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Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Parental Alienation Oppponents Defeated Again in California

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Liberty, Marriage, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorder, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights, Restraining Orders on July 31, 2010 at 6:45 pm
July 26th, 2010 by Glenn Sacks, MA, Executive Director

Fathers and Families and its legislative allies have succeeded in killing one of the worst family law bills in modern history–California’s AB 612. The bill, put forward by the well-funded advocacy group Center for Judicial Excellence (and supported by the California National Organization for Women), would have banned Parental Alienation from being mentioned in any way, shape, or form in a California family court. Because of California’s tremendous influence in shaping the laws of other states, this loss would have led to a mushrooming of similarly damaging legislation in other states.

Fathers and Families’ legislative representative Michael Robinson helped cobble together a coalition of family law professional organizations and experts to oppose the bill. We were able to bottle the bill up in the Senate Judiciary Committee last year and keep it there until last week, when it died. To learn more about the bill, see our co-authored column Preventing courts from considering parental alienation will harm kids (Capitol Weekly, 2/25/10).

The defeat of AB 612 is a victory for the family court reform movement and for children everywhere. Victories cost money, as does our deep, professional involvement inside the political system—please support our successful work by making a tax-deductible contribution by clicking here.

This is the second time in two months that Fathers & Families has been instrumental in defeating a Center for Judicial Excellence bill—in June, we helped kill AB 2475, which was also related to Parental Alienation. To learn more, see F & F Helps Defeat Radical Bill from Opponents of Recognizing Parental Alienation.

Whereas Fathers & Families’ family court reform bills have been moving swiftly through the California legislature, the Center for Judicial Excellence is now 0-2 in the 2009-2010 legislative session.

The CJE claims that there’s a “crisis” in family courts, and that courts are handing over custody of children to physically and sexually abusive fathers. They promote reforms which will make it easier to deny parents shared custody or visitation rights based on unsubstantiated abuse claims. As we’ve noted before, there is no empirical basis supporting this claim. The vast majority of the cases that groups like the CJE put forward as alleged examples of this “crisis” of abusive fathers winning child custody are being badly misrepresented–to learn more, click here.

The events surrounding AB 2475 and AB 612 are further validation of Fathers and Families’ emphasis on the need for the family court reform movement to employ full-time legislative representatives and engage in the political process on a professional level. To support this work with your tax-deductible gift, please click here.

Together with you in the love of our children,

Glenn Sacks, MA
Executive Director, Fathers and Families

Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S.
Chair of the Board, Fathers and Families

Effects of Fatherlessness – Part 1

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on July 31, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Effects on children of removing a father from the life of a child.

Based on our clinical experience with a number of latency aged and adolescent girls whose parents divorced during their oedipal years, we postulate that particular coping patterns emerge in response to the absence of the father, which may complicate the consolidation of positive feminine identification in many female children, and is observable during the latency years. We illustrate both the existence of these phenomena and implications for treatment:

  1. intensified separation anxiety
  2. denial and avoidance of feelings associated with loss of father
  3. identification with the lost object
  4. object hunger for males.”

“In an earlier study by Kalter and Rembar at [Children’s Psychiatric Hospital, University of Michigan], a sample of 144 child and adolescent patients, whose parents had divorced, presented [for evaluation and treatment] with three most commonly occurring problems:

63% Subjective psychological problem (defined as anxiety, sadness, pronounced moodiness, phobias, and depression)

56% Poor grades or grades substantially below ability and/or recent past performance

43% Aggression toward parents

Important features of the subgroup of 32 latency aged girls were in the same order:

69% indicating subjective psychological distress 47% academic problems 41% aggression toward parents.

Clinical Observations on Interferences of Early Father Absence in the Achievement of Femininity by R. Lohr, C. g, A. Mendell and B. Riemer, Clinical Social Work Journal, V. 17, #4, Winter, 1989


“In summary, 30% of the children in the present study experienced a marked decrease in their academic performance following parental separation, and this was evident three years later. Access to both parents seemed to be the most protective factor, in that it was associated with better academic adjustment…Moreover, data revealed that noncustodial parents (mostly fathers) were very influential in their children’s development…These data also support the interpretation that the more time a child spends with the noncustodial noncustodial parent the better the overall adjustment of the child.”

Factors Associated with Academic Achievement in Children Following Parental Separation, L. Bisnaire, PhD; P. Firestone, PhD; D. Rynard, MA Sc American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 60(1), January, 1990


“While in most instances adolescents from recently disrupted household were more negatively affected by their parents’ divorce, some findings did identify long-term effects of earlier disruption. Adolescent girls who had experienced parental divorce when they were younger than six or between six and nine years old reported becoming involved with alcohol or drugs in proportions higher than did girls from intact families. Adolescent girls whose experience of divorce occurred before they were six more frequently reported skipping school than did girls from intact families or girls whose parents divorced when they were between the ages of six and nine.”

“These findings underscore the vulnerability of adolescents whose parents have divorced within the last five years. The impact of the marital disruption was most pronounced among girls, who skipped school more frequently, reported more depress ehavior, and described social support in more negative terms than did boys from recently disrupted homes.”

The Effects of Marital Disruption on Adolescents: Time as a Dynamic A. Frost, PhD; B. Pakiz, EdM, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 60(4), October, 1990


“Among teenage and adult populations of females, parental divorce has been associated with lower self-esteem, precocious sexual activity, greater delinquent-like behavior, and more difficulty establishing gratifying, lasting adult heterosexual relationships. It is especially intriguing to note that, in these studies, the parental divorce typically occurred years before any difficulties were observed..

“At the time of the marital separation, when (as is typical) father leaves the family home and becomes progressively less involved with his children over the ensuing years, it appears that young girls experience the emotional loss of father egocentrically as a rejection of them. While more common among preschool and early elementary school girls, we have observed this phenomenon clinically in later elementary school and young adolescent children. Here the continued lack of involvement is experienced as an ongoing rejection by him. Many girls attribute this rejection to their not being pretty enough, affectionate enough, athletic enough, or smart enough to please father and engage him in regular, frequent contacts”.

“Finally, girls whose parents divorce may grow up without the day to day experience of interacting with a man who is attentive, caring and loving. The continuous sense of being valued and loved as a female seems an especially key element in the development of the conviction that one is indeed femininely lovable. Without this regular source of nourishment, a girl’s sense of being valued as a female does not seem to thrive.”

Long-Term Effects of Divorce on Children: A Developmental Vulnerability Model Neil Kalter, Ph.D., University of Michigan, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 57(4), October, 1987


“….when the non-custodial parent is perceived as “lost,” the young adult is more depressed. When a divorce occurs, the perception of the non-custodial father has been shown to change in a negative direction, while the perception of the mother (whether custodon-custodial) remains relatively stable. ”

“Because divorce is a process, not an isolated event, the effects of the divorce may be cumulative and early intervention would therefore be beneficial.

The continued involvement of the non- custodial parent in the child’s life appears crucial in preventing an intense sense of loss in the child…. The importance of the relationship with the non-custodial parent may also have implications for the legal issues of custodial arrangements and visitation. The results of this study indicate that arrangements where both parents are equally involved with the child are optimal. When this type of arrangement is not possible, the child’s continued relationship with the non-custodial parent remains essential.”

Young Adult Children of Divorced Parents: Depression and the Perception of Loss, Rebecca L. Drill, Ph.D., Harvard University. Journal of Divorce, V. 10, #1/2, Fall/Winter 1986


“The impact of parental divorce and subsequent father absence in the wake of this event has long been thought to affect children quite negatively. For instance, parental divorce and father loss has been associated with difficulties in school adjustment (e.g. Felner, Ginter, Boike, & Cowen), Social Adjustment (e.g. Fry & Grover) and personal adjustment (e.g. Covell & Turnbull)…”

“The results of the present study suggest that father loss through divorce is associated with diminished self-concepts in children…at least for this sample of children from the midwestern United States.”

Children’s Self Concepts: Are They Affected by Parental Divorce and Remarriage Thomas S. Parish, Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 1987, V 2, #4, 559-562


“It is ironic, and of some interest, that we have subjected joint custody to a level and intensity of scrutiny that was never directed towa the traditional post-divorce arrangement (sole legal and physical custody to the mother and two weekends each month of visiting to the father.) Developmental and relationship theory should have alerted the mental health field to the potential immediate and long range consequences for the child of only seeing a parent four days each month. And yet until recently, there was no particular challenge to this traditional post-divorce parenting arrangement, despite growing evidence that such post-divorce relationships were not sufficiently nurturing or stabilizing for many children and parents.”

“There is some evidence that in our well-meaning efforts to save children in the immediate post-separation period from anxiety, confusion, and the normative divorce-engendered conflict, we have set the stage in the longer run for the more ominous symptoms of anger, depression, and a deep sense of loss by depriving the child of the opportunity to maintain a full relationship with each parent.”

Examining Resistance to Joint Custody, Monograph by Joan Kelly, Ph.D. (associate of Judith Wallerstein, Ph.D) From the 1991 Book Joint Custody and Shared Parenting, second edition, Guilford Press, 1991.

Effects of Fatherlessness #1.

The Politics of Family Destruction

In Family Rights on July 30, 2010 at 3:45 pm

This is a reprint of an article from 2002.  It still is true today.

By Stephen Baskerville

The debate on the family is becoming increasingly politicized. President George W. Bush proposes federal programs to promote marriage and fatherhood and to enlist churches. Liberals respond that government does not belong in the family but then advocate federal programs of their own.

Yet the more polarized the issues become the less willing we are to look at the hard politics of the family crisis. Family policy is still discussed in terms set by therapists and social scientists: the rate of divorce and unwed motherhood, the level of poverty, the impact on children, the social costs. As if we don’t know.

As a social scientist, I do not deny the value of data (I intend to marshal some myself). But therapeutic practitioners have established such a hold over family policy that they have paralyzed our capacity to act. Writing on single motherhood in Commentary magazine, the eminent political scientist James Q. Wilson grimly concludes, “If you believe, as I do, in the power of culture, you will realize that there is very little one can do.” Like many others (including the Bush administration), Wilson is reduced to advocating counseling and “education.”

What seems missing here is old-fashioned politics, the kind that did not hesitate to make moral judgments and even express outrage. The politics of the prophets, for example.

The facts are well-established among social scientists, but a kind of ideological correctness on both left and right seems to keep us from confronting the full implications of what we know. We are afraid to challenge the accepted clichés about marriage breakdown, even when it becomes clear that they don’t correspond to the evidence.

We should begin, therefore, with the uncontested but seldom-mentioned facts. First, marriages do not simply “break down” by themselves. Legally, someone—and it is usually one—consciously ends it by filing official documents and calling in the government against his or her spouse. According to Frank Furstenberg and Andrew Cherlin, the authors of Divided Families, some 80 percent of divorces are unilateral. One spouse usually wishes to keep the family together.

When children are involved, the divorcing parent is overwhelmingly likely to be the mother. Scholarly studies by Sanford Braver, Margaret Brinig and Douglas Allen, and others estimate that between 67 and 75 percent of such divorces are instigated by the mother. Feminists and divorce attorneys report that the number is closer to 90 percent. Few of these divorces involve grounds like desertion, adultery, or violence. “Growing apart” or “not feeling loved or appreciated” are the usual explanations.

The divorcing parent is likely to get custody of the children and coerced financial payments from the divorced parent. Brinig and Allen even concluded that of 21 variables, “who gets the children is by far the most important component in deciding who files for divorce.”

Clearly more is at work here than husbands and wives deciding to go their separate ways. Under no-fault laws, divorce has become a means not only of ending a marriage but of seizing monopoly control of the children, who become weapons conferring leverage backed by penal sanctions. The devastating effects of divorce and fatherlessness on both children and society are now so well-known that there is no need to belabor them here. What is seldom appreciated is the broader threat the divorce regime poses to ethical and constitutional government. In fact, there is today no better example of the link between personal morality and public ethics—between the fidelity of private individuals and the faithfulness of public servants—or the connection of both with the civilized order.

Significantly, as secular political sophisticates focus narrowly on the sociological, it is Pope John Paul II who has come closest to the root of the problem. In January, he issued what many saw as a surprisingly strong statement against divorce that specifically singled out lawyers and judges for criticism. For his pains he was attacked by lawyers, journalists, and politicians from both the left and right. Yet his characterization of divorce as a “festering wound” with “devastating consequences that spread in society like the plague” is as accurate politically as it is socially.

Since the advent of no-fault divorce, a multibillion-dollar industry has grown up around the divorce courts: judges, lawyers, psychotherapists, mediators, counselors, social workers, and bureaucratic police. All these people have a professional and financial stake in divorce. In fact, despite pieties to the contrary, public officials at all levels of government—including elected leaders in both parties—now have a vested interest in increasing the number of single-parent homes.

The politics of divorce begins in family court, a relatively new and little-examined institution. Family courts are usually closed to the public and their proceedings are usually unrecorded. Yet they reach further into private lives than any other arm of government. Though lowest in the hierarchy, they are “the most powerful branch of the judiciary,” according to Judge Robert Page of the New Jersey family court. “The power of family court judges is almost unlimited,” Page writes.

Secret courts have long been recognized as an invitation to chicanery. “Where there is no publicity, there is no justice,” wrote British philosopher and jurist Jeremy Bentham. “It keeps the judge himself while trying under trial.” Judges claim the secrecy protects family privacy, though in fact it seems to provide a cloak to violate family privacy and other protections with impunity.

