Archive for July, 2009|Monthly archive page

Jill Brooke: Do Men Become Better or Worse Fathers After Divorce?

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on July 21, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Do Men Become Better or Worse Fathers After Divorce?

If divorce is the future of duplicitous two-timers Gov. Mark Sanford to reality TV’s Jon Gosselin, these men will have to navigate co-parenting. However, a growing trend shows that many men become better parents post-divorce, to the surprise of ex-wives who find it difficult to grasp that a man who wasn’t a good husband can indeed be a good father.

Take the example of Peter Giles.

When Peter Giles’ three daughters were toddlers, work consumed him at the expense of family life. The New York businessman would justify the absences as doing the right thing for his family since he was providing the financial womb while his wife was taking care of their other needs.

What finally made him a better father? Getting a divorce.

“The divorce was such a shock and forced me to take stock of who I was and what success should look like,” said Giles, whose ex-wife Nancy Claus sought a divorce in 2001. “I came to realize that I had been providing for my children but needed to be more to them. ”

Like the majority of divorcing men today, Giles sought joint legal custody, which courts are more willing to grant since a federal study shows that men paid child support 90 percent of the time in comparison to less than 45 percent when the mother had sole custody.

When his daughters visited, Giles morphed into a multi-tasker taking on chores previously done by his wife including cooking, buying cosmetics and remembering to buy eggs and bacon at the market.

“I wish he would have been as involved and helpful when we were married,” said Claus. “But he has definitely become a much better Dad after our divorce.”

He is not alone.

“When a father is away from the stress of a failed marriage, he can be more relaxed and more reflective and as a result enjoy being more fully involved with his children,” said Don Gordon, professor emeritus of psychology at Ohio University and the director of the Center for Divorce Education.

David Gestl, the divorced father of four in Stewartstown, Pennsylvania, agrees, adding how it’s a relief not to argue about parenting styles which allows the father to develop his own.

“In my marriage, I was always walking on eggshells and getting criticized,” he said. “Recently after I made dinner, my son shook his chocolate milk and it went flying everywhere. I could say, just relax it’s nothing a paper towel won’t pick up. It’s okay to make a mistake and fix it. ”

One benefit to divorce is that with scheduled rationed time, each parent doesn’t take it for granted and can have more single minded focus with their kids.

CNBC anchor Dennis Kneale says divorce has made him “vastly closer ” to his 9-year-old daughter Jing-Jing. “In many families, mom is the center of everything and the husband is the supporting player,” he observed. “But with divorce, I have had more one on one time with her in ways I never did before.”

In a study on non-residential fathers, researcher Paul Amato from Pennsylvania State University found that the percentage of non-residential fathers being involved with their children more than tripled from 8 percent in the 1970’s to 26 percent in 2000’s.

A recent study by Kathleen Gerson, professor of sociology at New York University and author of ” The Unfinished Revolution:How a New Generation is Reshaping Family, Work,
and Gender in America” found the number to be 27 percent.

“Large numbers of contemporary fathers are doing their best to fulfill their responsibilities as parents despite the limitations of not residing with their children,” said Amato. “It’s time to recognize, value and support the commitment of these men to their children.”

Experts say that the rise of more involved fathers post-divorce is based on several factors that collectively aligned like shooting stars and is preventing what one organization calls, “a parentdectomy.”

A kid-focus culture for starters has helped cement ties.

Dr. Warren Farrell points out that pop culture’s parenting focus expanded the definition of a man’s identity. In one study tracking data from 1965-1998, married men had doubled their direct child care involvement. “More men put in the effort early which created deeper attachments that fathers didn’t want to lose,” said Farrell, who is also the author of “Father and Child Reunion.” Hence, more requests for joint custody.

Technology has also helped prevent or reduce what is called parental alienation where in the past the residential parent may – consciously or unconsciously – block contact either out of her resentment towards the father or because she has remarried and is protecting the stepfather relationship. A study by J. Annette Vanini and Edward Nichols found that 77 percent of noncustodial fathers faced some form of visitation interference.

But now fathers can give their kids pre-paid cell phones to insure contact. Divorce contracts are also often written to permit contact through email accounts.

Ted Rubin, a Huntington Long Island divorced dad to two girls, admits to using Facebook to keep in contact with his kids. “Sometimes when we speak on the phone I can tell if Mom is standing there and then later my daughter will contact me on Facebook,” he said. “A lot of Dads complain that moms could stand in the way of communication but now it’s almost impossible because kids are so tech savvy.”

In fact, Rubin, who has a contentious divorce with his ex-wife, says that email helps divorced parents diminish “the nastiness is our dialogues” which the kids would overhear on the phone. Now he can email what time he’s picking up the kids and delivering them without any verbal warfare.

Another big boost for continued contact has been videoconferencing. In 2002, Utah resident Michael Gough worried that his ex-wife’s relocation to Wisconsin would wipe out his parental involvement. Considering that less than 10 percent of divorces go to trial, he fought to have the right to videoconference with his daughter. Utah was the first state to pass legislation for virtual visitation in 2004.

“It costs me thousands of extra dollars to go to court but as a result there is now a statute for videoconferencing that other judges and attorneys can refer to and follow,” said Gough, who now runs a website called Because of his efforts, Wisconsin, Florida and Texas all passed similar legislation and North Carolina did this month.

“With videoconferencing, I was able to read bedtime stories, help her with her homework and even watch her open up a present,” said Gough, with genuine sentimentality.

Schools are also helping divorced parents co-parent on neutral ground. While some wives would raise their eyebrows like thunderbolts when an ex-husband would arrive at the sports field, schools are not playing favorites.

“My ex-wife interpreted the divorce agreement that if I arrived at my son’s soccer game that it should only be when I had him for an overnight,” said Eric Ryerson, a nurse in Eugene, Oregon and father to an 11-year-old son. “But I want to see him more than my custody arrangement and by coming to sports events and volunteering at school, I can see him more.”

Ryerson went to the school and volunteered to be a chaperone for class trips, signed his name to contact forms and also spoke to coaches to provide information on his son’s soccer and baseball games.

“I asserted myself to be present and got rewarded for it,” said Ryerson. “I also got to meet his classmates and interacted with them.” Ryerson recalls fondly how in second grade he was nicknamed Mr. Pushy because he eagerly pushed his son’s friends on the swings. “My son told me he liked it when I came to school.”

In fact, research shows that the kids do like it when both parents are present.

“They have fewer behavior and emotional problems, higher self-esteem and better school performance than children in sole custody arrangements,” said Glenn Sacks, the National Executive Director of Fathers & Families. “When researchers have examined children of divorce, and studied and queried adult children of divorce, they’ve found that most prefer joint custody and shared parenting.”

For example, in one Arizona State University study of college students who experienced their parents’ divorces while they were children, over two-thirds believe that living equal times with each parent is the best arrangement. A Harvard University study also confirmed that children in joint custody settings fared much better than kids living in sole custody households.

While many men acknowledge progress, some still complain that the system treats fathers as second-class citizens when asking for more time with their children.

As Gary Nicholson, the president of the American Association of Marital Attorneys, explains, part of the problem is that various state laws tie child support payments to the amount of time a father is with their child. Payments can be adjusted if the father spends as much as 100 nights with his child so many mothers resist giving 50-50 splits and are angered by the request.

Said Nicholson, “Are there folks who look at this economically and think if I have equal time I won’t have to pay as much child support? Yes. But the majority of dads want to be involved in their kid’s lives. They feel they should be equal partners.”

As the nation sees more divorced families, more parents have learned that even though the marriage is over, they are forever linked as co-parents. Cultural cues also encourage that they should love their children more than they hate their spouse. Over time, many hard feelings thaw and enhanced appreciation can ensue.

Deb Rabino, a New York based make-up artist, learned to admire her ex-husband’s parenting of their two sons so much that when he lost his job in the financial industry, she voluntarily reduced his alimony and child support payments.

“He definitely became a better father after our divorce,” she said. “He honored his support of us and now it was our turn to help him out.”

The increased connection between children and fathers also results in other sacrifices as well. Michael Gough says videoconferencing helped get him more involved with his daughter. “My participation reminded me I have a daughter who needed me otherwise it could have been out of sight, out of mind.” Because his wife later relocated to Austin, Texas, Gough now found a new job to be near his daughter.

“Videoconferencing really helped us stay closer,” said Gough. “But it still can’t replace seeing my daughter and getting a hug.”

Like many men, he is getting remarried and may start a new family.

As Stephanie Coontz, the Director of Research and Public Education at the Council on Contemporary Families, observes, men have for more than 150 years tended to think of the responsibility of kids as a package deal. When the relationship split up, they’d walk away and start new families. “But we’re seeing a growing number of men separting from their wives but not their children,” she said.

Do you have any doubt that recent divorced dads including Dylan McDermott, Robin Williams, Russell Simmons or Guy Ritchie won’t enjoy time with their kids? All have said how much it means to them.

Still, it can be very painful for ex-wives to see that their families are living lives without them – especially when spouses repartner. However, in time, this divorce therapist has seen many women realize that a break from 24/7 parenting can benefit everyone. And love is far more elastic and flexible than we think.

(This story will also be discussed on CBS’ “Early Show”)

Jill Brooke: Do Men Become Better or Worse Fathers After Divorce?.


False Domestic Violence Accusations Can Lead To Parental Alienation Syndrome

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, Civil Rights, custody, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Sociopath on July 20, 2009 at 11:34 pm

False Domestic Violence Accusations Can Lead To Parental Alienation Syndrome
April 19, 2006
by David Heleniak

Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a pattern of thoughts and behavior that can develop in a child of separated parents where the custodial parent causes the child, through manipulation and access blocking, to unjustifiably fear and/or hate the other parent. PAS is more than brainwashing, in that the child comes to actively participate in the degradation of the target parent, coming up with original (often ludicrous) reasons to fear/hate him or her.

Domestic violence (DV) restraining orders are a perfect weapon for an alienating parent. Typically, in addition to removing an accused abuser from the marital home, a DV restraining order also “temporarily” bars the accused abuser from seeing his or her children, and “temporarily” gives the accusing parent exclusive physical custody. And temporary, in the Family Court, has a funny way of becoming permanent.

Obtaining a restraining order based on a false allegation of domestic violence gets the target parent out of the house and out of the picture. A father who can’t see his kids, for example, is unable to rebut the lie “Daddy doesn’t love you anymore. That’s why he left you.” Nor can he rebut the alternate lie, “Daddy is dangerous. The wise judge said so. That’s why he can’t see you.”

Often, if an accused abuser is allowed to see his or her children, it is in a supervised visitation center. As Stan Rains observed in “Supervised Visitation Center Dracula,”

The demeaning of the “visiting” parent is readily visible from the minute that a person enters the “secured facility” with armed guards, officious case workers with their clipboards and arrogant, domineering managers…. The child’s impression is that all of these authority figures see Daddy as a serious and dangerous threat. The only time a child sees this type of security is on TV showing prisons filled with bad people.

Not only does visitation in a visitation center send the clear message to the child that the “visiting” parent is a bad person, if children decline to see their parents under such a setting, they are generally not forced to do so. More perversely, if a child is encouraged by the custodial parent to refuse to see the target parent, there will be no significant repercussion to the targeting parent, and, generally, the child will not be forced to see the target parent.

The more time a child spends away from the alienated parent, the worse the alienation will become. As psychologist Glenn F. Cartwright remarked in his article “Expanding the Parameters of Parental Alienation Syndrome,”

the old adage that time heals all wounds, such is not the case with PAS, where the passage of time worsens rather than heals the affliction. This is not to say that time is unimportant: on the contrary, time remains a vital variable for all the players. To heal the relationship, the child requires quality time with the lost parent to continue and repair the meaningful association that may have existed since birth. This continued communication also serves as a reality check for the child to counter the effects of ongoing alienation at home. Likewise, the lost parent needs time with the child to ensure that contact is not completely lost and to prevent the alienation from completely destroying what may be left of a normal, loving relationship. Time used in these ways helps to counter the negative effects of alienation.

The alienating parent, on the other hand, requires time to complete the brainwashing of the child without interference. The manipulation of time becomes the prime weapon in the hands of the alienator who uses it to structure, occupy, and usurp the child’s time to prevent “contaminating” contact with the lost parent, depriving both of their right to spend time together and furthering the goal of total alienation. Unlike cases of child abuse where time away from the abuser sometimes helps in repairing a damaged relationship, in PAS time away from the lost parent furthers the goal of alienation. The usual healing properties of time are lost when it is used as the primary weapon to inflict injury on the lost parent by alienating the child.

Along these lines, Dr. Richard A. Gardner, who coined the term “Parental Alienation Syndrome” in 1985, maintained: “If there is to be any hope of their reestablishing a relationship with the targeted parent, PAS children must spend significant time with him (her). They must have living experiences that will demonstrate that the PAS parent is not noxious and/or dangerous.”

A parent willing to falsely accuse the other parent of domestic violence would probably be willing to poison a child against him or her. Add to this the problem that a judge willing to “err on the side of caution” by entering a DV restraining order based on a dubious false allegation would probably not be willing to do what was necessary to prevent the development of PAS.

PAS is heart-wrenching and, tragically, common. If the DV restraining order system could be reformed so that only real victims obtained restraining orders and only real abusers were thrown out their houses, I predict that the number of PAS cases would be greatly reduced. Let’s try to get there.

