested person from making non-threatening communication or contact with the protected person. However, nothing prohibits the magistrate from making an additional “no – contact” condition of bail. Art. 17.40.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Conditions Related to Victim or Community Safety

– Can I Get the Protective Order Modified, Changed or Dismissed?
The court, which issued the emergency protective order, can modify all or part of the order after each party has received notice and a hearing has been held. In order to change or modify the order, the court must find:

(1) the order as originally issued is unworkable;
(2) the modification will not place the victim of the offense at greater risk than did the
original order; and

(3) the modification will not in any way endanger a person protected under the order.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– What If My Spouse Says She Will Not Enforce The Protective Order?
Only the Judge who issued the emergency order can change it or set it aside. No other person can give permission to anyone to ignore or violate the order.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– How Long Is The Protective Order In Effect?
An emergency protective order is in effect for not less than thirty-one (31) days and not more than sixty-one (61) days.
Art. 17.292. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

A final protective order issued by a District Court may be in effect for up to two (2) years.
Tex. Fam. Code § 85.025 (2004)

– Can I Own or Possess a Firearm While out on Bail?

After arrest a magistrate will usually issue an emergency protective order, which can prohibit the arrested person from possessing a firearm, unless the person is a peace officer.
Art. 17.292. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

The magistrate or judge assigned the case can make additional bond conditions, which prohibit the accused from possessing a firearm while the case is pending.

– What Happens If I Have Right To Carry Handgun License?
The magistrate can suspend a license to carry a concealed handgun.
Art. 17.292. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection

– What Kind of Conditions Will I Be under While out on Bail?
A magistrate can require any condition to bail that he / she finds to be reasonable as long as it is related to the safety of the victim or the community.
Art. 17.40. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Conditions Related to Victim or Community Safety

In some cases this may mean there is to be no contact between the alleged victim and the defendant. Once the case has been assigned to a court, that judge may order additional conditions of bond. A judge in Collin County, Texas, has made it a practice to require the accused to attend a weekly batterer intervention counseling program for eighteen (18) weeks even though there has been no conviction.

– The Prosecutor Must Notify Family Law Court Of An Arrest For Domestic Violence If Temporary Orders Regarding Custody or Possession of a Child Are In Effect.

The prosecutor must notify a family law court of an arrest for family violence if the family law court had previously entered temporary orders.
Art. 42.23. Notification of Court of Family Violence Conviction

– What Is An Affidavit of Non-Prosecution?
This affidavit is a legal document from the victim informing the authorities prosecution is
not desired and requesting the case to be dropped. 

– What Happens If My Spouse Executes an Affidavit of Non-prosecution?

The charging decision belongs to the government. In all likelihood, the State will prosecute the case anyway. 

– Should We Meet With The Prosecutor To Get The Case Dismissed?
Sometimes the alleged victim wants to meet with the prosecutor to change her story and
get the charge dismissed.

This procedure needs to be skillfully handled by an attorney. If your spouse meets with either the prosecutor or police investigator alone, she will be threatened with arrest and prosecution if she wants to change the original story. The prosecutor will threaten to charge her with making a false statement to a police officer and / or perjury.

– Can The Case Ever Be Dismissed?
Yes, even with a “no-drop” or “zero tolerance” policy, a good attorney can eventually influence the prosecutor to drop the case. Prosecutors, despite great overtures about caring for the victim and similar altruistic posturing, care very much about winning. The only thing that matters to a prosecutor is winning the case and advancing their career. The alleged victims are just numbers whose faces and situations will be forgotten by the prosecutor with the start of the next case.

The defense motivates the prosecutor to dismiss. Prosecutors hate to lose cases. If confronted with a case that cannot be won they will try to deviate from office policy to dismiss, “just this one time”.

– What If There Is No Physical Evidence of Bodily Injury ?
In many cases evidence of injury is slight, or no physical evidence of injury may exist at all. The State will prosecute the case anyway.

– How Could I Be Found Guilty If There Is No Physical Evidence?
The State can get a conviction solely on the testimony of the alleged victim without any physical evidence of bodily injury.

– What If The Victim Does Not Show Up For Trial?
The State will subpoena her for trial. If she does not appear the judge will issue a writ of attachment (arrest warrant). The Sheriff will arrest your spouse and bring her to the courthouse. If she cannot be located, the judge will grant the State’s motion for a continuance. If she cannot be found, even after a continuance, the State will prosecute the case and present hearsay evidence of what your spouse
said:

1. On the 911 dispatch tape;
2. To the investigating police officers;
3. By introducing any written or recorded statements of your spouse. (Written or recorded statements may now be inadmissible after the United States Supreme Court decision in Crawford v. Washington, 2004 U.S. Lexis 1838, 72 U.S.L.W. 4229.)

– Can the Case Be Won At Trial?
These cases are frequently won at trial by skilled criminal defense attorneys. In many situations, the argument involved both parties and any physical assault was actually mutual combat. Self-defense is a defense to prosecution under Texas and all states law.

2. Consequences Of A Conviction

– Will An Arrest Or Conviction Be on My Record?
A conviction, probated sentence, or deferred adjudication will result in a permanent criminal record. In Texas there are only two ways to remove a domestic violence arrest record. An attorney can have the records of arrest expunged (destroyed) if the state never files a case or if the case is won at trial.

A plea of guilty or no contest to the charge or a finding of guilt, will result in a criminal record even if the defendant is placed on probation or deferred adjudication and successfully completes the community supervision period. 

There is no method by law to expunge, destroy, or seal domestic violence convictions, probations, or deferred adjudications.
Tex. Govt. Code § 411.081

– What Happens If I Am Not a U.S. Citizen?
A person charged with domestic violence who is not a United States citizen can face serious penalties.

Deportation is possible even if the case ends in probation or deferred adjudication.
A re-entry into the United States may be denied after arrest, even if the case has not gone to trial.

– Who Would Have Access to My Record?
The records will be available for anyone with access at the courthouse or over the internet. Even a deferred adjudication case will be discoverable to any person. Present or future employers will have access to domestic violence records.

– If I Successfully Complete Deferred Adjudication, Can I Get the Records Sealed?
Deferred adjudication for family violence cannot be expunged or have the records sealed.
It will be a permanent record, even though a formal conviction is not entered.

Tex. Govt. Code § 411.081

– Can I Own or Possess a Firearm?
If the person enters a plea of guilty or no contest or is found guilty at trial they will not be able to possess a firearm for (5) years under Texas law, and not possess a firearm or ammunition at all under federal law. The federal law has no time limitation to it. The loss of the right to possess a firearm applies whether the case ends in a conviction, probation, or deferred adjudication.
Tex. Penal Code § 46.04 (2004); 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g) (9)

– If Placed On Community Supervision, Will I Have to Attend Counseling?

A person on community supervision for domestic violence will be required to attend a year long Battering Intervention Prevention Program counseling course. The average defendant is required to attend once a week for a fifty – two (52) week period. Failure to attend, or missing too many meetings will result in revocation of the community supervision and placement in jail.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 42.141 (2004)

– Can I Attend Counseling of My Own Choosing?
The defendant does not get to select a counseling program. This program will be set up in
advance and the defendant will be required to attend. 
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 42.141 (2004)

– What Are Typical Probation / Deferred Conditions for Domestic Violence Cases?
The defendant is responsible for all costs of counseling and probation. Typical conditions of Community Supervision include:

– Fine; 
– Court Costs; 
– Victim Impact Panels; 

– Counseling for Victim; 
– Contributions to Women’s Domestic Violence Shelters; 
– Weekly Batterers Intervention Prevention Program Counseling; 
– Anger Management Counseling; 
– Monthly Probation Fees of $50.00 per Month; 
– No Contact With Victim; 

– Random Urinalysis Testing; 
– Monthly Reporting To Probation Officer; 
– Community Service; 
– Other Conditions the Judge Finds to Be Reasonable. 
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 42.14

– A Domestic Violence Conviction Will Result in a Finding of Family Violence.
If the defendant enters a plea or is found guilty, the trial court must make an affirmative finding of family violence and enter the affirmative finding in the judgment.
Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 42.013 (2004)

– What Does it Mean to Have a Family Violence Finding?
A plea of either guilty or no contest will result in a family violence finding even if the sentence is deferred.

A finding of family violence can have drastic consequences for a parent facing a child custody or modification case. There may be a presumption that the accused is not a fit parent. 

– The Trial Court Judge Must Notify Family Court Of A Family Violence Finding.
The trial court judge must notify the family court judge if the defendant was found guilty or pled guilty or no contest to a family violence offense. This must be done even if the defendant is placed on deferred adjudication.
Art. 42.23. Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Notification of Court of Family Violence Conviction

– A Final Protective Order Can Be Entered Against a Person Found to Have Committed Family Violence.
A family court judge may enter a final protective order against a person found guilty or pled guilty or no contest to a family violence offense. This can be done even if the defendant is placed on deferred adjudication
Tex. Fam. Code § 85.022 Requirements of Order Applying to Person Who Committed Family Violence

– What Are the Possible Penalties for a Conviction?
In Texas, the accused faces up to a $4,000.00 fine for a conviction, whether by a plea or a finding of guilt at trial. The accused may be incarcerated for up to one year in the county jail upon conviction, whether by a plea or a finding of guilt at trial.

If the accused has a prior conviction for family violence, a second charge will be prosecuted as a third degree felony offense, carrying a range of punishment of not less than two (2) years or more than ten (10) years in the penitentiary and a fine up to $10,000.00.
Tex. Pen. Code. § 12.21; § 12.34


VIII.  SELECTING
THE RIGHT ATTORNEY

1. Do Not Attempt This On Your Own

If informed that surgery is needed to remove a tumor, the patient would not go home and start rummaging through kitchen knives to commence a self-service operation. Obviously this procedure is best left to the skilled hands of a professional physician. The same principle exists when a family desires to have a criminal case dismissed. This is not the time to do it yourself.

The criminal justice system is a great mystery to those who are not familiar with its inner sanctum. There is a right way and wrong way to get things accomplished. The family finding itself facing an accusation does not understand how to approach the system. Common sense and justice, thought to be inherent in the system, does not exist. Rather the criminal justice system is more concerned with power, perpetuation of the appearance of justice, and statistics.

Media and political attention concerning domestic violence may tend to have the naive think the system is concerned with the well being of families. This is incorrect. The system does not care one iota about the families it captures in its web. A family in recovery, healing from domestic conflicts presumes the protectors would be pleased to discover prosecution is no longer desired. This is certainly the public persona exemplified by the protectors. Referring to the Smith County, Texas Family Advocacy Center, Executive Director Carol Langston said: “ I would love for the center not to have to be here 20 or 40 years from now.” (Laura Krantz, Staff Writer, March 20, 2004, Tyler Morning Telegraph).
Baloney.

In fact the exact opposite is true. The protectors want as many cases as possible and are not concerned with what’s best for the family. The system is concerned with what’s best for itself, growth and expansion. Those goals are not met by dropping
cases.

“This is crazy. We had an argument that got out of control. Everything is fine now. My spouse does not want to prosecute. If I talk to them and explain it will go away.” This is the initial feeling of a family who does not want any additional complications, such as a frivolous prosecution in their lives. The family may be experiencing problems and difficulties, but it is not a matter that requires governmental intervention. Husband and Wife desire to work out their issues on their own, their way. All that is needed now is to make an appointment to speak to the prosecutor and have the State to drop the
case.  The State Will Not Drop the Case. 

2. Rules For The Accused

Rule No. 1: There is nothing you can say to these people to make them go away. 

Nothing an accused or alleged victim can say or do will convince the protectors (Family Advocacy Prosecutor, Family Advocacy Center Caseworker, Police Detective) that the abuse did not occur. NOTHING!

Rule No. 2: The case will not be dismissed until the government finds a dismissal is in their best interests, not the best interests of the family. 

The individual effected family means nothing to these people. The family is a mere meal ticket, another in a long line of families the system will victimize. Informing the protectors that the family is fine, has made up, is working out their problems, and does not need prosecution will be met on deaf ears. The system does not care. The protectors need bodies to meet necessary quotas to continue receiving grant money and expand.

It is only when the protectors recognize they will lose the case, possibly in an embarrassing fashion, that a dismissal will be considered. The state must be motivated through its own fear of losing face with a jury before it will consider the needs of the family.

Rule No. 3: Talking to the protectors without an attorney present is the single worst thing a wrongfully accused person can do.

In most cases an experienced attorney will not allow you to talk to the prosecutor or the police or give a statement. The attorney knows whatever you say will be used against you.

The violation of these rules by unaware family members is commonplace. A family desiring to put the incident behind them believes sanity will intervene at some point, and decide to contact the police and prosecution. The alleged victim and suspect will give written and videotaped statements. In addition, they will talk on the phone or offices of detectives and prosecutors without knowing they are being recorded. 

The protectors are not interested in conducting a fair and thorough investigation. The accused and alleged victim who walk into a Family Advocacy Center without an experienced attorney to “tell their side of things” or “clear this all up” is doing exactly what the authorities want. The protectors know what they are doing. At this meeting they will obtain real or implied admissions and circumstances presenting opportunity for battering coming from the accused’s own
mouth.

An attorney can place you in a position so that you are “cooperating” with the investigation without incriminating yourself. The attorney can assist you in making the decision of whether to meet with the authorities. In most situations, the attorney knows the charge decision has already been made and that a meeting will not change the forthcoming prosecution. 

3. Finding the Right Criminal Defense Attorney

Very few attorneys specialize in fighting domestic violence allegations. Many lawyers represent clients with assault charges. These lawyers will handle such cases in addition to a general criminal defense practice. Domestic cases are different from the typical criminal charge and must be handled differently!

Consider the following in hiring the right attorney:

A. Length of Practice and Experience.

A family violence allegation can only be defended successfully by an attorney with significant trial experience and specifically with assault cases. The accused is not in a position to have inexperienced counsel. 

Unfortunately, the police, Family Advocacy Center personnel, and the public will consider you to be guilty. For one charged with family violence, it is important to act immediately. The accused must prove their innocence! An attorney who does not begin an all out defense at the very beginning is wasting valuable time and compromising your future.

There is no “home field advantage” in a domestic violence case. Do not shy away from a good attorney who is located in a different county from where you are being charged. Judges are elected politicians. Judges do not get re-elected if the public views them as soft on family violence. It makes no difference how well a local attorney knows the judge; it will not be of any assistance with this type of charge. An “outsider” who does not care about making the judge or prosecutor happy, but just wants to defend you and win, is much better than a local name.

B. Reject Plea Bargains.

A false allegation of domestic violence must be beaten through either a dismissal or an acquittal (not guilty finding) at trial. There is no victory in a plea bargain with these cases. The innocent persons life will be significantly affected by pleading guilty. At no time in dealing with a false allegation should there ever be an admission of guilt. A plea bargain may seem an easy way out, but it will ruin the life of the falsely accused forever. 

Deferred Adjudication, successfully served will not result in a conviction for the defendant. However, the lack of a formal conviction is meaningless. Whether the accused receives deferred, straight probation, or is released from jail, he will still have a criminal record and a finding of family violence. These records are public and the nature of the charges can be made known to anyone. Family violence findings may result in the loss of employment and the inability to secure future meaningful employment.

Community Supervision for the defendant will require battering intervention program counseling. In this setting, the offender is required to admit that not only the actual charge is true, but also any extraneous charges or allegations made in police or advocacy center reports are true. It matters not that the charge is exaggerated, untrue, or only partially true. It matters not that the extraneous other charges did not occur. Failure to admit that everything alleged is true will result in a revocation of community supervision and incarceration. 

The prosecution will tempt the inexperienced defense attorney with offers of deferred adjudication and “counseling” instead of incarceration. Do not fall for this guise. It can be difficult to complete probation as the rules keep changing. Making community supervision more difficult for family violence offenders is a legislative reality. Politicians enact new laws, which offer the appearance of fighting domestic violence. No lobby group exists for persons charged with domestic abuse and the legislature can make the community supervision process intolerable without
opposition.

A finding of family violence can mean that you will lose your children.

C. Prepare a vigorous pre – charge defense to avoid prosecution.

If an attorney says to wait and see if you are formally charged; walk away immediately; the best time to get a dismissal is before a formal charge.

Many times the best method of winning a false allegation case is to defeat it before it officially starts. Evidence can be collected pre-charge by the defense that does not have to meet the standards of admissible evidence at trial. The defense can produce typically inadmissible evidence such as polygraph examination results, character letters, and other forms of hearsay. The defense can also offer expert witness reports and affidavits explaining the unreliability and tainted evidence procured by the prosecution. Here are some common examples of evidence that can be assessed for a charge dismissal packet:

A. Your Criminal History
B. Honorable Discharge 
C. Education Records
D. Polygraph Results
E. Polygraph Report
F. Psychological and Personality Testing of Client
G. A Factual Summary of the Defense Version of the Case
H. Sworn Statements That the Alleged Victim Has Made False Accusations in the past
I. Legal Research and Case-law to Show Reason to Not Indict 

J. Good Character Letters
K. Availability of Defendant and Others to Testify If Requested.
L. Recantations from Alleged Victims When Available.
M. Expert Witness Testimony and Affidavits Regarding Tainted Evidence Comprising the States’
case. Test Results Showing the Accused Does Not Have the Psychological Characteristics of a Batterer.

If your attorney insists that pursuing a pre-charge defense is a waste of time, fire him.

D. Prepare a vigorous defense for trial.

If the prosecutor accepts the charge, then the case must be prepared for trial. It is rare for the state to dismiss a case once they have formally filed an assault charge. Your attorney must be prepared to try these specialized types of cases. 

Selection of the jury is critical for domestic violence cases. The potential jurors come into the case with heavy emotional attachments regarding allegations of abuse to a spouse. Strong emotions held by jurors about domestic violence must be overcome and their attention placed on being fair and acknowledging that false allegations are made. The jury panel must understand the serious potential for injustice a false allegation can cause. 

In addition, the attorney must educate the jury panel on how false allegations could be made. The panel needs to understand how an alleged victim can make false and exaggerated statements and what motivation exists to do so.

The attorney must be well skilled in cross-examination to show deficiencies in the states investigation through a preconceived assumption of guilt shared amongst the advocacy team. Cross-examination is a skill obtainable only through years of trial practice itself. 

The attorney must also be prepared to offer strong defensive witnesses. Contrary to many criminal cases, the accused must testify in a domestic violence case if the defense wants an acquittal. Until the jury hears it straight from the accused’s mouth that the abuse did not occur, it will convict.


IX. CONCLUSION

True domestic violence is criminal and has resulted in tragic consequences. However, the cure may be as abhorrent as the disease. Governmental overkill has created the Family Violence Industry. The future is here as “Family Advocacy Centers “ are springing up across the nation with hands held out competing for federal funding. A needless bureaucratic machine defining innocent family members as batterers is the inevitable outcome of “zero tolerance” and “no – drop” policies. 