Family court judges are appointed and promoted by commissions dominated by bar associations. That means they are answerable to those with an interest in maximizing the volume of divorce litigation. Though family courts complain of being “overburdened,” it is clearly in their interest to be overburdened, since judicial powers and salaries are determined by demand. The aim of the courts, therefore, is to increase their workload by attracting customers, and the divorce industry has erected a series of financial and emotional incentives that encourage people to divorce. “With improved services, more persons will come before the court seeking their availability,” Page explains. “As the court does a better job more persons will be attracted to it as a method of dispute resolution.” Doing a “better job” really means attracting more divorcing parents with generous settlements.

A substantial body of federal and state case law recognizes parenthood as an “essential” constitutional right “far more precious than property rights” (May v. Anderson). In Doe v. Irwin, a federal court held that parenthood “cannot be denied without violating those fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all our civil and political institutions.” Yet such apparently unequivocal principles are never applied in divorce cases, where judges routinely remove children from forcibly divorced parents without providing any reason.

Once a parent loses custody, he or she no longer has any say in where the children reside, attend school or day care, or worship. Worse, the parents who have been stripped of custody are in many ways treated as outlaws. A personalized criminal code is legislated around them by the judge, controlling their association with their children, their movements, and their finances. Unauthorized contact with their children can be punished with arrest. Involuntarily divorced parents have been arrested for running into their children in public places such as sporting events and church, for making unauthorized telephone calls, and for sending unauthorized birthday cards.

Parents whose spouses want a divorce are ordered to surrender personal diaries, correspondence, financial records, and other documents normally protected by the Fourth Amendment. Their personal habits, movements, conversations, writings, and purchases are all subject to inquiry by the court. Their home can be entered and their visits with their children monitored in a “supervised visitation center.” Anything they say to their spouses, family, friends, counselors, and others can be used against them in court. Their children, too, can be used as informers.

Forcibly divorced parents are also ordered, on pain of incarceration, to hire cronies of the judge. In what some see as little less than a shakedown, family courts routinely order forcibly divorced and legally unimpeachable parents to pay attorneys, psychotherapists, and other professionals with the threat of jail for not complying.

Family law is now criminalizing constitutionally protected activities as basic as free speech, freedom of the press, and even private conversations. In many jurisdictions it is now a crime to criticize judges, and parents have been arrested for doing so. Following his congressional testimony critical of the family courts in 1992, Jim Wagner of the Georgia Council for Children’s Rights was stripped of custody of his two children, ordered to pay $6,000 to lawyers he did not hire, and jailed when he could not pay.

The principal tool for enforcing divorce and keeping ejected parents away from their children is a restraining order. Orders separating parents from their children for months, years, and even life are routinely issued without the presentation of any evidence of wrongdoing. They are often issued at a hearing where the parent is not present; they are sometimes issued with no hearing at all. “The restraining order law is one of the most unconstitutional acts ever passed,” says Massachusetts attorney Gregory Hession, who has filed a federal suit on civil rights grounds. “A court can issue an order that boots you out of your house, never lets you see your children again, and takes your money, all without you even knowing that a hearing took place.”

Hession’s description is confirmed by judges themselves. “Your job is not to become concerned about the constitutional rights of the man that you’re violating as you grant a restraining order,” New Jersey Judge Richard Russell told his colleagues at a training seminar in 1994. “Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back and tell him, see ya around…. We don’t have to worry about the rights.”

Elaine Epstein, former president of the Massachusetts Women’s Bar Association, wrote in a column in the association’s newsletter that divorce-connected restraining orders are doled out “like candy.” “Everyone knows that restraining orders and orders to vacate are granted to virtually all who apply,” and “the facts have become irrelevant,” she reports. “In virtually all cases, no notice, meaningful hearing, or impartial weighing of evidence is to be had.” Yet a government analysis found that fewer than half of all orders involved even an allegation of physical violence.

It doesn’t take much to violate such restraining orders. “Stories of violations for minor infractions are legion,” the Boston Globe reported on May 19, 1998. One father was arrested “when he put a note in his son’s suitcase telling the mother the boy had been sick over a weekend visit.” Another was arrested “for sending his son a birthday card.” Parents are arrested for attending their children’s worship services, music recitals, and sports activities—events any stranger may attend. National Public Radio broadcast a story in 1997 about a father arrested in church for attending his daughter’s first communion. During the segment, an eight-year-old girl wails and begs to know when her father will be able to see her or call her. The answer, because of a “lifetime” restraining order, is never. Even accidental contact in public places is punished with arrest.

Restraining orders are in fact more likely to cause than to prevent violence, since laws separating parents from their children can provoke precisely the violence they are designed to prevent. “Few lives, if any, have been saved, but much harm, and possibly loss of lives, has come from the issuance of restraining orders,” retired Dudley district court justice Milton Raphaelson wrote last year in the Western Massachusetts Law Tribune. “It is the opinion of many who remain quiet due to the political climate. Innocent men and their children are deprived of each other.”

Domestic violence has now been federalized in a legislative agenda whose conscious aim is to promote easy divorce. Donna Laframboise of Canada’s National Post wrote that federally funded battered women’s shelters in the United States and Canada constituted “one-stop divorce shops” whose purpose was not to shelter women but to secure custody for divorcing mothers. The Violence Against Women Act, renewed by Congress in 2000, “offers abundant rewards” for making false accusations, writes Professor Susan Sarnoff of Ohio State University, “including the ‘rights’ to refuse custody and even visitation to accused fathers, with virtually no requirements of proof.” The law’s definition of domestic violence is so broad that “it does not even require that the violence be physical.”

Authorities bully some women into taking out restraining orders by threatening to take away their children. The February 20, 2001, edition of the Massachusetts News described how Heidi Howard was ordered by the Massachusetts Department of Social Services to take out a restraining order against her husband and divorce him, though neither parent was charged with any wrongdoing. When she refused, the social workers seized her children. Reporter Nev Moore claims to have seen hundreds of similar cases. Government officials can now impose divorce not only on one unwilling parent but on both.

While the domestic violence industry is driven by federal funding, the main financial fuel of the divorce machinery is “child support,” which subsidizes and encourages unilateral divorce. Bryce Christensen of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society argues for a “linkage between aggressive child-support policies and the erosion of wedlock.”

Those accused of failing to pay child support—”deadbeat dads”—are now the subject of a national demonology. Yet a federally funded study by Sanford Braver, published as Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths, found government “estimates” of nonpayment are produced not from any official statistics but entirely from surveys of custodial parents. Braver concluded that “the single most important factor relating to nonpayment” is unemployment.

Braver is not alone. Columnist Kathleen Parker has concluded that “the ‘deadbeat dad’ is an egregious exaggeration, a caricature of a few desperate men who for various reasons—sometimes pretty good ones—fail to hand over their paycheck, assuming they have one.” Deborah Simmons of the Washington Times likewise found “scant evidence that crackdowns…serve any purpose other than to increase the bank accounts of those special-interest groups pushing enforcement.”

Child support enforcement is now a massive industry, where revolving doors, financial transfers, and other channels connect family courts with legislators, interlocking executive agencies on the federal, state, and local level, with private contractors.

To encourage divorce, child support must be set high enough to make divorce attractive for mothers, and setting it is a political process conducted by officials and groups that thrive on divorce. About half the states use guidelines devised not by the legislature but by courts and enforcement agencies. Yet even legislative enactment is no guarantee of impartiality, since legislators may divert enforcement contracts to their own firms.

The ethical conflicts extend to the private sector, where collection firms also help to decide the levels of what they are to collect. Not only does an obvious conflict of interest impel them to make the burdens as high as possible to increase their take in absolute terms (and to encourage divorce), but the firms can set the levels high enough to ensure the arrearages on which their business depends.

While working as a paid consultant with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the 1980s, Robert Williams helped to establish uniform state guidelines in the federal Child Support Guidelines Project. Predictably, Williams’s guidelines sharply increased support obligations in many states. Economist Mark Rogers charges in Family Law Quarterly that they resulted in “excessive burdens” based on a “flawed economic foundation.” Williams himself acknowledges that “there is no consensus among economists on the most valid theoretical model to use in deriving estimates of child-rearing expenditures.” Donald Bieniewicz, author of an alternative guideline published by HHS, writes, “This is a shocking vote of ‘no confidence’ in the…guideline by its author”—a guideline used to incarcerate parents without trial.

Governments also profit from child support. “Most states make a profit on their child support program,” according to the House Ways and Means Committee, which notes that “states are free to spend this profit in any manner the state sees fit.” With substantial sums at stake, officials have no incentive to discourage divorce, regardless of their party affiliation. Notwithstanding rhetoric about strengthening the family, neither Democratic nor Republican lawmakers are likely to question any policy that fills the public coffers.

The trampling of due process in child support prosecutions parallels that in domestic violence cases, since a parent may legally be presumed guilty until proven innocent, and the parent will not necessarily have a lawyer or a jury of his or her peers. “The burden of proof may be shifted to the defendant,” according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), which approves these methods. “Not all child support contempt proceedings classified as criminal are entitled to a jury trial,” adds NCSL, and “even indigent obligors are not necessarily entitled to a lawyer.”

In the decades since the inception of no-fault divorce, family law has gradually become an ethical cesspool. Attorneys such as Hession charge that tapes and transcripts of hearings are routinely altered in family court. Hession’s forensic evidence was published last year in the Massachusetts News. When his client, Zed McLarnon, complained about the tampering and other irregularities, he was assessed $3,500 for attorneys he had not hired and jailed without trial by the same judges whose tapes were allegedly doctored. “This is criminal misconduct,” attorney Eugene Wrona says of similar practices in Pennsylvania, “and these people belong in jail.” In May 1999, Insight magazine exposed a “slush fund” for Los Angeles family court judges into which attorneys and court-appointed “monitors” paid. These monitors are hired by the court to watch parents accused of spousal or child abuse while they are with their children.

The corrupting power of forced divorce now extends beyond the judiciary, validating the pope’s observation that its consequences spread “like the plague.” In 2000, four leading Arkansas senators were convicted on federal racketeering charges connected with divorce. One scheme involved hiring attorneys to represent children during divorce, a practice generally regarded as a pretext to appoint cronies of the judge. In the April 29, 1999, edition of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, John Brummett wrote that “no child was served by that $3 million scam to set up a program ostensibly providing legal representatives to children in custody cases, but actually providing a gravy train to selected legislators and pals who were rushing around to set up corporations and send big checks to each other.”

The affair illustrates one reason legislators protect judges and their associates in the courts. Divorce attorneys are prominent in state legislatures. Tony Perkins, who sponsored Louisiana’s celebrated “covenant marriage” law, reports that similar measures have failed in some “seemingly sympathetic legislatures” because of “opposition from key committee chairmen who were divorce lawyers.”

The potential of child support to become what one Arkansas player termed a “cash cow,” providing officials with “steady income for little work,” has been exploited elsewhere. The Washington Post reported in July 2000 that a top adviser to Prince George’s County, Maryland, executive Wayne Curry received contracts without competitive bidding for child support enforcement within days of leaving the county payroll. In March 2002, Maryland announced a criminal investigation of Maximus, which runs Baltimore’s program. The alleged misconduct included collecting money from parents even after their children had reached adulthood and then refusing to refund it. The whistle-blower expressed fear for her personal safety, according to the Baltimore Sun.

Throughout the United States and abroad, child support enforcement has been plagued with corruption. Kansas awarded a contract to Glenn and Jan Jewett, who were involved in bingo operations in Las Vegas and spent time in federal prison for drug trafficking, forgery, concealing stolen property, and writing bad checks. The DuPage County, Illinois, child support system has been under investigation for fraud. “A string of foul-ups plaguing Ohio’s child support system,” included “millions of dollars worth of improperly intercepted income tax refunds and child support payments,” according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer and WHIO television in Dayton. In Wisconsin, “Parents who owe nothing have been billed thousands of dollars,” according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, including a man billed for children in their 40s, who “was compelled to prove his innocence.”

In October 1998 the Los Angeles Times investigated fraud and due process violations in the L.A. child support enforcement system. Deputy District Attorney Jackie Myers had left office in 1996 because, he said, “I felt we were being told to do unethical, very unethical things.” In December 1999, Insight reported on the case of a father left by the district attorney’s office with $200 a month to care for a family of four. One month, the district attorney “took all but $1 of his $1,200 paycheck.”

Following the Times series, HHS was moved to investigate criminal fraud in the city’s system, but the General Accounting Office found the investigation “consisted of just two phone calls”—one to “one of the DA office employees who had engaged in misconduct.” HHS apparently “did not interview any of more than a dozen people who a confidential informant claimed had firsthand knowledge of wrongdoing within the child support program.”


The divorce industry depends on the widespread violation of what most people still hold to be the most solemn promise one makes in life. It is no coincidence that public officials whose livelihoods depend on encouraging citizens to betray their private trust will not hesitate to betray the trust conferred on them by the public. Likewise, a society where private citizens are encouraged not to honor their commitments is a society that will not hold public leaders to their promises. Maggie Gallagher’s observation that marriage has become “the only contract where the law now sides with the party who wants to violate it” raises the question of whether we are willing to allow our government to be an active party to deceit and faithless dealing.

Our present divorce system is not only unjust but fundamentally dishonest. For all the talk of a “divorce culture,” it is not clear that most people today enter the marriage contract with the intention of breaking it. “If the marital vows were changed to ‘…until I grow tired of you,’ or ‘…for a period of five years unless I decide otherwise,’ and the state were willing to sanction such an agreement, then divorce would not be such a significant event from a moral point of view,” attorney Steven L. Varnis writes in Society. “But there is no evidence that the content of marital vows or marital expectations at the time of marriage has changed.” Varnis may be only half right, but even so, the point is that the marriage contract has become unenforceable and therefore fraudulent. Until this changes, it seems pointless and even irresponsible to encourage young people to place their trust and their lives in it.