David Heleniak is an attorney in Morristown, NJ, and the author of “The New Star Chamber: The New Jersey Family Court and the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act.” > editorial > False Domestic Violence Accusations Can Lead To Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Battered Men-Intimate Partner Violence Against Men – Men Victims of IPV Too-Men Victims of Abusive Domestic Relationships

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, fatherlessness, fathers rights, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment on July 20, 2009 at 11:12 pm
Intimate Partner Violence Against Men

Men as Victims of Abusive Relationships


Updated: January 04, 2007 Health’s Disease and Condition content is reviewed by the Medical Review Board

Think about domestic violence and you think of women, battered by their husband, boyfriend, or a man they used to involved with. Now, think again. Every year in the U.S., about 3.2 million men are the victims of an assault by an intimate partner. Most assaults are of a relatively minor nature such as pushing, shoving, slapping or hitting, though many are more serious – and some end in homicide.

Intimate Partner Violence – The Stats
There are a number of difficulties in the collection of statistical data about intimate partner violence (IPV). The major problem is that the true size of IPV is unknown because of under-reporting. Statistical data are also affected by different countries and states not collecting data in the same way, partly because definitions of IPV can differ. This is particularly marked in the case of men, probably because of the stigma and embarrassment men may feel as victims of domestic violence.

It is universally recognized that women are more likely than men to be the victims of IPV. In 2002, 24 percent of U.S. homicides that were as a result of IPV were men, compared with 76 percent involving women as victims. The National Crime Victimization Survey reported in 2003 that 85 percent of IPV victims were women and that firearms were the weapons of choice in many homicides that occurred between 1981 and 1998. Research found that 22 percent of men (and 29 percent of women) experienced physical, sexual, or psychological IPV during their lifetime. Sadly, some children also become injured during IPV incidents between parents. Men of different ethnicity than their partners are at greater risk being a victim of IPV.

Why Men Do Not Report IPV Abuse
The level of violence inflicted on men by women is generally less serious than that inflicted on women, but IPV abuse is still a significant men’s health problem.

One reason men do not report abuse is that they feel people will not believe them. Arguably, IPV towards women had been ignored for so long, society now finds the concept of violence towards men difficult to grasp and consequently has been slow to address it as a serious issue.

Men, even if they are hit by a woman partner in front of others, can often hide their abuse by saying they would never retaliate or hit a woman. Their ‘abuse’ can even be interpreted as a strength or masculine characteristic.

Humiliation as abuse is more difficult to rationalize. Belittling, humiliating IPV can have a devastating effect and sustains a relationship in which power rests unfairly with the abuser. Regular, repeated psychological and emotional abuse undermines confidence. Men begin to believe that they deserve the abuse they are getting, that they are worthless human beings nobody else would want. It is a difficult belief to turn around if it has gone on for a long time, and it is one of the major reasons why people remain in abusive relationships.

Violence in Gay Men’s Relationships
Violence within gay relationships is a recognized health problem. Gay men are just as susceptible to domestic violence as any other member of society. There are some differences though, as Ramon Johnson points out in his article about Gay Partner Abuse. Gay people often feel they cannot seek help from agencies that mostly offer help and advice to heterosexual couples. Gay men are more reluctant to expose their sexuality to health care professionals. Health workers are not immune to prejudice and may be intolerant of gay relationships. The victim may have the same friends as the abuser, and can be worried about losing the support from his partner and mutual friends.

Visit Ramon’s site for more information and help: Gay Life

Getting Help for Domestic Violence Against Men
Do not ignore or put up with domestic violence. If you or someone you know is the victim/survivor of IPV and needs help, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233), 800-787-3224 TYY

Web information is available from the National Domestic Violence Hotline

Battered Men-Intimate Partner Violence Against Men-Men Victims of IPV Too-Men Victims of Abusive Domestic Relationships.

Families – The True Strength of America

In Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping on July 20, 2009 at 10:23 pm

Families – The True Strength of America
Copyright © by Ron Ewart
July 2009

The glue that binds us all together is the bond forged in families – husband, wife and children. It is a powerful bond, held together by love, mutual respect and a large dose of pre-programmed genetics.

The saying that “blood is thicker than water” gets its’ roots from the bond of family. Families are the natural order of life on this planet, at least for most mammals, but it is especially true for the human mammal.

The character of family for we humans is several orders of magnitude above our other earthly creatures and considerably more complex. Being complex, it leads to more complex problems that require resolution.

Sure, family life is more complicated now than it was before, with both parents working to maintain their lifestyle and a schedule for children with education and ancillary activities that has gone way beyond what we used to do in the 1940’s and 50’s with sand-lot baseball and kick-the-can, sans television.

And yes, our adopted contemporary lifestyle has weakened the bond of family a little and increased the complexity of daily life, but still our families survive and thrive, in spite of that lifestyle. Yes, our new lifestyle has fractured the family some and divorce rates are up, but even with the added strain, over 50% of families still stay together.

We need to work a little harder on getting the number of stay-together families higher and we will. But all things tend to run in cycles and it takes time to adapt to rapidly changing technology and the rapid pace of our lives.

We fully expect the divorce rates will go down some in the future, as our adaptation increases.

Raising children in this environment is not easy, but when has raising children ever been easy?

Still, the joy that children bring adults, or each other, is incalculable. The birth of newborns, babies first step or first word, joy during the holidays, the elation and pride that comes from achievements in school or sports, the first date, marriage and its promise ….. all difficult sometimes, but all very worthwhile in the cycle of life.

In spite of these conditions that shake the very fibers of the nuclear family, those fibers and that bond are the true strength of America.

Responsible families produce the current and next generation of thinkers, intellectuals, hard workers, producers, consumers and pray-ers. Some lose and some win, but most who lose pick themselves up again and get back in the game …. sometimes all by themselves, sometimes with the help of family and sometimes in spite of family.

That bond of family is even stronger under the umbrella of freedom and it is that bond that will allow Americans to hold onto their freedom. The job of preserving freedom must start at the family level. It must start with teaching our kids about the foundations of freedom and liberty in America.

Our children are not being taught the great history of America in our schools and why we have become the most powerful nation on Earth, but also the wealthiest, the most creative, industrious, ingenious and the most generous.

Many adults who grew up in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and now in the first decade of the 21st Century, haven’t learned and aren’t learning it either.

The fact is, America is a “Constitutional Republic”, (see definitions below) which means that the minority is protected from the majority (mob rule) by the rule of law under the Supreme Law of the Land, our Constitution.

Because of the current massive attempts by all levels of our government (especially the federal government) to rule every aspect of our lives, our constitution is being torn asunder by the day and yet it is the only document that stands between us and socialism, communism, fascism, a dictator, or outright anarchy.

It is the ultimate responsibility of the parents in the family to pass on the heritage of freedom and liberty to their children, even if our public school system isn’t doing it. It is the family’s responsibility to teach their children about the documents that established that freedom and how important it is to preserve, protect and defend those documents.

In the end, the preservation of freedom lies with each individual but each individual’s drive to preserve freedom is best nourished in the safe environment of a loving family. It is up to the parents of the family to initiate the conversations about freedom and our founding documents. It is up to the parents to show their children the rich heritage of this great nation and learn about those who sacrificed so much that we might live free.

With most families having one or more computers and access to the Internet, the information about America is literally at the family’s finger tips. Talk about these issues when you gather together for holidays. But the most effective environment to discuss America, is right at the dinner table when all are gathered to share the evening meal.

President Reagan stated that “freedom is only one generation away from extinction.”

If Americans care about the preservation of our liberty and American sovereignty, they must teach their children about freedom, so that it is carried on from generation to generation, or freedom will die and our culture of liberty and our very sovereignty will be absorbed into the one-world-order without a shot being fired. America will become but a footnote in some history book that will improperly paint America as some strange anomaly that could have never lasted very long anyway.

Americans need to do everything in their power to see that that footnote is never written.

Losing is not an option.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Constitutional Republic: “….. is a state where the head of state and other officials are elected as representatives of the people, and must govern according to existing constitutional law that limits the government’s power over citizens. In a constitutional republic, executive, legislative, and judicial powers are separated into distinct branches and the will of the majority of the population is tempered by protections for individual rights so that no individual or group has absolute power. The fact that a constitution exists that limits the government’s power makes the state constitutional. That the head(s) of state and other officials are chosen by election, rather than inheriting their positions, and that their decisions are subject to judicial review makes a state republican.”

A True Democracy: “….. where the majority has the ultimate say in all things ….. essentially mob rule.”

Ron Ewart, President
P. O. Box 1031, Issaquah, WA 98027
425 222-4742 or 1 800 682-7848
(Fax No. 425 222-4743)

Families – The True Strength of America.

MICHIGAN: State Supreme Court OKs Removing Child From Native American Mother (2009-07-15)

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, cps fraud, custody, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Indians, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, state crimes, Title Iv-D on July 20, 2009 at 7:41 pm

Idiot state court workers followed the rules, but the rules broke the ICWA which protect Indian Children.

To terminate an Indian child parent relationship takes evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt”  not clear and convincing evidence.

The Michican Supreme Court justices apparently cannot read or understand federal law is the supreme law of the land.  – Parental Rights

25 U.S.C. § 1912 (d), (e), (f).

Reasonable Doubt Standard for Termination of Parental Rights

Section 1912(f), supra, specifies a beyond a reasonable doubt standard of proof for termination of parental rights proceedings. A number of other jurisdictions use a dual standard of proof in ICWA cases in which a clear and convincing standard is applied to the state law requirements for termination of parental rights and the reasonable doubt standard is applied only to the requirement in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f) that continued custody by the parent is likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child. E.g., In re H.A.M., 961 P.2d 716, 719 (Kan. App. 1998). The prevailing practice in Oklahoma trial courts has been to use the reasonable doubt standard for both the state law requirements for termination of parental rights and the requirements in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f), however. In addition, in In the Matter of T.L., 2003 OK CIV APP 49, ¶ 15, 71 P.3d 43, the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals applied the reasonable doubt standard to both the requirements in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f) and the Oklahoma state law requirements that the parent failed to correct conditions leading to adjudication and that the child had been in foster care for 15 of the 22 months preceding the filing of the termination proceedings. Using the reasonable doubt standard for both the state law requirements and the requirements in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f) avoids the difficulty of explaining different standards of proof to the jury, and is therefore less confusing to the jury. Applying the higher reasonable doubt standard also gives greatest effect to the ICWA, and it is therefore less likely to result in reversal of a termination of parental rights decision than applying the lower clear and convincing evidence standard. Accordingly, the reasonable doubt standard is used in these instructions for both the state law requirements and the requirements in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f).


MICHIGAN: State Supreme Court OKs Removing Child From Native American Mother (2009-07-15)



The Michigan Supreme Court says state welfare workers followed the rules when they removed an American Indian child from her mother’s home, and asked a court to terminate her parental rights.

The issue here is whether state Department of Human Services employees complied with a court rule. It says the state has to make a special effort to avoid breaking up American Indian families. The mother is a member of the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.

Five justices of the Supreme Court said there was clear and convincing evidence that removing the boy was necessary to rescue from further emotional or physical harm. The mother had already had already lost custody of her other children. And the majority said the fact that she was convicted of drunk driving showed substance abuse counseling was not helping her.

Two justices dissented. Justices Michael Cavanagh and Marilyn Kelly said child welfare workers should have done more to show how the mother’s current circumstances, and not just her history, required authorities to remove the child. © Copyright 2009, MPRN

MICHIGAN: State Supreme Court OKs Removing Child From Native American Mother (2009-07-15).

False Allegations of Child Molestation and Child Abuse

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on July 20, 2009 at 4:31 pm


By: Edward Martinovich, Attorney at Law and Ariella Rosenberg

In 1986, a defendant was convicted of four counts of first-degree sexual offense and ordered to serve two life sentences. In 2001, after spending fourteen years in prison, this defendant was released, two years after his daughter, admitted that she had lied about her father molesting her. Although a medical examiner had found no evidence of the defendant’s alleged sexual abuse, the daughters story was so convincing that it held up until she finally admitted to the falsehood. Her excuse: she had lied to escape her strict, religious upbringing. The cost: 14 years of freedom and his reputation. His life was irreparably harmed.

A similar case occurred last year, when, after spending twelve years in prison, the defendant walked free. The defendant had been sentenced to forty years in prison in 1992 for molesting a 3-year-old girl. A few years ago, the alleged victim found out that the defendant was in prison and told a relative that she had been coerced into lying to authorities. Apparently, another relative, who had harbored a long-standing grudge against the defendant, had coached the girl.

Sadly, false accusations of molestation are a frequent reality in the criminal justice system.
Besides detracting from credible cases of true sexual abuse, false accusations have put many innocent men and women behind bars, while destroying their families and ruining their lives. The motives for manipulating a child into making a false accusation can range from revenge over a broken relationship to a desire to gain full custody of a child. In cases where there are huge sums of money at stake, or in cases involving celebrities, such as the recent Michael Jackson trial, the motives often include a desire to obtain a financial winfall from a public figure.

Federal Law on Child Abuse Prevention

The Mondale Act of 1974, also known as the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), brought the phenomenon of child molestation to the public eye.
42 U.S.C.A. 5101. Before the passage of CAPTA, child abuse was concealed and rarely reported. With the Acts adoption, states were required to enact more effective child abuse laws, threatening to withhold funding should the provisions of the federal code not be incorporated into state law.

Although the Act is clearly beneficial to the plight of abused children, it is also vulnerable to abuse by those with unseemly agendas. Whereas the Act contains provisions for immunity for individuals making good faith reports of suspected or known instances of child abuse, anyone failing to report any incident of suspected child abuse can be convicted of a felony and have their professional license suspended. 42 U.S.C.A. 5106a. Understandably, the system encourages officials and experts to err on the side of reporting cases of potential child abuse. However, the combination of extreme pressure on officials not to miss a valid report of abuse and the relatively minor consequences faced by false accusers create a tension in the bureaucratic structure, thereby creating a legal nightmare for the wrongfully accused.