Further, the protectors have assimilated into a system of arrogance and self-righteousness believing it and it alone knows what is best for the family. The protectors protect only themselves and seek not to do justice, but to expand and grow at the expense of those truly victimized, the individual family they claim to assist. A nation of Americans face a well funded and driven system intent upon finding family violence for every minor and insignificant transgression. 

Instead of tackling real and legitimate domestic violence, the industry is content, fat, and happy with prosecution of the minutia. 


BIBLIOGRAPHY 

1. Irving Family Advocacy Center www.irvingpd.com/IFAC.htm

2. “Fact Sheet: The President’s Family Justice Center Initiative”
‘United States Department of Justice’, www.ojp.usdoj.gov

3. “Cult of The Domestic Violence Industry” Dave Brown, ‘The Ottawa Citizen’,
2001

4. “Groups Unite To End Domestic Violence”‘ Dallas Morning News- Collin County Edition’, March 14,
2004

5. “Zero Tolerance Sucks” Editorial, ‘Winnipeg Free Press’, February 10,
2002

6. “Domestic Violence the Other Side of Zero Tolerance” Janice T. Martin, Esq., Naples (Florida) Daily News, November 3,
2002

7. “Domestic Violations,” Reason on Line, April 1998Cathy Young, Vice President, Women’s Freedom
Network

8. “The Booming Domestic Violence Industry” John Maguire, Massachusetts News, August 2, 1999,
www.massnews.com

9. “What Happens When 911 is Dialed Under Current Colorado Law” Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., Equal Justice
Foundation

10. “Mandatory Restraining Order Pursuant to Section 18-1-1001″, C.R.S.
Charles E. Corry, Ph.D. 2002 Equal Justice Foundation

11. “Money and Politics Corrupting Domestic Violence Laws and
Enforcement” Charles E. Corry, Ph.D, 2002 Equal Justice Foundation

12. “Family Violence, A Report from: Family Resources & Research”
Sam & Bunny Sewell, www.landwave.com/family/

13. “Mandatory Arrest And Restraining Orders” From ‘Domestic Violence: Facts and
Fallacies’ Richard L. Davis, A.L.M.

14. “Specialized Criminal Domestic Violence Courts” Julie A. Helling, ‘Violence Against Women Online
Resources’ www.vaw.umn.edu

15. “Advocacy In a Coordinated Community Response” Rose Thelen, Gender Violence Institute, ‘Violence Against Women Online
Resources’ www.vaw.umn.edu

16. “Criminal Prosecution of Domestic Violence” Linda A. McGuire, Esq., ‘Violence Against Women Online
Resources’ www.vaw.umn.edu

17. “Assessing Justice System Response to Violence Against Women: A Tool for Law Enforcement, Prosecution, and the Courts to Use in Developing Effective
Responses” Kristen Littel, M.A., ‘Violence Against Women Online Resources’
www.vaw.umn.edu

18. “Building Bridges Between Domestic Violence Organizations and Child Protective
Services” Linda Spears, ‘Violence Against Women Online Resources’ www.vaw.umn.edu

19. “Legal Interventions In Family Violence: Research Findings and Policy
Implications” Research Report, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, July
1998

20. “Litigating Domestic Violence Cases: Effective Use of the Rules of
Evidence” American Bar Association Commission on Domestic Violence, Domestic Violence Civil Law Institute,
2000.

21. “Domestic Violence” NAA Text 2000, Chapter 9. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of
Justice

22. “Domestic Violence Protocol for Law Enforcement” Police Chief’s Association of Santa Clara County,
2002

23. “Family Violence Prevention – Best Practice Guide” Santa Clara County Social Services Agency, Department of Family and Children’s
Services

24. “Domestic Violence: A Model Protocol for Police Response” B.J. Hart, Esq., Minnesota Center Against Violence and
Abuse

25. “ A Process Evaluation of the Clark County Domestic Violence Court”
Randall Kleinhesselink, Clayton Mosher, Minnesota Center Against Violence and
Abuse March 2003.

26. “Creating a Domestic Violence Court: Combat in the Trenches” Randall Fizzier; Leonore M.J. Simon, ‘Court Review’, Spring
200

27. “Specialized Courts and Domestic Violence” Kristin Littel, Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, May
2003

28. “Domestic Violence Court Opens” Amy Wallace, ‘Seacoast Online’,
2002

29. “Domestic Violence Court” www.utcourts.gov/domviolence/domov.htm

30. “Misandry Is No Solution” John Sample, ‘The Backlash’, August
1996

31. “A Tool Kit To Destroy Families” ‘Washington Times’, Commentary Section, December 9,
2001

32. “Irving Police Extend Hand To Crime’s Victims” Robert Miller, ‘Dallas Morning News’, March 28,
2004

33. “ Chandler (Kentucky Attorney General) Declares Zero Tolerance Policy On Violence Against Women,” Jennifer Schaaf, March 12, 1998,
www.kyattorneygeneral.com/news/releases/006

34. “Garrett County To Crack Down On Domestic Violence” Garrett County State’s Attorney’s Office, Press Release, June 12,
1998

35. “Knocked for Six: The Myth of a Nation of Wife-batterers” Neil Lyndon, Paul Ashton, ‘The Sunday Times of London’, January 29,
1995

36. “Zero Tolerance For Domestic Violence” www.co.contra-costa.ca.us./depart/cao/DomViol

37. “Family Advocacy Center, A Safe Place To Get Help” City of Phoenix, Family Advocacy Center General
Information, www.ci.phoenix.az.us./CITZASST/facbroch

38. “Baseball Player’s Domestic Violence Arrest Demonstrates How Men Are Presumed Guilty In Domestic Disputes,” Glenn Sacks, March 26, 2004,
www.glennsacks.com

39. “Advocacy Center Unites Agencies To Battle Abuse” Laura Jett Krantz, March 20, 2004, Tyler Morning
Telegraph

40. “Domestic Violence Information and Referral Handbook” Santa Clara County Probation
Department www.growing.com/nonviolent/victim/vict_res.htm

41. “Advocacy Center Offers Refuge for Battered” A.E. Araiza, ‘The Arizona Daily Star’, March 14, 2004

The original article can be found here: http://familyrights.us/bin/white_papers-articles/stuckle/fv-industry.htm

Landmark Juvenile Law Cases: Fourteenth Amendment – Parental and Children’s Rights

In Best Interest of the Child, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Domestic Relations, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 21, 2009 at 11:44 am

Landmark Juvenile Law Cases: Fourteenth Amendment

Goss v. Lopez, 419 U.S. 325 (1985)

The issue in this case was whether students who were suspended from high school for up to 10 days without a hearing were entitled to procedural due process pursuant to the Fourteenth Amendment. The district court found that the students were denied due process of law because they were suspended without a hearing prior to suspension or within a reasonable time after suspension and thus that the statute and regulation under which they were suspended was unconstitutional.

The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the right to a public education was a property interest protected by the Due Process Clause and that students’ due process rights “could not be taken away for misconduct without adherence to the minimum procedures required by that Clause.” 419 U.S. at 574. The Court held that those procedures include “that the student be given oral or written notice of the charges against him and, if he denies them, an explanation of the evidence the authorities have and an opportunity to present his side of the story.” 419 U.S. at 581.

In re Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967)

The issue presented in this case was what procedures under the Due Process Clause must be followed in proceedings by which a determination is made about whether a juvenile is delinquent as a result of alleged misconduct. 387 U.S. at 13-14. A fifteen year old boy was arrested for making lewd telephone calls to a neighbor, while he was on probation for another offense. The parents, who were at work, were not notified that their son had been arrested, nor were they served with a petition filed by the officer that provided that the child was a “delinquent minor.” At the hearing, the complaining neighbor was not present, those testifying were not sworn in and no transcripts or recording of the proceedings were made. After the hearing, the judge said he would think about what to do and the boy was sent back to the detention for a couple of days, after which he was released and sent home. On the day the boy was sent home, the Gaults then received an unofficial note from the officer stating that the judge set a hearing about the boy’s delinquency. At this second hearing, the complaining neighbor was not present. A referral report was filed by the probation officer, but not disclosed to the boy or his parents. The judge committed the boy (who was 15) as a juvenile delinquent to an industrial school until he was 21. There was no right to appeal. The parents filed a writ and it was denied.

The U.S. Supreme Court held first that the hearing afforded in connection with juvenile court “must measure up to the essentials of due process and fair treatment,” 387 U.S. at 30, under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Court then held: (1) that notice in this case was inadequate; (2) that notice of a hearing “must be given sufficiently in advance of scheduled court proceedings so that reasonable opportunity to prepare will be afforded,” 387 U.S. at 33; (3) that notice must provide the charges; (4) that the child has right to counsel in a delinquency proceedings and (5) that, absent a valid confession, the child may not be committed after a delinquency proceedings without sworn testimony subject to cross-examination during the proceeding.

http://www.abanet.org/litigation/committees/childrights/content/notes/landmark_14.html
2

Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Lost Parents’ Perspective – Chapter 4 of 5

In California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 21, 2009 at 1:00 am

by Despina Vassiliou
Department of Educational Psychology and Counselling, McGill University
3700 McTavish, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1Y2


CHAPTER 4

RESULTS

This chapter presents the results of the data analysis described in Chapter 3.

Family Data

For the determination of indicators of PAS, the study of family data was an important area to examine first as there may have been some characteristics relevant in the occurrence of PAS.

(a) Family Constellation: Information about participants’ family characteristics such as marital status, number of marriages, length of alienating marriage, and number of PAS and non-PAS children were included. The information gathered pertaining to the family constellation was attained primarily through probing with the questions developed by the researcher which were part of the questionnaire shown in Appendix C.

Results: Three of the six participants had remarried after the alienating marriage and another participant reported that he was living with a partner. Of the remaining participants, one was continuing legal proceedings and the other, the only female participant, had remained unmarried since the divorce. The length of the alienating marriages ranged between three and thirteen years.

Four of the six participants each had one child (two of whom were girls) from the PAS marriage, one participant had two children of PAS (two boys) and another had three children (two of whom were boys). Four of the six participants had no other children outside of the PAS marriage (one participant was living with his partner’s children) and two participants had two children outside their PAS marriage. However, the lost parents tended to have had only one child from the PAS marriage and tended to have remarried after the PAS marriage ended. See Table 1 for a summary of the results. These results suggest a lack of common family characteristics inherent in PAS families.

Table 1

Summary of the participants’ family constellations:

Participants Marital Status Total Number of Marriages Length of
PAS marriage (in years)
Number of PAS children Number of non-PAS children
1 Married 2 3 1 2
2 Married 2 13 3 0
3 Divorced 1 9 2 0
4 Married 2 8 1 2
5 Divorced 1 9 1 0
6 Cohabitant 2 5 5 1

(b) Relocation: Information for this area was not probed. The participants related this information primarily when discussing either alienating techniques or the marital dissolution. Specifically, the data gathered pertained to any of the participants’ references to his or her own, or the child’s (with the alienator) change of home(s), whether to a different home, town, city, state or province, or country.

Results:
The number of relocations per alienated family varied. The participants reported that they or their children (of the PAS marriage) had relocated between one and ten times. The father who reported that his ex-spouse and the PAS child relocated approximately ten times, had done so in the same city and simply relocated to ten different houses. Three of these participants reported at least one relocation of the alienator to another city or town. Only one parent attributed his ex-spouses’ repeated relocation to other cities as an alienation technique to prevent him from seeing his child. The remaining participants did not indicate whether or not their ex-spouses with the PAS children had relocated since the divorce. Only one alienated father indicated that he had relocated after the alienating marriage and he reported doing so in order to remain in close contact with his daughter who was being relocated by the alienating mother. The lost parents tended to report the relocation of the alienator with the PAS child or children after the marriage with little or no indication of their own relocation. Further, the nature and the reasons behind the relocations were not given. This information was not probed further as this was not an intended area of study. Thus the results suggest that the alienators’ change of home may not be a salient characteristic of PAS families. The overall results from the family data suggest that family characteristics such as number of PAS children, number of marriages, and the alienators’ relocations were weak indicators of PAS.

Dissolution of the Marriage

Another area indicative of the underlying reasons for the occurrence of PAS concerns the dissolution of the marriage. By broadening the examination of PAS into this area the issues of conflicts may be addressed, as well as indicators of the relationship between the alienator and the lost parent.

(a) Cause of marital dissolution: Primarily via the researcher’s questioning, data were gathered that pertained to any issues and conflicts that occurred within the marriage that the participants perceived as resulting in negative consequences for the marriage (i.e., leading to the dissolution of their marriage).

Results: Participants reported various reasons for the dissolution of the marriage. Those participants (four of the six) who initiated the divorce reported a breakdown in the relationship between themselves and their spouses for various reasons. A participant reported that his friends urged him to initiate the divorce due to the way his wife at the time treated him. He noted that she became physically violent at times:

She ripped my shirt off my back. On one occasion she took the flower pot and almost threw it on the lid of the car when I was backing up…She would just get in this rage when I would leave.

The remaining two participants reported that they were unaware that their wives wanted divorces and they were in disbelief when the divorce proceedings began. One participant described how he found out his wife had left him: her mother informed him of the impending divorce: “X decided to divorce you, that’s the only way she can be happy is if she divorces you and…you just have to live with it, that’s how it is.” In his own words, the participant explained “…she apparently decided to…divorce me and I didn’t know.” These results suggest that marital conflicts and their intensity are weak predictors in the occurrence of PAS as participants either reported no conflicts that led to the dissolution of the marriage or, if conflicts did occur, a variety of issues were reported as resulting in conflicts.

(b) Current relationship with ex-spouse: The researcher had probed the participants to describe their current relationship with their ex-spouses. The issues relating to this topic presented in the data pertained to the verbal and physical interactions between the participants and the ex-spouses in the alienating situation.

Results: The participants reported that they currently engaged in little or no communication with their ex-spouses (the alienators). Three of the six participants stated that they had no contact with the alienator for one to three years. As one participant explained his current relationship with is ex-wife: “…there’s not too much to the relationship. I haven’t talked to her for about three or four years.” Two of the remaining three participants reported that they had some communication, however this communication was often limited to e-mail or to requesting to speak with the children over the phone. Those participants who reported having had some limited contact with the alienators described their relationships as tense. One participant explained her relationship with her ex-spouse as “very tense and… unpredictable at times.” There was one exception, a participant described his relationship with his ex-spouse as a relationship that they were “working on”. Previously their relationship was strained, however a change in their relationship occurred when, recently, his ex-spouse was diagnosed with a terminal illness. The results suggest that the participants’ experienced either an on-going strained or chronic lack of relationship between themselves and their ex-spouses (the alienator).

Overall, the findings indicated that related to the dissolution of the marriage, the conflicts between the participants and their ex-spouses were of varying issues and intensity. Specifically, the nature and intensity of the conflicts appeared to be weak indicators of the occurrence of PAS. The results also suggest, however, that after the dissolution of the marriage and the occurrence of PAS, the relationship between the alienator and the lost parent was virtually strained or non-existent.

Relationship with the PAS children

The importance of studying PAS is evident in its effects on the children and their relationship with their lost parents. Examining the frequency of visitation and the lost parents’ relationship with their children may provide insight as to the impact of PAS on the children and their relationships with their lost parents.

(a) Frequency of visitation/contact: The researcher probed the participants for information pertaining to the amount of contact between the participant and his or her child (or children). Contact was defined as any interaction between individuals whether by conventional mail, e-mail, telephone, or physical (“face to face”) contact.

Results: All of the participants reported that the mother had primary custody of the children at the time of divorce or separation. Visitation for the fathers was approximately every second weekend, with the exception of one father who was allowed visitation five days a week for five hours per day. Since the finalization of the divorce or the implementation of the custody agreement, all of the alienated parents had their visitation drastically reduced, including the alienated mother who initially had primary custody. Upon asking her how often she sees her children, if at all, her response was “none.” Most of the alienated parents had not seen their children via a court implemented visitation for up to four years. Those parents who continued to have visitation had less frequent visits than when they were first divorced or separated (e.g., instead of every second weekend, a father reported that his visitation had been reduced to once a month). For instance, one father described his reduction in visitation as follows: “…about three years ago…it [visitation] was once or twice a week, and since then….I can see him about once a month.” Overall, the results suggest that a change in the frequency of visitation and custody arrangement occurs with these PAS families. The change of visitation and custody arrangement tends to be as follows: At the onset of the divorce, fathers received regular visitation schedules and the mothers (including the alienated mother in the present study) were given primary custody. After the legal proceedings and the onset of PAS there was a significant decrease in the frequency of the visitation schedule with all the alienated parents, including the alienated mother who had been given primary custody at the onset of the divorce. Although this result may be attributed to having primarily male participants in the study who tended to have visitation rather than custody, nonetheless, the frequency of the visitation was drastically reduced after the proceedings for all of the participants. Further, it remains uncertain as to the cause of the change in the visitation frequency. This change may be due to the legal proceedings or to PAS itself or a third unknown factor. If such a change were due to PAS however, it would be indicative of the success of the alienators in having the lost parents removed from the children’s lives.

(b) Current relationship with PAS children: Again, the researcher probed the participants for data pertaining to the type of physical, verbal, and emotional contact between the participant and the children.

Results: Three of the participants reported having little or no relationship with their alienated children. The alienated mother reported that although she had very little contact with her children she still felt “connected” with them. She continued to attempt to be present during important children’s events such as soccer, baseball games and graduations despite various obstacles (e.g., not being told of such events and being “scolded” by the alienator for going). The fathers who had little contact with their children reported that they attempted to maintain contact by writing letters and cards as well as sending various types of gifts (e.g., toys) to their children. Regardless of whether their children responded to their communication attempts, these fathers hoped that their children understood that by these gestures they were demonstrating their affections to their children. One father described his attempts as follows: “…I write every week. I try to send him [his son] something every week. It can be a postcard, it can be a toy… ”

Only two alienated fathers reported having a close relationship with their alienated children. One of these fathers described his case as a mild form of PAS and attributed his closeness to his daughter to her young age and that he continued to maintain daily telephone contact with her. In his words:

I’ve always been very close with my daughter…very, very close…I don’t think they [the divorce/custody proceedings] had anything [to do with it], she was too young. She was only two years old.

The other lost parent reported a close relationship with his two younger children, while his relationship with his oldest daughter remained somewhat strained. This participant’s close relationship with his younger children may be attributed to a milder form of PAS with his younger children than with his daughter and to his relationship with his ex-spouse who was diagnosed with a terminal illness and with whom he is currently re-establishing some communication. Thus, the results confirm that most PAS children and their lost parents did indeed have a strained relationship. However, the severity of PAS was a weak indicator of the extent of such a strain.

Overall, the results pertaining to the issues of the lost parents’ relationships with their PAS children are as follows: First, the results suggest a decrease in the frequency of visitation for the lost parent which may or may not have been due to PAS. Specifically, participants reported that custody was routinely given to the mother at the onset of the divorce, regardless of who became the alienator and who became the lost parent with the onset of PAS. Further, all fathers had a consistent visitation schedule where all had visitation every two weeks with the exception of one father who visited every day. With the onset of alienation, the alienator received custody and the lost parents had their visitations drastically reduced either to absolutely no visitation or no contact, to visitation of approximately once a month. Of interest is that the only lost female parent who initially had primary custody of the children had absolutely no visitation schedule by the time of the interview. Second, as there was a reduction of other contacts with their children, the lost parents described a limited relationship with their children, often writing to them without reply. The only exceptions to these findings were two fathers who related that their ability to maintain a relatively stable relationship with their children was a function of the mild severity of the PAS in their cases. Therefore as expected, the findings mildly suggest indications that the less severe the PAS the better the chance of having a good relationship with their children.