One may argue that government should not enforce the marriage contract, or any contracts for that matter (though the Constitution holds otherwise). But I am not aware of anyone who suggests the government should be forcibly abrogating contracts, let alone luring citizens into contracts that it then tears up. If we truly believe our present divorce policy is appropriate, we should at least have the honesty to tell young people up front that marriage provides them with no protection. Let us inform them at the time of their marriage that even if they remain faithful to their vows, they can lose their children, their home, their savings and future earnings, and their freedom. Not only will the government afford them no protection; it will prosecute them as criminals, though without the due process of law afforded to formally accused criminals. And let us then see how many young people are willing to start families.

It is one thing to tolerate divorce, as perhaps we must do in a free society. It is another to use the power of the state to impose it on unwilling parents and children. When courts stop dispensing justice, they must start dispensing injustice. There is no middle ground.

Stephen Baskerville teaches political science at Howard University and is author of Not Peace But a Sword: The Political Theology of the English Revolution.

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The Politics of Family Destruction.

Life Without Father – By David Popenoe

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on July 29, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Life Without a Father

By David Popenoe
Reader’s Digest (Canada) November 1997, page 117

What a man contributes to child rearing may surprise you

THE DECLINE of fatherhood is one of the most unexpected and extraordinary social trends of our time. In just three decades — 1960 to 1990 — the number of children living apart from their biological fathers [that is: natural fathers] nearly doubled. By the turn of the century almost 50 percent of North American children may be going to sleep each evening without being able to say good night to their dads.
There was a time in the past when fatherlessness was far more common than it is today, but death was to blame — not divorce, desertion or out-of-wedlock births. Most of today’s fatherless children have fathers who are perfectly capable of shouldering the responsibilities of fatherhood. Who would ever have thought that so many of them would choose to relinquish those responsibilities?
A surprising suggestion emerging from recent social-science research is that it is decidedly worse to a child to lose a father in the modern, voluntary way than through death. The children of divorced and never-married mothers are less successful by almost every measure than the children of widowed mothers.
Out-of-wedlock births may surpass divorce as a cause of fatherlessness later in the 1990s. They accounted for 32 percent of all U.S. births in 1995; by the year 2000 they may account for 40 percent of the total. And there is reason to believe that having an unmarried father is even worse for a child than having a divorced father.

MEN ARE not biologically attuned to being committed fathers. Left culturally unregulated, men’s sexual behaviour can be promiscuous, their paternity casual, their commitment to families weak. In recognition of this, cultures have used sanctions to bind men to their children, and of course the institution of marriage has been culture’s chief vehicle.
Our experience in late-20th-century society shows what happens when such a sanction breaks down. The decline of fatherhood is a major force behind many of the most disturbing problems that plague us.
In the mid-1950s, only 27 percent of American girls had sexual intercourse by age 18; in 1988, 56 percent of such girls-including a tenth of 15-year-olds-had become sexually active. Fatherlessness is a contributing factor.
Teen suicide has nearly tripled in the United States. Alcohol and drug abuse among teenagers continues at a very high rate. Scholastic Assessment Test scores declined 75 points between 1960 and l990. The absence of fathers seems to be one of the most important causes of these trends.
Few people doubt the fundamental importance of mothers, but what do fathers do? Much of what they contribute is simply the result of being a second adult in the home. Bringing up children is demanding, stressful and exhausting. Two adults can support and spell each other. They can offset each other’s deficiencies and build on each other’s strengths.
Fathers also bring an array of unique qualities. Some are familiar: the father as protector, for example, and role model. Teenage boys without fathers are notoriously prone to trouble. The pathway to adulthood for daughters is somewhat easier, but they still must learn from their fathers, in ways they cannot from their mothers, how to relate to men. They learn from their fathers about heterosexual trust, intimacy and difference. They learn to appreciate their own femininity from the one male who is most special in their lives. Most important, through loving and being loved by their fathers, they learn that they are love-worthy.
Current research gives much deeper — and more surprising — insights into the father’s role in child rearing. One significant overlooked dimension of fathering is play. From their children’s birth through adolescence, fathers tend to emphasize play more than caretaking. The father’s style of play is likely to be both physically stimulating and exciting. With older children it involves more team work, requiring competitive testing of physical and mental skills. It frequently resembles a teaching relationship: Come on, let me show you how.
Mothers play more at the child’s level. They seem willing to let the child direct play.
Kids, at least in the early years, seem to prefer to play with daddy. In one study of 2 ½-year-olds who were given a choice, more than two thirds chose to play with their father.
The way fathers play has effects on everything from the management of emotions to intelligence and academic achievement. It is particularly important in promoting self-control. According to one expert, “children who roughhouse with their fathers quickly learn that biting, kicking and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable.” They learn when to “shut it down.” At play and in other realms, fathers tend to stress competition, challenge, initiative, risk taking and independence. Mothers, as caretakers, stress emotional security and personal safety. On the playground fathers often try to get the child to swing ever higher, while mothers are cautious, worrying about an accident.
We know, too, that fathers’ involvement seems to be linked to improved verbal and problem-solving skills and higher academic achievement. Several studies found that the presence of the father is one of the determinants of girls’ proficiency in mathematics. And one pioneering study showed that along with paternal strictness, the amount of time fathers spent reading with them was a strong predictor of their daughters’ verbal ability.
For sons, the results have been equally striking. Studies uncovered a strong relationship between fathers’ involvement and the mathematical abilities of their sons. Other studies found a relationship between paternal nurturing and boys’ verbal intelligence.
We don’t often think of fathers in connection with the teaching of empathy, a character trait essential to an ordered society of law-abiding, co-operative and compassionate adults. But at the end of a 26-year study, a trio of re-

[A graph was inserted here in the original article. The graph, called
CANADIAN CHILDREN LIVING
APART FROM THEIR FATHERS,
shows the following data
1961   9.0%
1995 17.3%
Source: Statistics Canada, 93 312; and Census of Canada]

searchers at Harvard University reached a “quite astonishing” conclusion: Of those they examined, the most important childhood factor in developing empathy was paternal involvement in child care.
It is not clear why fathers are so important in instilling this quality. Perhaps merely by being with their children they provide a model for compassion. Perhaps it has to do with their style of play or mode of reasoning. Whatever the cause, it is hard to think of a more important contribution that fathers can make to their children.
The benefits of active fatherhood do not all flow to the child. Child rearing encourages men to develop those habits of character — including prudence, cooperativeness, honesty, trust and self-sacrifice — that can lead to achievement as an economic provider. Having children typically impresses on men the importance of setting a good example. Who has not heard at least one man say that he gave up an irresponsible way of life when he married and had children?
On the face of it, there would seem to be at least one potentially positive side to fatherlessness: Without a man around the house, the incidence of child abuse might be expected to drop. Unfortunately, reports of child neglect and abuse have skyrocketed since the mid ’70s. One of the greatest risk factors in child abuse, investigations found, is family disruption, especially living in a female-headed, single-parent household.
Why does living in a fatherless household pose such hazards for children? Explanations include poverty and the fact that children receive less supervision and protection from men their mothers bring home. Children are also more emotionally deprived, which leaves them “vulnerable to sexual abusers, who commonly entrap them by offering affection, attention and friendship,” wrote David Finkelhor, an expert on child abuse.
Another group that has suffered in the new age of fatherlessness is, of course, women. In this new era the oft-quoted quip that a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle no longer seems quite so funny. There is no doubt that many women get along very well without men in their lives, and that having the wrong men in their lives can be disastrous. But just as it seems to play a role in assaults on children, fatherlessness appears to be a factor in generating more violence against women.
Partly this is a matter of arithmetic. As the number of unattached males in the population goes up, so does the incidence of violence towards women.

IN ORDER to reinstate fathers in the lives of their children, we must undo the cultural shift of the last few decades towards radical individualism. Marriage must be re-established as a strong social institution.
Many practical steps can be taken. Employers, for example, can provide generous parental leave and experiment with more flexible work hours. Religious leaders can reclaim moral ground from the culture of divorce and non-marriage by resisting the temptation to equate “committed relationships” with marriage. Marriage counsellors can begin with a bias in favour of marriage, stressing the needs of the family at least as much as the needs of the client. As for the entertainment industry, pressure already is being brought to curtail the glamorization of unwed motherhood, marital infidelity and sexual promiscuity.
We should consider a two-tier system of divorce law: Marriages without minor children would be relatively easy to dissolve, but marriages with children would be subject to stricter guidelines. Longer waiting periods for divorcing couples with children might be called for, combined with mandatory marriage counselling.
If we are to progress towards a more just and humane society, we must reverse the tide that is pulling fathers apart from their families. Nothing is more important for our children or for our future as a society.

How important do you think fathers are to family life? We welcome your views. Write to Readers Reply at the address on page 8 or post your comments on our web site at http://www.readersdigest.ca. Your views may be included in a future issue.

[Snail-mail address:
Excerpts Editor
Reader’s Digest
215, Redfern Ave.
Westmount, Que.
H3Z 2V9

Note: I checked their website but could not find a specific e-mail address that seemed appropriate. I suppose that some of the ones shown will do, if the recipient will forward the message to the appropriate party. –WHS]

FROM LIFE WITHOUT FATHER. COPYRIGHT © 1996 BY DAVID POPENOE PUBLISHED BY THE FREE PRESS A DIVISION OF SIMON & SCHUSTER, INC., NEW YORK, N.Y., AND DlSTRIBUTED IN CANADA AT $34 BY DISTICAN INC, 35 FULTON WAY, RlCHMOND HILL, ONT. L4B 2N4 PHOTO: [not shown] © RICHARD LEE

DAVID POPENOE is a professor of sociology at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.
===<end of article>===

In response to the article, I sent the following message to Reader’s Digest:

Dear Reader’s Digest,

Re: Life Without Father, November 1997

Thank you for publishing the outstanding article by David Popenoe.  It is too bad that the article contained two paragraphs that didn’t ring quite true in the context, although they are in line with the “politically correct” view that men are to be blamed for everything bad that has befallen us over the last thirty year and before that.

In his second paragraph David Popenoe stated:

“There was a time in the past when fatherlessness was far more common than it is today, but death was to blame — not divorce, desertion or out-of-wedlock births.  Most of today’s fatherless children have fathers who are perfectly capable of shouldering the responsibilities of fatherhood.  Who would ever have thought that so many of them would choose to relinquish those responsibilities?”

A number of things are not right with that.

Never in modern history has fatherlessness been more common than it is now, not even as a result of the massive numbers of casualties during the First World War, and never before in the history of mankind was fatherlessness pandemic at anything approaching today’s rates in the whole world, especially not in all of western civilization.

One statistic might serve to provide some clarification in that regard.  In my home-town (Duesseldorf, Germany, pop 540,000 before W.W.II and 350,000 at end of W.W.II) immediately after the end of W.W.II, “Almost 10% of the children had lost their fathers, the fathers of 4.5% of the children were missing in action and of 7.8% in prison of war camps;” [Source: In Schutt und Asche, page 100 (Volker Zimmermann, Grupello Verlag, ISBN 3-928234-28-5, (my translation) –WHS].  I’m certain that other people will be able to provide far more comprehensive statistics pertaining to historical levels of fatherlessness.

There is nothing wrong with the statement contained in the second sentence in the paragraph.  It clearly illustrates the insanity of today’s society in substituting fathers with government care, by pushing fathers out of their children’s life.  I’m glad that Prof. Popenoe makes an excellent case for the wrongfulness of that policy in the rest of his article.  However, the last sentence in the paragraph is an outrageous insult to all fathers who are fighting a hopeless battle for the right of their children to have a father in their lives.  Those fathers are being emotionally and financially devastated by our bureaucracies in the process of that battle.  After all, it is not mostly fathers who walk out of their children’s lives that causes our epidemic of fatherlessness.  In three out of four cases it is the mother who pushes the father out of the children’s lives and files for divorce — most often in the mistaken belief that a life without a provider and protector in the family will provide greater freedom and  more income.

What Prof. Popenoe should have clarified instead in that paragraph is that never in the history of mankind have men been vilified to the extent that they are being vilified today, and that as a result of that vilification a constant stream of anti-father and anti-family legislation is being produced that increasingly makes it impossible for far too many fathers to play an active role in their children’s lives.

Let’s hope that Prof. Popenoe will also write an article on single motherhood and the problems faced by children who grow up in the care of single mothers together with their half-siblings who are often the children of two or more different men.  That might compensate for the impact that his fourth paragraph has on his readers.  He stated there:

“MEN ARE not biologically attuned to being committed fathers.  Left culturally unregulated, men’s sexual behaviour can be promiscuous, their paternity casual, their commitment to families weak.  In recognition of this, cultures have used sanctions to bind men to their children, and of course the institution of marriage has been culture’s chief vehicle.”

Why did Prof. Popenoe find it necessary to single out men for their tendency to be promiscuous? Is it not true that the need for “sanctions to bind men to their children” within the institution of marriage applies just the same to women?  Else, why is it that women have children out of wedlock and by men not part of their marriage, or have children by many different men?  Promiscuity it not an exclusive male domain.  The effect of promiscuity on children is just as devastating if the mother is promiscuous without having her sexuality regulated by marriage.  Men and women are as equally likely to be promiscuous as they are equally likely to be violent.  Both men and women are members of the same species.  It took the institution of marriage to bring about the civilizing of the human race.  That brought order into chaos.  Will the reverse not happen if our families are being destroyed?  It seems to me that Prof. Popenoe made a very good case for the family.  Let’s hope that we will hear more of his views, but, let’s hope also that he’ll hold back a bit on the male-bashing.