After spending twenty years in a California prison after a 1985 child molestation conviction, on defendant was released last year on his 61st birthday. Four of the defendants accusers, now adults, testified that overzealous criminal investigators manipulated them until they fabricated the stories of abuse. Doctors had never even examined the victims. The defendants case demonstrates a classic case of nervous and overanxious childcare officials fearing the legal consequences of failing to protect a truly abused child, only to overreact and lead children into false accusations of molestation.

Different states maintain different statutes regarding punishment for those who coach their children into false accusations against a spouse to gain advantage during a bitter divorce or custody battle. The phenomenon is common enough to have been given a name by mental health professionals: SAID syndrome (sexual allegations in divorce). It goes hand in hand with Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a disorder made up of a combination of brainwashing of a child by one parent to incriminate the other, and of self-created contributions by the child in support of the alienating parents campaign of incrimination. PAS is almost exclusively seen in the context of child-custody disputes, during which false accusations of molestation often arise. Whereas the legal consequences for convicted molesters can include life in prison and lifetime registration as a criminal sex offender, oftentimes those who coerce a child into a false accusation face no more than a fine and less than a year in jail. Let us examine the high-stakes custody battle between a casino mogul and former playboy model wife. Although the judge in the initial trial found that the defendant had coached the couples twin daughters, then 4, to make false accusations of sexual abuse against their father, on appeal, judges still returned the twins to their mothers custody. In this case, the penalty his estranged wife suffered for forcing their children to lie was actually a victory, in that she gained custody of the children.

What To Do If You Are Falsely Accused

False allegations of child molestation are different from most other criminal allegations due to their sexual content, which makes them emotionally charged and highly sensitive. Moreover, since a mere touch of a child can form the basis for a molestation charge in most jurisdictions, these allegations rarely have any medical evidence to support them. Consequently, the trial becomes a battle between the words of a very sympathetic young child versus those of a less sympathetic adult. Add to this, general public paranoia and outrage fueled sometimes by incessant media coverage and you have a recipe for disaster. Therefore, when a child claims to have been abused, the accused is forced to become a public figure and come forward to proclaim his innocence, and, in some instances, be forced to testify at a trial. This creates unfairness within the criminal justice system, wherein the accused has a right to remain silent and is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the prosecution.

Those who have been falsely accused of crimes against children, especially crimes that are sexual in nature, have options. It is imperative to retain expert legal counsel early on in the process. This means at the beginning of an investigation by either the social service agency or law enforcement. What is done at the outset can dictate how and if a criminal prosecution will ensue. Of course, it goes without saying that anyone who is facing criminal prosecution should have an attorney who is experienced in handling these types of criminal cases. Many accused adults decide to plead no contest or guilty to false accusations of molestation under the mistaken belief that a plea does not constitute a criminal conviction. Further, they feel compelled to accept such a plea offer because it results in less custody time than they face if they went to trial and were convicted. What the uninformed person does not know is that a plea of no contest or a plea of guilty is a criminal conviction, which may result in the loss of ones right to appeal, the requirement of lifetime registration as a sex offender, and the public posting of ones name and place of residence. 42 U.S.C.A. 14071. A convicted sex offender may also be ordered to undergo treatment, may be barred from holding certain kinds of jobs, and may be ordered to stay away from children, including their own, regardless of whether or not they were the alleged victims, or to enjoy only supervised visits. Moreover, convicted sex offenders often are subject to searches, seizures, and interrogations by law enforcement every time that a sex crime occurs in the area in which they live. The bottom line is that before one makes a decision that has such far-reaching consequences, one must be absolutely certain that he has received the best counsel possible.

For these reasons, a seasoned legal expert is crucial to help fight false accusations. A smart attorney will prepare a roadmap of the strategy to be used to defend against these types of allegations. A good attorney will discuss with the client what resources will be needed to wage the war against the governments charges. One most certainly will consider the need for medical, psychological and sociological experts.

1. Experts can evaluate and analyze medical or scientific evidence.
2. Experts can conduct an in-depth evaluation of the client.
3. Experts can educate a judge and jury as to the nature of child witnesses and the subject of suggestibility of children.
4. Experts can review and analyze video, audio and written accounts of a childs interview to determine whether the proper interviewing techniques were employed and whether or not a child is credible.

A smart attorney will also counsel the client as to how to conduct himself and what proactive steps to take prior to any trial in order to prepare for certain phases of the case. It is important to note that one who is accused should never confront the child or any other witness about the investigation. A simple conversation may lead to charges of violation of an order of protection, which orders are routinely issued in these types of cases, as well as accusations of intimidating a witness or endangering the welfare of a child.

A smart attorney may also discuss the possibility of having the client submit to a polygraph test (records the bodys responses to truths and lies to judge credibility) and/or a plethysmograph test (records sexual responses to pedophilic material to determine whether any sexually based mental health disorders may be present). Some of these tests and their results may not be legally admissible in court; however, they may be successfully used in discussions with a prosecutor prior to the filing of a criminal complaint to affect the decision as to whether and what types of charges are filed or in negotiation and mitigation once the criminal prosecution has begun.

If I am innocent of the allegations, why do I need a lawyer?

A person who is being investigated for a crime he or she did not commit can benefit from hiring an attorney as soon as possible, even before charges are brought. In particular, in investigations of sexual crimes, such as child molestation, it is important to have the benefit of counsel as early as possible. As a person under investigation, your most important protection is your right to hold the government to the burden of proving its case without any voluntary statement from you.

Your attorney can communicate on your behalf to the investigators. False allegations of child abuse and child molestation sometimes occur when a family member is engaged in a child custody or divorce proceeding. Although many states have laws that impose sanctions for making such accusations, (for example, California Family Code Section 3027.1)(*1) many accusations are still made because it is often difficult for the court to conclude that the allegation was made in bad faith, and not out of an exercise of caution in response to some statement by the child.

If child abuse investigators are contacting you, they have already concluded they have some basis to believe the accusations are true. Investigative agencies are not legally required to follow up on all accusations they receive, and often reject fanciful and contrived allegations without contacting the suspect. If the allegation is false but sufficiently believable for investigators to proceed, the accuser has most likely provided a wealth of factual detail to support the allegations. In questioning a suspect, investigators rarely provide the accused with reports of the allegations, and are even permitted to mislead the accused in an effort to prompt the accused to give a statement. Your statement may inadvertently corroborate relatively minor details, providing sufficient evidence for an arrest to occur.

If you are falsely accused of child molestation it is important to take precautions. Falsely accused persons often mistakenly believe that hiring counsel will cause the authorities to assume the suspect must be guilty. In truth, investigators, prosecutors, and courts must respect your right to counsel and your right to remain silent. They cannot infer that your statement would have implicated you merely because you have retained counsel, or you have declined to give a statement. On the other hand, any statement a falsely accused suspect gives may supply inadvertent corroboration to the accusations, and therefore allow the authorities to obtain probable cause for arrest.

Furthermore, there is no guarantee as to the length of time an accused person will be questioned or under what circumstances. Investigators who believe they can break down a suspects resistance to admitting the truth of a crime may prolong questioning for many hours. They may also question the accused about a wide range of topics, which may appear to not even relate to the present situation. They may conduct the interview in a very uncomfortable setting, even leaving the accused isolated for many hours in an effort to overcome resistance and make the suspect feel hopeless. Finally, investigators are trained at obtaining statements and admissions that are favorable to the prosecution, and may succeed in doing so, even when the accused is innocent.

Due to the current legal and political environment described above and the significant consequences of a sex crimes criminal conviction a criminal defense attorneys assistance could prevent formal charges.

A person investigated for child molestation should remember that only conversations with his or her attorney and the attorneys staff and investigators are privileged against discovery. Any conversation with police investigators, child protective services, family, friends and the alleged victim can be admitted into court as evidence of admissions (*2) or prior inconsistent statements. Even minor deviations between a different persons accounts of the accusers side of the story can appear significant in a later trial.

Frequently police set up a call from the alleged victim to the suspect and monitor the call for any type of incriminating statement, which may be used in the subsequent criminal prosecution. A person is under no obligation whatsoever to cooperate with authorities in his own criminal prosecution and by allowing an attorney to speak for him, the falsely accused may very well save himself from a criminal conviction. An attorney may even be able to supply evidence in your favor, such as statements from other witnesses, or arrange for a psychological evaluation showing that you do not have the personality profile of a person who victimizes children.

The vast majority of those convicted of criminal charges have made some type of statement in investigators, while conversely those who exercise their right to remain silent have a much stronger likelihood of avoiding a criminal prosecution.

As our discussion reveals, the crime of child molestation and other crimes against children are serious offenses that are not to be taken lightly under any circumstances. Given the gravity of the offenses and the severity of the possible consequences, those who have been falsely accused of child molestation or similar crimes must have an experienced attorney at their side in order to prepare and execute an effective defense.

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*1 California Family Code 3027.1.

False accusations of child abuse or neglect during child custody proceedings; knowledge; penalties

(a) If a court determines, based on the investigation described in Section 3027or other evidence presented to it, that an accusation of child abuse or neglect made during a child custody proceeding is false and the person making the accusation knew it to be false at the time the accusation was made, the court may impose reasonable money sanctions, not to exceed all costs incurred by the party accused as a direct result of defending the accusation, and reasonable attorney’s fees incurred in recovering the sanctions, against the person making the accusation. For the purposes of this section, “person” includes a witness, a party, or a party’s attorney.

(b) On motion by any person requesting sanctions under this section, the court shall issue its order to show cause why the requested sanctions should not be imposed. The order to show cause shall be served on the person against whom the sanctions are sought and a hearing thereon shall be scheduled by the court to be conducted at least 15 days after the order is served.

(c) The remedy provided by this section is in addition to any other remedy provided by law.

*2 An admission is any statement made by a criminal defendant outside of court. An admission need not even be a statement adverse to the defendants interest. For example, California Evidence Code Section 1220 defines an admission by a party as:

1220. Admission of party
Evidence of a statement is not made inadmissible by the hearsay rule when offered against the declarant in an action to which he is a party in either his individual or representative capacity, regardless of whether the statement was made in his individual or representative capacity.

This rule is very advantageous to a criminal prosecutor, because while any alleged statement of the defendant can be admitted, because the defendant is a party to the case, the accuser is not a party to the case, and his or her statements out of court are therefore not admissible under this rule.

A prior inconsistent statement is also admissible. California Evidence Code Section 1235 provides:

1235. Inconsistent statements
Evidence of a statement made by a witness is not made inadmissible by the hearsay rule if the statement is inconsistent with his testimony at the hearing

CALCRIM Instruction No. 318 explains to juries that all versions of a witnesss statement, whether spoken live in court, or introduced as a prior inconsistent statement are admitted for the jury to consider for their potential truth. This also allows jurors to decide if the version presented in court by the witness is to be believed:

318. Prior Statements as Evidence

*3 You have heard evidence of [a] statement[s] that a witness made before the trial. If you decide that the witness made (that/those) statement[s], you may use (that/those) statement[s] in two ways:

1. To evaluate whether the witness’s testimony in court is believable;

2. As evidence that the information in (that/those) earlier statement[s] is true.
This rule applies to any witness who testifies on either side of the case, or whose hearsay statements are admitted through another witnesss testimony.

3. All criminal courts allow the accused to admit evidence of his or her good character as a defense to crimes. Juries may find a verdict of Not Guilty based on good character alone, for example, CALCRIM Instruction 350 reads in part: Evidence of the defendants character for _______ <insert character trait> can by itself create a reasonable doubt In the California case of People v. Stoll (1989) 49 Cal.3d 1136, 783 P.2d 698, 265 Cal.Rptr. 111, the California Supreme Court found that a defendant may introduce evidence of a psychologists expert opinion, based on interviews of the client and standardized psychological testing that the defendant is not sexually deviate:

we found prejudicial error in the exclusion of expert opinion testimony that defendant is “not a sexual deviate” where offered to prove that he did not commit lewd and lascivious acts upon a child. (Stoll, supra, 49 Cal.3d at 1152).

Imhoff & Associates, PC Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Benefits of post-divorce Shared Parenting and the situation in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany (Peter Tromp, 2009) « Father Knowledge Centre Europe – FKCE

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, kidnapped children, Marriage, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights on July 20, 2009 at 4:35 am

Benefits of post-divorce shared parenting and the situation in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany

(Peter Tromp, 2009)

January 3, 2009 · 9 Comments

Benefits of post-divorce shared parenting and the situation in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany

Presentation by Peter Tromp PhD, child and educational psychologist[1], President of the Father Knowledge Centre Europe, and Chair of the Dutch Foundation for Children, Access and Equal Parenting at the International Conference on Family and Equality “Justice and Father’s & Men’s Dignity” on 2-4 January 2009 in Drama, Greece

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All across Europe the child custody debate has moved to the top of the political agenda. The battle lines are essentially the stark choice between mother-only-custody of the child versus shared parenting where both parents are participants in child custody and care. Much is at stake – not just for feminists, who support the former, and fathers, who support the latter, but for children and whether the balanced, healthy society we all seek will become a reality. This is a clash that must be won. It cannot, as American author Warren Farrell famously said, be an undeclared war won at a battlefield where only one side turned up. The question today is whether children in the post divorce scenario grow up to be a liability and burden on the state, or a jewel in society’s crown ? After 30 years of feigning deafness, politicians across Europe are acknowledging the contributions and efforts fathers should be allowed to make to young children if they are ever to be properly ’socialised’.” This cannot be done under the present regime of mother-only-custody found in most European countries.