Alienation and alienating techniques

As there is little research on this subject, a more detailed examination of alienation and associated alienating techniques is necessary in gaining a better understanding of its impact.

(a) Alienators’ attitude and behaviors: Data pertained to all references to the alienators’ behaviors and actions that resulted in any negative consequences for the participant or the alienated child or children. Some of the data gathered for this issue was either probed by the researcher or was spontaneously reported by the participants throughout the interview,

Results: The results suggest that the alienators denigrated the lost parents by implying that the lost parents were not good people. For instance, one father accidentally overheard the alienator inform the children that she had hired an attorney to prevent them from having to visit with their father. The alienator did not allow the child to continue a healthy relationship with the lost parent. Another parent reported that whenever his child went back to the alienator’s home after a visit with him, the child would be questioned or “debriefed” about everything that happened there. A way the alienators exercised their power, as described by a father, included attempts offering the children alternate choices (e.g. shopping) to visiting with the father. The results suggest that all of the participants perceived a general “sabotage” of their relationships with their children by the alienators. The lost parents reported that they perceived their relationship with their children as being “eroded” often by not being informed of a child’s activities (e.g., soccer game schedule) that the lost parent may have wished to attend. Whether the alienator used mild “alienating techniques”- for instance whenever the lost parent called, the alienator would call the children to the telephone by saying in an “angry voice” “Its your father!” – or more drastic means by making accusations of physical and sexual abuse, the effect was that all the lost parents perceived that they were denied or deterred access to their children.

(b) Other’s contributions: Data gathered for this group pertained to all references to any individual, with the exception of the ex-spouse, who engaged in any alienating techniques (i.e., that were perceived by the participants as attempts at alienating the lost parent from the PAS child). Some of the responses were due to the researcher’s questioning but the primary source for the data was due to the participants’ spontaneous descriptions of the alienating circumstances involving others.

Results:
In five of the six cases the children of the PAS families were described as “spies” for the alienator. These children reported back to the alienator anything that the lost parent said that the child did not like. This reporting would often result in arguments between the alienator and the lost parent. The female participant in the study reported that her children would copy all of her personal papers and bills for their father. Further, her children would report to him whenever she had a date. The results also indicate that gifts given to the children by the lost parent would often “disappear” or be broken by the children. In the two cases where there was more than one PAS child, the results indicated that the children were “turned against each other” where in one case they would spy on each other and in the other case the oldest child would engage in alienating the younger children (e.g., enticing the younger children to abandon their visit with their father in order to go to “Sea World” with her and her mother). In one of the cases the maternal grandparents continued the alienation when the alienator (the mother) had discontinued all contact with the father and the grandparents were placed in the position of monitoring the child’s visits with his father. In another case the lost parent’s ex-brothers-in-law and ex-mother-in-law also contributed to the alienation by denigrating the father in front of the children (e.g., saying “I am really sorry you have a father like that”). These results suggest that the children acted as the secondary alienator (i.e., the second alienator after the parent) and they would do so primarily by being spies for the alienating parent and by continually rejecting the lost parent via various means (e.g., breaking toys). Grandparents and other extended family members also appeared to play an important role by contributing to the alienation as secondary alienators, provided that they were close to the alienator. The findings suggest that the closer the alienator’s family members, the greater their tendency to alienate as well. These findings raise the question as to why close family members contribute to the alienation. For instance, are some of the alienating parent’s family characteristics indicative of their engagement in alienation or is it something about the alienation itself that engages other family members to contribute to the alienation or is it simply that these family members take sides? Researchers have yet to address this issue and future research will be important in answering this question.

(c) Cause of PAS: Data gathered here pertained to any causes or factors that the participants perceived to be linked to the development or occurrence of the alienation. Some of the data collected on this issue resulted from direct probing by the researcher, and some resulted from the participants descriptions of their circumstances.

Results:
All of the participants believed that the motive behind the alienation was triggered by hate, anger, or a sense of seeking revenge towards them by the alienator or some combination of these. One father reported his belief that the cause of the alienation was “Hate…Hate towards me” and another participant perceived: “She hates my guts and she says it…And she’s trying to get back at me as well.” Another motive suggested in the findings was that the participants perceived the alienation as a means by which the alienators could succeed in severing the participants’ relationships with their children. One participant noted that the alienator may have made accusations of abuse as a means of explaining the reason behind the divorce. He described his belief as follows: “This gives her an excuse for leaving a bad guy and why the marriage broke up, and therefore it’s not her fault.” The findings suggest that the participants perceived the underlying cause of the alienation as the hatred toward the lost parents, anger, or revenge, or some combination of these.

(d) Control/power: All data gathered pertained to references to situations where the participant perceived that an individual’s actions or behaviours led to another individual’s behavioural change or constraint. Moreover, the data were spontaneously generated by the participants rather than elicited by the researcher.

Results:
The results suggest that the participants had lost some power over their relationship with their PAS children. The alienators were often described by the participants as using the child or other means to attempt to produce a desired outcome in the lost parent or the child. An example of an alienator using the child is as follows: an alienator locked her child in a dark closet, to be found “yelling and screaming” by the lost parent, in order to make the lost parent give her some papers.

Feelings of powerlessness were also apparent in the findings as the participants reported feeling constrained as to the way in which they had to behave in the presence of their children. They reported a need to control their behaviour while in the presence of their children for fear of losing their visitation privileges or experiencing other legal consequences when the child reported to the alienator what the lost parent had done. As one father described his feelings:

So I think she [his daughter] has a lot more power than I do, you know. She has the power to just terminate the relationship at any time. I mean, if at any time she would say ‘Well Dad, I don’t feel like seeing you any more.’ Well, her mother’s …she says, you know, ‘whatever your daughter wants, you know…that’s the law type of thing’.

There is a sense of loss of parental role in the life of their children that has been attributed to the alienation. The lost parents cannot exert any of his or her parental responsibilities over their children. For instance, one lost parent reported how he could not discipline his child (e.g., send the child to her room) when the child behaved inappropriately, or she might end the visit the alienator would become angry at him for having disciplined his daughter as he once would normally have done.

Participants who did not have any contact with their children also reported a sense of being controlled or constrained in their behaviour. For instance, one father believed that he had to monitor the frequency with which he sent cards or packages to his child for fear of being charged with “harassment” if he did so too frequently. Further, two of the participants reported a sense of the children being controlled by the alienator. These children had to behave in a certain manner while with the alienated parent to avoid negative consequences by the alienator. For instance, one participant reported that an unscheduled visit to his child (in order to bring her a gift) resulted in the alienator yelling at the child for speaking to him. There was a sense of powerless reported by all the participants forcing them to behave in a certain manner to avoid legal or other consequences. As one father reported, once divorce occurs then “the courts really have the say over what happens to the kids, not you” [the parent]. These findings suggest that the lost parents perceived themselves as powerless with their children and to have lost their traditional parental roles whether or not they had visitation with their children.

Overall, the findings confirmed that the alienators used denigrating techniques (e.g., implying that the lost parents were not good people) and provided ultimata to children and spouses to further the alienation that was motivated by hate, anger, revenge or some combination of these three. Others were enlisted to contribute to the alienation. Children, in particular, were seen as spies to relay information to the alienator and, as such, may be considered secondary alienators. Second, extended family members such as in-laws who shared close relationships with the alienators contributed to the alienation as well. Moreover, the lost parents felt powerless as a result of the alienating situation. The children in particular were perceived as controlling the lost parents, they could determine when, if at all, they would see the lost parent, under what circumstances and in particular what the lost parent would do with the child. The lost parent had to be careful not to anger the child for fear of never seeing their child again and to be careful even sending them letters or toys. This loss of parental role was reported by the participants whether or not they had visitation with their children.

Experience with Professionals

When a marriage dissolves the family undergoes court proceedings to legalize the divorce. If children are involved, then the parents may seek custody in the courts, and the testimony of mental health professionals may be included during these proceedings. Services for mental health professionals may also be sought by any of the family members outside of the legal system before, throughout, or after a divorce. The role of these professionals and the participants’ perceptions of them may provide useful information for these same professionals as to their future dealings with PASfamilies.

(a) Legal services:
The issues gathered here pertained to any legal proceedings, such as interactions with lawyers, judges, and the court system in general. The principle means of data collection for this issue was from the participants’ spontaneous divulgence of information and some data were gathered via the researcher’s additional probing.

Results:
The participants generally reported having negative experiences within the legal system. The participants felt that the judges in their cases either played minimal roles in the final decisions since everything was decided beforehand by the lawyers, or the judges made quick and uninformed decisions, lacking knowledge and experience with respect to PAS. For instance, one father reported that his ex-wife — who was preventing him from having visits with his child — ignored court orders of his visitation rights. The judge did not impose any consequences on her; she received only a warning after ignoring more than one court order. Accusations were made against three of the fathers. The accusations ranged from physical and mental abuse of the ex-spouse and sexual abuse of the child, to accusations of scaring the children because he “talked like a walrus”. The participants perceived the court as an obstruction to seeing their children as well as a financial burden. Some participants reported the cost of the lawyers’ fees between U.S. $12, 000 to $200, 000. One father reported having to pay legal fees of $1, 000 in order to see his child for one weekend. Overall, the participants reported a sense of discontent over the way in which their cases were managed by the legal system. However, the discontent may have been related to the fact that the participants lost custody. A future study examining this issue may indicate whether the discontent with the legal services was due to the process of the legal proceedings or due to the end result (the loss of custody by participants).

(b) Psychological services: Here data gathered pertained to the participants’ experience of receipt of any type of psychological service whether by psychiatrist, psychologist , or counsellor. Once again, the principal sources of data were from the participants’ own descriptions of their experiences with mental health professionals. The secondary means was via follow-up probes by the researcher for the purpose of clarification.

Results:
Half the participants reported receiving counselling with the alienator prior to the divorce. However, the female participant was the only lost parent to continue with the service and one male participant was “hoping” that an intervention by the therapist would be “crucial” for his case in court. Approximately half of the participants reported receiving a psychological assessment of the family for the legal proceedings in court. In general, the results suggest that the mothers in these families tended to receive psychological services around the time the separation was initiated and that they continued to receive counseling or therapy after the finalization of the divorce. The fathers, on the other hand, were asked by their wives to join their counselling sessions prior to the divorce.

Half of the respondents described their experiences with mental health professionals in negative terms. There appeared to be a sense of discontent with the mental health professionals’ knowledge of PAS and how they managed the PAS family. One father initiated a formal complaint against the psychiatrist who tape recorded their conversations without his knowledge. Members of the mental health profession were reported as being utilized as a “legal tactic” by the alienators and their lawyers. The mental health professionals involved with these PAS cases were often described as individuals who lacked the necessary knowledge of PAS and often neglected to collect pertinent information regarding the child’s relationship with their father. For instance, one father, whose daughter was seen by a psychologist, was never telephoned or asked for any information about his daughter until he called and complained to her himself. Moreover, the participants reported that their children primarily received psychological care for the family assessment for the court, with the exception that one child was seeing a psychiatrist for treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), a daughter who was being treated for anxiety, and two other children (from different families) who were being treated for aggression. Results indicate a general dissatisfaction with the psychologists or psychiatrists who were involved in the families of the participants and there was a lack of a positive outcome from seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist. Not one participant reported any positive outcomes from receiving psychological services. When asked how they coped with the alienating situation, three of the participants reported a desire to discuss and teach PAS to others.

Overall, the results suggest that the participants sought the assistance of both legal and mental health professionals. Further, the results suggest a lack of satisfaction with the services rendered by both legal and mental health professionals. There was a general sense of a lack of knowledge of PAS on the part of the professionals, as well as failing to gather “both sides of the story”. These negative perceptions gave rise to the question as to whether or not accusations that flew back and forth in the courtroom might have the impact of fuelling PAS, and suggests that further research is needed..

Current Perceptions

Examining the lost parents’ current perceptions after having undergone PAS may provide insight as to what issues are important for focus in future research, possible indicators of PAS, and the impact of PAS on the lost parents.

(a) Looking back: Here data gathered referred to the participants’ beliefs of any actions that they would have done differently as well as any general perceptions of the past.

Results:
The results suggest that the participants, provided that they had had the knowledge about PAS that they presently have, would have behaved differently towards their ex-spouse. One participant reported that he would have never been married, while two participants reported that they would have taken different legal routes, such as hiring a different type of lawyer and taking a more aggressive legal approach from the onset. Two other respondents reported that they would have sought psychological services earlier on with a professional who was knowledgeable about PAS. The female participant would have allowed more discussions and pictures of the alienator with her children. Armed with the knowledge they now had, every participant would have taken other means to prevent the current alienating situation from ever occurring.

(b) The impact of PAS: Data pertaining to the participants’ perceptions of how the alienating circumstances have affected their life were gathered.

Results: Overall, the results suggest that the participants perceive the alienating circumstances as exerting serious negative emotional and financial consequences on their lives. Specifically, they felt that they had been drained emotionally, most participants reported a sense that the circumstances had “ruined my life completely”, and asserted that PAS had had “devastating” effects. One parent described the alienating experience as traumatic. The participants believe that they had lost a child or at the very least their roles as a parent. A participant described this feeling as if they would “rip one of my arms off” and another participant noted that his three year marriage will impact on him for the rest of his life (or at least until his child marries). A financial impact was also reported by three of the six participants, one of whom described himself as being “ruined financially”. The only positive impact was reported by the female participant who believed that the alienating experience helped her become more understanding of her pain, others’ pain, and this had assisted her to become a more understanding person.

(c) Termination/Looking to the future: Data gathered pertaining to this area included the participants’ belief that certain situations or circumstances are necessary for the termination of the alienating circumstances.

Results: The results suggest that the participants believed that by maintaining contact with the children (i.e., by sending letters and cards) increased the possibility of a reconciliation with their children. Even though the participants’ attempts at communicating with their children often remained unanswered, these parents believed that their attempts would inform their children that they were thinking of them, that they loved them, and that their doors were still open to the children. These participants hoped that as the children grew and matured they would decide to contact their lost parent on their own. However, these participants also reported that they realized that their children may never resume contact with them and that they must prepare for this eventuality. Two participants reported that they believed that by gaining access to their children the alienation might stop, and one of these parents stressed that terminating the contact between the alienator and the child was another means through which the alienation may cease. These results suggest that all the participants hoped that the alienation would terminate. The majority of the participants appeared to behave that this would occur with time; one participant perceived “time as a healer”.

Overall, the results suggest that the participants perceived their experience of PAS as having resulted in negative and devastating impacts on their lives and themselves and they would go to great lengths to avoid experiencing the alienation again. Moreover, the participants believed that their continued attempts at communicating with their PAS children, despite a lack of responses, would someday lead to the termination of PAS. Therefore, the results suggest that although PAS has had serious consequences on these families’ lives that could have been avoided, the lost parents hoped they would be “reunited” with their children in the future.

Miscellaneous

Results:
The remaining data that did not appear to share any commonalities with other participants’ responses were gathered here. For instance, information gathered included detailed descriptions of the participants’ employment and finances as well as some information regarding other lost parents’ experiences as described by the participants. Such information was not related to any issues discussed by other participants and primarily pertained to details of the participants’ lives rather than to PAS.

Summary of Findings

The results of the study suggest that:

1. Family characteristics, such as number of children, and number of marriages, were weak factors in the occurrence of PAS.
2. The alienators’ changes of home were not a salient characteristic of PAS families.
3. Marital conflicts and their intensity were weak predictors in the occurrence of PAS.
4. The relationships between the alienating and lost parents were strained after the onset of PAS.
5. There was a general decrease in the frequency of visitation for the lost parent which may or may not have been due to PAS.
6. There was a reduction of other contacts (aside from visitation) between the lost parents and their children that, as expected, further limited the relationship between them.
7. All of the participants perceived a general “sabotage” of their relationships with their children by the alienators. The findings confirmed that the alienators used denigrating techniques (e.g., implying that the lost parents were not good people).
8. The children acted as secondary alienators.
9. The alienator’s closer family members tended to also alienate.
10. The participants perceived the underlying cause of the alienation to be hatred of the lost parents, anger, or revenge, or some combination of these.
11. The lost parents experienced a loss of both parental role and power whether or not they had visitation with their children.
12. Lost parents were generally dissatisfied with legal and mental health assistance. Both the legal and mental health professionals have inadequately explored all the parameters implied in PAS.
13. Lost parents would go to great lengths to avoid experiencing alienation again. They continued to hope to be reunited with their children in the future. Specifically, the participants believed that maintaining contact with their children (i.e., by sending letters and cards) increased the possibility of a reconciliation with their children.
14. Given the knowledge they now had about PAS, the participants would have behaved differently towards their ex-spouses.
15. The participants perceived the alienating circumstances as exerting serious negative emotional and financial consequences in their lives.

Though tentative, these findings demonstrate both the complexity and seriousness of PAS.

http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/vassil98.htm#CHAPTER%204</a

Jury Trials for Civil Rights in Domestic Relations?

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Indians, judicial corruption, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 19, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Recently, I received an email concerning support for the federal Parental Rights Amendment.

This is House Joint Resolution 42 in the US Congress, sponsored by Congressman Pete Hoekstra of Michigan. The question concerned why support? the PRA since it does not have to do with divorce or child custody, which are traditional state matters under federal law.

In my response I stated: “Divorce and child custody are state matters once parents “invite” the state in during divorce proceedings. A federal parents rights amendment (PRA) would place a parents right to control “the best interest of the child” over the states’. Custody would be a civil right. It might also force states to recognize childrens’ rights to have both of his parent’s in their lives under the 14th Amendment.

Supreme Court ruling have already done so, (see Parental Rights and Due Process) yet the states continue to ignore SCOTUS rulings because of the massive federal funding to support child care enforcement. A PRA would force the federal judiciary into the family court business, entitling parents to jury trials, since a PRA would make parental rights a constitutional right.

In due course, the Rooker-Feldman doctrine would be moot, as other “domestic-relations” hindrances to parents rights over the state “interest in the child.”

At the very minimum, jury trials for civil rights matters at the federal level would become a routine matter, and place the burden of proof for “domestic violence” and “false allegations” to a higher federal level of “clear and convincing” evidence.

Certainly, throwing men and women in jail for not paying “child support” would come to an end, since criminal due process procedures would be forced upon the states by federal case law. You don’t throw debtors in jail for bankruptcy, why child support?