Sincerely,

Walter H. Schneider
P.O. Box 62
Bruderheim, Alberta, Canada
T0B 0S0
Tel: (780) 796-2306

Fatherhood.

The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services | Nancy Schaefer – Kidjacked

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, child trafficking, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on July 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Although Georgia Sen. Nancy Schaefer is no longer with us, her report “The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services” lead to her losing the re-election for her state senate seat, and perhaps ultimately to her death.  What Senator Schaefer exposed in Georgia is true not only for her state by the remaining 49 states and territories of the United States, and true for the rest of the western world.  Isn’t it about time we stopped selling children in the name of protecting them?

By: Nancy Schaefer
Senator, 50th District

Georgia  Capitol

From the legislative desk of Senator Nancy Schaefer 50th District of Georgia

My introduction into child protective service cases was due to a grandmother in an adjoining state who called me with her tragic story. Her two granddaughters had been taken from her daughter who lived in my district. Her daughter was told wrongly that if she wanted to see her children again she should sign a paper and give up her children. Frightened and young, the daughter did. I have since discovered that parents are often threatened into cooperation of permanent separation of their children.

The children were taken to another county and placed in foster care. The foster parents were told wrongly that they could adopt the children. The grandmother then jumped through every hoop known to man in order to get her granddaughters. When the case finally came to court it was made evident by one of the foster parent’s children that the foster parents had, at any given time, 18 foster children and that the foster mother had an inappropriate relationship with the caseworker.

In the courtroom, the juvenile judge, acted as though she was shocked and said the two girls would be removed quickly. They were not removed. Finally, after much pressure being applied to the Department of Family and Children Services of Georgia (DFCS), the children were driven to South Georgia to meet their grandmother who gladly drove to meet them.

After being with their grandmother two or three days, the judge, quite out of the blue, wrote up a new order to send the girls to their father, who previously had no interest in the case and who lived on the West Coast. The father was in “adult entertainment”. His girlfriend worked as an “escort” and his brother, who also worked in the business, had a sexual charge brought against him.

Within a couple of days the father was knocking on the grandmother’s door and took the girls kicking and screaming to California.

The father developed an unusual relationship with the former foster parents and soon moved back to the southeast, and the foster parents began driving to the father’s residence and picking up the little girls for visits. The oldest child had told her mother and grandmother on two different occasions that the foster father molested her.

To this day after five years, this loving, caring blood relative grandmother does not even have visitation privileges with the children. The little girls are in my opinion permanently traumatized and the young mother of the girls was so traumatized with shock when the girls were first removed from her that she has not recovered.

Throughout this case and through the process of dealing with multiple other mismanaged cases of the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), I have worked with other desperate parents and children across the state because they have no rights and no one with whom to turn. I have witnessed ruthless behavior from many caseworkers, social workers, investigators, lawyers, judges, therapists, and others such as those who “pick up” the children. I have been stunned by what I have seen and heard from victims all over the state of Georgia.

//
//

In this report, I am focusing on the Georgia Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS). However, I believe Child Protective Services nationwide has become corrupt and that the entire system is broken almost beyond repair. I am convinced parents and families should be warned of the dangers.

The Department of Child Protective Services, known as the Department of Family and Children Service (DFCS) in Georgia and other titles in other states, has become a “protected empire” built on taking children and separating families. This is not to say that there are not those children who do need to be removed from wretched situations and need protection. This report is concerned with the children and parents caught up in “legal kidnapping,” ineffective policies, and DFCS who do does not remove a child or children when a child is enduring torment and abuse. (See Exhibit A and Exhibit B)

In one county in my District, I arranged a meeting for thirty-seven families to speak freely and without fear. These poor parents and grandparents spoke of their painful, heart wrenching encounters with DFCS. Their suffering was overwhelming. They wept and cried. Some did not know where their children were and had not seen them in years. I had witnessed the “Gestapo” at work and I witnessed the deceitful conditions under which children were taken in the middle of the night, out of hospitals, off of school buses, and out of homes. In one county a private drug testing business was operating within the DFCS department that required many, many drug tests from parents and individuals for profit. In another county children were not removed when they were enduring the worst possible abuse.

Due to being exposed, several employees in a particular DFCS office were fired. However, they have now been rehired either in neighboring counties or in the same county again. According to the calls I am now receiving, the conditions in that county are returning to the same practices that they had before the light was shown on their deeds.

Having worked with probably 300 cases statewide, I am convinced there is no responsibility and no accountability in the system.

I have come to the conclusion:

  • that poor parents often times are targeted to lose their children because they do not have the where-with-all to hire lawyers and fight the system. Being poor does not mean you are not a good parent or that you do not love your child, or that your child should be removed and placed with strangers;
  • that all parents are capable of making mistakes and that making a mistake does not mean your children are always to be removed from the home. Even if the home is not perfect, it is home; and that’s where a child is the safest and where he or she wants to be, with family;
  • that parenting classes, anger management classes, counseling referrals, therapy classes and on and on are demanded of parents with no compassion by the system even while they are at work and while their children are separated from them. This can take months or even years and it emotionally devastates both children and parents. Parents are victimized by “the system” that makes a profit for holding children longer and “bonuses” for not returning children;
  • that caseworkers and social workers are oftentimes guilty of fraud. They withhold evidence. They fabricate evidence and they seek to terminate parental rights. However, when charges are made against them, the charges are ignored;
  • that the separation of families is growing as a business because local governments have grown accustomed to having taxpayer dollars to balance their ever-expanding budgets;
  • that Child Protective Service and Juvenile Court can always hide behind a confidentiality clause in order to protect their decisions and keep the funds flowing. There should be open records and “court watches”! Look who is being paid! There are state employees, lawyers, court investigators, court personnel, and judges. There are psychologists, and psychiatrists, counselors, caseworkers, therapists, foster parents, adoptive parents, and on and on. All are looking to the children in state custody to provide job security. Parents do not realize that social workers are the glue that holds “the system” together that funds the court, the child’s attorney, and the multiple other jobs including DFCS’s attorney.
  • that The Adoption and the Safe Families Act, set in motion by President Bill Clinton, offered cash “bonuses” to the states for every child they adopted out of foster care. In order to receive the “adoption incentive bonuses” local child protective services need more children. They must have merchandise (children) that sell and you must have plenty of them so the buyer can choose. Some counties are known to give a $4,000 bonus for each child adopted and an additional $2,000 for a “special needs” child. Employees work to keep the federal dollars flowing;
  • that there is double dipping. The funding continues as long as the child is out of the home. When a child in foster care is placed with a new family then “adoption bonus funds” are available. When a child is placed in a mental health facility and is on 16 drugs per day, like two children of a constituent of mine, more funds are involved;
  • that there are no financial resources and no real drive to unite a family and help keep them together;
  • that the incentive for social workers to return children to their parents quickly after taking them has disappeared and who in protective services will step up to the plate and say, “This must end! No one, because they are all in the system together and a system with no leader and no clear policies will always fail the children. Look at the waste in government that is forced upon the tax payer;
  • that the “Policy Manuel” is considered “the last word” for DFCS. However, it is too long, too confusing, poorly written and does not take the law into consideration;
  • that if the lives of children were improved by removing them from their homes, there might be a greater need for protective services, but today all children are not always safer. Children, of whom I am aware, have been raped and impregnated in foster care and the head of a Foster Parents Association in my District was recently arrested because of child molestation;
  • that some parents are even told if they want to see their children or grandchildren, they must divorce their spouse. Many, who are under privileged, feeling they have no option, will divorce and then just continue to live together. This is an anti-family policy, but parents will do anything to get their children home with them.
  • fathers, (non-custodial parents) I must add, are oftentimes treated as criminals without access to their own children and have child support payments strangling the very life out of them;
  • that the Foster Parents Bill of Rights does not bring out that a foster parent is there only to care for a child until the child can be returned home. Many Foster Parents today use the Foster Parent Bill of Rights to hire a lawyer and seek to adopt the child from the real parents, who are desperately trying to get their child home and out of the system;
  • that tax dollars are being used to keep this gigantic system afloat, yet the victims, parents, grandparents, guardians and especially the children, are charged for the system’s services.
  • that grandparents have called from all over the State of Georgia trying to get custody of their grandchildren. DFCS claims relatives are contacted, but there are cases that prove differently. Grandparents who lose their grandchildren to strangers have lost their own flesh and blood. The children lose their family heritage and grandparents, and parents too, lose all connections to their heirs.
  • that The National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect in 1998 reported that six times as many children died in foster care than in the general public and that once removed to official “safety”, these children are far more likely to suffer abuse, including sexual molestation than in the general population.
  • That according to the California Little Hoover Commission Report in 2003, 30% to 70% of the children in California group homes do not belong there and should not have been removed from their homes.

Final Remarks

On my desk are scores of cases of exhausted families and troubled children. It has been beyond me to turn my back on these suffering, crying, and sometimes beaten down individuals. We are mistreating the most innocent. Child Protective Services have become adult centered to the detriment of children. No longer is judgment based on what the child needs or who the child wants to be with or what is really best for the whole family; it is some adult or bureaucrat who makes the decisions, based often on just hearsay, without ever consulting a family member, or just what is convenient, profitable, or less troublesome for a director of DFCS.

I have witnessed such injustice and harm brought to these families that I am not sure if I even believe reform of the system is possible! The system cannot be trusted. It does not serve the people. It obliterates families and children simply because it has the power to do so.

Children deserve better. Families deserve better. It’s time to pull back the curtain and set our children and families free.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy” Proverbs 31:8-9


Learn More…


Recommendations

  1. Call for an independent audit of the Department of Family and Children’s Services (DFCS) to expose corruption and fraud.
  2. Activate immediate change. Every day that passes means more families and children are subject to being held hostage.
  3. End the financial incentives that separate families.
  4. Grant to parents their rights in writing.
  5. Mandate a search for family members to be given the opportunity to adopt their own relatives.
  6. Mandate a jury trial where every piece of evidence is presented before removing a child from his or her parents.
  7. Require a warrant or a positive emergency circumstance before removing children from their parents. (Judge Arthur G. Christean, Utah Bar Journal, January, 1997 reported that “except in emergency circumstances, including the need for immediate medical care, require warrants upon affidavits of probable cause before entry upon private property is permitted for the forcible removal of children from their parents.”)
  8. Uphold the laws when someone fabricates or presents false evidence. If a parent alleges fraud, hold a hearing with the right to discovery of all evidence.

Exhibit A

December 5, 2006

Jeremy’s Story

(Some names withheld due to future hearings.)

As told to Senator Nancy Schaefer by Sandra (Xxxx), a foster parent of Jeremy for 2 ½ years.

My husband and I received Jeremy when he was 2-weeks-old and we have been the only parents he has really ever known. He lived with us for 27-months. (Xxxx) is the grandfather of Jeremy, and he is known for molesting his own children, for molesting Jeremy and has been court ordered not to be around Jeremy. (Xxxx) is the mother of Jeremy, who has been diagnosed to be mentally ill, and also is known to have molested Jeremy. (Xxxx) and Jeremy’s uncle is a registered sex offender and (Xxxx) is the biological father, who is a drug addict and alcoholic and who continues to be in and out of jail. Having just described Jeremy’s world, all of these adults are not to be any part of Jeremy’s life, yet for years DFCS has known that they are.

DFCS had to test (Xxxx) (the grandfather) and his son (Xxxx) (the uncle) and (Xxxx) to determine the real father. (Xxxx) is the biological father although any of them might have been. In court, it appeared from the case study, that everyone involved knew that this little boy had been molested by family members, even by his own mother, (Xxxx). In court, (XXX), the mother of Jeremy, admitted to having had sex with (Xxxx) (the grandfather) and (Xxxx) (her own brother) that morning. Judge (Xxxx) and DFCS gave Jeremy to his grandmother that same day. (Xxxx), the grandmother, is over 300 lbs., is unable to drive, and is unable to take care of Jeremy due to physical problems. She also has been in a mental hospital several times due to her behavior.

Even though it was ordered by the court that the grandfather (Xxxx), the uncle (Xxxx) (a convicted sex offender), (Xxxx) his mother who molested him and (Xxxx) his biological father, a convicted drug addict, were not to have anything to do with the child, they all continue to come and go as they please at (Xxxx address), where Jeremy has been “sentenced to live” for years. This residence has no bathroom and little heat. The front door and the windows are boarded. This home should have been condemned years ago. I have been in this home. No child should ever have to live like this or with such people.

Jeremy was taken from us at age 2 ½ years after (Xxxx) obtained attorney (Xxxx), who was the same attorney who represented him in a large settlement from an auto accident. I am told, that attorney (Xxxx), as grandfather’s attorney, is known to have repeatedly gotten (Xxxx) off of several criminal charges in White County. This is a matter of record and is known by many in White County. I have copies of some records. (Xxxx grandfather), through (Xxxx attorney’s) work, got (Xxxx), the grandmother of Jeremy, legal custody of Jeremy. (Xxxx grandfather) who cannot read or write also got his daughter (Xxxx) and son (Xxxx) diagnosed by government agencies as mentally ill. (Xxxx grandfather), through legal channels, has taken upon himself all control of the family and is able to take possession of any government funding coming to these people.

It was during this time that Jeremy was to have a six-month transitional period between (Xxxx grandmother) and my family as we were to give him up. The court ordered agreement was to have been 4-days at our house and 3-days at (Xxxx grandmother). DFCS stopped the visits within 2-weeks. The reason given by DFCS was the child was too traumatized going back and forth. In truth, Jeremy begged us and screamed never to be taken back to (Xxxx) his grandmother’s house, which we have on video.