This paper will address the psychological and emotional needs of children but it will also mention the concrete changes underway. Fathers for too long excluded from the social policy level and denied any input in shaping policy are today making small inroads. For instance, there are developments in shared parenting to be found in Holland, Belgian and to a degree in German family law which I will also cover in this paper. Slowly, ‘outcomes’ for so long championed by fathers’ groups, are being adopted as the criterion rather than ideologically driven dogma. It was just 10 years ago that the consensus was that it was unnecessary for a father to have any role after birth and were increasingly seen as superfluous to children’s needs. Slowly, as society has unravelled, it has been recognised that children in fatherless families run greater mortality and morbidity risks. That their ‘quality of life’ is poor, their ‘live chances’ negligible. Without fathers present they become victims of physical abuse, emotional and sexual abuse, have poor health, poor education, become drink and drug dependent, homeless and jailed.

1. Introduction

Good morning Mr. Chairman. First of all I would like to thank the Greek Men’s and Father’s Dignity Association SYGAPA, the Prefecture of Drama and the Technological Educational Institute of Kavala in Greece for taking the initiative for arranging for an international conference on the equality and dignity of men and fathers in the family and in family law and offering me the opportunity to make the opening presentation at the start of your conference.

The excellent initiative of SYGAPA to organise this international conference in Drama, Greece in 2009 stands in a longer tradition that first started with a series of yearly European father summer conferences organised during the eighties and nineties of the last century by Professor Eduard Bakalar in Prague, Czechia.
His initiative was followed by the International Father Conference in 1996 at Woudschoten and the International Father Conference “In the best interest of the child – reality or magic formula?” in 1999 at Breda. Both conferences were organised by myself in the Netherlands in cooperation with the Dutch ministry of Justice on behalf of the Dutch Association Parents for Children.
Also in 1999 an
international summer camp conference on equal parenting was held from 25-31 July at Langeac in France.
In 2000 and 2001 this was followed by two International Father Conferences organised by Mankind in London on the issues of “The age of violent young males – causes and remedies” and “Censorship”.
On 18/19 October 2002 the first international conference on the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) was held in Frankfurt/Main in Germany under the chairmanship of the Wuerzburg psychiatrist Wilfrid von Boch-Galhau.

In 2004 this was followed by the European Father Conference organised by the Austrian government during its EU-presidency term in Vienna.
Finally in July 2007 this was followed by the International Conference “Boys and the boy crisis” in Washington DC.
It is a tradition that certainly deserves further continuity into the near future.

But let me introduce myself. My name is Peter Tromp. I am a child- and educational psychologist from the Netherlands and – as its president and international coordinator – I represent the Father Knowledge Centre Europe.

The Father Knowledge Centre Europe (FKCE) was originally set up by Dutch voluntary-sector NGO the Foundation for Children, Access and Equal Parenting, which itself was founded in 1989. Father Knowledge Centre champions the cause of equal parenting and keeping both parents actively involved in children’s lives after divorce and separation.
It works with policy makers, scientists, campaign groups, lobbyists and reformers and aims to make knowledge and information available about the role, the contributions and the efforts men and fathers are making in children’s lives, particularly in raising and educating (their) children. Whether that is in the family – both before and after divorce – or in any of the other living environments where children grow up, like childcare and education.
The aim is to have these contributions and efforts of fathers and men in caring for and educating children better acknowledged and supported on the social policy level.
The mode of operation of the Father Knowledge Centre Europe to these effects is on both the Pan-European as well as on the national levels in Europe. To this end a Pan-European communication forum between the countries that constitute the European Union (EU) – the Familyrights-4-Europe Forum – was established in January 2003, while at the same time the Father Knowledge Centre Europe established separate national branches in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Belgium, with a separate branch in Germany now being underway.

In my presentation of today I would like to speak to you about some of the benefits of post-divorce ‘shared parenting’ arrangements for children [2]. And as a prelude to the programmed presentation at this conference on the history of shared parenting in the United Kingdom[3] by my honourable friend Robert Whiston FRSA, the president of the Father Knowledge Centre United Kingdom, At the end of my presentation I would like to conclude with summary introductions to the situation of – and developments in – shared parenting in the European Union, with emphasis on recent developments in the Dutch, Belgian and German divorce and family law systems.

2. Some definition issues in post-divorce shared and equal parenting

Before elaborating on the benefits of post-divorce ‘shared parenting’ for children I would first have to spend some words on some of the different issues surrounding a definition of shared and equal parenting.

Joint legal custody, joint physical custody, shared parenting, equal parenting, shared residence, shared care, bi-location, co-parenting are all terms and concepts that are being used in the context of shared and equal parenting. They all have different meanings and different legal connotations.

When I am talking, however, of the benefits of shared and equal parenting I am referring to any post-divorce form of parenting in which both parents share in the day-to-day care and residence for the children in a mutually agreed post-divorce parenting plan or arrangement between the parents. This excludes forms of shared parenting that are only limited to joint legal custody without sharing in the day-to-day physical care for the children, as I consider these custody forms to be ‘shared parenting’ only in name and not in practice.

3. The benefits of post-divorce shared parenting

If we look at what available scientific research tells us what the best interests of children are with regard to parenting arrangements after divorce or separation, then the picture cannot be clearer. Comparing the outcomes for children growing up in shared parenting arrangements, having regular contact with and care from both parents after divorce or separation, with the outcomes for children growing up in single parent families in the sole care of only one of their parents, generally the mother, than children growing up in shared parenting do much better.

Better outcomes for children in shared parenting arrangements

From a meta-analysis on 33 underlying separation researches Robert Bauserman (American Psychological Association, 2002) concluded, that children growing up in a form of shared parenting with frequent contact with and care from both parents, had
– less behavioural – and emotional problems,
– exhibited higher levels of self-worth and self-confidence,
– were better capable of building and preserving social contacts and relations, both within and outside the family and
– performed better at school,
than children who had grown up in the sole care of only one of their parents.

Children growing up in shared parenting of both parents after divorce and separation did so much better than children growing up under sole care of only one of their parents, that shared parenting arrangements after separation by far proved to be the “second best” parenting arrangement for growing up children, providing them with a new post-divorce family situation that best approached the ideal situation of an intact family.

From a range of other researches it further became clear, that children growing up in shared parenting of both parents
– develop better,
– are more satisfied,
– prove to be better adapted and adjusted and
– have more self-confidence and self-worth
in comparison with children growing up in sole care of one of their parents (Nunan, 1980; Cowan, 1982; Pojman, 1982; Livingston, 1983; Noonan, 1984; Shiller, 1984.,1986; Handley, 1985; Wolchik, 1985; Bredefeld, 1985; Öberg & Öberg, 1987).

From a Harvard study on 517 separation families over a period of 4 years wide, children growing up under post-divorce shared parenting proved to be less depressed, exhibited less unadjusted behaviours, and achieved better school results than children growing up in post-divorce sole care. (Buchanan, MacCoby, Dornbusch, 1996.)

Also, boys growing up in shared parenting are found to have less emotional problems than boys growing up in sole care (Pojman 1982; Shiller 1986).

Adverse effects on children’s health and well-being of growing up fatherless in one-parent families

The available research clearly shows that children growing up in sole care – mainly fatherless and with their mothers in mother-headed families – do much worse than children growing up in shared parenting.

Children being raised by one parent are at a greater risk for many things as they grow up, including health risks such as poorly controlled diabetes and asthma. (Holmes, 2007)

A Swedish large scale population study on children’s health found that children growing up fatherless in single-parent families also have more depression complaints, use more and earlier drugs and alcohol (binge-drinking), get more accidents and more often commit suicide, than children growing up in the care and with the involvement of both parents. (Swedish population study into the consequences of single-parent families on children, Ringbäck Weitoft, Hjern, Haglund, Rosén, 2003).

And a recent Dutch study on the importance of fathers for their children after parental separation and divorce (ENOVA, 2008) found that in the Dutch province of Drenthe 62% of all children in need of special youth care and youth welfare provided by the Dutch state originated from single parent families headed by mothers.

Also a consistency has now been determined between growing up in fatherless single-parent families and the prevalence of children being diagnosed with attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder ADHD/ADD. Children in single parent families are at twice the risk of being ADHD-diagnosed and prescribed with the drug Ritalin than children from intact two-parent families (Strohschein, 2007).

Child abuse risk and “new boyfriend-” or stepparent-risk

Child abuse can happen in all types of families, but it happens most in single parent mother-headed families and in new “patchwork-families” with stepchildren.

Children, especially boys, growing up in single parent mother-headed families are at twice to 2,5 times the risk of child sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional and mental abuse and neglect by either the mother herself or her “new friend”, the so-called “stepparent”. (Holmes, 2007; AMK, 1999, 2000, 2001)

Brought into a situation of social exclusion from the paternal half of their families by the present mother-only custody and care practises in family law and family courts, and with their fathers and paternal grandparents no longer involved or present in their lives, isolated children more often become victims of emotional, physical and sexual abuse or neglect by the mother or her new boyfriend. The devastating results of social and family court policies giving prevalence to mother-only custody and care for the divorce children involved in terms of rising child abuse cases and occurring family-drama’s are now reported on frequently in today’s journals and newspapers of all of our societies.

Effects on children of growing up fatherless in single parent families in the different age groups (O’Neill, 2002)

Children (0-12)

If we take a closer look at the effects of growing up fatherless on the different age groups children (0-12) growing up in fatherless single-parent families have a greater risk of a life in poverty, run more risk on physical, emotional and sexual abuse, more often become runaways from home, have a greater risk of becoming homeless youths, have more risk of health complaints and have more problems at school and in their social contacts with others (O’Neill, 2002).

Teenagers (12-18)

Teenagers growing up in fatherless single-parent families have a greater risk of teenage-pregnancy, to end up in (youth) crime, to smoke, to use alcohol and drugs, of playing truant, to be suspended, of becoming drop-outs and ending their school careers at an early age school, and of getting adaptation problems (O’Neill, 2002).

Young adults (18 onwards)

And young adults, having grown up in fatherless single-parent families, stand a greater risk of not having finished a proper vocational education, earning lower incomes, becoming jobless and in need of benefits, at risk of becoming homeless, or of getting involved in crime, of developing chronic emotional and mental-health problems, of developing general physical health complaints, and sooner have cohabiting relations, more often have extramarital children, only to end up in separation and divorce more often. (Meta-study “Experimenting in living, The fatherless family”, Civitas, O’Neill, 2002).

Parentification of children of divorce in single parent families

British teenage-girls who have grown up in sole care or single parent families reported that they get stressed out and overloaded by the separation problems of their parents, especially caused by the call on them by their caring parent, in 90% of the cases the mother, for support in the fight concerning the children, put up with the other parent after divorce and separation. (Bliss survey, 2005: Girls take strain or parents’ split)

In single parent families it is often not the child who is being taken care of by the parent, but – as “mother’s little helper” – the child becomes an instrumental friend and partner to the parent in distress taking care of the parent’s welfare instead, thus forcing children of divorce into early maturation and depriving them of their youth. This phenomenon is documented in the psychological literature as that of “parentification”.

Post-divorce father involvement in children’s lives makes all the difference

Another line of comparative research focuses on the different effects on children of growing up with either involved or not involved (i.e. excluded) non-residential fathers after parental separation and divorce.

Carlson (2006) found in her research “Family structure, father involvement and behavioural effects on adolescents” based on the 1996 and 2000 data cohorts of the USA National Longitudinal Youth Study on 2.733 10-14 year old adolescents living only with their mothers while their fathers were non-residential that the greater the involvement of fathers was in the lives of their adolescent children, the less behavioural problems the adolescents had in terms of aggression, antisocial behaviour, and negative feelings like anxiety, concern, depression and low self-esteem.

Shared parenting leads to fewer conflicts between the parents and between the child and its parents

It is frequently contested by antagonists to shared parenting that present shared or equal parenting arrangements are self-selective on the issue of pre-existing conflict levels between the separating parents as they are court-provided on a voluntary base of consensus and consent between the two divorcing parents involved.

It is therefore important to note in this context, that the better outcomes for children documented in the quoted research above have also been found in research that controlled for pre-existing levels of conflicts between the parents as a self-selecting factor for shared parenting.

Furthermore it is also frequently claimed and presumed by antagonists to post-divorce shared parenting arrangements that shared parenting is the cause of more post-divorce conflicts between the divorced parents as it raises the level of interactions and contacts between the two separated parents.

The meta-study conducted by Robert Bauserman (APA, 2002) however found that, in contrast with what is usually claimed, the number and levels of conflicts between the parents in shared parenting arrangements strongly diminished in comparison with the number of conflicts in situations of sole care with access arrangements. As a result these lower level of conflicts between the divorced parents in shared parenting arrangements contributes greatly to better child welfare and well being.

Moreover, not only do parents experience less mutual conflicts in shared parenting arrangements, but also children growing up in shared parenting appear to have fewer conflicts with their parents, than children growing up in sole care of one parent (Karp, 1982).

Less loyalty and allegiance conflicts

It is also frequently claimed by antagonists to shared parenting that children growing up in shared parenting arrangements with both parents do not have a place and home of their own (“Do not take away the children’s home”, it is claimed). Children in shared parenting arrangements are pictured as being constantly underway between houses and as being continuously exposed to conflicts of allegiance. Available research however confounds this picture. Children are more flexible – within reason of course – than we expect them to be. What is more important to them is keeping their relations with both their parents. (Steinman, 1981, Luepnitz, 1986, Shiller, 1986, Coller, 1988, Tornstam, 2000).