You might even see states complying with the a Federal court decision in In re Barry, 42 F. 113 (1844) in which family courts become courts of common law and not just courts of equity in which either a plaintiff or respondent has the right to request a jury trial with criminal procedures in place certainly for “domestic violence” or “false allegations.” The federal case In re Barry, 42 F. 113 (1844) was upheld by SCOTUS in Barry v. Mercein, 46 US 103 (1847) and In re Burrus, 136 US 586 (1890) making domestic relations cases under common law jurisdiction.

What do you think?

Are Children “Creatures of the State?”

In Best Interest of the Child, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights on May 19, 2009 at 4:15 pm

By David W. Kirkpatrick
posted July 21, 2008
The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions

Most parents undoubtedly believe that their children are their responsibility.
But a contrary view has a long history.

The point was made by Philadelphian Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. Ten years later, in proposing a plan for education in Pennsylvania he wrote, “Let our pupil be taught that he does not belong to himself, but that he is public property.”

His plan died but not the sentiment. It was in Pennsylvania nearly a half century later, in 1834, that the first plan for a common school system was adopted. Its prime sponsor and defender, Thaddeus Stevens, said that the sons of both the rich and the poor are all “deemed children of the same parent – the Commonwealth.”

That Stevens’ view was not shared by the general public was demonstrated when most of the Representatives who voted for that measure were defeated at the next election. Stevens himself was reelected and in one of the most influential speeches in American legislative history, he persuaded a majority in the new session to not repeal the new law, as they had been elected to do.

Fortunately the view that children belong to the state is not shared by the U.S. Supreme Court. In its unanimous Pierce decision in 1925, which still stands, the Court upheld parental rights to control their children’s education, declaring that “The child is not the mere creature of the state,” and “those who nurture him and direct his destiny have the right, coupled with the high duty, to recognize and prepare him for additional obligations.”

This law of the land, however clearly stated, is neither universally accepted nor honored in practice.

Several years ago, in a debate on a Chicago radio station, when I said the schools exist for the benefit of the students, Bella Rosenberg, assistant to then-American Federation of Teachers president Al Shanker, strongly disagreed, saying, “First and foremost, we’re running a public system at taxpayer’s expense for the public good and only secondarily for the good of parents and individuals.”

She didn’t explain how the system can serve the public good if students aren’t successful. Certainly the public good is not served when millions of students drop out every year before graduating from high school, and huge numbers who do graduate possess minimal skills.

In 1976 Arkansas’ governor was promoting education reforms in his state, including mandatory kindergarten. When asked if the state knows better than parents what is good for children, the governor’s response was yes it did. Then he attempted to take himself off the hook by adding, “Look, I can’t change this, it’s Hillary’s bill.” That was later president Bill Clinton.

While few state it quite that bluntly the tendency since Pennsylvania’s 1834 Common School Act has been for the state to continually expand its field of control of children which necessarily restricts control by parents. We’ve gone from Jefferson’s plan for three-years of basic schooling to one embracing young people for thirteen years. Now the drive is to push schooling further down the age ladder and to more schooling at the upper ages.

None of this is to deny the importance of education, especially in a child’s early formative years. But education and schooling are not synonymous terms and there is some indication that too much schooling, even when “successful,” may be harmful. To the degree this is true, the more schooling, the more harm.

The more time students spend in school the more they are with their peers. Urie Bronfenbrenner has cited research suggesting this is harmful. The more time children spend with their peers the more likely they are to adopt the standards of their age group, and have a negative view of themselves, their friends and their future. Compared with those who identify with their parents, peer-oriented children tend to be less responsible and to get in trouble more often.

School staff say problem kids tend to be so because of the family they are in. There is surely some truth here. But it may also be, however unintended or indirect, at least partially because of the schools they are in.

Are they problem kids, or kids with problems?

David W. Kirkpatrick is a Senior Education Fellow with the U.S. Freedom Foundation and The Buckeye Institute.

http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/print.php?id=1151

Parental Rights and Due Process

In Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, HIPAA Law, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 19, 2009 at 12:00 pm

PUBLISHED IN
THE JOURNAL OF LAW AND FAMILY STUDIES
VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2 (1999), pp. 123– 150
UNIVERSITY OF UTAH SCHOOL OF LAW

Donald C. Hubin
Department of Philosophy
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH 43210
614-292-7914
hubin.1@osu.edu

Copyright © 1999 by Donald C. Hubin

ABSTRACT FOR “PARENTAL RIGHTS AND DUE PROCESS”

The U. S. Supreme Court regards parental rights as fundamental. Such a status should subject any legal procedure that directly and substantively interferes with the exercise of parental rights to strict scrutiny. On the contrary, though, despite their status as fundamental constitutional rights, parental rights are routinely suspended or revoked as a result of procedures that fail to meet even minimal standards of procedural and substantive due process. This routine and cavalier deprivation of parental rights takes place in the context of divorce where, during the pendency of litigation, one parent is routinely deprived of significant parental rights without any demonstration that a state interest exists— much less that there is a compelling state interest that cannot be achieved in any less restrictive way. In marked contrast to our current practice, treating parental rights as fundamental rights requires a presumption of joint legal and physical custody upon divorce and during the pendency of divorce litigation. The presumption may be overcome, but only by clear and convincing evidence that such an arrangement is harmful to the children.

Parental Rights and Due Process
DONALD C. HUBIN *

Forget, for a moment, the title of this paper. Imagine that it is titled, “Due Process and the Deprivation of Rights”. Now, consider an unspecified right, R, which is “a fundamental right protected by First, Fifth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments“. 1 Suppose that this right is regarded as “far more precious than property rights” 2 and that the Supreme Court characterizes R as an “essential” right 3 that protects a substantial interest that “undeniably warrants deference, and, absent a powerful countervailing interest, protection“. 4 Imagine that “it cannot be denied without violating those fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all our civil and political institutions” 5 and that, because of this, “there must be some compelling justification for state interference” 6 with R.

These aspects of the nature of R stipulated, imagine further that our legal system actively functions to suspend or deny this right literally tens of thousands of times a year— that this is done openly and under color of state law. Suppose that the suspension, and sometimes even the denial, of R is done on the basis of little or no evidence of any state interest whatsoever. Imagine that, in these cases of suspension or denial, there is no demonstration, and often no allegation, that R has been, or is likely to be, abused or that the retention of R by the individual in question would be harmful to the legitimate interests of any other person. Suppose, further, that even the temporary suspension of this right shifted the burden of proof onto the former right-holder to demonstrate that the suspension should not become a permanent denial.

If there were such a right and it were treated in such a cavalier way, what should our reaction be? Outrage? Indeed!

But is there a right that can be substituted for R and make all of the above suppositions true? Absolutely. But it is neither the right to property (and not simply because it cannot be more precious than itself) nor the right to liberty. Though there are often legal threats to these rights, on the whole they receive significant protection from the courts. There is only one right that has the importance described above and receives so little protection. It is the right of custody of our children— the cluster of rights labeled ‘parental rights’. 7

The above might strike one as flagrant hyperbole. Termination of parental rights is not done in the casual way I have described. 8 The state is required, a critic might point out, to show by “clear and convincing evidence” that a compelling state interest is at stake before termination of parental rights. 9. And so it is, sometimes. But there is a context in which parental rights are suspended with little or absolutely no evidence of the involvement of any state interest whatsoever. That context is divorce. While this context apparently affects our reaction to the casual procedures by which we suspend or terminate parental rights (else one would expect a hue and cry over this practice), it does not weaken the argument against such procedures. Divorce proceedings routinely involve unconscionable violations of minimal due process protections of fundamental rights and liberties. 10

I argue for this thesis below. I begin by discussing some features of parental rights and of the state interest in the custody of children. Next, I examine the sorts of due process considerations that have arisen in the context of termination of parental rights outside the divorce context. I then describe a procedure commonly used during divorce proceedings to determine custody during the period of the divorce litigation (pendente lite). The arrangements during the pendency of the litigation are extremely important because they establish a status quo which influences what it is reasonable to do with respect to parent/ child arrangements in the final divorce decree and, even more importantly, because of the direct effect they appear to have on the long-term parent child relationship. (A full explanation of the reasons for focusing on the procedures for determining temporary custody, as opposed to permanent custody, will be offered later.) In the penultimate section, I argue directly for the thesis that this procedure involves the temporary denial of fundamental rights without due process of law. Finally, I turn from the abstract discussion of the nature and basis of legal rights to discuss the real interests protected by these rights.

The issue of parental rights and due process is not sterile or pedantic; parental rights protect the vital interests of parents and children alike. Our cavalier legal treatment of them is inexcusable for the real human devastation it causes.

To read more, following this link: http://familyrights.us/bin/white_papers-articles/parental_rights_and_due_process.htm

Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Lost Parents’ Perspective – Chapter 3 of 5

In California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 19, 2009 at 1:00 am

by Despina Vassiliou
Department of Educational Psychology and Counselling, McGill University
3700 McTavish, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1Y2

CHAPTER 3

METHOD AND PROCEDURES OF THE STUDY

This chapter describes the objectives, the sampling technique, the instrumentation for the data collection, as well as the interview protocols. It concludes with a description of the data analyses.

RESEARCH QUESTION

The findings discussed in the literature review pertain mainly to studies on divorce rather than on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). The purpose of the present study is to examine qualitatively six cases of parental alienation in order to gain a better understanding of its development. Specifically, the focus of the present study is to gain an understanding of factors that result in an intact family becoming an alienated one. With such information it is believed that possible indicators of PAS development can be determined. The following questions are posed:

1. Are there characteristics (e.g., number of children, number of marriages, etc.) common to alienated families?
2. Are there common themes or issues among the conflicts within couples that contribute to marriage dissolution?
3. Are there common themes in the participants’ experience of the alienation process?
4. Given the opportunity, what are some things that the lost parents perceive they might do differently?

PARTICIPANTS

As this is a qualitative study of cases, the sampling procedure was criterion-based. To be included in the sample, the families had to meet a number of criteria, bases, or standards constituting a criterion-based sample (Yin, 1984). All of the participants included in the study met the following criteria:

* they were formerly part of a family unit which included at least one child;
* they had divorced or were in the process of divorcing;
* they identified themselves as having experienced or were experiencing alienation from their ex-spouse.

The participants studied were five fathers and one mother. The fact that the majority of the participants were male is consistent with Gardner’s (1992) findings suggesting that the alienators are more frequently mothers. Two of the participants resided in different areas in the province of Quebec. The remaining participants were residents of various states in the United States. These participants were recruited with flyers, e-mails and letters sent by the investigator (See Appendix A). Letters of consent and self-addressed envelopes were sent to those participants who responded via telephone or e-mail indicating that they were willing to participate in the research (See Appendix B). Finally, all of the participants were telephoned by the investigator once consent was received and appointments were made with the participants to be interviewed.

TOOLS OF INQUIRY

The data were collected through a semi-structured, open-ended, tape-recorded telephone interview questionnaires. The interview method was chosen as a means of achieving a more holistic understanding of the alienating situation.

The interview questionnaire was divided into four parts. The first consisted of ascertaining the current status and characteristics of the family, and establishing rapport to enable the participants to feel comfortable discussing the situation with the researcher. The remaining sections related to the dissolution of the marriage, factors related to the alienation, and a retrospective reflection on the alienation. The content of the interview items were based on previous studies and current theories related to the development of PAS. Questions were designed to determine whether there were any common themes that occurred throughout different individuals’ experiences of alienation. It was hoped that answers to such questions might shed light on possible indicators of the instigation, continuance, and termination of PAS. The actual interview questions are presented in Appendix C.

INTERVIEW APPROACH

Context of Interviews:

Each participant was interviewed separately by the researcher. Because of the different locations of the participants across the continent the interviews were conducted over the telephone and tape-recorded. Before each interview, the researcher reminded each participant that they would be tape recorded and that they were free to decline to answer any question or discontinue the interview at any time. Field notes were taken during the course of the interview to record emerging and unexpected dimensions. Each interview lasted a maximum of one-and-one-half hours. All the interviews were conducted in the months of June and July 1997 in one block of time, except one which was continued the following day. Rapport was established with each participant with the initial telephone call when appointments were made and again prior to the beginning of the interview session.

ANALYSIS OF THE DATA

The tape recorded data were transcribed. Within the transcriptions all “…” represented pauses in the conversations, “uhms” and “uhs” were also included in the transcriptions. See Appendix B for a sample page of the transcribed data. The data were then reviewed to determine possible commonalities among the cases. Seven general commonalities emerged that formed classifications of information which were then labelled to reflect the issues identified.

These classifications and their related issues were labelled as follows:

(1) Family Data including family constellation and relocation
(2) Dissolution of the Marriage including cause of marital dissolution and current relationship with ex-spouse
(3) Relationship with the PAS children including: frequency of visitation/contact, and current relationship with PAS children
(4) Alienation and Alienating Techniques including: alienators’ attitudes and behaviours, other’s contributions, causes of PAS, and control/power issues
(5) Issues related to the classification of experiences with professionals including legal and psychological services
(6) Current perceptions including: looking back, the impact of PAS, causes of PAS, and Termination/Looking to the future and
(7) Miscellaneous. Following the formation of these classifications, the data were reinspected to determine whether they related to these classifications. A third reading of the data was performed to ensure that the data were classified appropriately.

Once the data were categorized, the contents of each classification were summarized with the inclusion of relevant quotes that reflected participants’ responses. For instance, a quote pertaining to the issue of the participant’s frequency of visitation with his child would be as follows: “So right now, it’s about once a month. Uhmm, about three years ago…it was once or twice a week, and since then…so I can see him [his son] about once a month.”

The results of the analysis are presented in the next chapter.


http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/vassil98.htm#CHAPTER%203

Mothering From Afar – Non-Custodial Moms and Parents Rights!

In children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights, state crimes on May 18, 2009 at 12:30 am

by KATY READ

Kim Voichescu was running into conflicts with the staff at her sons’ school. Sometimes she was kept from seeing her kids’ records or picking up her boys after school. She suspected that people there might secretly doubt her qualifications as a parent. One day, a school secretary came right out and said it to her face:

“Well, you’re not a real mother.”

Voichescu is a real mother, but she doesn’t live with her children. She doesn’t have physical custody of her two boys, now ten and thirteen, but she does share joint legal custody with their father, and that entitles her to access their educational records and to other parental rights.

For Voichescu, who has spent tens of thousands of dollars and years in court fighting to get physical custody, the secretary’s comment was a pin against a big balloon of pent-up frustration. Now, a year later, Voichescu can’t remember exactly what she said to the woman, but clearly recalls it left the secretary gaping wordlessly.

“I wish I could relive it and put it on the Internet where it would live as one of those speeches for all eternity,” recalls Voichescu, thirty-four, of Diamond, Illinois, a project manager for a civil engineering and land surveying firm. “It was one of those occasions when you walk out of a place and you feel like a shining light is upon you. [The unspoken prejudice] had been undulating under the surface for so long that I couldn’t pinpoint it. But she actually said it.”

The suspicion that people secretly doubt their fitness as parents haunts most noncustodial mothers—even loving, caring, law-abiding mothers who’ve always acted in their children’s best interests.

Their worries are not unfounded. As a society, we don’t quite know what to make of mothers who don’t live with their kids. Whether it’s expressed openly or not, society still tends to assume that the mother is the parent mainly in charge of caring for children, and the one best equipped to do it well, the one to whom most of the responsibility rightly falls. A father pushing his child in a stroller draws charmed smiles—Wow, what a great dad, helping out!—from people who wouldn’t look twice at a woman behind the stroller, just doing her job.

When parents are separated or divorced, it’s often assumed that the kids live with her. If the father lives in a different household or is out of the picture entirely, it may not be ideal, but it’s not unusual. Sure, we’re no longer surprised that some children of divorce pack their bags and shuttle between parents every other week. But when the roles are completely reversed—when Dad has the kids and does all the domestic duties and Mom lives somewhere else—the old gender stereotypes come rushing back into play. People wonder what went wrong. They assume the noncustodial mother must have deserted her children or had them taken away. Did she hit them? Leave them home alone while she went bar-hopping? Leave them in order to “go find herself”?

If those thoughts actually don’t go through your mind when you meet a noncustodial mother, you can bet that the fear of what you’re thinking probably is going through her mind. Rather than face odd looks, intrusive questions, or rude remarks, some noncustodial moms say they keep their kids’ photos off their desks at work, avoid mentioning their children, and wonder when to break the news to new acquaintances that they are, in fact, real mothers. They often suffer guilt, confusion, sadness, and depression.

“You can’t believe the discrimination and bias that people have toward you,” says Voichescu, who now carries around laminated copies of her custody papers wherever she goes. “It’s like you are an alien.”

Noncustodial mothers like Voichescu might feel like cultural oddities, but they are actually far from alone. There are about 2.2 million noncustodial mothers in the United States, according to the most recent U.S. Census records. The reasons women live apart from their children are many, of course, including a move, a job, family preference, a prison sentence, or a court order. Some noncustodial mothers live near their children; some live in different cities or states or countries (the last group includes women who come to the United States from other countries to work as nannies or maids in order to support children they’ve had to leave back home).

Some women retain the right to share physical custody of their children, even if they choose to live elsewhere and not exercise it. Some share legal custody—that is, they retain the right to make decisions on behalf of their children, even if they don’t live together. And some have neither.

Some see their kids frequently; others rarely. Some have good relationships with their children and their children’s fathers, “other mothers,” or legal guardians; others find that hostile former partners have turned their children against them. And, yes, some actually have behaved in ways that caused the court to deem them inadequate parents: committed a crime, abused drugs, abused or neglected their kids.

The number of noncustodial mothers is increasing, in part because family courts have moved from always assigning custody to mothers toward deciding what works best for a particular child’s situation, whether it’s having the parents share custody or assigning it to one parent or the other. But many noncustodial mothers live apart from their children willingly, because of a job or school situation, because of individual relationships or preferences within the family, or for other personal reasons.

Even among these ostensibly voluntary arrangements, made privately or informally within families, some situations are actually “a little more gray,” says Geoffrey Greif, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, who conducted a pioneering study of noncustodial mothers in the 1980s. For example, he says, a woman might say, “I divorced my husband and I need to earn more money and I can’t do that if I have [to pay for] child care. My husband happened to start his career ten years sooner, while I was home taking care of the children. He has more job flexibility; he can pay for a babysitter.” In cases like that, the mothers gave up custody willingly, Greif says, meaning they didn’t fight in court. “But it’s sort of unwilling, based on the roles of men and women in society,” he says. “Men make more than women. He gets to reap the benefit of that.”

As for women unwillingly separated from their children by court order, there, too, is a lot of gray. Their status may mean that they willingly signed over their rights for various reasons, or it may mean they lost the legal battle with their children’s father. When there is a dispute over custody, parents don’t always enter a courtroom on equal footing, financially or otherwise. Some women—especially former stay-at-home mothers who did not have a career or separate finances—can’t afford lawyers and lengthy court fights. Ginna Babcock, an adjunct associate professor at the University of Idaho, who has studied noncustodial parents of both sexes, says many women lose custody “essentially by default.”