We, as a family, have seen Jeremy in stores time to time with (Xxxx grandmother) and the very people he is not to be around. At each meeting Jeremy continues to run to us wherever he sees us and it is clear he is suffering. This child is in a desperate situation and this is why I am writing, and begging you Senator Schaefer, to do something in this child’s behalf. Jeremy can clearly describe in detail his sexual molestation by every member of this family and this sexual abuse continues to this day.

When Jeremy was 5 years of age I took him to Dr. (Xxxx) of Habersham County who did indeed agree that Jeremy’s rectum was black and blue and the physical damage to the child was clearly a case of sexual molestation.

Early in Jeremy’s life, when he was in such bad physical condition, we took him to Egleston Children Hospital where at two-months of age therapy was to begin three times a week. DFCS decided that the (Xxxx grandparent family) should participate in his therapy. However, the therapist complained over and over that the (Xxxx grandparent family) would not even wash their hands and would cause Jeremy to cry during these sessions. (Xxxx the grandmother), after receiving custody no longer allowed the therapy because it was an inconvenience. The therapist reported that this would be a terrible thing to do to this child. Therapy was stopped and it was detrimental to the health of Jeremy.

During (Xxxx grandmother) custody, (Xxxx uncle) has shot Jeremy with a BB gun and there is a report at (Xxxx) County Sheriff’s office. There are several amber alerts at Cornelia Wal-Mart, Commerce Wal-Mart, and a 911 report from (Xxxx) County Sheriff’s Department when Jeremy was lost. (Xxxx grandmother), to teach Jeremy a lesson, took thorn bush limbs and beat the bottoms of his feet. Jeremy’s feet got infected and his feet had to be lanced by Dr. (Xxxx). Then Judy called me to pick him up after about 4-days to take back him to the doctor because of intense pain. I took Jeremy to Dr. (Xxxx) in Gainesville. Dr. (Xxxx) said surgery was needed immediately and a cast was added. After returning home, (Xxxx), his grandfather and (Xxxx), his uncle, took him into the hog lot and allowed him to walk in the filth.

Jeremy’s feet became so infected for a 2nd time that he was again taken back to Dr. (Xxxx) and the hospital. No one in the hospital could believe this child’s living conditions.

Jeremy is threatened to keep quiet and not say anything to anyone. I have videos, reports, arrest records and almost anything you might need to help Jeremy.

Please call my husband, Wendell, or I at any time.
Sandra and (Xxxx) husband (Xxxx)

Exhibit B

Failure of DFCS to remove six desperate children

A brief report regarding six children that Habersham County DFCS director failed to remove as disclosed to Senator Nancy Schaefer by Sheriff Deray Fincher of Habersham County.

Sheriff Deray Fincher, Chief of Police Don Ford and Chief Investigator Lt. Greg Bowen Chief called me to meet with them immediately, which I did on Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sheriff Fincher, after contacting the Director of Habersham County DFCS several times to remove six children from being horribly abused, finally had to get a court order to remove the children himself with the help of two police officers.

The children, four boys and two girls, were not just being abused; they were being tortured by a monster father.

The six children and a live in girl friend were terrified of this man, the abuser. The children never slept in a bed, but always on the floor. The place where they lived was unfit for human habitation.

The father on one occasion hit one of the boys across his head with a bat and cut the boy’s head open. The father then proceeded to hold the boy down and sew up the child’s head with a needle and red thread. However, even with beatings and burnings, this is only a fraction of what the father did to these children and to the live-in girlfriend.

Sheriff Fincher has pictures of the abuse and condition of one of the boys and at the writing of this report, he has the father in jail in Habersham County.

It should be noted that when the DFCS director found out that Sheriff Fincher was going to remove the children, she called the father and warned him to flee.

This is not the only time this DFCS director failed to remove a child when she needed to do so. (See Exhibit A)

The egregious acts and abhorrent behavior of officials who are supposed to protect children can no longer be tolerated.

Senator Nancy Schaefer
50th District of Georgia

Senator Nancy Schaefer
302 B Coverdell Office Building
18 Capitol Square, SW
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Phone: 404-463-1367
Fax: 404-657-3217
Senator Nancy Schaefer
District Office
P O Box 294
Turnerville, Georgia 30580
Phone: 706-754-1998
Fax: 706-754-1803

Please forward to anyone interested

Posted: December 5, 2007

The Corrupt Business of Child Protective Services | Nancy Schaefer – Kidjacked.

Constitutional Right to Be a Parent

In Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on July 28, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Below are excerpts of case law from state appellate and federal district courts and up to the U.S. Supreme Court, all of which affirm, from one perspective or another, the absolute Constitutional right of parents to actually BE parents to their children.


The rights of parents to the care, custody and nurture of their children is of such character that it cannot be denied without violating those fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all our civil and political institutions, and such right is a fundamental right protected by this amendment (First) and Amendments 5, 9, and 14. Doe v. Irwin, 441 F Supp 1247; U.S. D.C. of Michigan, (1985).

The several states have no greater power to restrain individual freedoms protected by the First Amendment than does the Congress of the United States. Wallace v. Jaffree, 105 S Ct 2479; 472 US 38, (1985).

Loss of First Amendment Freedoms, for even minimal periods of time, unquestionably constitutes irreparable injury. Though First Amendment rights are not absolute, they may be curtailed only by interests of vital importance, the burden of proving which rests on their government. Elrod v. Burns, 96 S Ct 2673; 427 US 347, (1976).

Law and court procedures that are “fair on their faces” but administered “with an evil eye or a heavy hand” was discriminatory and violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 US 356, (1886).

Even when blood relationships are strained, parents retain vital interest in preventing irretrievable destruction of their family life; if anything, persons faced with forced dissolution of their parental rights have more critical need for procedural protections than do those resisting state intervention into ongoing family affairs. Santosky v. Kramer, 102 S Ct 1388; 455 US 745, (1982).

Parents have a fundamental constitutionally protected interest in continuity of legal bond with their children. Matter of Delaney, 617 P 2d 886, Oklahoma (1980). .

The liberty interest of the family encompasses an interest in retaining custody of one’s children and, thus, a state may not interfere with a parent’s custodial rights absent due process protections. Langton v. Maloney, 527 F Supp 538, D.C. Conn. (1981).

Parent’s right to custody of child is a right encompassed within protection of this amendment which may not be interfered with under guise of protecting public interest by legislative action which is arbitrary or without reasonable relation to some purpose within competency of state to effect. Regenold v. Baby Fold, Inc., 369 NE 2d 858; 68 Ill 2d 419, appeal dismissed 98 S Ct 1598, 435 US 963, IL, (1977).

Parent’s interest in custody of her children is a liberty interest which has received considerable constitutional protection; a parent who is deprived of custody of his or her child, even though temporarily, suffers thereby grievous loss and such loss deserves extensive due process protection. In the Interest of Cooper, 621 P 2d 437; 5 Kansas App Div 2d 584, (1980).

The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment requires that severance in the parent-child relationship caused by the state occur only with rigorous protections for individual liberty interests at stake. Bell v. City of Milwaukee, 746 F 2d 1205; US Ct App 7th Cir WI, (1984).

Father enjoys the right to associate with his children which is guaranteed by this amendment (First) as incorporated in Amendment 14, or which is embodied in the concept of “liberty” as that word is used in the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment and Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Mabra v. Schmidt, 356 F Supp 620; DC, WI (1973).

“Separated as our issue is from that of the future interests of the children, we have before us the elemental question whether a court of a state, where a mother is neither domiciled, resident nor present, may cut off her immediate right to the care, custody, management and companionship of her minor children without having jurisdiction over her in personam. Rights far more precious to appellant than property rights will be cut off if she is to be bound by the Wisconsin award of custody.” May v. Anderson, 345 US 528, 533; 73 S Ct 840, 843, (1952).

A parent’s right to care and companionship of his or her children are so fundamental, as to be guaranteed protection under the First, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. In re: J.S. and C., 324 A 2d 90; supra 129 NJ Super, at 489.

The Court stressed, “the parent-child relationship is an important interest that undeniably warrants deference and, absent a powerful countervailing interest, protection.” A parent’s interest in the companionship, care, custody and management of his or her children rises to a constitutionally secured right, given the centrality of family life as the focus for personal meaning and responsibility. Stanley v. Illinois, 405 US 645, 651; 92 S Ct 1208, (1972).

Parent’s rights have been recognized as being “essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free man.” Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 US 390; 43 S Ct 625, (1923).

The U.S. Supreme Court implied that “a (once) married father who is separated or divorced from a mother and is no longer living with his child” could not constitutionally be treated differently from a currently married father living with his child. Quilloin v. Walcott, 98 S Ct 549; 434 US 246, 255^Q56, (1978).

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit (California) held that the parent-child relationship is a constitutionally protected liberty interest. (See; Declaration of Independence –life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution — No state can deprive any person of life, liberty or property without due process of law nor deny any person the equal protection of the laws.) Kelson v. Springfield, 767 F 2d 651; US Ct App 9th Cir, (1985).

The parent-child relationship is a liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Bell v. City of Milwaukee, 746 f 2d 1205, 1242^Q45; US Ct App 7th Cir WI, (1985).

No bond is more precious and none should be more zealously protected by the law as the bond between parent and child.” Carson v. Elrod, 411 F Supp 645, 649; DC E.D. VA (1976).

A parent’s right to the preservation of his relationship with his child derives from the fact that the parent’s achievement of a rich and rewarding life is likely to depend significantly on his ability to participate in the rearing of his children. A child’s corresponding right to protection from interference in the relationship derives from the psychic importance to him of being raised by a loving, responsible, reliable adult. Franz v. U.S., 707 F 2d 582, 595^Q599; US Ct App (1983).

A parent’s right to the custody of his or her children is an element of “liberty” guaranteed by the 5th Amendment and the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Matter of Gentry, 369 NW 2d 889, MI App Div (1983).

Reality of private biases and possible injury they might inflict were impermissible considerations under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. Palmore v. Sidoti, 104 S Ct 1879; 466 US 429.

Legislative classifications which distributes benefits and burdens on the basis of gender carry the inherent risk of reinforcing stereotypes about the proper place of women and their need for special protection; thus, even statutes purportedly designed to compensate for and ameliorate the effects of past discrimination against women must be carefully tailored. the state cannot be permitted to classify on the basis of sex. Orr v. Orr, 99 S Ct 1102; 440 US 268, (1979).

The United States Supreme Court held that the “old notion” that “generally it is the man’s primary responsibility to provide a home and its essentials” can no longer justify a statute that discriminates on the basis of gender. No longer is the female destined solely for the home and the rearing of the family, and only the male for the marketplace and the world of ideas. Stanton v. Stanton, 421 US 7, 10; 95 S Ct 1373, 1376, (1975).

Judges must maintain a high standard of judicial performance with particular emphasis upon conducting litigation with scrupulous fairness and impartiality. 28 USCA § 2411; Pfizer v. Lord, 456 F.2d 532; cert denied 92 S Ct 2411; US Ct App MN, (1972).

State Judges, as well as federal, have the responsibility to respect and protect persons from violations of federal constitutional rights. Gross v. State of Illinois, 312 F 2d 257; (1963).

The Constitution also protects “the individual interest in avoiding disclosure of personal matters.” Federal Courts (and State Courts), under Griswold can protect, under the “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness” phrase of the Declaration of Independence, the right of a man to enjoy the mutual care, company, love and affection of his children, and this cannot be taken away from him without due process of law. There is a family right to privacy which the state cannot invade or it becomes actionable for civil rights damages. Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 US 479, (1965).

The right of a parent not to be deprived of parental rights without a showing of fitness, abandonment or substantial neglect is so fundamental and basic as to rank among the rights contained in this Amendment (Ninth) and Utah’s Constitution, Article 1 § 1. In re U.P., 648 P 2d 1364; Utah, (1982).

The rights of parents to parent-child relationships are recognized and upheld. Fantony v. Fantony, 122 A 2d 593, (1956); Brennan v. Brennan, 454 A 2d 901, (1982). State’s power to legislate, adjudicate and administer all aspects of family law, including determinations of custodial; and visitation rights, is subject to scrutiny by federal judiciary within reach of due process and/or equal protection clauses of 14th Amendment…Fourteenth Amendment applied to states through specific rights contained in the first eight amendments of the Constitution which declares fundamental personal rights…Fourteenth Amendment encompasses and applied to states those preexisting fundamental rights recognized by the Ninth Amendment. The Ninth Amendment acknowledged the prior existence of fundamental rights with it: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” The United States Supreme Court in a long line of decisions, has recognized that matters involving marriage, procreation, and the parent-child relationship are among those fundamental “liberty” interests protected by the Constitution. Thus, the decision in Roe v. Wade, 410 US 113; 93 S Ct 705; 35 L Ed 2d 147, (1973), was recently described by the Supreme Court as founded on the “Constitutional underpinning of … a recognition that the “liberty” protected by the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment includes not only the freedoms explicitly mentioned in the Bill of Rights, but also a freedom of personal choice in certain matters of marriage and family life.” The non-custodial divorced parent has no way to implement the constitutionally protected right to maintain a parental relationship with his child except through visitation. To acknowledge the protected status of the relationship as the majority does, and yet deny protection under Title 42 USC § 1983, to visitation, which is the exclusive means of effecting that right, is to negate the right completely. Wise v. Bravo, 666 F.2d 1328, (1981).