Children want it themselves

The last argument these antagonists make against shared parenting is that proponents of shared parenting only argue from the point of view of the parents and do not take the interests and wishes of children into consideration. From child-research in which children themselves are questioned on their preferences however, it becomes clear that children themselves also most prefer shared parenting and care from both their parents after separation (Fabricius, 2003). Children themselves most want to preserve and maintain their relations with both parents after divorce and separation. They consider having narrow links and bonds with both their parents as being important to them, while growing up in shared parenting leaves them more satisfied than growing up in sole care. (Kelly, 1993).

Breaking the cycle of broken families: Less divorces and separations

Finally, children of divorce growing up in single parent mother-headed families themselves are at a 3,5 times greater risk of separation and divorce later on in their lives (Spruijt, 2007), thus contributing to a self perpetuating and accelerating cycle of new broken families into the future.

Post-divorce shared parenting arrangements on the other hand however – instead of accelerating the pace of separation and divorce resulting into broken families in the future – also prove to be a valuable incentive for keeping two-parent families together when possible. The more shared parenting arrangements are to be implemented instead of mother-only custody and care after separation, the fewer parents are inclined to go for a divorce. (Brinig & Allen, 2000) This contributes directly to the best interest of the children involved, as all of the research so far has indicated that intact two-parent families are still the best and most ideal setting for children to grow up in and flourish into the jewel in society’s crown they deserve to be, instead of growing to be a liability and burden on the state.

To see the rest click on this link:

More reports of WA mothers mistreating children | PerthNow

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on July 20, 2009 at 3:12 am

The Mens Movement as well as Family groups have been stating this for years. Regardless of the studies and the facts, Fathers are still ignored as well as labelled worse than mothers..

Here a good example on how feminists continually live in denial..

“If she is a victim of domestic and family violence, a woman has very little power to change the situation.

It would mean that she would have to make one single phone call and that’s it. Even that is obviously way too hard for this biased, sexist female to comprehend..

Angela Hartwig, executive officer of the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services WA.

Another member of the denial brigade continually making every effort to ensure that for the sake of their doctrine, children will just have to suffer the consequences..

Meanwhile we see women abusing children at more almost three times the rate (THREE TIMES THE RATE) than that of Fathers (427 to 155)..

show the number of mothers believed responsible for “substantiated maltreatment” has risen from 312 to 427. In the same period – 2005-06 to 2007-08 – the number of fathers reported for child abuse dropped from 165
to 155.

More reports of WA mothers mistreating children | PerthNow.

Nick Taylor

July 18, 2009 06:00pm

THE number of WA mothers reported for abusing their children has leapt in the past two years.

Figures from the Department for Child Protection, obtained by The Sunday Times, show the number of mothers believed responsible for “substantiated maltreatment” has risen from 312 to 427. In the same period – 2005-06 to 2007-08 – the number of fathers reported for child abuse dropped from 165 to 155.

A breakdown of all family-based child abuse shows and increase from 960 to 1505 last year.
Michael Woods, of the University of Western Sydney, said the data “debunked a common misconception about fathers and violence”.

Dr Woods, who is also a co-director of the university-based Men’s Information and Resource Centre said: “The figures undermine the myth that fathers are the major risk for their children’s wellbeing.

“The data is not surprising. It is in line with the international findings regarding perpetrators of child abuse.”

He said previous practices of lumping together de factos, live-in boyfriends and overnight male guests with fathers as male carers had “skewed beliefs” about who abused children.

Angela Hartwig, executive officer of the Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services WA, said the increases were a concern, but child abuse, neglect and domestic and family violence could be reported in several ways.

“Because the woman is so often the primary care-giver she is held as being responsible for the neglect,” she said.

“This could also explain why there is such a high number of neglect cases against women, as the data only shows the first person believed responsible.

“The statistics do not show the strong correlation that where there is child abuse there is often domestic and family violence and the women may be the victim of the abuse.

“If she is a victim of domestic and family violence, a woman has very little power to change the situation.

“It is difficult for a woman to provide for children when living with an abusive partner who has total control of all decisions made, which includes controlling the finances.”

TIME for a Sober Look at Marriage » The Foundry

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on July 18, 2009 at 3:21 am

TIME for a Sober Look at Marriage

This week’s TIME magazine cover story, Unfaithfully Yours, dramatically laments the collapse of marriage:

“There is no other single force causing as much measurable hardship and human misery in this country, as the collapse of marriage. It hurts children, it reduces mothers’ financial security, and it has landed with particular devastation on those who can bear it least: the nation’s underclass,” writes Caitlin Flanagan.

Flanagan’s clarion call is backed by demographic trends that have now reached a point where nearly four of every ten babies is born out of wedlock and only half of all teenagers live in intact families. Cause for alarm is also found in a bevy of academic studies revealing the impact of the dissolution of the nuclear family on the life prospects and well-being of adults and their children. Research has clearly shown the physical, emotional, and fiscal benefits that married couples experience, as well as the devastating impact that the decline of the intact family has for the next generation. Compared with peers living with both biological parents, children and youth in other family structures fare worse in terms of academic achievement, mental and emotional health, and problem behavior. A father’s presence and involvement can make a lasting difference in a child’s prospects for life.

A married father is more likely to be involved with his children–as Flanagan quotes our own Robert Rector– while unmarried fathers are “soon out the door” when the demands of family life inevitably occur.

Surveys have indicated that American adolescents’ attitudes toward marriage tend to be hopeful (76 percent said that the institution of marriage and family life are “extremely important” and 81 percent said that they expected to marry), but trends in their favorable attitudes toward cohabitation and premarital sexual activity belie that hope. Research indicates that cohabiting couples are more likely to experience divorce in a subsequent marriage and premarital sex is likewise related to an increased likelihood of divorce.

A study sponsored by the US Department of Health and Human Services, “Pathways to Adulthood and Marriage,” reveals that the quality of parents’ marriages has an impact on what youths anticipate for their own future, declaring that “Teens’ expectations of what a romantic relationship should be are undoubtedly influenced by the romantic relationships of their parents.” The downward spiral of the nuclear family is, thus, likely to continue, unless the concept of marriage is once again linked to personal responsibility, obligation, and a willingness to sacrifice. In Flanagan’s words,

“The fundamental question we must ask ourselves at the beginning of the century is this: What is the purpose of marriage? Is it—given the game-changing realities of birth control, female equality, and the fact that motherhood outside of marriage is no longer stigmatized—simply an institution that has the capacity to increase the pleasure of the adults who enter into it? If so, we might as well hold the wake now…The current generation of children [is]watching commitments between adults snap like dry twigs and observing parents who simply can’t be bothered to marry each other.”

TIME for a Sober Look at Marriage » The Foundry.

FamilyCrossings Blog » Children And Divorce

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Marriage, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation on July 17, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Children And Divorce

One out of every two marriages today ends in divorce and many divorcing families include children. Parents who are getting a divorce are frequently worried about the effect the divorce will have on their children.

During this difficult period, parents may be preoccupied with their own problems, but continue to be the most important people in their children lives. We at Family Crossings believe in the ability for all to stay connected. Keep the non-custodial parent up to date with their children by using our website. With a calendar section the non-custodial parent can be kept in the loop of important activities, changes in scheduling and the ability to contact the child and the other parent 24/7. This feature is very beneficial to keep the child in the other parent’s life, share photos, stories from school and even just to say “Hi!”- don’t let divorce separate you from your child visit Family Crossings today and reconnect to your child TODAY!

While parents may be devastated or relieved by the divorce, children are invariably frightened and confused by the threat to their security. Some parents feel so hurt or overwhelmed by the divorce that they may turn to the child for comfort or direction. Divorce can be misinterpreted by children unless parents tell them what is happening, how they are involved and not involved and what will happen to them.

Children often believe they have caused the conflict between their mother and father. Many children assume the responsibility for bringing their parents back together, sometimes by sacrificing themselves. Vulnerability to both physical and mental illnesses can originate in the traumatic loss of one or both parents through divorce.

With care and attention, however, a family’s strengths can be mobilized during a divorce, and children can be helped to deal constructively with the resolution of parental conflict.

Parents should be alert to signs of distress in their child or children. Young children may react to divorce by becoming more aggressive and uncooperative or withdrawing. Older children may feel deep sadness and loss. Their schoolwork may suffer and behavior problems are common. As teenagers and adults, children of divorce often have trouble with their own relationships and experience problems with self-esteem.

Children will do best if they know that their mother and father will still be their parents and remain involved with them even though the marriage is ending and the parents won’t live together. Long custody disputes or pressure on a child to “choose sides” can be particularly harmful for the youngster and can add to the damage of the divorce.

Research shows that children do best when parents can cooperate on behalf of the child.

Parents’ ongoing commitment to the child’s well-being is vital. If a child shows signs of distress, the family doctor or pediatrician can refer the parents to a child and adolescent psychiatrist for evaluation and treatment.

In addition, the child and adolescent psychiatrist can meet with the parents to help them learn how to make the strain of the divorce easier on the entire family. Psychotherapy for the children of a divorce, and the divorcing parents, can be helpful.

FamilyCrossings Blog » Children And Divorce.

Why I (and, I suspect, many separated women) regret divorcing | Mail Online

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Civil Rights, Divorce, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers on July 16, 2009 at 10:14 pm

By Jane Gordon

Last updated at 10:57 PM on 16th July 2009

Last weekend, at a family wedding in the country, I was overwhelmed by an emotion that has, in the last year, become only too familiar to me.

Sitting in a stifling marquee, listening to my cousin Sally’s husband making the traditional father-of-the-bride speech, I was overcome by a feeling that was part envy, part guilt and part regret.

My cousin’s marriage, which has lasted for 25 years, is by no means perfect – what marriage is? – but against the odds, she has achieved something that is now, and always will be, beyond my grasp.

A lost life: Jane Gordon with her husband and son in 1999, before her divorce

A lost life: Jane Gordon with her husband and son in 1999, before her divorce

As I looked at her sitting happy and radiant at the top table, laughing uproariously at her husband’s far from funny jokes, I realised that, in a world that has horribly devalued the institution of marriage, she was reaping the benefits of putting the love and security of her family first, before any disagreements she might have with her husband in the rough and tumble of daily life.

Watching her united with her husband on such an emotional occasion reminded me sharply of exactly what I had lost – but had no idea I was losing – seven years ago, when I got divorced from my husband, the father of my three children, after 25 years together.

Our relationship had broken down, I can now see, not because of any petty irritations such as his lateness or my untidiness, but because we had both moved irrevocably away from each other.

In the past few years of our marriage, I was more absorbed in my children and my career than I was in my husband while he, feeling increasingly isolated, simply switched off.

It’s a scenario that will be familiar to many couples. But how many of them choose to separate, and how many have the gumption to stick it out?

The trouble is nobody tells you the truth about divorce. They tell you it’s a ‘difficult’ experience, and it’s generally accepted that the process sits somewhere near the top of the ten most stressful life events.

‘No one ever points out that the repercussions of a marital split will reverberate down the timeline of your life forever’

But in the main it is regarded by society as a necessary evil. A milestone which, in an age when two in five UK marriages will fail, millions of us will go through at some point in our lives.

Indeed, in many ways, divorce is given a more positive spin in our confused modern world than marriage is.

The drawbacks of divorce are believed to be mostly either financial – as if the splitting up of the spoils of a life together were the very worst part of the process – or the fallout experienced by the children.

Little is ever said about the longer-term effects of divorce on the couple. No one ever points out that the repercussions of a marital split will reverberate down the timeline of your life forever.

This week, the Conservatives published a report commissioned by Iain Duncan Smith which proposed a three-month ‘cooling off’ period for couples considering divorce.

But the idea that couples would be ready to rethink their break-up after such a short period is unrealistic.

Change in family dynamics: Jane and her family before the divorce, now special occasions involve jugging the needs of her step family as well

Change in family dynamics: Jane and her family before the divorce, now special occasions involve jugging the needs of her step family as well

As I have discovered the hard way, it is only now, seven years after I received my decree nisi, that I am starting to realise the gravity of what I have done.

If it has taken me this long for the seismic shockwaves of divorce to really hit home, how are warring couples expected to take an informed decision about separation when they are in the midst of the rows, the tension and the recrimination that so often accompany the death throes of a marriage?

It is only now that I am experiencing something akin to the seven-year ‘itch’ of marriage; the seven-year ‘ache’ of divorce, a regular recurrence of the emotion I experienced at that recent wedding – a pang, a regret for what has gone for ever.

There is much in my post-divorced life that I am grateful for and happy about. I have gained a new partner and two stepchildren, and our ‘blended’ family is more harmonious than anyone could have expected.

My ex-husband, who is a media consultant, has ‘moved on’ to a perfectly ordered and elegant bachelor apartment and a social life (with a series of ever-younger girlfriends) that is the envy of his old married friends.

On the surface, we have ‘come through’ our split relatively unscathed. But however contented I might be with my new partner Robin – and he with me – we realise that our relationship is, well, somehow second-best.

‘I had no idea of the true complexity of unravelling a life that had been led in tandem with someone else for more than 20 years’

Our true loyalties lie not with our new ‘blended’ family, but with our own biological children and the ex-partners from whom we were both amicably divorced.

The important occasions in family life which I used to love – birthdays, Christmas and so on – are now difficult, trying times.

They are unsatisfactory no matter how hard we try; whether my partner and I attempt – as we have on several occasions – to unite our new and old lives or agree to simply be apart for the ‘sake’ of our children.

Now, for example, we spend Christmas apart – each ensconced with our children and ex-partners – which causes huge tension between us and has made us both dread the annual celebrations.

When my husband and I parted, my view of divorce was simplistic. I believed in the notion of divorce as a clean break and imagined a ‘fresh start’ would solve all my problems.

It wasn’t a decision made lightly, but I had no idea of the true complexity of unravelling a life that had been led in tandem with someone else for more than 20 years.