Even women who can afford the legal costs may face disadvantages in court, Babcock explains. If the father has a new wife at home, some judges reason that if a mother works full time, her child would have to go into daycare, while the father’s new wife could provide a presumably more stable home environment, she says. “In other words, many of the women in my study ‘couldn’t win.’ ”

Janet, thirty, would recognize that feeling. She says her ex, who physically abused her, comes from a prominent family and has friends in the court system in their small Midwestern community. He forced her to hand over custody when their daughter was just two months old, grabbing Janet by the neck and brandishing papers for her to sign, threatening that if she didn’t, she and the baby “will never leave this house.” She has spent six thousand dollars trying to regain custody of her now six-year-old girl. Recently, her new husband was laid off, her own hours are being cut, and she’s running out of options.

“It’s a game, and if you don’t have the money, you’re going to lose,” says Janet, who asked that her identity be concealed in order to protect her daughter. “When mothers don’t have custody of their children, it doesn’t mean they were negligent or that they didn’t care about their kids or that they didn’t want their kids all the time. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of who’s got the better attorney, who’s got the better connections.”

The history of child-custody policy is one of flip-flops. Before the Industrial Revolution, children were expected to contribute to the family’s income and thus were seen as a form of property, says Diana Gustafson, author of the 2005 book Unbecoming Mothers: The Social Production of Maternal Absence. Fathers, who generally provided their financial support, were assumed to have the right to their custody. After the Industrial Revolution, the outlook started to change. Children’s rights were given more attention, and mothers came to be seen as “naturally more able to nurture,” she says. That gave rise to the “Tender Years Doctrine,” a legal concept from the late nineteenth century that presumes that during a child’s “tender” years (generally, up to age thirteen), children belong with their mothers.

“There were exceptions where the mothers were judged to be so unfit that they weren’t able to care for the children,” Gustafson says. “That’s where a lot of the stigma of not having care of your children comes from. Because it was seen as natural for mothers to take care of their children, there’s something unnatural about you if you can’t.”

In recent decades, the overriding concept in child-custody cases has shifted from the Tender Years Doctrine to the “Best Interests of the Children” doctrine, a newer legal concept in which decisions about living arrangements are based on children’s individual situations, theoretically without regard to the parents’ gender. Family courts still have tended to favor mothers as the primary caregivers, says Jill Miller Zimon of Cleveland, a lawyer and social worker who has worked on behalf of families and providers involved in the court and social service systems. That attitude is changing, however, as a result of evolving gender roles, employment patterns, pressure from fathers’ rights groups, and other social developments.

But society hasn’t fully caught onto the fact that the term “noncustodial mother” no longer suggests, as it once might have, that the child was forcibly removed because of the mother’s inadequacy.

“Clearly that’s not the case anymore,” Miller Zimon says, “but there’s not been an effort to really change the image of that.”

If mothers who lose their legal rights to their children discomfit us, what emotions do we reserve for intelligent, loving, competent mothers who voluntarily choose to live apart from their children?

“Society expects a mom who basically ‘abandons’ her children to sort of slink off guiltily, and the hero single dad to come in and save the day,” says Rebekah Spicuglia, twenty-nine, an articulate, affable New York media manager at a nonprofit media-advocacy organization who happens to not live with her son, eleven.

When Spicuglia, who writes the NonCustodial Parent Community blog (ncp-community.blogspot.com), relinquished physical custody of her son about nine years ago, it wasn’t against her will, and she is not fighting to have him live with her.

Though she may face less overt prejudice than noncustodial mothers who have “misbehaved,” her situation confounds society’s collective assumptions even more deeply. “When you’re a mom and your kids don’t live with you, there’s a look in someone’s eyes that you can see a mile away,” Spicuglia says. “They’re wondering why. Were you on drugs? What did you do? The imagination goes crazy.”

When Spicuglia meets new people, she has learned not to mention her son, not right away at least. At twenty-nine, she has spent much of the past decade living and working among students and young professionals, where the subject of children doesn’t often come up. Spicuglia waits to mention it only when she has time for The Explanation: the tale of how her son lives in California with her ex-husband because of a series of decisions Spicuglia made as she progressed in her education and career. She seems to feel obligated to clarify: “There were never any issues of me being a bad mom or anything like that.”

“Once you tell someone you’re a mom, they want to know what school your child goes to and they want to ask all the kid questions,” she says. “I believe that in general, people are very understanding. But I think that because this is something most people don’t think of or haven’t heard of, it’s just something that needs to be explained. For a long time, I didn’t have the energy to explain it to people. It took me a long time to really own it.”

As with most such stories, hers is not particularly short or simple. Spicuglia, who lived with her own divorced dad when she was a kid, got pregnant at seventeen. She married her son’s father, a co-worker in a restaurant in Santa Maria, California. He lived among his large Mexican family, which she describes as “so incredible in all its beautiful traditions, people everywhere, relatives just loving each other and lots of great food.”

When their son was about a year old, Spicuglia’s husband returned to Mexico to deal with some immigration red tape, and their son accompanied him. Spicuglia had been taking community college film classes; while they were gone, she moved to Los Angeles to work as a production assistant.

When her husband returned, the couple moved back in together, but soon realized they “wanted different things” from life, she says, and decided to split up. Spicuglia was accepted at the University of California, Berkeley. She left her son with his dad’s family while she waited for family-student housing. At that stage, both parents assumed the boy would live with his mother.

Unexpectedly, a year and a half went by, during which time Spicuglia worked, attended classes, and visited her son as often as possible. When her name reached the top of the family housing list, she called her ex-husband to tell him. He announced that he had changed his mind: He now felt the boy would be better off living with him and his extended family, rather than be placed in daycare while Spicuglia attended school.

“It was a huge shock for me,” she says. “This was not what I’d wanted, not what I had ever expected to happen. But I was faced with a decision to either challenge this in the courts or I could reexamine the situation from a more objective and loving standpoint and try and see if what his father was saying was true. Maybe that is a better place for him to be. When I looked at that, I realized that his dad had so much more to offer than I did.”

Spicuglia retained shared legal custody, got her degree, and moved to New York, where she remarried a couple of years ago. She does her best to keep up with her son’s activities long distance, although, like Voichescu, she has run into problems. School officials have left her off of her son’s emergency-contact information, neglected to send copies of the report cards, and have made her get authorization from his father to release records although legally she isn’t required to provide it.

“The school system is not set up to include noncustodial parents in any way, even though legally noncustodial parents have the right to equal access to educational records, to make decisions for their children,” she says. It’s ironic, she adds, that although educators know that parental involvement is important for students’ academic success, “I’m out there begging to be part of my son’s education, and I’ve hit roadblocks and apathy at every turn.”

The worst moment was when she discovered inadvertently that her son had been seeing a school counselor for a year, visiting once a week to talk about problems. Though Spicuglia was in favor of the counseling, she was upset that no one had notified her about it. She called the counselor, who had to get permission from the boy’s father in order to talk to her.

“Which is crazy! I’m not a bad person. There’s no reason for this,” Spicuglia says. “It may sound like a small thing to some people, but until you actually go through it, until you’re actually told that they have to get permission to talk to you about your son…”

The counselor told Spicuglia, “I didn’t even know if you were in the picture.”

Which made Spicuglia wonder what the counselor and her son could have been discussing; she stays in the picture of his life as best she can. They see each other during school breaks and hold video chats on the computer in between.

It’s not easy. In her blog, Spicuglia writes about her delight over having the rare opportunity to answer her son’s history questions during a visit (reminding herself to tell him to call anytime with questions), and about the tears shed by both mother and son when they parted in the airport.

“He was eager to get into line, but that always rushes our goodbyes too, as we can’t keep everyone waiting,” Spicuglia wrote in her blog in January. “So we hugged and kissed, and I was asked to step aside. As he waited by the gateway to the plane, his back was turned to me, and I called [to] him … When he turned, there were tears in his eyes, which set me off too, but that was it, and he was escorted away.”

Later, she wrote, “The quiet has descended … a house once full of laughter and tears (he will never forgive me for making him do his reading and math over what he sees as VACATION!) is now silent.”

Remaining in the picture can be a challenge for noncustodial mothers, if only because it’s hard for many mothers to define where the frame begins and ends. In a society where even residential mothers can feel that they’re never doing enough, many noncustodial mothers suffer from a sense of inadequacy for not meeting their own expectations of themselves.

In her research of noncustodial parents, Ginna Babcock was struck by the difference between fathers and mothers. She writes, “The most dramatic finding for me was in how precisely each and every father in my study was able to articulate a definition of ‘a good noncustodial father.’ He (1) paid child support regularly, and (2) took full advantage of his visitation rights. These two qualities defined the good noncustodial parent for these men.”

But if fathers were able to define “in pragmatic and attainable terms” what would constitute fulfilling their responsibilities, the mothers were not, she reports. “When they tried, the definitions were amorphous and far-reaching—basically describing a woman who is physically present, providing emotional support to her children every day, which is difficult for even the residential mother.”

Child support was not part of the mothers’ definition of adequate noncustodial mothering. (Many noncustodial mothers do, in fact, pay child support, just as fathers do.) And visitation was mentioned only in the broader context of “being there for my kids when they need me,” Babcock writes.

As a result, many of Babcock’s respondents felt that, by definition, they could not be good mothers. “There were many tears, and the response always was, ‘How can I be if I am not there?’ I heard stories of mothers missing their child’s first steps, first day of school, first prom, getting their driver’s license, and many of the other special days in a young person’s daily life,” she writes. “Because of the high expectations mothers had for parenting, their perception of success as a noncustodial mother was almost impossible, regardless of how much they wanted to succeed.”

Bethany Gilmore, who lives in New York, gets together once or twice a month with her daughter, eleven, who lives in Mississippi. But it never feels like enough time to either one of them.

“Over the past ten years, I feel like I’ve missed so much of her life,” says Gilmore, twenty-eight, who works as a senior accountant.

Gilmore gave up both physical and legal custody when she entered college in Nashville. She has since regretted giving up those rights, but has been told by attorneys that it’s hard to get custody back unless the father can be shown to be unfit. So she hopes that she and her daughter will be able to live together once her daughter is old enough to make her own choice. “It’s too hard to be without her. We’re so close. She’s going through puberty, and she can’t really talk to [her father] about boys and cliques in her school, so she just feels more comfortable talking to me. I hate being away from her.”

The feeling goes both ways: Children may hate being away from their mothers, too. But does the damage go beyond simply missing their moms? Are the children of noncustodial mothers any worse off—emotionally, developmentally—than children of noncustodial fathers?

These children often are as aware as their mothers that they are in unconventional situations, and may have to face the same sorts of questions about why their mothers aren’t around, the same assumptions about why she lost custody or chose to leave, the same stigma except from the other end.

Traditional psychology tended to demonize mothers for “abdicating their so-called natural responsibilities,” Gustafson says, just as it demonized fathers who failed their financial obligations. (As usual, those traditional judgments were cast along gender lines, with moms being chastised for perceived emotional lapses and dads for financial failures.) If the children had behavioral problems, the blame was often placed on their mothers’ absence, often to the point of disregarding the quality of their fathers’ parenting. Such assumptions were so pervasive that, according to Gustafson, they shaped the way questions were asked and findings interpreted.

But more recent and more nuanced research indicates that other factors play greater roles in predicting a child’s well-being than which parent is present or absent, Gustafson says. The ability of the caretaking parent, regardless of gender, to do the job well is paramount. Other factors include those that also affect kids in two-parent families: household income, parents’ level of education, the safety and stability of the physical environment where in which the children are raised, whether the parents’ relationship is conflicted or respectful, the supportive social network, the mental and physical health of the caretaking parent, and so on.

“When all factors are in place to support healthy child development, maternal absence doesn’t necessarily equate with damaged children,” Gustafson says.

And because studies show that absentee mothers tend to want to stay more involved with their children’s lives than absentee fathers, she points out, their lack of custody often does not translate into lack of contact or participation.

Mothers who share legal but not physical custody of their children have often had to toughen up as they get in the habit of asserting their parental rights, which include the right to access their kids’ educational, health, and other records, and to have an equal say in decisions made on behalf of the child. Some aren’t even fully aware of what those rights entail.

“For a long time I didn’t assert my rights because I felt like I was imposing” on school staff, Spicuglia says.

Educators and health-care providers are often no better informed about what the law requires, and may throw roadblocks up as a result of this ignorance, says Miller Zimon, the social worker. “Maybe there’s a need for a public campaign to show the face of the twenty-first-century noncustodial parent,” she speculates. “Or even to start looking at the language again and figure out what’s best to denote this relationship of involved parents who share or have arranged custody when it has nothing to do with abuse, neglect, or dependency.”

Kim Voichescu doesn’t think she’s ever been as fiercely determined about pursuing a goal as she has been in asserting her rights as a noncustodial mother. She is in the midst of a long, expensive and emotionally draining court battle with her ex-husband, to whom she originally signed over physical custody in the days when her job was far more demanding than his. She is now trying to reverse that decision.

Meanwhile, her tangle with the school secretary and subsequent letters to the superintendent has led to a change in school-district policy ensuring that both parents see any documents filed with the schools. Along the way, she has overcome initial intimidation and learned more effective ways of handling judges and court procedures. Perhaps not coincidentally, she has become a martial artist and a kickboxer, and is working on an economic degree with the ultimate goal of becoming a lawyer.

“The frustration told me that’s what I want to do,” Voichescu says. “I want to help other ladies, so they’re not fucked over like I was.”

Read the original article here: http://www.brainchildmag.com/essays/spring2009_read.asp

When I told a friend I was working on an article about noncustodial mothers, she asked, “Are you hearing a lot of really sad stories?” Well, sure, it can be sad to live apart from your children, but I knew that’s not what she meant. She meant, “Are you hearing stories about drug abuse, and child mistreatment, and other terrible events that might lead to children being seized from their mothers?” I explained that women in such situations are a minority among noncustodial mothers. But I also understood that the term itself seems to imply past transgressions—it struck me that way at first, too.

Meanwhile, one of my own children had been begging to return to the city from which we moved last summer, in another state, where his father still lives. He missed his friends, his school, his old neighborhood. That move isn’t practical for now, but it’s possible that at some future time my son would go live with his dad. That’s how easy it would be for me to become a noncustodial mother. Well, not easy maybe—probably kind of sad, in fact –but definitely free of transgressions.

WHO’S YOUR DADDY? What is the proper role of the federal government in child rearing?

In Family Rights on May 17, 2009 at 11:05 pm

<<


What is the proper role of the federal government in child rearing? (4540 votes)

The Constitution is clear — there is NO role for Washington in child rearing. Period! 70% (3187)
Ronald Reagan was right: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'” 23% (1046)
The story gives me chills — is Big Brother already here? 5% (209)
Some government involvement is OK but it often goes overboard 0% (20)
It’s OK as long as participation is voluntary 0% (15)
Other 0% (14)
It needs to be there to prevent the abuse of children 0% (12)
The Constitution’s provision to provide for the general welfare strongly suggests a role in providing protection and opportunities for children 0% (10)
With the breakdown of families, communities and other institutions, the government has no choice but to step in 0% (8)
The government’s role is to provide a social safety net, especially for kids 0% (7)
It really does take a village to raise a child 0% (5)
Let’s face it — often times parents don’t know what’s best 0% (4)
It’s irresponsible not to take advantage of the federal government’s vast experience and resources 0% (3)

From the World Net Daily: http://forums.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=106&pollShowResults=1

Children Held Hostage : Dealing With Programmed and Brainwashed Children

In child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Divorce, DSM-IV, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, kidnapped children, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights on May 17, 2009 at 5:44 pm

by Stanley S. Clawar and Brynne Valerie Rivlin

Children Held Hostage is a superb book dealing with parental alienation. It is not a long book, but it is based on a body of research conducted by the authors into the specifics of the alienation.

Much of the focus is on the process of the alienation and the frequency of the processes and the motiviation of the abusing parent. However, there is also some good, specific, material on the impact of this alienation on the children. Part of the books message is that Gardner’s proposals in dealing with Parental Alienation Syndrome, the problem induced in the children, is not strong enough because even low levels of alienation create severe problems for the development of children.

This book will open your eyes to what you children might be experiencing if they are being alienated. It will also be good to make you aware to ensure that you don’t do anything to negatively impact your child either if you are involved in a highly charged divorce or separation.

This is a difficult book to find, and it is not inexpensive. Both Amazon and Chapters do have some in stock (likely do to this website’s orders). I would highly recommend ordering a copy if you are interested in parental alienation and the process.

Federal Parental Rights Amendment – 89 Sponsors

In Family Rights on May 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm

The Parental Rights Amendment:

SECTION 1
The liberty of parents to direct the upbringing and education of their children is a fundamental right.

SECTION 2
Neither the United States nor any State shall infringe upon this right without demonstrating that its governmental interest as applied to the person is of the highest order and not otherwise served.

SECTION 3
No treaty may be adopted nor shall any source of international law be employed to supersede, modify, interpret, or apply to the rights guaranteed by this article.

Congressional Sponsors

If your Representative is on the list below, please write a letter of thanks to him or her for supporting the Amendment. We ask that you do not call Representatives who are already on the list of sponsors.

If your Representative is not on the list, please call or email them and urge them to become a sponsor of the Parental Rights Amendment.

In either event, find your Congressman’s contact information by submitting your zip code at Congress.org.