FROM THE COLORADO SUPREME COURT, 1910
In controversies affecting the custody of an infant, the interest and welfare of the child is the primary and controlling question by which the court must be guided.  This rule is based upon the theory that the state must perpetuate itself, and good citizenship is essential to that end.  Though nature gives to parents the right to the custody of their own children, and such right is scarcely less sacred than the right to life and liberty, and is manifested in all animal life, yet among mankind the necessity for government has forced the recognition of the rule that the perpetuity of the state is the first consideration, and parental authority itself is subordinate to this supreme power.  It is recognized that:  ‘The moment a child is born it owes allegiance to the government of the country of its birth, and is entitled to the protection of that government.  And such government is obligated by its duty of protection, to consult the welfare, comfort and interest of such child in regulating its custody during the period of its minority.’  Mercein v. People, 25 Wend.  (N. Y.) 64, 103, 35 Am. Dec. 653; McKercher v. Green, 13 Colo. App. 271, 58 Pac. 406.  But as government should never interfere with the natural rights of man, except only when it is essential for the good of society, the state recognizes, and enforces, the right which nature gives to parents [48 Colo. 466] to the custody of their own children, and only supervenes with its sovereign power when the necessities of the case require it.
The experience of man has demonstrated that the best development of a young life is within the sacred precincts of a home, the members of which are bound together by ties entwined through ‘bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh’; that it is in such homes and under such influences that the sweetest, purest, noblest, and most attractive qualities of human nature, so essential to good citizenship, are best nurtured and grow to wholesome fruition; that, when a state is based and builded upon such homes, it is strong in patriotism, courage, and all the elements of the best civilization.  Accordingly these recurring facts in the experience of man resulted in a presumption establishing prima facie that parents are in every way qualified to have the care, custody, and control of their own offspring, and that their welfare and interests are best subserved under such control.  Thus, by natural law, by common law, and, likewise, the statutes of this state, the natural parents are entitled to the custody of their minor children, except when they are unsuitable persons to be intrusted with their care, control, and education, or when some exceptional circumstances appear which render such custody inimicable to the best interests of the child.  While the right of a parent to the custody of its infant child is therefore, in a sense, contingent, the right can never be lost or taken away so long as the parent properly nurtures, maintains, and cares for the child.
Wilson v. Mitchell, 111 P. 21, 25-26, 48 Colo. 454 (Colo. 1910)


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Constitutional Right to Be a Parent.

Why Standard Visitation Should NOT Be Standard – Divorce

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on July 26, 2010 at 11:15 pm

When a nuclear family separates, it usually separates into a “custodial” family and a “non-custodial” family. The custodial family is the parent with whom the children reside on a day-to-day basis. Most often, it’s the Mother. The non-custodial family is the other parent – usually Dad – and the children when they are with him.

Dad usually gets “visitation” with his children. Some states refer to it as “parenting time,” recognizing that he maintains his status as parent, but still distinguishing that his time with his children is regulated. For families which – prior to the separation – had Dad in the home, seeing the children every day, interacting with the kids on a regular basis, probably the single most traumatic event is when the kids realize that they won’t see Dad every day. The single most on-going trauma occurs to kids when the visitation schedule is interfered with by Mom.

Now, this does not occur in every case, but it happens often enough. “Standard” visitation is alternating weekends and one evening per week. This is imposed because Moms, courts, and experts put forth that more frequent visitation is “disruptive” to the children and that kids should not be “bounced back and forth.”

For kids that have gone from seeing Dad 30 times a month to 8 times a month, there IS nothing more disruptive! For kids that have gone from learning from, and being loved on a daily basis, by TWO parents to the sole CONTROL of one parent, there is NO bouncing that is more disruptive. If Dad is denied ONE weekend, his time with his children is reduced by 25%. Somehow, THAT disruption is never considered. Also never considered is the REAL disruption that occurs on the “one night per week”: kids get bundled up, travel with Dad, get unbundled, eat dinner, maybe do homework, get bundled up again, travel back, get unbundled at Mom’s house, and get ready for bed. Doesn’t it make more sense to stay OVERNIGHT with Dad on this visit?

Where the children had Dad in the house on a daily basis, Courts need to consider schedules that provide the kids with more regular visit – daily after school, or every other day, or more mid-week overnight visitations. Kids who do not see their father are more likely to be abused by a boyfriend or step-father, abuse drugs,or engage in criminal activity. Frequent visitation may be one way to stem this terrible tide. http://onestop.easystorecreator.net

Erik Carter is an experienced family law litigator. He has created a website to help non-custodial fathers at http://onestop.easystorecreator.net He has also written two books: “Aggressive Pleadings For The Non-Custodial Father” http://dadspleadings.easystorecreator.net and “Six Temptations Of Jesus Christ” http://www.knowledge-download.com/Six_Temptations

Why Standard Visitation Should NOT Be Standard – Divorce.

Judge Judy Weighs in on a Mother’s False Allegations of Domestic Violence

In Family Rights on July 24, 2010 at 2:05 pm

This video is making the rounds on some Facebook pages in which another mothers is accused of setting up a father for false allegations of abuse by the malicious use of protective orders.

Judge Judy who was a Family Court Judge strongly admonishes the women for misusing DV orders to try to take her child away from the dad because he dumped her for another woman.

There are a lot of crazy women out there, and I think this guy did right in getting rid of her because by her actions she is nuts. Watch these videos Part 1 and II.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GsuOTV4n0xs

Family Matters hosted by Jill Egizii – a show for families dealing with Parental Alienation

In parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome on July 24, 2010 at 1:33 am

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via Family Matters hosted by Jill Egizii – a show for families dealing with Parental Alienation.

Gender Bias in Family Court

In Best Interest of the Child, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on July 23, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Gender Bias in Our Family Court System

by Pearle Harbour
gender bias in family court
family court © khz – Fotolia.com All rights reserved.

Our legal pendulum swings to yet another extreme. Gender bias runs rampant in our family court system. In the 1960’s women, fought hard to get laws passed to protect women against domestic violence. It took many painful years for our legal system to recognize women as victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence, stalking, and sexual harassment laws were passed and enforced to protect “true victims.” Many women lived through domestic violence; many died. Some went to jail for homicide; some were later pardoned. We, as women, finally got society to recognize violence against women.

Shame on all those women of the 1990’s who now use these laws to their advantage in family courts to bring men to their knees; and to erase fathers from the lives of their children! False allegations by women of child abuse, domestic violence, and stalking are almost never questioned by judges for fear of being politically incorrect.

Important UPDATE! See VAWA: Joe Biden’s Shame.

Women who feel justified in punishing men use these false charges indiscriminately. Children are forgotten and have become our newest victims with full cooperation from our Family Court system. Children need fathers too. A recent US Department of Education study, “Fathers Involved in Their Children’s Education” (free for a phone call – 1-800-424-1616, option 3) will bear out these truths.

Women have become educated in the ways of our legal system. A new study purports women are filing 70% of divorces today. The first person to file usually wins. The unfortunate person against whom false allegations are charged must prove their innocence while a plaintiff proves nothing. As a paralegal and a woman, I am no longer proud of those of female gender who abuse our legal system.

An innocent father involved in a nasty contested divorce from a woman who vows vengeance is helpless in Family Court. Important child support laws enacted are now strictly, and sometimes unfairly enforced. There are stories of fathers who lost their jobs from downsizing and/or circumstances beyond their control. When the mother of his children insists on back child support, he is thrown into jail. Child support is based on his “earning ability.” Debtor’s prison has become our most recent politically correct means to control men. Here again, our Family Courts condone whatever women allege, accuse, and dictate to control men.

Should a husband make the mistake of remarrying, further angering his ex-wife, a second wife’s income is used as “a way to show ability to pay.” The mother of their children, on the other hand, can marry another man. The “other man’s” income is never used to lower child support. Court’s rationale – “they are not his children, not his responsibility.” Since when did a mother bear no responsibility for her children? Today’s women are earning more, and are becoming a majority in our workforce. The stay at home mom of the 50’s rarely exists today. I knew of a man who ended up paying so much child support (plus child expenses) he had to move back home with his parents. Yet his ex-wife earned more than he did.

False allegations of child abuse by a vengeful ex-wife devastates not only children, but fathers. The wife files first to take advantage of all laws passed to protect true victims of abuse and violence. The wife charges everything from domestic violence to stalking to child abuse. Courts almost always believe a woman over a man today.

I know of a man who was falsely accused of child sexual abuse. By the time he was found innocent, he lost his job, his reputation, and everything he owned. Recent statistics do show women are becoming our primary child abusers, and yes, even killers of our children. Yet our Family Courts consistently believe, “the mother always makes the best parent.”

Some mothers today emotionally blackmail and intimidate their children into fabricating abuse by their father. I know a man who fought two years to get custody of his son from a proven mentally ill mother who abused their son. Each time the court insisted “the mother is the best parent.”

A large number of children are ordered to see a child psychologist when divorce is filed. Counselors and psychologists are encouraged by our system to give bad reports against a father. Fathers are automatically presumed capable of abuse before any mother.

Mothers are intentionally denying visitation to loving, child support paying fathers, who then spend money and time in court trying to get visitation enforced.
I know a man who hasn’t seen his son in 14 years, but religiously pays his child support. He stopped pursuing visitation in court when the mother threatened harm to the son. Is this fair? Why is there no press on “intentional denial of visitation”?

One of the saddest true stories I know of is a little nine year old boy who was put in a mental institution by his mother until he stopped saying, “I want to see my daddy.” There are too many stories of children committing suicide. I personally know of a woman who kept her teenage son up night after night crying about her divorce, repeatedly telling him “children ruin marriages.” Her son turned to drinking, drugs, and dropped out of college.

Divorce is a reality. It is currently a billion dollar a year business. Contested divorce is guerilla warfare whether people want to acknowledge it or not. Everyone wants fuzzy warm answers to harsh reality. There are none unless we all recognize the gender bias against males perpetuated in Family Court today, and the undeniable damage it does to our children.

Years ago women had a disadvantage in our domestic courts. Now they can feel quite happy knowing most women win. They can manipulate child support into “backdoor alimony,” deprive their children of their fathers, and ruin their husband. Truth no longer exists in our legal system.

Yes, we have come a long way. Women can be proud of the laws they fought hard for 30+ years ago. I am personally grateful for these laws. Let us not blaspheme those women who died for the very laws that many women are abusing today. We must stop abusing these laws, or one day our legal pendulum will swing back and our true victims will not be believed again.

You think you are beating men? You are beating yourself; destroying your children; and making the racketeers in our legal system rich. You are creating a generation of children who think love is conditional and possessive; who learn that violence by proxy and misuse of the law will make you a winner.

I will never be associated with any “feminist” movement which advocates false allegations, destroying children, and eliminating good fathers.

Let’s remember that it is children, not women, who are the real victims of the gender bias in our family courts.

Email: wewinluv@jax-inter.net

Copyright © 1998 Pearle Harbour. All rights reserved.
Not to be reprinted without the permission of the author.


fathermag.com
the on-line magazine for men with families.

Is the Child REALLY Yours? Falsely accused of being someone’s biological parent? Get your evidence today!

The Secret Alimony Hidden in Child Support Scientific proof exists that many child support awards are too high. By Roger F. Gay.

Fathers’ Rights Are Fathers’ Duties Why political action is the best thing you can do for yourself, your case — and above all your children. By Stephen Baskerville.

Domestic Armageddon Who profits from the maternal child-snatching epidemic? Two book reviews by Stephen Baskerville.

Just Let Me Be a Dad A review of Michelle D. Lovato’s book of practical advice for divorcing fathers.

Men Are Beasts Whereas false accusations by women are in fact rare, occurring no more often than do other false reports of crimes, such as bank robbery — Joint Congressional Resolution 182.

Class Dismissed Has America created a new class of citizens who are excluded from constitutional provisions regarding due process and debtors prison?

Father from Afar Fathers from afar must learn how to hear what is not said, feel what is not seen, and say what should be said.

Let No Man Put Asunder Is our traditional faith in justice being eroded by courts that operate as a child kidnapping and extortion racket?

Angels and Divorce Dean Hughson tells how a couple of angels helped save him in those critical hours following his divorce.

Gender Bias in Family Court A paralegal gives her insider’s view of women who make use of the child kidnapping and extortion racketeers in our justice system.

In the Best Interest of the Child Today’s fathers are more likely to seek custody. Many of them will need to prepare for a child custody evaluation.

Mother Accuses Father of Child Abuse What to do? Win! Advice from The Fathering Advisor with links to resources.

What Fathers Do Jack Kammer’s story shows us how fathers affect the lives of teenage boys.

My Dad Is a Hero …all of a sudden we were fugitives….Dad, I know you spent fathers’ day in jail this year, so no one else has to do what we had to do. You are my hero, dad, I love you.

Deserted Her mother said “Your father left you because he doesn’t love you.” Now she has learned the truth–her loving father was forced out of her life.

Gender Bias in Family Court.

Fathers’ Rights Are Fathers’ Duties

In Activism, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on July 22, 2010 at 5:00 pm

by Stephen Baskerville

Separation and divorce destroy children’s lives. It helps to remember this because of the vast industry now devoted to what has been called “good divorce.” This is the trend that seems intent on making divorce palatable and letting parents feel good about destroying their children’s home. At best this is damage control. It is impossible to insulate children from the damage caused by the destruction of their families. Those who pretend we can are lying to themselves and to us. Moreover, the traumas of divorce are almost all exacerbated by litigation. Worse, they are all exacerbated when one parent – usually the father – is marginalized from the children, as is now almost invariably the case.

The reasons why separation and divorce damage children are too numerous to mention. But from the standpoint of fatherhood politics, the most important reasons involve authority.