It was the death of my parents, within six months of each other in 2008, that was the catalyst for my change of heart.

At my father’s funeral, my brother made a moving address about the formidable achievements of an extraordinary man. He concluded that the greatest achievement of all was his remarkable partnership – over 60 years – with my mother.

Ashley and Cheryl Cole

Still going strong: Jane admires women like Cheryl Cole who can get past their husband’s infidelity for an enduring marriage

The fact that I had not been able to give my own children the security that I had taken for granted shamed and upset me almost as much as the loss of my adored parents.

My children hadn’t lost their parents when my husband and I divorced, but they had lost their family home and the continuity of family life that makes the journey from childhood to adulthood so much more comforting and secure.

It was at that funeral that I first experienced the feeling – part envy, part guilt and part regret – that has haunted me ever since.

With my new partner sympathetically sitting by my side and my ex-husband (who shared so much of my family history and yet had somehow been edited out of it), standing in the gallery, I truly understood what I had lost.

And there have been countless other moments in the past year when I have experienced similar feelings.

Last month, I attended a dinner party thrown by a close female friend whose own marriage had shifted perilously close to the edge of divorce, shortly after mine did, because her husband had an affair.

At the time of my break-up, my view of other people’s marriages was as skewed as my view of my own, and I viewed her reluctance to divorce in a cynical way – imagining that her main motivation was her fear of losing her status as a married woman.

‘It is impossible to go back, but at the same time my divorce makes it difficult for me to move forward’

But I now see there was a much more selfless reason for her tenacity. Because a marriage, however imperfect, isn’t just important in the happy moments of life – a child’s graduation or wedding for example – but also in the bad times.

Shortly after my friend and her errant husband were reunited, he lost his high-flying City job and he now admits that it would not have been possible for him to recover from that (they started a successful new business together) without her love and support.

Their relationship has changed – my friend admits that she is still wounded by his infidelity – but losing her trust in him for a time is nothing to what she would have lost had she gone ahead with her divorce.

Back then, I couldn’t understand her ability to accept his behaviour. But now I have nothing but admiration for the way she was able to take a longer view of her own marriage.

Indeed, I have a similar sense of admiration and e

nvy for a handful of other still-married friends whose relationships I had viewed somewhat cynically because they displayed such open animosity towards each other.

A good marriage – I now realise – is dependent upon the ability of both partners occasionally to be selfless and to compromise.

It is, of course, ironic that divorce has strengthened my belief in marriage. But then the years haven’t just changed my view of divorce; they have inevitably blurred my memory of the reasons for our split.

Somewhere in my new home there is a large brown envelope filled with the reasons why we parted, duly noted down by lawyers, but the passage of time has made those mutually exasperating irritations seem petty.

In 2002, they were real and seemingly insurmountable. Had someone told me the truth about divorce then – explained exactly how, in the years ahead, it would impact on my life – perhaps we would still be together.


I do two? Jane is unsure whether she will marry her new partner due to the scars left by the failure of her first marriage (file photo)

It is impossible to go back, but at the same time my divorce makes it difficult for me to move forward.

Maybe one day my new partner and I will marry, but the impact of our break-ups – he divorced several years before me – has so far prevented us from making a legal commitment to each other.

Our mutual fears that re-marriage will somehow invalidate our original families, and his concerns about the financial loss he would endure should our marriage subsequently break down, make the notion of a wedding unlikely.

But my divorce hasn’t just had a major impact on the likelihood of re-marrying. I worry, too, that it has affected my children’s view of marriage.

Will the repercussions of my break-up not only reverberate down the timeline of my life but also the timelines of my children’s lives?

My daughters were 19 and 22 when I divorced and my son, who lives with me, was just ten.

Seven years on, my daughters are both much more focused on their careers than their love-lives, and show no sign of settling down in the way that my cousin Sally’s daughter – several years younger – has done.

The long-term effects of my divorce, then, may not only deny me the opportunity to be a bride again and thus, in some way, legitimise my new relationship in the eyes of the world.

But they also could prevent me from being the mother-of-the-bride and – ultimately – a grandmother.

To paraphrase William Congreve’s famous quote: ‘Divorce in haste, repent at leisure.’

Why I (and, I suspect, many separated women) regret divorcing | Mail Online.

Could Your Child Be Depressed? – Redbook

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights on July 16, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Thursday, July 16, 2009

At first, Andrea Carpenter* blamed preadolescent hormones for her 10-year-old daughter’s moodiness. “Allie was extremely irritable at home, and she’d get snippy with her dad and me for no apparent reason,” says the Marietta, GA, mom. Life at the Carpenters’ home grew so tense that the family started seeing a counselor who, after a few sessions, recommended that Allie visit a psychiatrist. “He mentioned depression, but I thought it was just puberty,” Andrea says. Her thinking quickly changed after Allie said she wished she was never alive and talked about cutting her throat. “I was devastated — I knew she wasn’t a happy-go-lucky kid, but I never thought a 10-year-old could be suicidal.”

In fact, depression is the second most common childhood mental health problem. (Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder is number one.) An estimated one in 33 children and one in eight teens are depressed, and the World Health Organization predicts that the number of kids — and adults — diagnosed with the disorder could double by the year 2020. Fewer than a fourth of the estimated 12 million kids in the United States who suffer from psychiatric disorders receive treatment, however, which places them at high risk for failing school, abusing drugs and alcohol, and committing crimes. Kids with untreated depression also are 12 times more likely to commit suicide. The nation’s suicide rate for children jumped nearly 10 percent from 2003 to 2004, the largest increase in 14 years.

Even though up to 80 percent of depressed kids improve with treatment, many parents delay seeking help because of the stigma of mental illness. “I wish I would have reacted quicker, but it’s a hard thing to admit your 7-year-old child is mentally ill,” says Carmen Vandyne, a Columbus, OH, mom whose 11-year-old daughter, Addison, was diagnosed with depression at age 7. Other parents hope their child will just get over it on their own. But “depressed kids aren’t just going through phases that they’ll outgrow — they find it difficult to manage their emotions without professional help,” says child psychiatrist Harold Koplewicz, M.D., founder of the New York University Child Study Center.

Figuring out the difference between true depression and temporary moodiness is crucial. Here’s how to tell if your child has a problem — and what you can do to help.

Names have been changed.What are the warning signs?

While all children feel sad from time to time or have the occasional bad day, a child with depression remains in a funk for weeks or months. During this time, she’s likely to struggle at school, isolate herself from friends, cause problems at home, and act like Allie Carpenter did — angry, moody, and irritable. Depressed kids are also as confused by their emotions as their parents are; they can’t describe how they’re feeling. Instead, they might complain about stomachaches, develop exaggerated fears, grumble about being bored, lack energy, or talk about death.

Three years ago, Boston resident Robyn Hanley assumed her then 16-year-old son, Matthew, was going through typical teenage angst when his grades slipped and he started missing school because his stomach hurt. “I wasn’t really worried until he stopped hanging out with his friends and participating in activities that he loved so much,” she says. Matthew’s guidance counselor noticed the changes in him and suggested that the family talk to their doctor. After Matthew was referred to a psychiatrist and diagnosed with depression, Robyn learned that withdrawing from pleasurable activities and family and friends is a key sign that a child is depressed. “It’s frustrating, because you just want your child to lighten up and enjoy life,” she says, “but I’ve learned that a depressed kid can’t control how his illness makes him feel.”

Why do some kids suffer?

Though experts still aren’t sure why certain children are more likely to become depressed, the following factors may play a role:

They’re born with a “blue gene.” There’s a 25 percent chance a child will struggle with depression if one parent has it; that risk jumps to 50 percent or more if both parents are affected.

They have a chemical imbalance. Chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters — namely serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine — play a vital role in regulating emotions. Experts think that depressed kids may not produce enough of these chemicals.

They’re dealing with trauma. Up to half of all depressive episodes (among kids and adults) are preceded by life-altering events. Losing a loved one, dealing with a parental divorce, moving to a new home, or being the victim of abuse can be particularly traumatic to kids who haven’t yet developed coping skills. Addison Vandyne’s first major bout with depression happened when she was 7, after her mom was injured in an accident. “Addison shut down emotionally, but we thought she’d snap out of it,” says Carmen. Instead, Addison bullied kids, drew frightening pictures of people getting injured or killed, and clawed at her face when she was upset.

Their hormones are in flux. Kids as young as preschool age can have depression, but the disorder is most likely to be diagnosed around puberty, when hormones kick in. Boys and girls are equally at risk for depression until puberty; during the teen years and throughout adulthood, females are up to two times as likely to be depressed. Fluctuating hormones, as well as differences in societal expectations, likely account for this gender bias. “Girls are encouraged to express their emotions, while boys learn to bottle them up,” says Koplewicz. As a result, depression in girls may often be easier to recognize.

How can you get help?

Even if a child’s dark cloud lifts, research shows there’s a 60 percent chance she’ll be depressed again unless she gets treatment, and her lifetime risk for depression goes up with each untreated episode. First, talk to your child’s pediatrician; if she suspects a problem, she’ll likely refer you to a mental health specialist, such as a child psychiatrist. If depression is diagnosed, the following treatments can help:

Psychotherapy. Kids with mild depression often respond well to talking about their problems with a mental health professional, who helps them identify and change negative patterns of thinking. Addison Vandyne’s mood has improved dramatically since she’s been in therapy, says mom Carmen.

Medications. Antidepressants, namely selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac (the only medication FDA-approved to treat depression in kids), can greatly alleviate symptoms in children by elevating brain chemicals. Despite this, pediatric prescriptions for SSRIs have declined nearly 25 percent since 2004, when the FDA issued a warning that their use may induce suicidal thoughts in youths. “Overall, depressed kids see significant improvements with SSRIs. But because every child responds differently, kids starting these medications should be closely monitored,” says David Fassler, M.D., author of Help Me, I’m Sad: Recognizing, Treating, and Preventing Childhood Depression. A large study found that the benefits of giving antidepressants to kids outweigh the risks.

Combined treatment. Depressed kids improve the most when they take medications and participate in psychotherapy. Nearly three out of four children on combined treatment reported that their depression lifted, while 61 percent improved with medication alone and about a third got better with only psychotherapy. Allie Carpenter and Matthew Hanley, both now 19, are enjoying happier lives thanks to a combination of drugs and therapy. “Allie’s a completely different kid,” says Andrea. “She enjoys herself. She sings. She’s easier to be around. It’s wonderful to see her so happy.”

To learn more about childhood depression and to find a mental health professional in your area, visit Families for Depression Awareness at

Signs your child is depressed

Is your child:

  • irritable, angry, or cranky for no good reason?
  • uninterested in spending time with friends or participating in fun activities?
  • experiencing frequent stomach or head pains?
  • losing weight?
  • sleeping more than usual?
  • doing poorly in school?
  • talking about running away from home?
  • lacking energy or complaining a lot about being bored or tired?
  • suffering from low self-esteem?
  • talking about hurting or killing herself?
  • giving away favorite belongings?

If you answered yes to five or more of these questions and your child has displayed these behaviors for at least two consecutive weeks, she may be clinically depressed.

Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc. Originally Published: Could Your Child Be Depressed?

Could Your Child Be Depressed?.

Kids see new man as threat to what’s left of their family unit | Robin Anderson | Columnists | Life | Winnipeg Sun

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers on July 16, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Kids see new man as threat to what’s left of their family unit

Dear Robin

I have been divorced for a couple of years now. Six months ago, I met a very nice man who I have been seeing. The problem is that my kids (nine and 12) refuse to accept him. They haven’t had a problem with other men I dated, but really seem to dislike Bob. He is very nice to them and has kids of his own who he brings with him. They get along well, but no matter what Bob does, he can’t seem to win my kids over. Why are they acting like this, and what can I do about it?

Kid Fears

Dear Kid Fears

Divorce is hard on everyone involved, but especially on children. Having been a child of divorce at a very young age, and becoming a stepmom myself, I may not be an expert, but I do know a thing or two about this.

For starters, tell Bob to stop trying to woo your children. He isn’t going to get anywhere putting on the game face and trying to get in their good graces. Tell him to be himself, and your children will come to accept him when they are ready. They are likely upset because they see things getting more serious with you two, and probably view him as a direct threat to what is left of their family unit.

Someone else coming into the picture all nice and then trying to take on a parental role is usually met with disdain at best. Your children are at an age where they are old enough to understand what is going on, but not fully, and will have problems dealing with it. Talk to your children about how they are feeling, and find out the reasons behind the dislike.

You know your children and will be able to tell if there is anything credible behind the feelings, or if they are just upset over the relationship. Tell them — like everyone else says — that he is not there to take the place of their father. If you are open and honest with them, they will trust you and come to you. If you ignore or downplay the issue and things get really serious with Bob, be prepared for war of the worlds when the truth comes out. Involve your children (and his) in discussions and some decisions. This will help them feel that they are an important part of both of your lives. It is a great thing that all the children get along, but this could also change when things get more serious, so prepare yourselves just in case. Good luck. I know it isn’t easy.

Dear Robin:

Like the recent column about the daughter finishing college, my son also recently finished school, also lives at home for free and his step-dad and I paid for his education. He recently started talking about getting a car, but here’s the catch: he expects us to buy it for him and pay for the insurance until he “gets on his feet.” He says that all his buddies have had cars since they were 16, but we told him when he was younger that he had a choice of a car at 16 or we pay for his schooling and he picked the schooling. How do we deal with this? Should we get him a car? He does need a way to get to work, after all.