The following members of the U.S. House of Representatives have committed to sponsor the Parental Rights Amendment:

Rep. Pete Hoekstra (MI-2), lead sponsor.
Rep. Todd Akin (MO-2)
Rep. Rodney Alexander (LA-5)
Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN-6)
Rep. Gresham Barret (SC-3)
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (MD-6)
Rep. Rob Bishop (UT-1)
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (TN-7)
Rep. Roy Blunt (MO-7)
Rep. John Boehner (OH-8)
Rep. John Boozman (AR-3)
Rep. Paul Broun (GA-10)
Rep. Henry Brown (SC-1)
Rep. Vern Buchanan (FL-13)
Rep. Dan Burton (IN-5)
Rep. Ken Calvert (CA-44)
Rep. Dave Camp (MI-4)
Rep. John Campbell (CA-48)
Rep. Eric Cantor (VA-7)
Rep. John Carter (TX-31)
Rep. Tom Cole (OK-4)
Rep. Mike Conaway (TX-11)
Rep. John Culberson (TX-7)
Rep. Geoff Davis (KY-4)
Rep. Nathan Deal (GA-9)
Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (TN-2)
Rep. Mary Fallin (OK-5)
Rep. John Fleming (LA-4)
Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (NE-1)
Rep. Trent Franks (AZ-2)
Rep. Phil Gingrey (GA-11)
Rep. Louie Gohmert (TX-1)
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-6)
Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-2)
Rep. Greg Harper (MS-3)
Rep. Doc Hastings (WA-4)
Rep. Dean Heller (NV-2)
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX-5)
Rep. Wally Herger (CA-2)
Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-52)
Rep. Darryl Issa (CA-49)
Rep. Sam Johnson (TX-3)
Rep. Walter Jones (NC-3)
Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-4)
Rep. Jack Kingston (GA-1)
Rep. John Kline (MN-2)
Rep. Doug Lamborn (CO-5)
Rep. Robert Latta (OH-5)
Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-3)
Rep. Cynthia Lummis (WY)
Rep. Donald Manzullo (IL-16)
Rep. Kenny Marchant (TX-24)
Rep. Michael McCaul (TX-10)
Rep. Tom McClintock (CA-4)
Rep. Thad McCotter (MI-11)
Rep. Patrick McHenry (NC-10)
Rep. John M. McHugh (NY-23)
Rep. Mike McIntyre (NC-7)
Rep. Buck McKeon (CA-25)
Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers (WA-5)
Rep. Jeff Miller (FL-1)
Rep. Jerry Moran (KS-1)
Rep. Sue Myrick (NC-9)
Rep. Randy Neugebauer (TX-19)
Rep. Mike Pence (IN-6)
Rep. Joe Pitts (PA-16)
Rep. Todd Platts (PA-19)
Rep. Tom Price (GA-6)
Rep. George Radanovich (CA-19)
Rep. Phil Roe (TN-1)
Rep. Mike Rogers (AL-3)
Rep. Tom Rooney (FL-16)
Rep. Ed Royce (CA-40)
Rep. Steve Scalise (LA-1)
Rep. Jean Schmidt (OH-2)
Rep. Pete Sessions (TX-32)
Rep. John Shadegg (AZ-3)
Rep. John Shimkus (IL-19)
Rep. Mark Souder (IN-3)
Rep. John Sullivan (OK-1)
Rep. Lee Terry (NE-2)
Rep. Todd Tiahrt (KS-4)
Rep. Patrick Tiberi (OH-12)
Rep. Zack Wamp (TN-3)
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-3)
Rep. Ed. Whitfield (KY-1)
Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-2)
Rep. Rob Wittman (VA-1)
Rep. Frank Wolf (VA-10)

Parental Alienation Syndrome: The Lost Parents’ Perspective – Chapter 2 of 5

In California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, DSM-IV, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 16, 2009 at 11:07 pm

by Despina Vassiliou
Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling, McGill University
3700 McTavish, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1Y2

CHAPTER 2

REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

A review of the literature concerning the development of parental alienation in families requires a review of the main theories surrounding the development of PAS. The main postulates include: (a) heightened levels of conflict, (b) divorce, (c) the contributions or influence of the legal system, and (d) a combination of various other factors that may contribute to the development of PAS.

HIGH CONFLICT SITUATIONS

As the dissolution of a marriage proceeds and court proceedings begin regarding the custody of the children, there is likely to be increasing conflict among the divorcing parents. It is believed that this conflict propels and heightens the occurrence of PAS. Family conflict may contribute to many difficulties that the individual family members encounter — such as problems in social development, emotional stability, and cognitive skills. These difficulties may instigate long-term consequences that may persist long after the finalization of the divorce (Kurdek, 1981).

Further, when the conflict occurring in a family (whether divorced or intact) is ongoing and heightened, the individual family members have been found to express feelings of lowered self-esteem, increased anxiety, and diminished self control (Slater & Haber, 1984). Particularly at risk are the children. There are reports that adolescents have a greater risk of developing adjustment problems whether the family goes through divorce or remains intact (Hoffman, 1971). Therefore, the level of family conflict is an important dimension which can alter the family structure and affects children’s well-being (Demo & Acock, 1988).

PAS is a syndrome that is usually associated with a heightened level of conflict. Further, the children in PAS families are present not only in the conflictual situation (in this case the denigration of one parent) but often contribute additional conflict to the situation. These conflicts tend to occur in conjunction with long custody proceedings. Johnston, Gonzalez, and Campbell (1987) examined the behaviour of children from separated and/or divorced families who were subjected to “entrenched” parental conflict regarding their custody. These researchers assessed 56 children between the ages of four and twelve during custody disputes and 2.5 years later.

The assessment consisted of three measures:

(1) parental conflict as measured by the Straus Conflict Tactics Scale;
(2) Clinical rating scales that were completed by each family’s counsellor; and
(3) the Achenbach Child Behaviour Checklist which measured the children’s adjustment on four scales: Depression, Withdrawn/Uncommunicative, Somatic Complaints, and Aggression, as well as overall problem behavior. Johnston and her colleagues (1987) found that at the time of the custody disputes, overall behavior problems and aggression could be predicted by (a) the extent to which children became involved in the custody dispute and (b) the occurrence and extent of role reversal between the child and parent.

Specifically, aggression between parents, both physical and verbal, was found to be a significant predictor of overall behavioural problems two years later. Moreover, involving the child in the custody dispute was a more important predictor of overall behaviour problems when it was the father who involved the child rather than the mother. If both parents involved the child in the disputes, then the child was more likely to have a tendency to display more withdrawn and uncommunicative behaviours two years after the dispute.

Finally, overall behavioural problems and depression were also predicted by the role reversal between father and child. These findings are related to the development of parental alienation in that PAS children who are exposed to heightened levels of conflict in combination with the denigration of one parent by the other.

As a means of coping with the heightened levels of stress, PAS children may copy the alienating parent’s behavior primarily by denigrating the lost parent. In doing so, they reduce some stress by believing that one parent is bad while the other is good. Subsequently, they focus on pleasing the alienating parent who is usually the custodial parent. Therefore, they ensure their survival in the alienating home by supporting the alienating parent’s beliefs. Children who do not adapt in this way may feel they run the risk of also being rejected by the alienating parent and losing that parent’s love.

DIVORCE

The effect of divorce itself on the family can be devastating. What was once decided amongst the parents is now decided by third parties like lawyers and judges (Girdner, 1985). Further, access to the children by each parent changes. Where before everyone lived together and parents and children had the freedom to interact whenever they wished, divorce dictates they must now abide by rules set by others.

The most common effect of divorce is that the child remains primarily with one parent while the other parent becomes a “visitor” who is only allowed to see the child on certain occasions. In theory, this “visitor” is allowed to have parental authority, that is to engage in the decision making process regarding the children (e.g., what school they should attend) (Turkat, 1994).

However, divorce often occurs because the parents can no longer make decisions together. Consequently, the visiting parent does not always have the visitation that he or she should have and may be unable to participate in the decision making process for important issues in their children’s lives. One time significant parents can become unwanted visitors for their children. The Children’s Rights Council in 1994 reported that an estimated six million children in the U.S. were victims of interfered visitation by their custodial parents.

Arditti (1992) found that as high as 50% of fathers (usually the non-custodial parents) reported that their visitation with their children had been interfered with by their ex-wives.

Further, as many as 40% of custodial mothers admitted denying their ex-husbands their right to visitation as a means of punishing them (Kressel, 1985). In PAS families, the interference with child visitation is but one of the symptoms, though the most important. It is believed that the goal of the alienating parent is to not only interfere in the lost parent’s visits, but to eliminate both the visits, and the visiting parent as well from the child’s life.

Gardner (1992) postulated that PAS is of a serious nature that may be provoked by a serious emotional issue, such as custody. Consequently, Cartwright (1993) noted that PAS may also be provoked by other serious and emotional issues such as property divisions or finances.

CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM

According to Gardner (1992), the legal system contributes to the occurrence of PAS. In his book, The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health Professionals, Gardner devotes two chapters to the history of the legal system and its impact on the occurrence of PAS. He postulates that parental alienation began to occur when courts began replacing the “tender-years” presumption with that of the “best-interests-of-the-child” presumption. The “tender-years” presumption stipulates that certain psychological benefits exist for children who remain with the mother, therefore custody was usually awarded to the mother. In the 1970s the courts began to favour the “best-interests-of-the-child” presumption, a less sexist position. With this presumption, the courts attempted to award custody to the parent who the best custodian for the child regardless of the parent’s gender.

Gardner believes that this change in the legal system exacerbated mothers’ fears that they might lose custody of their children to the fathers. Moreover, for mothers to strengthen their cases they needed to denigrate the fathers, engendering the beginnings of PAS. Gardner supports this notion by reporting that in 90% of his PAS cases, it was the mother who was the alienating parent (Gardner, 1991, conference).

Further changes in the legal system during the 1970s and 1980s, according to Gardner, contributed to the occurrence of PAS. Specific was the adoption in many jurisdictions of the notion of joint custody. Ideally in joint custody, both parents are to contribute equally to the upbringing of the children instead of one parent being the custodian and the other the “visitor”.

For joint custody to be granted it must be established that both parents can communicate with each other and can participate in the upbringing of the child. However, when joint custody is granted, the parents are often placed back in the same situation that led them to seek a divorce initially: the inability to communicate and make decisions together. Although some couples can do so successfully, Gardner notes that this situation presents the opportunity for the children to be used as weapons in parental conflicts that may arise.

Gardner developed several other related notions concerning the development of PAS and the contributions of the legal system are simply a part of this influence on PAS development. Unfortunately, the only statistics that Gardner provided were those that demonstrated that mothers were usually the alienators without detailing the procedure by which he attained these results.

Cartwright (1993) noted that the involvement of lawyers and the prolonged involvement of the court contributes not only to the occurrence of PAS but also to the increase in the severity of PAS. Clawar and Rivlin (1991) conducted a twelve year study regarding the parental programming of children “to influence the outcome of disputes” which was commissioned by the American Bar Association Section of Family Law. They found that 80% of divorcing parents practiced parental programming to varying degrees and 20% of whom did so at least once a day.

Further, Rand (1997) postulated that many allegations of either sexual or physical abuse may be an alienating technique. These allegations are powerful factors in the courts’ decisions for custody and therefore an invaluable tool to the alienators. Cartwright noted that the court requires adequate time to assess each case in order to determine the best interests of the child. However, he cautioned that once identified as a PAS case, then the court needs to make speedy judgments in order to stop the alienation process immediately. Unfortunately, the usual procedure of court postponements and continuances permit the PAS process to continue.

Further, Goldwater (1991) had postulated that the longer the children are in the alienating custodial situation, the “further they will drift away from their non-custodial parent” (p.130). Cartwright also noted that forceful judgment is required to counter the force of alienation. Specifically, clear and forceful judgments are believed to deter possible alienating parents from even beginning the alienation process as they may immediately lose custody of their children.

This is only possible if the judge is aware of PAS as a syndrome and if it has been clearly identified in each case. A second consequence of a clear and forceful judgment against the alienating parent is that such judgements can stop existing alienating processes from continuing.

Support for the notion that the court can counter the occurrence of PAS has been found in a study conducted by Dunne and Hedrick (1994). These researchers are two of the very few who conducted research specifically on PAS. In a qualitative study they interviewed sixteen families who exhibited a specified set of characteristics that met Gardner’s (1992) criteria for PAS.

The findings suggested that various family characteristics, such as the degree of PAS severity, were not indicators of the degree or effect of alienation on the family. Further, they found that the only effective intervention to counter alienation was a court implemented custody change that resulted in the children being removed from the alienating home.

The various types of therapy demonstrated no improvement in any of the families that had undergone therapy; in two of these cases the alienation actually became worse. It appears that the legal system is the most effective mean of terminating the process of alienation, reflecting the strong influence exerted by the legal system on the occurrence of PAS.

Girdner (1985), in an ethnographic study, examined the structure of custody litigation and the strategies used by parents who were contesting the custody of their children. She immersed herself in the legal culture for eighteen months. By observing court proceedings regarding custody she examined the relationships between the legal and the familial processes within the context of those proceedings.

She found that the final custody arrangements were usually made with respect to the economic issues of the divorce. Specifically, her findings suggested that the factors which influenced custody agreements included: (a) the negotiating style of the attorneys involved; (b) the dynamics of bargaining in the legal system; and (c) at which stage of the emotional process of divorce in which the clients were.

COMBINED FACTORS

A number of factors influence the occurrence of PAS. The family unit does not function in isolation. Individual characteristics of family members may also play a role on the occurrence of PAS. A study conducted by Calabrese, Miller, and Dooley (1987) examined the characteristics of 49 parents and their children from two fourth grade classes.

These researchers assessed the parents’ alienation of their children using the Dean Alienation Scale that provides an overall measure of alienation through examining the following dimensions: Isolation, Powerlessness, and Normalesness. They also assessed the children’s school achievement by examining their percentiles, as well as the children’s attitudes toward school.

However, these researchers found that the best predictors of alienation was unrelated to the children’s academic attitudes or performance, but rather to the characteristics of the individuals involved. Specifically, they reported that high levels of alienation were found to be associated with unemployed, single mothers, whose child was female and the child had only a few perceived friends.

While these findings appear to support Gardner’s contention that the alienator is usually the mother, they provide little support for Gardner’s theory that the introduction of the “best-interests-of-the-child” presumption contributed to this phenomenon.

Lund (1995) examined factors that contributed to the development of parental alienation. She assessed families in terms of

(a) developmental factors in the child,
(b) parenting styles, and
(c) level of stress experienced by the child.

She postulated that contributing factors in the occurrence of PAS included the following:

(1) Separation difficulties that are developmentally inappropriate. Specifically, PAS could be related to the occurrence of pre-schooler’s separation problems that may normally occur but are heightened by the stress occurring within a separated home.
(2) The child exhibiting oppositional behaviour. With older children in adolescence and preadolescence the development of oppositional behaviour may be manifested as a rejection of the lost parent in a family with conflicts.
(3) The deterioration of the non-custodial parental skills. The alienated parent usually displays a distant, rigid, and sometimes authoritarian style of parenting, whereas the alienating parent is indulgent and clinging. The children can then more easily reject the harsher parent and defend the more indulgent one.
(4) Conflicts occurring during the divorce. According to Lund (1995), these may prompt the child to seek means of escaping the stress related to such conflict.

Therefore, the child may denigrate the lost parent as a justification of the alienating parent’s actions.

SUMMARY

Relatively few research studies have been conducted specifically on PAS. The literature examined in this section pertained primarily to several articles that described parental alienation, however the majority were not empirical studies. The literature suggests that several factors may contribute to the occurrence of PAS. The heightened levels of conflict that are often associated with the dissolution of a marriage have been shown to have several short- and long-term effects on family members (Demo & Acock, 1988; Hoffman, 1971; Kurdek 1981). Johnston et al., 1987 found that involving the children in the disputes tended to result in the children displaying behavioural problems (e.g., withdrawing and not communicating).

PAS is one area in which heightened levels of conflict are believed to play a large role in the lives of the family members. Therefore, it is postulated that the heightened conflict levels may be an important factor in the occurrence of PAS. Divorce is a difficult time for all family members. With divorce comes a stressful restructuring where one parent, who was once involved in the child’s life, may suddenly become an unwanted visitor (Turkat, 1994).

This is difficult for those involved and there are indicators that these visiting parents (usually the fathers) encounter difficulties with their visits. For instance, Arditi (1992) found that as many as 50% of fathers reported an interference in their visitation rights; similarly, Kressel (1985) found that 40% of mothers admitted to attempting to interfere in the father’s visitation. Some circumstance or factor that occurs in the process of divorce may result in the rejection of one parent by the other.

If this occurs, it is postulated that PAS may follow. The circumstances that lead to the rejection of a parent are as yet to be determined. There may be high levels of conflict or stress involved in the dissolution of the marriage and thus further research is necessary to examine the degree to which these factors are important in the occurrence of PAS.

With the initiation of a divorce, the legal proceedings involved may pertain not only to the divorce but to custody agreements as well. Most of the literature on PAS suggests that various aspects of the legal system have contributed to the occurrence of PAS (Gardner, 1992) and has even heightened the severity of PAS (Cartwright, 1993). Moreover, Dunne and Hedrick (1994) found that the legal system can play an important role in the termination of PAS.

Specifically, a court ordered change in custody was found to be the most effective intervention that resulted in the termination of PAS with time. As Calabrese et al., (1987), and Lund (1995) found, many factors from individual characteristics to stress on the children have been linked to the occurrence of alienation. The number of possible factors that instigate PAS are legion, therefore, there is a need to examine PAS qualitatively to gain better comprehension. A better understanding of how PAS occurs may be helpful in learning how to treat and perhaps prevent PAS.

Parental Alienation Syndrome: The Lost Parents’ Perspective – Chapter 1 of 5

In child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, DSM-IV, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Jayne Major, judicial corruption, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 16, 2009 at 4:36 pm

by Despina Vassiliou
Department of Educational Psychology and Counselling, McGill University
3700 McTavish, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1Y2

A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Arts in Educational Psychology
© 1998, Despina Vassiliou

ABSTRACT

This qualitative study examines alienated parents’ perceptions of their own experience of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). The participants were five fathers and one mother. The data were collected via semi-structured, open-ended interview questionnaires.

A qualitative analysis of the data was performed for each participant in an attempt to answer the following questions:
(1) Are there characteristics (e.g., number of children, number of marriages, etc.) common to alienated families?
(2) Are there common themes or issues among the conflicts between couples that contribute to marriage dissolution?
(3) From the lost parent’s perspective, are there commonalities in the underlying causes of the alienation?
(4) Are there common themes in the participants’ experience of the alienation process?
(5) Given the opportunity what are some things that the lost parents perceive they might do differently? The findings are discussed and the limitations of the present study are given.

CHAPTER 1

THE NATURE OF PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME

Dr. Richard A. Gardner, a forensic and child psychiatrist, has conducted evaluations regarding the custody of children following divorce (Rand, 1997). Through his case work he observed that many divorcing families shared common characteristics which he labeled as Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). PAS was defined as a syndrome where one parent (usually the custodial parent) alienates the child or children from the other parent. PAS includes the alienating parent engaging the child in a series of conscious and subconscious techniques like brainwashing in an attempt to denigrate the other parent. Further, the child also contributes to the denigration of the allegedly hated parent (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992). The general pattern of characteristics PAS children display during and after the divorce have been described by Gardner (1992) as follows:

1. Campaign of denigration: PAS children denigrate the “lost” parent completely, particularly in the presence of the alienating parent. The children express a profuse hatred for the lost parent. Initially, the children may denigrate each parent in the presence of the other. Eventually they learn that the denigration of the non-custodial or alienated parent is beneficial within the custodial home (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992). Subsequently, the child rejects the lost parent completely.
2. The children’s unfounded rationalizations: The children base their denigration on rationalizations that are weak or frivolous, e.g. “she snores in her sleep”. Statements such as these are often made with a complete lack of ambivalence by the children. The alienating parent, as well, does not question such statements as the bases for denigration and further uses the children’s statements as evidence of the lost parent’s inadequacy (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992).
3. Dichotomization of the parents: The alienating parent is perceived by the child as encompassing only positive qualities and as such the children attempt to express themselves as “perfect little photocopies” (Goldwater, 1991 p. 126) of the alienating parent. On the other hand, the lost parent is believed to encompass only negative qualities. This negative attitude is generalized to events that the children and lost parent have shared. Even events that the children once enjoyed are now remembered as being forced, not enjoyed, or never even remembered (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992).
4. The independent thinker phenomenon: The children present the decision to reject the parent as their own. The alienating parent reinforces this contention by making such statements as “I can’t force her to see her dad, if she does not want to”. Further, the claim that the decision to reject the parent was the child’s own is made suspect by the child’s use of language and phrases that are developmentally inappropriate and indicative of the alienating parent’s influence (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992).
5. Automatic love of the alienating parent: the children automatically and reflexively support the alienating parent. This automatic love may be a consequence of the belief that the alienating parent is an ideal or perfect person or that the children perceive that parent as weak and in need of support and defending (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992).
6. Absence of guilt: The children do not express any feelings of guilt about the circumstances surrounding the relationship with the lost parent. There is a lack of gratitude for any gifts, favours, etc.. This lack of guilt cannot be attributed solely to cognitive immaturity but is related to the brainwashing done by the alienating parent (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992).
7. Borrowed scenarios: The children use language and expressions that are clearly not their own. The quality with which they express their beliefs appears to be coached and rehearsed, and the only source of the borrowed scenarios appears to be the alienating parent (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992). For instance, a five year old borrows the alienating mother’s words and say “Daddy’s new girlfriend is a whore!” (Cartwright, 1993, p. 207).
8. Generalization of animosity: The lost parent’s extended family is also included in the animosity. These individuals are also perceived as encompassing negative qualities or inappropriate actions since they are associated with the lost parent. For instance, any attempt by the extended family to counter the denigration of the lost parent is viewed by the children as an attack on their beliefs that they must defend (Cartwright, 1993; Gardner, 1992).