The very act of separation and divorce, aside from any accompanying behavior or words, itself sends a myriad of terrible messages to children. It says that parents can put their own wishes above the welfare of their children. This is obviously a bad example, which the children can then carry on to their own families. But a perhaps worse effect is to destroy parental authority. No parent who has put himself or herself before their child in such a basic way has any moral authority to instruct, correct, or discipline a child. How can parents instill lessons of selflessness in children when their own actions demonstrate precisely the opposite?

More specifically, it destroys notions of trust, obligation, and fidelity in the child, qualities basic to any family. In effect it says that it is okay to break promises and obligations such as marriage vows when they no longer suit our convenience, it is okay to make up the rules as we go along and, in effect, live by no principles except those that suit our momentary convenience. Again, how can parents instill an ethic of fidelity, obligation, and trust when their own actions manifest the contrary?

Even more fundamentally, it destroys the integrity of the family itself. The act of separation and divorce says that a family is not something from which the child can derive a sense of unconditional love and security. On the contrary, a family can be disbanded at any time at the whim of one member. Even more, it says that a family member can be disgraced and expelled. Especially when it is unilateral (as it increasingly is) and when one parent is marginalized from the children’s lives, the effect is the expulsion of a family member. This is the destruction of the child’s entire world and the source of unimaginable terror to a child. If Daddy can be pushed out of the family, after all, what about me? What security is there in my family if members can be expelled because they do something Mommy or someone else doesn’t like? What if I do something Mommy doesn’t like? What is the meaning of Mommy’s or Daddy’s love if it can be terminated when it is no longer convenient?

Finally, litigation against family members exacerbates and in effect politicizes these messages. It says that the state is a legitimate instrument to punish the child’s loved one who has fallen out of favor. It says that rather than solving problems as a family, we declare a member to be a public enemy and bring the power of the state to bear on him. In an almost literal sense, we declare civil war on our loved ones. Again, if the police can be used to keep Daddy away or throw him in jail because Mommy no longer likes him, what will they do to me?

Perhaps from the political standpoint, the most significant lesson for the child is the firsthand experience of tyranny and oppression, both in society and within his own family. The custodial parent becomes a kind of satrap of the court, and the dictatorship of the court over the family is extended and writ small within the family. The custodial parent tyrannizes over the non-custodial parent, undermining his authority, dictating the terms of his access to the children, talking to him contemptuously and condescendingly as if he were himself a naughty child, perhaps engaging in a full scale campaign of vilification (which similarly mirrors the larger campaign against fathers waged by the state and media). After witnessing this against the non-custodial parent, the children then experience it themselves. With no checks on the power of the custodial parent, the tyranny is naturally exercised over them as well. In extreme (but not uncommon) cases of course this leads to child abuse.

All these messages concern authority – parental authority, paternal authority, political authority — and therefore they are of primary interest to fathers.

When a father participates in separation and divorce, when he engages in litigation, when he even acquiesces in them, he too is sending these messages to his children. When a father takes part in these actions he is participating in the destruction of his own authority. He is taking part in the destruction of his own fatherhood.

Certainly there are times when we must resort to the courts just to be permitted to see our children. But in the long run when we rely on these means, when we allow them to dictate the terms and place of the struggle, we lose and so do our children. Even when these actions are undertaken by our spouses unilaterally, the child is receiving the same message. Then it is up to us alone to provide a positive counter-message.

The literature on “good divorce” offers no rebuttals to these messages. There is a more effective and more constructive alternative.

The Political Alternative

The alternative is to become active politically for the defense of our children and families.

I know this idea immediately raises red flags among many. Images come to mind of strident “activists” (like the dreaded feminists perhaps) screeching about their “rights.” Many men are uncomfortable in this role, in which they have never before seen themselves. Our political world has become such a plethora of competing interest groups all trying to grab their share of the pie that we have forgotten what political action has done to relieve the truly oppressed.

More serious is the common assumption among men that working politically for the rights of fathers and children will divert time and energy from their own individual legal cases and reduce time with their own children while resulting in few tangible benefits in terms of winning custody or increasing visitation. This is a natural assumption, but it is not true.

In fact the opposite is true. Political involvement may be the best thing you can do for your own case and for your own children. Moreover it will be beneficial to you and your children immediately, even if you never achieve the stated goals. It is more effective than all the touchy-feely advice you will get from therapists. And it is more constructive than all the legal help from the scavengers of the divorce industry. This is less because of what it gives than what it demands: It requires qualities that are directly necessary to fathers who have been through desertion, separation, divorce, false accusations, and the rest. Most importantly, it carries messages that can help heal the traumas of children who are suffering from separation and divorce.

Here are some of the direct and immediate benefits of political action:

Political action establishes authority. If you have gone through a desertion, separation, or divorce — especially if your child was abducted from your home or you have been accused of some kind of abuse – your authority as a father has been largely destroyed. Even fathers in intact families have felt their authority take quite a drubbing these days, largely owing to the anti-male climate. If your wife has placed her desires before her children’s welfare by destroying their home, she too no longer has any moral authority to correct a child. Political action gives you the authority of one who has taken the moral high ground and acts out of principle along with others through constructive means for the welfare and establishment of his family and his society.

Political action confers dignity. When you lost your children you lost your dignity and received the stigma of the “evil male.” You unexpectedly joined the ranks of “abusers,” “batterers,” and “deadbeat dads.” Suddenly all those things you assumed about others are being assumed about you. You “must have” done something to deserve losing your children. This is a very difficult stigma to remove, and you won’t eliminate it by cowering behind a lawyer. Men do not hire someone else to fight their battles. Standing up for your rights and those of your children is a way of proclaiming to the world that you have nothing to be ashamed of and that you have done nothing wrong.

Properly understood, political action is not shrill or strident. It is the dignified but uncompromising demand for civil rights: the right to be fathers to your children. No political movement ever has lasting success without dignity, and fathers will get nowhere unless they show dignity both in their families and before the world. No doubt you have already discovered that in the home it is up to you to act maturely and not to quarrel with your spouse, because of the bias in the courts and because your spouse probably has no incentive to be restrained. Why not take this one step further into the public realm and forego the quarrel of a court battle? The same principle applies. We don’t have to hide our actions from our children or anyone else because they are ugly, undignified, shameful, or vicious – as, for example, is beating up on our spouse in a courtroom with a hired goon. We are acting openly in the public realm. We are asking for justice in the court of public opinion. Nothing could be more dignified.

Political action will make you a better father. The qualities necessary for being an effective political activist are the same as those necessary for a good father: sobriety, commitment, fidelity, sacrifice. Demanding your just rights is not a license for belligerence; quite the opposite. All great revolutionary leaders were moral puritans who saw the need for self-discipline. Lenin used to inveigh against libertine communists who would substitute talk for action and initiate a dozen tasks and never complete any. If you don’t like this comparison, consider Oliver Cromwell, who “conquered himself” before he conquered his enemies. Frederick Douglass gave up drinking because he saw it was the most effective method of slaveholders to keep his people in bondage. Martin Luther King used to speak of the need for “self-purification” prior to action. The principle is simple: self-government requires self-control. Alcohol, gambling, womanizing, frivolous pastimes are incompatible with republican virtue. If you can’t give up your sports page or your evenings in front of the TV, your girlie magazines or your nights out with the lads, you’re no use as a fathers’ rights activist. You’re also probably not the world’s greatest father.

Political action is an effective alternative to violence. Without lending credence to the hysteria over “male violence,” let us grant for the sake of argument that fathers may be tempted to become violent when their children are taken away (who wouldn’t?). If you find disturbing thoughts suddenly appearing in your head when they take your children, channel it into peaceful and constructive but determined activity for your children. Martin Luther King used to observe that violence in the black ghettoes decreased significantly following political demonstrations. Involvement in fathers’ rights is an effective way of channeling rage that might otherwise fuel domestic violence.

Political action shows your child you care. You may be caught in the vicious circle of being ordered to stay away from your children by a judge and as a result having them think you don’t love them because you’re not there. This is their natural conclusion and could be exacerbated by Mom’s poison. You can’t tell them it’s because of Mommy or the Evil Judge that you aren’t there, and you shouldn’t; even if you could it wouldn’t matter. Children judge by actions, not words. On the other hand, once your children witness you exercising your civic duty and your constitutional rights on their behalf and on behalf of other fathers and children, they will eventually understand why. They will realize that political action requires sacrifice, and they will admire you all the more and profit from your example. You are also telling the world that your children are so special that their father is willing to sacrifice everything for them.

Political action is an excellent education for your children. Some fathers feel they must not involve their children in their quarrel and fear they may be punished for it. But this is true only because the conflict is personal and litigious; in other words, because it is shameful. Children should always be spared the trauma of quarreling parents and animosity between spouses, whether at home or in court. But exercising your civic rights – indeed, fulfilling your duty as a citizen — is a different matter entirely. This is something your children should see. We make enormous efforts in schools, churches, and civic organizations, teaching children about civic involvement, about constitutional rights and the importance of cultivating a public spirit and of sacrificing private desires for the larger public good. We introduce them to the teachings of Socrates, Thoreau, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. Yet when it comes to putting their ideas into practice by following their example, we are told this is somehow “inappropriate.” In contrast to litigation, when we undertake political action we are not fighting our children’s mothers; we are fighting injustice. What could be more inspiring than to emulate these men on behalf of your children? Children know that actions speak louder than words. The lesson that civic action requires sacrifice, and must be undertaken with dignity, is both edifying for them and something that will make them proud of their father.

Finally, political action will provide your children with the spiritual tools they need to cope with family breakdown. This may not be obvious, yet it is true. But only if it is based on dignity, sacrifice, and love. A politics of hate, vengeance, and demonization is not a fit lesson for children. But a politics of love and non-violence has its origins in the same spiritual values we try to instill in our children in school and in church. No child is too young to learn this lesson. If you take your children to Sunday school (and many people feel this is an important duty of a father, even if he himself has previously not been religious), you will be exposing them to the courageous acts of the Hebrew women, of Shedrach, Meshach, and Abednego, of Jesus himself. These figures demonstrated precisely the qualities children of divorce more than others need to see. Teach them about sacrifice for others, about commitment to a cause, about obligation as citizens, about the power of moral authority, about love to those who hate us, about fidelity to principles larger than themselves.

Martin Luther King, the leading American practitioner of non-violence, used to talk about the latent violence in the system of state-enforced segregation and of the need for a “creative tension” to bring this violence out into the open. We have a similar task. A latent violence already pervades our families which are in effect occupied by the instruments of the state forcibly separating us from our children. We must extract the violence from the system, and we must be prepared to suffer violence ourselves, but we must use none. At some point we may have to adopt Ghandi’s principle: “Fill up the jails.”

No doubt you will be accused of dragging your children into the quarrel. But non-violent political action shifts the quarrel away from the person to the injustice. Our children are already at the center of the quarrel. The have already been dragged in as the chief victims by the belligerent parent and by the state that has invaded their family and set up a kind of domestic apartheid between the custodial parent and the child, on the one hand, and the non-custodial parent. Martin Luther King writes boldly and eloquently of how, despite the false pathos of those who “deplored our ‘using’ our children in this fashion…the introduction of Birmingham’s children into the [non-violent civil rights] campaign was one of the wisest moves we made.”

It is an illusion to pretend that we can shelter our children from a quarrel of which they are at the center and which by its very nature is constantly damaging them. What is important is not that they be sheltered from it but that they be provided with the tools to deal with it and with any crisis constructively. On their own what they will adopt are the tools of withdrawal, guilt, aggression, alienation, or any number of other symptoms of divorce that have become all too familiar. No matter how careful you are they will also absorb your hostility as well as that of your spouse.

The touchy-feely proponents of “good divorce” are right as far as they go when they tell us to how to mitigate these and suggest we “talk” to our children to mitigate these emotions. They suggest you tell your children, “No matter what we do to one another, your Mommy and I still love you.” But consciously or not, the child knows, “but not enough to keep my home together.” You are supposed to tell your child, “What’s happening between Mommy and me is not your fault.” But the child knows that she is the center and “cause” of the quarrel. Talk is cheap, and children know it. No amount of talk, contact group jargon, or therapy sessions is going to save children from the traumas of what their parents do. What we can do is give them the tools to overcome them and to act. These are partly spiritual, but they are also political.

The Bible and the Koran teach that we are all guilty of sin. Creative non-violence teaches that we are all responsible for society’s injustices. Choose the value system you prefer. The point is that these religious and political values teach us how we and our children can channel our inadequacies, real and imagined, into constructive action.

We should tell our children that we all do bad things. We are all sinners, or we are all responsible for society’s injustices, or however you prefer to phrase it. We cannot avoid guilt. What we can do is be sorry for the bad things we do and ask forgiveness. What we can do is forgive those who do bad things to us. What we can do is to love the person while hating the evil they do – the message of Christianity, Islam, civil disobedience, creative non-violence, and every other humane doctrine. We can teach them what the Bible, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King all taught: that “unmerited suffering is redemptive.” We can teach them the one central principle of both religion and political action: that salvation requires sacrifice. If we strive toward this, we will not only have happy, well-adjusted children in spite of the belligerence they witness in others; we may just be permitted to be fathers to them again. Or perhaps I should say that from that moment we again will be fathers.

Copyright © 1998 – 2000 Stephen Baskerville
Department of Political Science
Howard University
Washington, DC 20059

Other pieces by this author

To learn more about Political Action, try:

American Coalition for Fathers and Children

Fathers’ Rights Are Fathers’ Duties.

The Awesome Power of Family Courts — June 2010 Phyllis Schlafly Report

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on July 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm

The month of June when we observe Father’s Day is a good time to review some of the injustices committed against fathers by family courts. Family courts routinely deprive divorced fathers not only of their own children, but even many constitutional rights.

For example, do you think judges should have the power to decide to which religion your children must belong and which churches they may be prohibited from attending? In December 2009 a Chicago judge did exactly that.