Stranded at the wheel

Dear Stranded at the wheel:

I can understand that your son needs to get on his feet and get used to the working world. I get that. How did he get to school though? If he was using public transit, chances are he can do that for work for the first little while.

I normally wouldn’t have a problem helping him find a car, or even helping him out with it to get him going. It is the part where you said he “expects it” that got me going. He made the choice to let you pay for school, probably thinking you would forget about the agreement. If he really needs a car to get around, you could definitely help him find something affordable and work out a payment plan. Hearing his attitude, I don’t think you would be benefiting him if you just handed him a set of keys. I know there are parents out there who will vehemently disagree with me, but to each their own.

Robin Anderson is the winner of Sun Media’s national advice competition.

Send questions to and read her online at

Kids see new man as threat to what’s left of their family unit | Robin Anderson | Columnists | Life | Winnipeg Sun.

Parental Kidnapping – ‘I’ll never end hunt for my girl’

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, fatherlessness, fathers rights, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights on July 16, 2009 at 5:45 pm

Stories of children being abducted by strangers fill families with fear, but the reality is most are taken by one of their own parents – and the numbers are steadily rising.

Canadian Joe Chisholm has been looking for his daughter Sigourney for 16 years.

When he and Sigourney’s mother, Patricia O’Byrne, broke up they were awarded joint custody, but she promptly vanished along with their 18-month-old baby.

The 51-year-old is thought to have left Toronto for England, where she has relatives.

‘Distrust and guilt’

Like many parents in his position, Joe had no idea how difficult it would be to find a child, once they had crossed an international border.

“If somebody had told me it was going to take this long, it would have broken my heart,” he says.

United States
Source: Foreign Office/Ministry of Justice

“It’s frustrating when you’re told by the authorities they’ll get back to you in a couple of days because they have procedures to follow. For a parent, what could be more cruel?”

In 2008 about 700 children from 554 cases were abducted and brought into the UK or taken out of the UK, according to official statistics, and campaigners believe hundreds more go unreported.

There is often a peak during the school holidays when divorced or separated parents take their children on holiday and fail to return.

Justice minister Lord Bach says he is concerned by the figures.

“You get cases when a parent deliberately, knowing they’re flouting the law, take their children abroad,” he says.

“And there are other cases where the parent doesn’t realise that what they’re doing is against the law.”

Experts say the police are sometimes reluctant to get involved in what they see as a family dispute.

Joe's children Sigourney and Jesse

Joe’s children Sigourney and Jesse in happier times

“The problem occurs if the police tell the parent to see their solicitor,” says Ann Thomas, of the International Family Law Group.

“Often this is too late as the child can be secreted out of the country in the time it takes for the solicitor’s office to reopen.”

In Joe Chisholm’s case the police did get involved and his ex-partner remains on Interpol’s “Wanted” list.

A number of leads took the 48-year-old to England, Spain and back to Canada but the trail has long since gone cold.

Joe remains in Toronto with his 20-year-old son Jesse, his child by another woman.

The charity Reunite says this is a problem which affects all social groups but is a growing issue among professional couples who are posted abroad for work.

2006 – 488
2007 – 542
2008 – 554
Source: Foreign Office/Ministry of Justice. Abductions in and out of UK

If a parent takes a child home without consent, they could be charged with abduction.

Director Denise Carter says: “There is a duty of international companies to make information available to staff who are moving overseas so that they can actually discuss this and maybe come to an agreement before they go.

“And parents need to realise it’s not all roses round the door. Consider what happens if it does go wrong and what effect that would have on the children.”

For many abducted children, the long-term effect can be deep distrust and guilt.

One woman, who did not want to be identified, was taken by her father to Latin America when she was six years old.

Joe Chisholm

For Joe Chisholm the search for his daughter seems endless

She grew up believing her mother had abandoned her. Her mother died before she learnt the truth.

“There have been nights when I’ve sobbed so much,” she says.

“Even though I was only a child when my father took me away, I feel I played a part in my mum’s death.”

The majority of abducting parents are now mothers. Some are genuinely fleeing abusive situations, but others just want to go home or start a new life abroad.

The top destination for abducted children is Pakistan, due to Britain’s large South Asian population.

Joe Chisholm and Patricia O'Byrne

Joe last saw his daughter in 1993

But there are now almost as many children being taken to and from the United States, followed by Spain, France and Ireland.

For parents who know where their children have been taken, there are international agreements in place designed to negotiate returns, such as the 1980 Hague Convention. Some cases are resolved within months.

The Foreign Office deals with non-Hague countries and the process can be more complicated.

But for parents like Joe Chisholm, who do not know where their children are, the search seems endless.

The closest he came to finding his daughter was in Tonbridge in Kent when he thought he caught a glimpse of Miss O’Byrne on a bus.

“The bus pulled away before I could do anything,” he says. “I thought, at least I’m only hours or days away from resolving this thing. But that was 10 years ago.”

Miss O’Byrne’s uncle, John O’Brien, says her family would also like to know where she is.

He says: “We cannot believe that she would cut herself off from family and friends for a life of stress and uncertainty for vengeful or spurious reasons – she must have had serious concerns.”

Sigourney is now 17 years old and Joe is still searching.

“When I find her, she’s going to know that I never stopped looking. I never gave up,” he says.

Have you had a similar experience to Joe? Are you still looking for your child? Tell us about your experiences using the form below:

BBC NEWS | UK | ‘I’ll never end hunt for my girl’.

Fathers needed to help stop child abuse – Parental Alienation

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on July 16, 2009 at 4:10 am

Fathers needed to help stop child abuse
Wednesday Jul 15, 2009

I read with interest the July 9th [op-ed] in the South End News, “Health-care reform should include child abuse prevention,” by Daniel F. Conley, District Attorney of Suffolk County.

I do agree with DA Conley that funds to fight child abuse are important.

However, what DA Conley does not mention is who is responsible for the majority of child abuse and why this abuse sometimes occurs. According to the 2007 Child Maltreatment Report of the US Department of Health and Human Services, 38.7 percent of victims were at the hands of their mother only, compared to 17.9 percent at the hands of their father only. Mother and father together was 16.8 percent.

So one of the most protective methods to prevent child abuse is to bring back stable families into children’s lives to prevent child abuse. Today 40 percent of all new births are to unwed mothers and over 30 percent of children are raised without a dad in the house, over 20 million kids. From these numbers, one can deduce that there will be an explosion of child abuse with so many children brought up in single parent, mostly mother-only homes.

This explosion of single-mom homes has been due to well-meaning but perverse federal and state laws. They include Title IV(d), which actually has perverse incentives to keep a father out of the home and the Violence Against Women’s Act, which was not made gender neutral and has allowed for an explosion of false allegations without due process. The Crime Bill of 1994, which is not equally applied. The Brady Bill, which has sent more dead-broke fathers, non-violent fathers to jail. The tax code head of household provision is biased against fathers. Lack of equal shared parenting laws for fit parents and the lack of criminal penalties for false allegations and for the use of parental alienation hurt too.

If we truly want to make a dent into child abuse, one of the root ways is to bring back fathers into the household, as well as some of the support systems mentioned by DA Conley.

Dr. Peter G. Hill
Boston Copley Square Chiropractic
304 Columbus Avenue

A tale of two cities

On Sunday, July 12, Boston was literally a tale of two cities. Along Boston’s long waterfront from the Charlestown Navy Yard to the Seaport World Trade Center, thousands upon thousands were touring the tall ships in Boston for Sail Boston 2009. At the same time, over in Dorchester, folks were taking part in the ninth annual Parents’ and Children’s Walk for Peace. While driving through Upham’s Corner in Dorchester, I passed by this peace gathering sponsored by the Bobby Mendes Peace Legacy watching sad but hopeful faces, the relatives of murdered victims carrying their message of peace.

This crowd was much smaller than the one viewing those majestic tall ships but what they lacked in quantity, they made up in their continued drive to drive out violence from their communities. I viewed the march for a few minutes as it turned off Columbia Road onto Dudley Street. Ten minutes down Dudley Street and I am back in my boyhood neighborhood of 45-50 years ago. Things have not been right in my old neighborhood for decades and if things are ever to get right again, it will be because of people like these marchers working for change along with their chanting. Actions speak louder than words. Marches bring people together but once brought together a commitment to real change begins as soon as the march ends. The tall ships docked inside the harbor but there is no safe harbor for young people today as violence robs many of their futures.

Sal Giarratani

A healthy thank you for Senator Hart

On behalf of the 34,000 healthcare workers of 1199SEIU throughout Massachusetts, I would like to thank Senator Jack Hart for meeting with frontline health-care workers from Boston Medical Center. Senator Hart was incredibly gracious in taking time to hear from us as constituents and as caregivers about the challenges we are facing in the health-care industry right now, as we strive to fulfill our mission of delivering quality care to the residents of the South End.

It is good to know that Senator Hart cares about keeping our communities healthy and supports investing in health-care facilities, programs, and job training to ensure quality health-care services and quality jobs for Boston area residents. The local health-care industry is facing major challenges in this economy, and we know everyone needs to work together to make health care better for our patients, consumers, and nursing home residents. The health-care workers of 1199SEIU and Boston Medical Center want to thank the senator for meeting with us and taking a leadership role in that effort.

Roxana B. Hidalgo
Biller, Patient Financial Services, Boston Medical Center
South Boston – Local news and entertainment for Boston’s Historic South End.

Parental Rights Victorious in Court Ruling (

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Rights, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights on July 15, 2009 at 8:10 pm
Parental rights victorious in court ruling

Pete Chagnon – OneNewsNow – 7/15/2009 6:50:00 AM//

troubled teenage girlParents in Illinois were handed a victory by the 7th Circuit Court yesterday.

For the first time since Roe v. Wade became law, parents in Illinois have won the right to be notified if their underage daughter seeks an abortion. That right was won after the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday dissolved a federal injunction on the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion Act.

That act was passed more than ten years ago, but was never enacted due to the courts. Since then more than 50,000 underage girls have obtained abortions in Illinois — some of them as young as 14 years of age.

David Smith IFIDavid Smith, who heads the Illinois Family Institute, says the recent decision will save lives.

“No parent wants their children to go through a procedure like that,” says Smith. “Most parents…would want to see the baby come into the family and that the whole support group there take care of the child — or…they could [even] explore other options like adoption.”

“Parents want to be able to have that say in their minor child’s life,” he continues, “and to be able to protect them from the physical [and] emotional harms that come along with an abortion.”

Smith says Illinois attracted a lot of out-of-state minors seeking abortions because their home states required parental notification. He hopes this latest court ruling will put a stop to that.

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Parental rights victorious in court ruling (

Divorce and false allegations of child abuse – the story of Dr. David Menchell

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, CPS, cps fraud, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Sociopath, state crimes on July 15, 2009 at 7:25 pm

Divorce and false allegations of child abuse – the story of Dr. David Menchell

July 15, 5:54 AM

Dr. David Menchell never dreamed when he reported bruises on his older son’s body that it would lead to Child Protective Services investigating him. He first noticed the bruises when he took his children to the Poconos for a vacation. While at a water park, he asked his son where they came from. His son has emotional issues, so it was difficult to find out from him how he had gotten bruised.

Later that weekend, Dr. Menchell’s mother talked to her grandson. She then told Dr. Menchell the child had implied that an older child at school had been fighting with him and had bruised him.

The next day, Dr. Menchell phoned the school and talked to the psychologist who works with his son. She assured him that the students were usually supervised, and it would be unlikely for his son to be in a fight without someone knowing about it. She said, however, that she would follow up with his teachers and also call Dr. Menchell’s ex-wife to discuss the situation.

The next day Dr. Menchell’s ex-wife took the boy to the pediatrician, and he documented the same bruises. The day after that, Dr. Menchell received a call from Child Protective Services stating that they were investigating the boy’s bruises. Dr. Menchell responded that he had expected that they would do that. It was then that Child Protective Services informed Dr. Menchell that he was the subject of the investigation.

Dr. Menchell’s rights to visit his children were immediately suspended, and he has not seen his children for three months. Child Protective Services indicated the report, meaning that the investigator claims to have found some credible evidence that he committed the abuse. Some credible evidence is an extremely low standard of proof. It is not unusual for an investigator to indicate a report when there is little or even no evidence.

When Dr. Menchell goes before an administrative law judge to get the indicated report amended to unfounded, Child Protective Services will have to meet a higher standard of proof–a fair preponderance of evidence. Doctor Menchell understands this because he was put through the same ringer on another occasion.

Following the first investigation, Dr. Menchell was not allowed to see his children for two months. After Dr. Menchell was interrogated by a court appointed psychologist, he was allowed visits with his children but only if they were supervised.

While he was finally exonerated of any wrong doing following a fair hearing, the doctor had this to say.

“…it was an easy matter to disprove the inept findings of the report and reverse the decision of CPS, but it took two years, stuck me with a label of child abuser, cost a fortune in psychologist’s and attorney’s fees, and disrupted the normal parenting time I might have had with my children.”

Dr. Menchell is confident that the results of the second investigation will be overturned as well. He says,

“I don’t doubt that I will overturn this additional finding from CPS. The very fact that I have had to endure this insult twice is an indictment of the system. The principles that apply in other venues, like criminal court, should extend to CPS and Family Court: the right to a fair trial or hearing, the assumption of innocence, the right to address your accusers. Until these issues are addressed and CPS is held accountable, there will be continued abuse and injustice perpetrated by CPS and the courts. And our children and their parents are both the victims.”

While Child Protective Services does not divulge the names of people making calls to the child abuse hotline, Doctor Menchell attributes his problems with Child Protective Services to a marriage gone sour.