Further, Cartwright, 1993 postulated that often allegations of abuse associated with PAS may be virtual. Virtual allegations refer to cases where the abuse is simply suggested in order to cast aspersions the lost parent’s character without the alienating parent having to fabricate real incidents of alleged abuse. For example, in one case, the mother hinted at an allegation of sexual abuse by accusing the father of renting a videotape containing pornography for the child. The mother reported in court that the child was disappointed with the movie because it was “suggestive, erotic, and pornographic”. The movie, a Hollywood comedy starring Chevy Chase, was chosen by the child at a family video store. The judge proceeded to interview the child extensively and, disagreeing with the mother, found that the child was not disappointed in the movie because it was pornographic but rather because it was not funny. Virtual allegations are subtle and, as a result, difficult to prove or disprove. Therefore, Cartwright, 1993 postulates that as lawyers and judges become more aware of PAS and become more skilled at detecting it, the incidence of virtual allegations will increase.

As in most disorders, the severity of PAS can range from mild to severe. As a result, Gardner (1991, conference) has described three levels in the continuum of severity of the syndrome as mild, moderate, and severe. Using these anchor points, Gardner (1992) described the characteristics of the alienating parent and the child.

In a Severe level of PAS, the alienating parent demonstrates paranoid thoughts that may be limited to the lost parent or may generalize to other circumstances. Prior to the divorce, however, the alienating parent may not have demonstrated any paranoia. Another characteristic includes the alienating parent’s obsession with preventing the lost parent from having or exercising any visitation rights. The alienating parent will use any means necessary to ensure this goal. Further, alienating parents project their own negative qualities onto the lost parents, reinforcing their own paranoia and portraying themselves as victims. As a result of this paranoia, alienating parents do not respond with appeals to logic or reason, or even to confrontations with reality. Those who do not support the alienating parents’ beliefs, whether they are mental health professionals, lawyers, etc., are believed either to be against them or to be paid by the lost parent. The children in severe cases of PAS share the alienating parent’s paranoia about the lost parent. They will refuse to visit the lost parent and often demonstrate panic and hostility that renders visits impossible. Further, if visitation does occur, once they are in the lost parent’s home they may run away, become paralyzed with fear, or become destructive to the extent that they must be removed from the home.

The Moderate level of PAS includes alienating parents who exhibit more rage than paranoid tendencies. They are able to make some distinction between a child’s preposterous allegations and those which may have some validity. However, as in severe cases, an alienating parent in a moderate case of PAS will also undertake a campaign of denigration against the lost parent and will tend to prevent the lost parent’s exercise of visitation rights. Prior to the divorce, the moderate alienating parent is more likely to have been a good child rearer. The children of moderate PAS tend to be less persistent with their campaigns of denigration, and are more likely to abandon them in the presence of the lost parents, especially after long periods of time. In this type of case campaigns of denigration by younger children in the presence of their lost parents can only be sustained with the help of older siblings who function as surrogate parents during visitation. The alienated children’s primary motives for maintaining campaigns of denigration are to maintain “healthy” psychological bonds with the alienating parents.

The Mild level of PAS, the parents have generally healthy psychological bonds with their children. They respond to logic and reason in that they recognize that the alienation of the non-custodial parent is not beneficial for the children. Therefore, the alienating parent will be willing to take a conciliatory approach towards the lost parent’s requests. Gardner (1992) also notes that mild cases of PAS require considerablyless therapy than the more severe cases. Further, the children may become healthier when the intervention simply requires the child to remain in the presence of the lost parent over time.

Cartwright (1993) noted that the time that is spent alienating the child may be an indicator of the degree to which the child is alienated; the longer the alienation, the more alienated the child. Further, the excessive alienation may “build up” or increase the risk of mental illness in the child. As a result, the sooner the children are removed from the alienating situation, the healthier it is for the lost parent and the PAS children. It is, therefore, important to gain a better understanding of parental alienation, its development, and its termination, because of the devastating consequences of PAS to the family members who experience it.

Operational Definitions

Alienator or Alienating Parent. The terms “alienator” and “alienating parent” are used to designate the parent who influences the child or children to turn against the other parent.

Lost or Hated or Absent Parent. The lost (and usually non-custodial) parent is the one who is the target of the alienator.

Conflict. This term signifies opposing ideas and beliefs that members of the family experience in the form of arguments that may or may not become violent.

Alienation: This term signifies any actions, whether physical or psychological, that lead to the negative perception of a parent. Specifically, the term alienation refers to tactics utilized in order to induce PAS.

http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/vassil98.htm

Parental Alienation Syndrome And Alignment Of Children

In adoption abuse, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights on May 16, 2009 at 1:00 am

by Philip M. Stahl, Ph.D.
CALIFORNIA PSYCHOLOGIST, March 1999, Vol. 32, No. 3, p 23ff

Prior to 1970, it was rare that parents disputed custody of their children. Beginning in the early 1970’s, parents began litigating over child custody as a result of changes in societal factors and custody laws. With this increase in litigation, Gardner (1987) observed and outlined a concept that he referred to as “Parental Alienation syndrome.” Currently, there is a significant dispute among experts whether parental alienation is a syndrome, as well as the causes and remedies of parental alienation. This brief article will describe some of the dynamics related to the alignment and alienation of children and provide some solutions for these children. For purposes of this article, I am accepting the premise that alienation exists and that the child is caught in a battle between the alienating parent and the alienated parent. There is little research on the effects of alienation on children, either the long-term impact on a child being alienated from a parent. the long-term impact of a change of custody to remedy alienation, or which qualities within the child might help to mitigate against the alienating behaviors of both parents.

What Is Parental Alienation?

While Gardner was the first to coin the phrase “Parental Alienation Syndrome.” Wallerstein and Kelly (1980) first wrote about a process which they termed “alignment with one parent.” In their break-through book, Surviving the Breakup, they wrote:

“A very important aspect of the response of the youngsters in this age group (ages nine to twelve) was the dramatic change in the relationship between parents and children. These young people were vulnerable to being swept up into the anger of one parent against the other. They were faithful and valuable battle allies in efforts to hurt the other parent. Not infrequently, they turned on the parent they had (previously) loved and been very close to prior to the marital separation.”

According to Gardner (1992), “The concept of Parental Alienation Syndrome includes much more than brainwashing. It includes not only conscious but subconscious and unconscious factors within the preferred parent that contribute to the parent’s influencing the child’s alienation. Furthermore, [and this is extremely important], it includes factors that arise within the child — independent of the parental contributions — that foster the development of this syndrome.”

He notes that the child becomes obsessed with hatred of the alienated parent. He also suggests that the hatred takes on a life of its own in which the child may justify the alienation as a result of minor altercations experienced in the relationship with the hated parent. Gardner differentiates between three categories of alienation: mild, moderate and severe. He acknowledges that there is a continuum along which these cases actually fall and he believes that fitting them into a single category is not easy. In general, it is the intensity of the reported alienation and the quality of the relationships between the child and each parent that differentiates families between mild, moderate and severe alienation.

Mild Cases Of Parental Alienation

In mild cases, there are subtle attempts at turning the child against the other parent and drawing the child in to the alienated parent’s view of the other parent. This may be both conscious and unconscious and usually the alienating parent is not aware of how this makes the child feel. However, the alienating parent is usually supportive of the child having a relationship with the other parent. For most children, the consequences of mild alienation is minimal and manifests itself with a slight increase in loyalty conflicts or anxiety, but no fundamental change in the child’s own view of the alienated parent.

Moderate Cases Of Parental Alienation

Moderately alienating parents are angry and often vengeful in their behavior toward the alienated parent. Feeling hurt, the alienating parent often expects the child to take sides and be loyal to him/her. Such parents may actively interfere with visitation arrangements, be derogatory of the other parent to the child and actively participate a process designed to limit or interfere with the child’s relationship with the alienated parent. These parents support the concept of a relationship between the child and the alienated parent but will at the same time consciously and unconsciously attempt to sabotage it. In moderate cases, the alienating parent will ignore court orders if he/she can get away with it.

Most of the children in these moderate cases are filled with conflict. They show many of the symptoms, including anxiety, splitting, insecurity, distortion, etc. They often express their own frustrated views about the alienated parent, some of which mirror the allegations made by the alienating parent and some of which are borne from their own relationship with the alienating parent. They tend to view the alienating parent as “the good parent and the alienated parent as “the bad parent.” Yet, they are able to integrate and discuss some good traits about the hated parent and some negative traits about the preferred parent. These children can enjoy a limited relationship with the alienated parent.

Severe Cases Of Parental Alienation

In severely alienated families, there is a clear, consistent derogation of the alienated parent by the alienating parent and by the child which includes programming, brainwashing and hostility. These behaviors and feelings begin with the alienating parent and are taken on by the child. In most instances, the child and alienated parent had previously had a positive and relatively healthy relationship, although the alienating parent can neither admit nor perceive this. Often, the alienating parent feels a tremendous bitterness and anger at the other parent, usually related to feelings of abandonment and betrayal. These families are quite intractable and may be difficult to evaluate when there are simultaneous abuse allegations. The alienated parent is outraged at the change in the child and generally blames the other parent.

Behavioral Manifestations In Parents And Children

The Alienating Parent

Most alienating behavior will fall into categories that include one or more of the following.

1. Unbalanced accounts of behaviors – Talking in extremes and absolutes
2. Merging of feelings between alienating parent and children, e.g. “We do not like the Tuesday night dinner visit”
3. Denial of the relationship between the child and the alienated parent, as if he/she has no right to it any more
4. Behaviors which directly and/or indirectly thwart the relationship between the child and the other parent
5. Intrusive behaviors such as frequent phone calls (e.g. 2 – 3 times per day or more) into the other parent’s home during visits
6. Encouraging the children to act as spies during visits
7. Informing children about adult issues, such as child support, reasons for the divorce, etc.
8. Forcing the children to be messengers of communications
9. Derogatory and blaming statements about the other parent
10. Tribal warfare in which other family members or family friends get brought into the battle between the parents

It is critical to understand the rationale for those behaviors and what causes them. It could be that the alienating behaviors are the direct result of either actual or perceived shortcomings in the alienated parent. This will affect the recommendations. For example, if real problems in the alienated parent are found, recommendations to correct these problems will be made to the alienated parent. However, if the alienating parent is acting on the basis of perceived problems, it will be important to recommend interventions that encourage the alienating parent to alter his/her perceptions and recognize the many ways that the alienation is negatively affecting the children.

The Alienated Parent

For the alienated parent, there is a potentially different set of dynamics to explore. Alienated parents tend to fall into two groups. There is a group of parents who previously had a healthy relationship with the child prior to the separation, but who is now being shutout of the child’s life. These parents are truly being alienated from the child by the behavior of the alienating parent. The second group of alienated parents are those who claim that alienation is the significant source of the problems with their children, but who tend to be fairly defensive, avoidant of relationships, externalize blame and have a very difficult time seeing his/her own role in problems with the children. Such parents are often very controlling and powerful and are used to having things their own way in their relationships. After separation, they expect their relationship with the children to be as they want it to be. These parents are often less child centered and have less empathy than others. When the relationship does not work out the way they want, they are quick to blame the other parent for alienating the children and for creating problems with their children.

Alienated Parents Who Previously Had A Healthy Relationship With Their Child

Parents in this category seem to be truly alienated against. They may be insightful, able to reflect on a wide variety of possibilities for their children’s behavior and are willing to look to themselves as a source of some problems. Typically, these parents have had a history in which they were close to their children and actively participated in their children’s lives and activities. These parents can have a nurturing quality, though there may be a tendency toward some passivity and difficulty dealing with overwhelming emotions. These dynamics provide a fertile atmosphere for the alienation to flourish.

In these families, the alienating parent is typically extreme and emotionally over-reactive and the alienated parent is usually more passive, nurturing and sensitive. The alienated parent is often overwhelmed and does not know what to do when faced with the alienating parent’s behaviors. Rather than confront the alienating parent or reality to the child, these alienated parents have a tendency to detach. This detachment reinforces the alienating parent’s vengeful behaviors. These parents may exhibit sensitivity to the children, nurturing behavior, passivity, insight and a tendency to be overwhelmed with intense emotions.

Alienated Parents Who Previously Had A Poor Relationship With Their Child

Many of these parents have had very little to do with their children prior to the separation and divorce. They may have been workaholics who came home late at night. They may have been fairly self-centered individuals who were more involved in their own activities than the activities of their children. Many of these parents may be quickly involved in a new relationship and are insensitive to the feelings of their children about this new relationship. Rather than recognize that their children may have their own feelings about their new partner. they are quick to blame the other parent for the children’s feelings. Blame is common for these parents.

In exploring the history of the relationship between these parents and their children, we often find that there is a general absence of a quality relationship in the formative years of development. There is a superficiality to the relationship caused by years of neglect or a history in which the other parent was truly the “primary parent’ in the marital relationship. These parents may show up for the “Kodak moments,” but do so in more self-centered way. often for their own enjoyment and interest rather than to participate with their children. These parents may report active involvement in activities such as coaching the children’s sports. yet, upon further exploration. the child often felt pushed into these activities and distant from their parent-coach. Often these parents are not even that interested in the child after the divorce. They claim alienation primarily as a way of continuing the control and blame that they exhibited during the marriage. For these parents who are claiming alienation, but are more likely to be the cause of the rift with their children, we look for indicators like defensiveness, control, externalization of blame, self-centeredness and superficiality.

The Children

The relationships between parent and child are fragile in these families, even if they were positive prior to the separation. When children are brought into the tug of war between the parents, they have a diminished ability to maintain healthy boundaries and relationships. Ultimately, this dynamic causes the alienating parent to reject anyone who perceives things in a way that the alienating parent does not like. In most instances, the family is so heavily invested in the alienating efforts that the root causes may be difficult to understand.

The effect of this alienation is dramatic on children. They suggest that children are most susceptible to alienation when they are passive and dependent and feel a strong need to psychologically care for the alienating parent. In both the child and alienating parent, there is a sense of moral outrage at the alienated parent and there is typically a fusion of feelings between the alienating parent and child such that they talk about the alienated parents as having hurt “us.” The general view is that children in such families are likely to develop a variety of pathological symptoms. These include, but are not limited to:

1. splittings in their relationships
2. difficulties in forming intimate relationships
3. a lack of ability to tolerate anger or hostility with other relationships
4. psychosomatic symptoms, sleep or eating disorders
5. psychological vulnerability and dependency
6. conflicts with authority figures
7. an unhealthy sense of entitlement for one’s rage that leads to social alienation in general

Some children tell very moving stories of how they have not liked or have been fearful of the alienated parent for a long time. They can give specific details of abuse, angry behavior. etc. prior to separation. These children often feel relieved when their parents divorce because they are now free of those problems. The differential understanding will come from the child’s clear account of inappropriate behavior, detachment in the relationship and a convincing sense of real problems (as opposed to the moral indignation of the alienated child).

When we listen to these children in those cases where the child is detached from the alienated parent. there is little evidence that these children are put in the middle by the alienating parent. Rather, there is a sadness to these children who wish (or may have wished in the past) for a different quality to the relationship with the alienated parent. For many of these children, they have observed significant spousal abuse during the marriage or have observed one parent being controlling and hostile to the other parent. It is the sadness and ambivalence about the lack of a relationship that is one of the key differential indicators that these children, while certainly aligned with one parent, are not being alienated.

Other Reasons For Alignment With One Parent

There are two other dynamics that are important to look for in these children. First, many children seem to be aligned with one parent primarily because of shared interests or a goodness of fit in the personality dynamics with one parent. There is a natural affinity between an active, sports-oriented child and his/her active, sports-oriented parent. Other children may have a stronger affinity with the parent who has effectively been the primary and a concomitant need to be with that parent. These dynamics have nothing to do with alienation but are related to the quality of the child’s relationships with each parent. Unlike the alienated children, however, these children want to spend time with the other parent. though on a more limited basis. The evaluator will note that the child’s reasoning is related to these interests or the quality of the relationship rather than imagined problems in the relationship with the alienated parent.

Second, conflict takes an emotional toll on children. As the level of conflict between parents increases and as children are caught in the middle of these conflicts, the child’s level of anxiety and vulnerability increases. For many of these children, an alignment with a parent helps take them out of the middle and reduces their anxiety and vulnerability. When pressed, these children will prefer a relationship with both parents and show no real history of any significant problems with either parent. By making a choice to be primarily with one parent, these children are making a statement that they need to be free of the conflict. For some, it may not even matter of which parent they live with, as long as they are removed from the conflict.

In fact, when the child’s anxiety is driving the split, the intensity and severity of the child’s feelings may be greater than the intensity of the alienating parent’s behaviors. Unlike children who are alienated primarily because of the alienating parent. or children who are aligned because of a rift in the relationship with the alienated parent. these anxious and vulnerable children are experiencing alignment as a direct result of the conflict and behaviors of both parents.

Recommendations For These Families

Within those families labeled moderate to severe, there is wide disagreement about possible solutions. Gardner touched off this debate by suggesting that the best solution is a change of custody from the alienating parent to the alienated parent, with an initial cut-off of all contact between the alienating parent and child. In a variety of court cases in which there were allegations of sexual abuse, he has testified that the sexual abuse allegation was a form of parental alienation and that a change of custody was clearly in order. Turkat supported Gardner’s position and recommended this change of custody in cases of severe parental alienation.

Gardner’s remedy has led to a number of articles written by attorneys (Isman [1996]. Mauzerall, Young, and Alsaker-Burke [1997] and Wood [1994]) who dispute Gardner’s view. They perceive his recommendation as extreme and dangerous. They question the existence of Parental Alienation Syndrome, suggesting that it does not meet any objective standard in the mental health community. They believe that changing custody on the basis of a syndrome that does not exist is potentially damaging to children.

Others (Ward and Campbell [1993], Johnston [1993]. Johnston and Roseby [1997], Waldron and Joanis [1996], Kelly [1997] and Garrity and Baris [1994]) prefer a more cautious approach to these severely alienated families. They feel that caution is indicated in order to balance the risk of harm to the child from being cut off from one parent (i.e. the alienated parent) or harm as a result of cutting the child off from the other parent (i.e. the alienating parent). One solution does not fit all families because children and their parents are quite different.

Cautious recommendations are likely to include many of the following:

1. A court order that recognizes the value of on-going contact between the child and the alienated parent and establishes structure around that contact
2. A mental health professional working with the child and/or family to therapeutically support the contact
3. The use of a case manager, Special Master, guardian ad litem, or parenting coordinator who would monitor the cooperation with the order and have the authority to enforce compliance or report to the court quickly when one parent is out of compliance
4. Avoid changing custody as a corrective tool; there may be times when a change of custody is indicated, but it will be because there is a different problem than alienation
5. Attempt to engage the alienating parent in therapy that is understanding and supportive while simultaneously providing a clear and consistent message that the alienation process is harmful to the child. If the alienating parent is currently in therapy with someone who supports the position of the alienating parent (i.e. contact between the child and the alienated parent should be nonexistent), it may be necessary for the court to order a change of therapists for the alienating parent unless that therapist can understand the dynamics and become part of the treatment team
6. In the most extreme examples, in which nothing seems to be working and the child appears to be at significant risk, it may be necessary to help the alienated parent therapeutically disengage from the child until such time that the child can more adequately re-establish the relationship. From the perspective of the child, this may actually be a less-damaging recommendation than a change of custody

If we understand that alienation is caused by splitting within the family. it is critical that those who try to work with the family (the attorneys, the judges and the mental health professionals) are in agreement in their approach to the family. If we recognize that alienated family systems are emotionally powerful. it is easy to see how the professionals involved can become split amongst themselves. In more extremely alienated families, the case manager will watch that the professionals do not succumb to the family’s splitting, inadvertently escalating the split.

Parentectomies: Do They Help?

As indicated earlier, perhaps the most controversial element of all the alienation literature has been stimulated by Dr. Gardner’s recommendation for a swift change of custody in those families identified as exhibiting severe parental alienation. There may also be a severe limitation on the child’s contact with the alienating parent, at least for the first few months after the change of custody. While there are certainly times when an evaluator might recommend a change of custody from one parent to the other, doing so solely on the basis of a finding of severe parental alienation may not be in the child’s best interest. When a child has a strong attachment, even if it is an unhealthy one, to the alienating parent, it can be emotionally damaging to the child if the relationship is abruptly terminated.

It is important to remember that children in these families are often in an enmeshed relationship with the alienating parent and often feel a strong need to protect that parent. They may be in a hostile-dependent relationship with the alienating parent. An abrupt change in custody may cause significant problems for the child. We must be careful that the proposed solution to alienation does not cause more problems for the child than did the alienation. I have never seen a change of custody by itself lead to a reduction in conflict and improvement in the situation for the child. While it may temporarily help the relationship between the child and the alienated parent, it often comes at an exorbitant price for the child.

Even with case manager and therapeutic support, many of these children continue to long for a relationship with the alienating parent. Sometimes these dynamics will resurface several years later. Rather than a complete change of custody, I believe that a more balanced time-share in which the child has time to be with each parent for a relatively equal period of time in larger chunks (such as two-week blocks or most of the summer) may be more beneficial to the child. Even when this is difficult to achieve, I would always consider the impact to the child of the change of custody and whether this solution will be worse than the alienation that is occurring.

For some families, it will be impossible to help the alienated parent ever have a viable relationship with the child, in spite of the best therapeutic and structural efforts. Some courts are taking to punishing children, placing them in juvenile halls and psychiatric hospitals because they do not see a parent. I do not agree with this approach. I believe that these children should be in therapy, with part of the therapeutic work centered on the alienated parent withdrawing from the child’s life. It is important to do this carefully so that the child does not feel abandoned by the alienated parent. The alienated parent needs to be taught to say the following to the child (in his/her own words, but with the overall intent completely clear):

“I know how hard it is for you when you feel pain. I know that you and I do not see things the same way and maybe we never will. I am sorry for whatever I have done to cause you to feel pain and I know that our divorce has been terrible for you. I love you and do not want you to be in the middle of the war between your (mom/dad) and me. I know it is terrible for you and rather than have you continue to experience that pain, I am going to withdraw for a while.”

“I want you to remember three things. First, I do love you and want what is best for you. Second, I will always be there for you if you need anything. Third, if you ever change your mind and want to rebuild our relationship, nothing could make me happier. I am only withdrawing for now to help you feel less pain and take you out of the middle of our war. I will keep in contact with you every few months or so. I will keep sending you birthday and Christmas cards. I hope you get them and I hope you will write back. I will always make sure you know where I am and how to reach me if I move. More than anything, I want you to have peace in your life and some day, I hope I can be a part of it. I love you and I always will.”

While this is a painful thing for an alienated parent to do, sometimes it is the only viable solution for an intractable situation. I would certainly encourage such a child to remain in therapy, at least periodically, to explore how the situation is working out. I would also encourage the parent to continue sending the cards, inviting a reunification with the child. At the present time, there is no research on these children and families to know if this actually helps but anecdotal evidence for some children suggests that it might.

This article and articles published in the December issue of this publication by Drs. Schuman and Stahl were condensed from Chapter 1 in Complex Issues in Child Custody Evaluations by Philip M. Stahl, Ph.D., (Copyright Sage, Forthcoming)

The original article can be found here: http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/stahl99.htm

A Sister’s Love – –

In children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights, state crimes on May 15, 2009 at 5:34 pm

27 March, 2009 (04:06) | Reflections | By: chrissy

Yesterday was my brothers birthday. This is a letter of love to my brother, Carlo DiFebbo Jr. I have missed time with you in the later years and I want you to know that I wish you the best. It breaks my heart not to be there with you on your special day. I long to say I love you or even Happy Birthday and chuckle. Today is your day and a day to celebrate your life. I have held on to the day where I can give you a hug. Someday I say all the time but when is that day. I miss you and Anthony and I know it is hard to be in the postion you are in. As the day passed on you where on my mind and what you would be doing on the day of your birth. You are no longer a boy but a man with a family of your own. Today your older sister wishes you a birthday filled with love, peace, and happiness. I wish I could be with you but I have learned I have to love you from a distance. That love for you and Anthony never goes away nor is it reduced because you are not physically present. I’m always here for you and never will I quit thinking one day we will sit around and laugh as siblings do. I love you CJ and I want to say Happy Birthday even if it’s in a blog. I love you and forever will know the bond we shared!

http://parentalalienationhurts.com

Parental Alienation:

…is any behavior by a parent, a child’s mother or father, whether conscious or unconscious, that could create alienation in the relationship between a child and the other parent. Parental alienation can be mild and temporary or extreme and ongoing. Most researchers believe that any alienation of a child against (the child’s) other parent is harmful to the child and to the target parent. Extreme, obsessive, and ongoing parental alienation can cause terrible psychological damage to children extending well into adulthood. Parental Alienation focuses on the alienating parents behavior as opposed to the alienated parent’s and alienated children’s conditions.

Parental Alienation and the Judiciary

In children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 15, 2009 at 4:01 pm

by Dr L F Lowenstein, MA, Dip Psych, PhD
Medico-Legal Journal (1999) Vol.67 Part 3, 121-123

Increasing numbers of cases are coming before the Courts where one parent feels displaced in relation to the children in the family. The syndrome, parental alienation (PAS),’ as it is now called, is not a new one, but its importance is being highlighted in the United States as well as in the UK. Judges are often uncertain as to how to treat the situation where one parent seeks to make contact with the children following an estrangement, separation, or an unusually unpleasant and vicious divorce.

There is some pressure on the Judiciary to keep the child or children with the person who has major control, usually the mother. Parental alienation however, also affects some mothers denied contact with their children who are resident with the father. On the whole, it is the male member of the partnership who suffers from the alienation situation.

In recent cases in which I have personally been involved, I had the opportunity of talking about PAS and its problems with two judges, on different occasions. The dilemma is how to deal with the case where the resident partner i.e. the alienating partner, fails to co-operate with the courts in providing adequate access for the other partner. I will recreate the general conversation, on an informal basis and hence no names can be mentioned. Interestingly, similar conversations were repeated with both judges, one male and one female, demonstrating how similar problems are often faced by the Judiciary in parental alienation cases.

Psych.: Your Honour, this is a case typical of parental alienation and I feel it is only right that the alienated parent should have contact with the child in question.

Judge: But the mother says that the child does not want any contact with the boy.

Psych.: This is because there has been a considerable amount of programming, I have discovered through my assessment, to make the child respond in this manner.

Judge: This may well be so but how do I deal with this situation when mother stubbornly refuses to allow contact of the child with the father?

Psych.: It is a difficult situation, your Honour, but the question remains: should justice be done or should it be ignored?

Judge: it is not as easy as that. I have spent time with mothers, even sitting in a cell, to try to get them to see reason to allow their former husbands to have access to a child. Sometimes this has worked while at other times, there has been a refusal. This puts me he a very awkward position since I must consider carefully, first and foremost, the children concerned and they are, after all, in the care of their mother who, if they are deprived of her, due to her being sentenced for failing to follow instructions, will lose a mother vital to their welfare.

Psych.: Again it comes down, your Honour, to considering the question of failure to comply with the Court ruling. If an ordinary criminal fails to obey instructions of the Court, some punitive action is taken. Should not some punitive action also follow when a mother, or father for that matter, refuses to accede to the ruling of the judge and the Court?

Judge: Well, I will see what I can do on this particular matter and the case before me but I still feel that it is a difficult one to settle, when one of the partners is totally opposed to contact with the child and the child in question has decided openly and before me, to refuse to have any contact with the other parent. Are you suggesting that I fine the mother in question or place her in a prison for failing to adhere to my instructions and that of the Court?

Psych.: I personally see no other alternative. It may well be that if such a threat is made, the alienating parent may, in due course, accept what has been recommended by the Court and there will be no need to take the action which you and I both feel is undesirable and may even be counter-productive.

Both judges agreed the case before them was typical of parental alienation and the difficulties they faced are only too obvious. Their first concern, and also that of myself, was the children. If the children have been “brain-washed” and “programmed” in a particular direction, this made the judge’s decision all the more difficult.

It is my view that no exception can be made for failing to adhere to the ruling of a court and that justice must be done however painful this may be. It may well be that the alienated parent should eventually gain access following a period of therapy between the psychologist and the child or children in question, to make them aware of what is happening. If older they themselves may well be able to put pressure on the alienating parent to see sense.

From the conversation, it can be seen that many judges are undoubtedly unsure how best to deal with alienating parents – this usually being the mother. Judges are often saved by the fact that fathers cease to pursue their role of wishing to play a part in their childrens’ lives. This is due to the resistance they meet from the former spouse, who has often formed a new relationship and wishes the new partner to take over the role of father. I have even known cases where the mother insisted the child call the new husband “dad” and the natural father by his first name.

Fathers who pursue both their right and their sense of responsibility through the courts are relatively few. Many opt out due to the resistance they meet from their ex-partners, the programmed child and the reluctance of judges to give them justice. This is undoubtedly due to the following:

1. Judges are reluctant to punish and most especially incarcerate obdurate mothers who refuse to comply with a judge’s decision that they must allow access with an estranged father.
2. Judges often are reluctant to ignore the view expressed by children that they do not wish to meet their fathers, despite the fact that such children have been “intensively programmed” to respond in this way by mothers and the mother’s relations.
3. Judges are reluctant to advise that therapy should take place, despite the fact that when such alienation occurs, children are damaged. Such therapy is often recommended by expert witnesses such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist. Such recommended periods of therapy for the child and mother are viewed by judges (with the aid of the mother’s Counsel!) as likely to damage further the children who are involved in this conflict and hostility between the parents.

Despite such reservations, judges have a moral duty to provide justice for the alienated party, this usually being the father. The threat of punishment for the alienator must be supported by punishment, including removing the child from mother’s care to a neutral place or to the alienated parent, and to use incarceration when necessary. Failure to carry out this distasteful, but necessary, action against the obdurate party would constitute a mockery of the judicial system. It is my experience as an expert witness to the Courts as a forensic, clinical psychologist, that most alienating parents, whether mothers or fathers, will obey a court order if punishment is threatened for failure to adhere to the ruling. Hence the carrying out of the various possible measures is rarely necessary.

In connection with PAS many judges have, without always being aware, adopted a double standard. They see mothers who are alienators as “victims” to be protected even when they have committed what can only be described as a form of “emotional abuse”. They have abused their powerful position by influencing the young children and turning them against the other parent. They have usurped the role of the other parent or given it to yet another partner with whom they have become associated. In this way, they have, by destroying the right of the other parent taken away that parent’s opportunity to contribute to the child’s welfare. This is at a time when we are seeking to promote the equality of the sexes. Partners should have equal power and responsibility toward their children.

PAS, when it has been proven, is a vicious form of gender opportunism or gender apartheid, which those seeking through justice can no longer ignore. Judges must stop worrying about public outcries if they remove a child from the care of a vicious programming parent who is showing their hostility toward the former partner.

I therefore suggest that the alienated parents, be they fathers or mothers, be protected. In so doing we are also protecting the children of such a relationship from a gross and calculated mis-use of power or position, that of the resident care giver.

Judges in cases of proven PAS should act as decisively as they would if judging a case of proven crime such as rape or murder. They must remove the child from the emotional damage being heaped upon it, to a safe place, where the non-alienating parent, with the help of therapy for the child, can have his influences felt by the child. At the same time, it is necessary to help the parent who has alienated the child in the first place. He or she has undoubtedly suffered from a considerable amount of pathological hostility towards the former partner.

By removing the child, or children, from the influence of the “brain-washing” alienator, the child has the opportunity of experiencing the dedication of the previously alienated parent and to develop a less biased view of that parent. Also the child can develop a positive view of both parents despite them being at war with each other.

This will do much to ensure for that child that both parents, although hostile towards one another, care and are devoted to him/her. This provides the child with a reasonable start in life, which he or she would not have had, had the influence of the alienator been allowed to continue along with a failure to have any contact with the alienated parent at the same time.

Dr L F Lowenstein
Allington Manor, Allington Lane
Fair Oak, Eastleigh
Hampshire, SO50 7DE
(01703) 692621

References

1. Parent Alienation Syndrome: What the legal profession should know, MLJ Vol 66 ( 1998) pt 4, 151.

The orginal article can be found here:http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/info_pas.htm

Children and Parents Rights – States to feds: Stay in D.C.!

In California Parental Rights Amendment, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, state crimes on May 14, 2009 at 2:20 pm

$11 trillion ‘micromanaging’ price sparks explosion in sovereignty movement

Posted: May 12, 2009
8:59 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A movement to reclaim for states all rights not specifically designated to the federal government in the U.S. Constitution is exploding across the nation, with 35 states already acting or at least considering such proposals – and one state lawmaker estimating the nation as a whole could save $11 trillion in coming years if it would succeed.

WND reported not long ago when the number of states with lawmakers considering such sovereignty efforts reached 20.

Now, according to the Tenth Amendment Center, such provisions have been launched in at least 35 states. They all address the Tenth Amendment that says: “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

South Carolina’s S. 424 is an example. It is titled: “To affirm South Carolina’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the United States Constitution over all powers not enumerated and granted to the federal government by the United States Constitution.”

Essentially it’s a reminder that the United States is made up of individual states; it’s not a federal authority broken up into political subdivisions.

In South Carolina, the proposals remains pending in the state Senate, where Sen. Lee Bright said he still hopes that it will be adopted this year.

The proposal there notes specifically that the “federal government was created by the states … to be an agent of the states,” and the states currently “are treated as agents of the federal government,” many times in violation of the Constitution.

The resolution states:

Be it resolved by the Senate, the House of Representatives concurring: That the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina, by this resolution, claims for the State of South Carolina sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the United States Constitution.

Be it further resolved that all federal governmental agencies, quasi-governmental agencies, and their agents and employees operating within the geographic boundaries of the State of South Carolina, and all federal governmental agencies and their agents and employees, whose actions have effect on the inhabitants or lands or waters of the State of South Carolina, shall operate within the confines of the original intent of the Constitution of the United States and abide by the provisions of the Constitution of South Carolina, the South Carolina statutes, or the common law as guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

Bright told WND the movement is spreading from state to state as fast as lawmakers discover it.

Michael Boldin, a spokesman for the Tenth Amendment Center, said his organization has created a posting for all such proposals to be tracked.

Among the states where such proposals at least have been considered are Louisiana, Colorado, Wisconsin, Illinois, West Virginia, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Nevada, Oregon, Alabama, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Idaho, New Mexico, South Dakota, Virginia, Kentucky, Alaska, Indiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, Minnesota, South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas, Texas, New Hampshire, Missouri, Iowa, Montana, Michigan, Arizona, Washington and Oklahoma.

In North Dakota, it passed the House and Senate both in April, with the House a short time later adopting changes made by the Senate.

In South Dakota, it was approved by both houses of the Legislature and under that state’s rules does not need the governor’s signature.

Just last week, Rep. M.J. “Manny” Steele, a Republican in South Dakota, wrote that he believes up to $11 trillion is being wasted in the coming years by Washington’s efforts “to duplicate and micromanage our states’ affairs.”

He said states should manage their own affairs and not be dependant on a federal cash cow to make ends meet. Likewise with industries, he said, citing federal cash dumps on the banking, insurance and automobile industries.

After all, he agreed, with enough federal money allocated to the industry, Americans all still could be listening to 8-track tapes in their cars, but would that really be the best outcome?

Steele told WND his dollar estimate was based on what President Obama himself has allocated in the coming years to spend on stimulus packages, industry bailouts and the like.

“If we would just let the market take care of these things,” he said.

His letter noted that Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Carolina legislatures joined South Dakota’s in passing some statement on the Tenth Amendment this year. The results vary based on state procedures, however. In Oklahoma, the governor vetoed the plan and it was launched on its second trip through the legislature.

“Over the course of decades, there have been increasing federal mandates and acts designed to effectively step in and legislate the affairs of our various states from Washington D.C.,” Steele said. “Federal usurpation into state affairs severely limits the ability of state governments to operate according to their citizens’ wishes.”

Moms of Michigan – Support Non Custodial Moms

In Family Rights on May 14, 2009 at 1:55 am

You are not alone.

Moms of Michigan is a site for non custodial mothers to reach out for support, political action, and education. Too many mothers come to the conclusion that they are helpless and alone. The numbers of non custodial mothers is on the rise and at an alarming rate. The bottom line is you are not alone and there is help!

The title “Non Custodial Mother” is a title that has a stigma placed with it. Society feels that a mother without her children is a drug addict or some monster that can’t be trusted to be a part of their children’s lives. The question rises “What did you do wrong to lose your children?” The truth is not all moms who lose custody are “monster” mothers.

http://www.momsofmichigan.org/