Many estranged or divorced spouses have testified to similar problems. reported yesterday that a Lakeland, Florida father, William Dunn, is suing the Florida Department of Children and Families for not allowing him to see his daughter for eleven months after he was falsely accused of sexually abusing her. The judge who ruled that Dunn did not abuse his daughter and returned her to his care expressed concern that the girl’s mother coached her to say that she had been abused, although the mother denies it.  Both the father and daughter have suffered physical and emotional problems due to the false allegations.

Earlier this week, the grown children of Clyde Raye Spencer testified at a hearing that their father never abused them. Spencer has served 19 years in prison for child abuse. Both of Spencer’s children say that their mother told them they were just blocking out the memory of the abuse when they told her they had not been abused.

Dean Tong, who is an expert on false allegations of abuse, spent $150,000 and ten years to clear his name after his estranged wife accused him of sexually abusing his daughter. He has since become an author and a leading expert witness on parent alienation syndrome, and false allegations of sexual and other forms of abuse during or after a  divorce,

Tong has this to say about divorce and false allegations of abuse.

“Even in so called “no-fault” divorce states, parents and relatives of divorcing parties seeking to gain an upper hand in custody and financial arrangements file false or unfounded allegations of domestic violence or child abuse. Once falsely accused, an innocent party oftentimes must spend tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars defending their good name while finding it nearly impossible to remove the stain of abuse allegations. Such allegations also damage the children involved by forcing them to participate unnecessarily in intrusive psychological examinations and courtroom proceedings.”

Divorce and false allegations of child abuse – the story of Dr. David Menchell.

Man jailed for child support, even though he was not the father, released |

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fathers rights, state crimes on July 15, 2009 at 7:05 pm

Man jailed for child support, even though he was not the father, released

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

A South Georgia man who had been jailed for more than a year for not paying child support — even though he was not the biological father — was released from custody on Wednesday.

“I thank God for this day,” Frank Hatley, 50, said in a telephone interview shortly after his release. “It feels good being free.”

Hatley had sat in a Cook County jail since June 25, 2008, even though a special assistant state attorney general and the judge knew Hatley was not the child’s biological father.

After showing a judge during a hearing Wednesday that he was indigent, Hatley was ordered released from confinement, his lawyer, Sarah Geraghty of the Southern Center for Human Rights, said.

The judge, however, postponed deciding whether Hatley must still repay the more than $10,000 in child support the state says he owes. But Hatley does not have to make any monthly payments until that issue is resolved, Geraghty said.

“I’m certainly glad Mr. Hatley has been released but the underlying issue has still yet to be resolved,” Geraghty said.

Two DNA tests — one conducted nine years ago and another earlier this month — proved that Hatley was not the father of Travon Morrison, who is now 21. Even after learning he was not the father, Hatley paid thousands of dollars the state said he owed for support. After losing his job and becoming homeless, he still made payments out of his unemployment benefits.

In the 1980s, Hatley had a relationship with Essie Lee Morrison, who became pregnant. Morrison had a baby boy in 1987 and told Hatley the child was his, according to court records. The couple never married and split up shortly after Travon was born.

In 1989, Morrison applied for public assistance through the state Department of Human Resources. The state moved to get Hatley to reimburse the cost of Travon’s support, and Hatley agreed because he believed Travon was his son.

But in 2000, DNA samples from Hatley and Travon showed the two were not related, according to court records.

With the help of a Georgia Legal Services lawyer, Hatley went to court and was relieved of his responsibility to pay future child support. But he still had to deal with being a deadbeat dad when it was assumed that he was really the dad.

Homerville lawyer Charles Reddick, working as a special assistant state attorney general, prepared an order requiring Hatley to pay the $16,398 he still owed the state for child support.

The Aug. 21, 2001, order, signed by Cook County Superior Court Judge Dane Perkins, acknowledges that Hatley was not Travon’s father.

After that, Hatley paid almost $6,000. But last year he was laid off from his job unloading charcoal grills from shipping containers. He became homeless and lived in his car. Still, Hatley made some child support payments using his unemployment benefits.

By May 2008, he apparently had not paid enough. In another order prepared by Reddick and signed by Perkins, Hatley was found in contempt and jailed.

On Wednesday, after being freed, Hatley said he wanted to be relieved from his financial obligations.

“Out of it all, I just feel like justice should be served for me in this case,” he said. “I shouldn’t have to keep being punished for a child that is not mine.”

Man jailed for child support, even though he was not the father, released |

Breaking Up with an Emotionally Abusive Woman Video and Suicide Threats « A Shrink for Men

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Sociopath on July 15, 2009 at 6:51 pm

Breaking Up with an Emotionally Abusive Woman Video and Suicide Threats

shackled handsNarcissistic Personality Disorder/Borderline Personality Disorder women rarely make it easy to end a relationship with them. Once you finally decide you can no longer take the emotional abuse, the threats, accusations, outrageous demands, bullying, projection, projective identification and gaslighting, you probably feel a sense of relief. Then the maw of hell opens and the BPD/NPD woman ratchets her nasty behaviors a thousandfold.

Typical behaviors include: distortion/smear campaigns (lying to your friends, family and anyone who’ll listen in order to turn them against you); parental alienation (turning your children against you by badmouthing you, lying about you and putting you into no-win situations); and projection (blaming you for the rotten abusive acts that she is committing—for example, she engages in parental alienation and then accuses you of taking your anger out on the children).

Facing these threatening behaviors can be terrifying, which makes it all the more difficult to end the relationship. These women become unpredictable, wild animals when they sense they’re losing control. They don’t care about the collateral damage they inflict. They’ll bring the house down right on top of themselves if they think it will punish you.

I received an email request for advice from one of my readers, “Mike,” about breaking up with his BPD/NPD ex, “Susan.” He shared a rather lengthy email exchange between them, which I condensed into an Xtranormal video (with Mike’s permission). Here’s an excerpt from his email:

I guess my question is, “Where do I go from here?” I posted some of my experiences (under the name, fromCOtoAZ) previously on your blog. Your advice was very helpful and completely correct. Unfortunately, I didn’t adhere to your advice and got sucked back in. My ex promised she was seeing a therapist and that things would change. She finally admitted her words are hurtful and cause a lot of damage. I gave her one more chance to see if things really would change or if it was just window dressing.

Things were fine the first month, then they shot straight back to what they were by the second month. She has no problem throwing anyone under the bus if you try to hold her accountable. She blames others for her problems, even her kids. While we were together, I offered to buy her a car since she totaled her previous one in an accident. Even though I can’t afford it, I was willing to do it for her and her kids. Long story short, she blows up at me. Most girls would say, “thank you, what a guy.” Not her.  She HAS to find something wrong with the offer, some reason to be offended,  some reason to be completely negative and angry.

The profanity comes in waves, degrading words spew like bile, and it happens every time. It’s always someone else’s fault. So I finally had enough – again – and broke up with her. Now she’s playing the victim and it’s all my fault in her eyes. Here’s the dialog we had tonight. It’s a great example of how our “discussions” (my attempt) turn into fights (her attempt).

So here is my question to you: My nephew got into a fight with his girlfriend and hung himself when he was 21. I also made a very poor decision earlier in my life and considered suicide. Trust me. She knows suicide is very personal to me. I’m not asking you to have a crystal ball, but I’m scared that she’s serious. Then again, and I don’t mean to sound like a callous jerk, she could simply be playing that card because she knows it’s the ONE thing that will get my attention over anything else. So where do I go from here?

I can’t stay with her just because she threatens to kill herself. She’ll never stop being abusive and demoralizing and yet I don’t want to have that on my conscience if she does it. When I had ny own brush with suicide years ago, it was my decision, poor as it was, and I accept full responsibility. She would never see it as her choice. It would all be my fault. What should I do? This girl (”girl” -she’s actually a 43-year old woman with 3 children!) scares me in so many ways, but this is the scariest.

Hi Mike,

My head felt like it was going to explode while reading your email exchange with Susan. Where to begin, where to begin, where to begin…

1. Your first mistake was going back into the rabid lioness’ den (i.e., reuniting). It happens though. You wanted to give it one more college try. I understand. You stuck your hand into the fire again and got burned. This is a valuable lesson. Remember it.

2. Your second mistake was offering to remain friends with this woman. You cannot, not, NOT remain “friends” with these women. If you don’t share a child, the healthiest thing is a clean break (or as clean as you can get with a woman like this), which means no contact.

First, this woman is not your friend. A friend doesn’t abuse you. Second, as one of my other readers so eloquently stated, “As adult as you may think you are being by developing a “friendship”, this is not a normal adult relationship and you need to end the behavior patterns in order to move on. If children are involved, communicate by email with very direct, but not curt communications. Do not initiate or engage in any dramatic episodes even on email – Kind, Direct, Simple, the end.”

3. You’re using too many words with her (Mike’s email responses to Susan were very long). These women don’t process dialog/conversation like the rest of us. Crafting long, factual explanations–especially ones that don’t fit with their distorted version of events–are completely lost on them. Even if it seems like she’s reading or listening, she’s just scanning for specific hot-button code words that she can twist around, distort, and blow completely out of proportion in order to use your words against you. These women should become professional taffy pullers. Their ability to distort facts so that they fall in line with their distorted emotional reasoning is unparalleled.

4. Never agree with these women’s insults and name-calling. Appeasing these women by agreeing with them in order to get them to stop the verbal abuse (i.e., shut up) is usually a bad idea. They take it as a green light to keep going and that their behavior is acceptable. You can’t humor these women. It only amps them up.

5. When they invoke the authority of a therapist, attorney or some other professional it means they’re getting desperate. It’s like saying, “I told mommy/daddy/teacher on you and boy are you in trouble now!” It’s a control/manipulation/shame/fear tactic. No competent therapist would encourage a patient to emotionally blackmail a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, ex or family member by threatening suicide.

In fact, Psychologists adhere to the Tarasoff vs. the Regents of the University of California ruling, which means they have a duty to protect their patients from harming themselves or others. This includes breaking confidentiality by contacting the authorities or having them voluntarily/involuntarily hospitalized if the Psychologist decides the patient has intent, the means and a plan to kill herself.

I highly doubt she even showed your emails to her therapist. Then again, perhaps she did and that’s why Bonnie is recommending inpatient treatment. Furthermore, just like NPD/BPD women twist around things that you say and do; they also twist what their therapists say if it helps them to control and abuse others. Additionally, if Bonnie criticized you it’s probably because your ex has given her a highly distorted account of your relationship.

6. You are NOT responsible if this woman takes her life. Period. This is classic emotional blackmail. Don’t bite on it. If you’re really worried about her, call or email her therapist and let her decide if Susan needs to be pink papered. Forward Susan’s emails to her therapist. State you understand she can’t discuss or even acknowledge that she’s treating Susan, but you’re worried that she may harm herself and her children by exposing them to her parasuicidal threats and possible gestures. Mention your experience with your nephew and that’s why you feel obligated to notify her. And truly, Mike, that’s all you’re obligated to do.

I apologize if my feedback comes across as harsh, but for goodness sake, I feel violated reading her attacks on you secondhand. Do you have a therapist or someone who can help you set and maintain your boundaries and figure out what attracted you to Susan and what makes you susceptible to woman like her? If not, I strongly encourage you to focus on that instead of being friends with Susan or having anything else to do with her.

Kind Regards,
Dr Tara

Parental Rights Congressional Phone Blitz July 21-23

In Family Rights on July 15, 2009 at 5:44 am

Parental Rights Congressional Phone Blitz July 21-23

From: Rebekah Pizana
Monday, July 13, 2009 12:28 PM

Subject: Attn: Congressional Phone Blitz July 21-23
Dear Allied Leaders,

We just sent out state-specific emails to our email list today, asking them to prepare for a Congressional phone blitz next week, from July 21-23. Members of our staff here at will be lobbying the Senate in person on July 22, and we hope to report the phones ringing off the hook!

I am hoping that you will be able to forward this on to your membership and staff, friends and family:
In order to pass the Parental Rights Amendment we need bipartisan support from those in Congress, and we are planning a Co-sponsor Drive for Tuesday, July 21, through Thursday, July 23. In this nationwide effort to get support for the Parental Rights Amendment, we will be calling all members of the U.S. House and Senate who are not already co-sponsors. If your U.S. Representative and Senators are not co-sponsors, we need you to call them during our three-day Co-sponsor Drive.

To view the list of current co-sponsors, go to www.ParentalRights.Org. To find contact information for your Representative and Senators, go to

During the three-day Co-sponsor Drive, please call their office(s) and urge them to co-sponsor H.J.Res. 42, the Parental Rights Amendment in the House (find your Representative by typing your zip code into the box here.) We are especially targeting Democrats, since so few of that party have agreed to co-sponsor the Amendment, and this is a bi-partisan issue that should resonate with ALL Americans. The Parental Rights Amendment was also introduced in the U.S. Senate this past May by Senator DeMint as S.J. Res. 16.

If your Representative is already a supporter, send an email thanking them for co-sponsoring the Parental Rights Amendment. Thanking those who co-sponsor lets them know we appreciate their support.

Thank you for your participation in this important Congressional Phone Blitz right before Congress adjourns for the summer! Senators and Representatives will soon return to their home districts for August summer work period. ParentalRights. Org is organizing visits to local Congressional offices by 20 constituents with 1,000 activist signatures, to be scheduled during that time. A face-to-face group meeting with your Congressman is an extremely powerful and effective way to communicate clearly the message of the Parental Rights Amendment. If you would like to participate in these local meetings, please email info@parentalrights .org so we can forward your request to the appropriate Regional Coordinator for your state.
Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions about this. Thank you so much for your continued support!

Rebekah Pizana
National Coalition Director
ParentalRights. org

Parental Rights Congressional Phone Blitz July 21-23.