Cook County Circuit Judge Edward Jordan issued a restraining order to prohibit Joseph Reyes from taking his three-year-old daughter to any non-Jewish religious activities because his ex-wife argued that would contribute to “the emotional detriment of the child.” Mrs. Rebecca Reyes wants to raise her daughter in the Jewish religion, and the judge sided with the mother. Joseph Reyes’ divorce attorney, Joel Brodsky, when he saw the judge’s restraining order, said, “I almost fell off my chair. I thought maybe we were in Afghanistan and this was the Taliban.”

Mr. Reyes took his daughter to church anyway and let the Chicago media know about it. Soon he was back in court to be prosecuted for contempt in violating the family court order. The good news is that Reyes, fortunately, drew another Cook County judge, Renee Goldfarb, who ruled on April 13, 2010 that Reyes can take his daughter to “church services during his visitation time if he so chooses.” Judge Goldfarb said her decision to let Reyes take his daughter to church was based on “the best interest of the child,” but then criticized Reyes for going public with his case.

This case is a good illustration of the dictatorial power of the family courts. Both judges purported to decide what church a child can attend based on the judge’s personal opinion about what is “the best interest of the child.” The choice of a church should be none of the government’s business, even if the parents are divorced, and “best interest” should be decided by parents, not judges.

Not only did the family court try to take away a father’s parental rights and his freedom of religion rights, but also his First Amendment free-speech rights. The second judge severely criticized Reyes for telling the media about his case. But publicity was the reason the family court backtracked from sending Reyes to jail for violating the restraining order. It’s important to shine the light of publicity on the outrageous denial of parental rights by the family courts.

In another divorce case last year, a family court in New Hampshire (where the state motto is “Live Free or Die”) ordered ten-year-old Amanda Kurowski to quit being homeschooled by her mother and instead to attend fifth grade in the local public school. Judge Lucinda V. Sadler approved the court-appointed expert’s view that Amanda “appeared to reflect her mother’s rigidity on questions of faith” and that Amanda “would be best served by exposure to multiple points of view.”

Where did family court judges get the power to decide what church and what school the children of divorced parents must attend? Family court judges have amassed this extraordinary power by co-opting and changing the definition of a time-honored concept: “the best interest of the child.”

This rule originally came from English common law as compiled by William Blackstone in 1765, and meant that parents are presumed to act in their own children’s best interest. For centuries, English and American courts honored parents’ rights by recognizing the legal presumption that the best interest of a child is whatever a fit parent says it is, and should not be second-guessed by a judge.

However, when U.S. state legislatures revised their family-law statutes in the 1970s, the “best interest of the child” became disconnected from parents’ decisions. Family courts assumed the discretion to decide the best interest of children of divorced and unmarried parents, and enforce their opinions by using their power to send fathers to jail and to tell them how they must spend their money.

The notion that persons other than parents should decide what is in a child’s best interest is illustrated by the slogan “it takes a village to raise a child.” Those who use that slogan understand “village” to mean government officials and employees of the courts, the public schools, and the departments of children and family services.

The “best interest” rule is totally subjective; it’s a matter of individual opinion. Parents make thousands of decisions about their children, and should have the right to make their decisions even if they contravene so-called experts. Whether the decision is big (such as where to go to church or school), or small (such as playing baseball or soccer), there is no objective way to say which is “best.”

Since judges are supposed to base their decisions on evidence presented in open court, and there is no objective basis for deciding thousands of questions involved in raising a child, judges often call on the testimony of expert witnesses. A big industry has grown up of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, custody evaluators, and counselors who are eager to collect fees for giving their opinions. Having opinions produced by persons with academic degrees is a way to make subjective and arbitrary judgments appear objective. With the volume of cases coming through family courts, judges can evade responsibility for controversial decisions by rubber-stamping opinions of these court-appointed experts.

Sometimes these rulings are against women, but most decisions are against men, especially fathers. It’s time to call a halt to the practice of letting family court judges make decisions that are rightfully the prerogative of parents.
Putting Men in Debtors’ Prisons

Did you know that a family court can order a man to reimburse the government for the welfare money, falsely called “child support,” which was paid to the mother of a child to whom he is not related? Did you know that, if he doesn’t pay, a judge can sentence him to debtor’s prison without ever letting him have a jury trial?

Did you know that debtor’s prisons (putting men in prison because they can’t pay a debt) were abolished in the United States even before we abolished slavery, but that they exist today to punish men who are too poor to pay what is falsely called “child support”?

Did you know that when corporations can’t pay their debts, they can take bankruptcy, which means they pay off their debts for pennies on the dollar, but a man can never get an alleged “child support” debt forgiven or reduced, even if he is out of a job, penniless and homeless, medically incapacitated, incarcerated (justly or unjustly), can’t afford a lawyer, serving in our Armed Forces overseas, or never owed the money in the first place?

Did you know that when a woman applying for welfare handouts lies about who is the father of her child, she is never prosecuted for perjury? Did you know that judges can refuse to accept DNA evidence showing that the man she accuses is not the father? Did you know that alleged “child support” has nothing to do with supporting a child because the mother has no obligation to spend even one dollar of it on a child, and in many cases none of the “support” money ever gets to a child because it goes to fatten the payroll of the child-support bureaucracy? These are among the injustices that the feminists, and their docile liberal male allies, have inflicted on men.

Most of these family court injustices are caused by the Bradley Amendment, named for its sponsor former Democratic Senator from New Jersey and presidential candidate Bill Bradley. That 1986 federal law prohibits retroactive reduction of alleged “child support” even in the circumstances listed above. The Bradley law denies bankruptcy protections, overrides all statutes of limitation, and forbids judicial consideration of obvious inability to pay. Most Bradley-law victims never come to national attention because, as Bernard Goldberg wrote in his book Bias, mainstream media toe the feminist propaganda line, denigrating men, especially fathers, and using the epithet “deadbeat dads.”

But one egregious case did make news in 2009. Frank Hatley was in a Georgia jail for more than a year for failure to pay alleged “child support” even though a DNA test nine years earlier, plus a second one in 2009, proved that he is not the father. His ex-girlfriend had lied and claimed he was. The August 21, 2001 court order, signed by Judge Dane Perkins, acknowledged that Hatley is not the father, but nevertheless ordered him to continue paying and never told him he could have a court-appointed lawyer if he could not afford one.

Hatley subsequently paid the government (not the mom or child) thousands of dollars in “child support.” Even after he was laid off from his job unloading charcoal grills from shipping containers and reduced to living in his car, he continued making payments out of his unemployment benefits.

But he didn’t pay enough to satisfy the avaricious child-support bureaucrats, so Judge Perkins ruled Hatley in contempt of court and sent him to jail without any jury trial. With the help of a Legal Services lawyer, he was released from jail and relieved from future assessments, but (because of the Bradley Amendment) the government demanded that Hatley continue paying at the rate of $250 a month until he paid off the $16,398 debt the government claimed he accumulated earlier (even though the court then knew he was not the father). He paid the debt down to $10,000 but was jailed for six months in 2006 for falling behind on payments during a period of unemployment. When he became unemployed and homeless in 2008, he was jailed again.

Altogether, Hatley paid so-called “child support” for 13 years and spent 13 months in jail because of a woman’s lie, the Bradley Amendment, the ruthless “child support” bureaucracy, and the bias of the family court against fathers.

In 2009, the court relieved Hatley of any future child support payments (probably because of press publicity about this case) but did not restore his driver’s license. This system is morally and constitutionally wrong and the Bradley Amendment is particularly evil, yet all authorities say the court orders were lawful.

Another type of feminist indignity is the use in divorce cases of false allegations of child sexual abuse in order to gain child custody and the financial windfall that goes with it. Former Vancouver, Washington, police Officer Ray Spencer spent nearly 20 years in prison after being convicted of molesting his two children who are now adults and say it never happened.

The son, who was 9 years old at the time, was questioned, alone, for months until he said he had been abused in order to get the interrogator to leave him alone. The daughter, who was then age 5, said she talked to the interrogator after he gave her ice cream.

There were many other violations of due process in Spencer’s trial, such as prosecutors withholding medical exams that showed no evidence of abuse, and his court-appointed lawyer failing to prepare a defense, but the judge nevertheless sentenced Spencer to two life terms in prison plus 14 years. Spencer was five times denied parole because he refused to admit guilt, a customary parole practice that is maliciously designed to save face for prosecutors who prosecute innocent men.
Depriving Men of Constitutional Rights

Family courts routinely deprive men of their fundamental right to parent their own children, by charging them with a wide variety of trivial offenses. Family courts generally uphold feminists’ demands to kick a man out of his own home, and take control of their children and his money, based on a woman’s unsubstantiated allegations. The principal tactics in this racket are domestic violence accusations and court-issued restraining orders.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed in 1994 as a payoff to the radical feminists for helping to elect Bill Clinton President in 1992. Personal sponsorship of this law was taken over by then-Senator Joe Biden.

VAWA shows the hypocrisy of noisy feminist demands that we kowtow to their ideology of gender neutrality, to their claim that there is no difference between male and female, and to their opposition to stereotyping and gender profiling. There is nothing sex neutral about VAWA. It is based on the proposition that there are, indeed, innate gender differences: men are naturally batterers and women are naturally victims. VAWA is not designed to eliminate or punish violence, but to punish only alleged violence against women. Most of the shelters financed by VAWA do not accept men as victims.

VAWA has been known from the getgo as “feminist pork” because it puts $1 Billion a year of U.S. taxpayers’ money into the hands of the radical feminists. They have set up shop in domestic violence shelters where they promote divorce, marriage breakup, hatred of men, and false accusations, while rejecting marriage counseling, reconciliation, drug-abuse treatment, and evidence of mutual-partner abuse. There is no investigation or accountability for the taxpayers’ money spent in these shelters.

VAWA makes taxpayers’ money available to the feminists to lobby state legislators to pass feminist laws, to train law enforcement personnel and judges in using the laws, and to fund enforcement.

VAWA provides the woman with free legal counsel to pursue her allegations, but not the man to defend himself. He is on his own to find and pay a lawyer — or struggle without one.

Feminists have changed state laws in order to get family courts to operate on a loosey-goosey definition of family violence. It doesn’t have to be violent. It can simply be what a man says or how he looks at a woman. It can even be what a woman thinks he might do or say. Definitions of violence include calling your partner a naughty word, raising your voice, causing “annoyance” or “emotional distress,” claiming to be “fearful,” or just not doing what your partner wants.

Feminists have persuaded most states to adopt mandatory arrest laws. That means, when the police arrive at a disturbance and lack good information on who is to blame, they are nevertheless legally bound to arrest somebody. Three guesses who is usually arrested.

Feminists have lobbied most states into passing no-drop prosecution laws. Those laws make the prosecutor legally bound to go forward with prosecution even if the woman recants her charges or wants to drop them. Studies show that women do recant or ask to drop the charges in 60% of criminal allegations, but the law requires prosecution against the man to proceed regardless. Along with the loss of other constitutional rights, the man thus loses his right to confront and cross-examine his accuser.

VAWA has a built-in incentive for the woman to make false charges of domestic violence because she knows she will never be prosecuted for perjury. Charging domestic violence practically guarantees she will get custody of the children and sever forever the father’s relationship with his children even though the alleged violence had nothing whatever to do with any abuse of the children. Judges are required to consider allegations of domestic violence in awarding child custody, even though no evidence of abuse was ever presented.
‘Gamesmanship’ of Restraining Orders

Family court judges issue restraining orders virtually for the asking, without any evidence of actual domestic violence or even threat of violence. The Illinois Bar Journal (June 2005) explained how women use court-issued restraining orders as a tool for the mother to get sole child custody and to bar the father from visitation. In big type, the Journal proclaimed: “Orders of protection are designed to prevent domestic violence, but they can also become part of the gamesmanship of divorce.”

The “game” is that mothers can assert falsehoods or trivial complaints against the father, in order to get a restraining order based on the presumption that men are naturally abusers of women. Restraining orders are in reality a tactical legal maneuver familiar to all family court attorneys as a way to obtain an order of contempt and unfairly increase the leverage of one side (typically the woman) in bargaining with the other (typically the man).

The Fourth Amendment guarantees U.S. citizens the right to be “secure in their persons, house, papers, and effects.” But each year, restraining orders are issued against at least two million men without proof or even evidence, forcing innocent men out of their homes. In 33 states, fathers can be thrown in jail for even a technical violation of a restraining order, such as sending a child a birthday card or telephoning a child on an unapproved day.

Family courts have avoided facing up to whether the restraining orders issued against fathers are constitutional. Accused criminals enjoy a long list of constitutional rights, but feminists have persuaded judges to issue orders that restrain actions of non-criminal husbands and fathers, and punish them based on flimsy, unproved accusations. Most states do not require proof by a clear and convincing standard of evidence. Even though these restraining orders are issued without the due process required for criminal prosecutions, they carry the threat of a prison sentence for anyone who violates them.

The New Jersey Law Journal reported that an instructor taught judges to be merciless to husbands and fathers, saying, “Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back, and tell him ‘See ya’ around.'” People have a better chance to prove their innocence in traffic court than when subjected to a restraining order.

Too often, the restraining order serves no legitimate purpose, but is just an easy way for one spouse to get revenge or the upper hand in a divorce or child custody dispute. Once a restraining order is issued, it becomes nearly impossible for a father to regain custody or even get to see his own children. That is the result even though the alleged domestic violence (which doesn’t have to be physical or proven) did not involve the children at all.

Probably two million restraining orders are issued each year in domestic relationships. These restraining orders almost certainly increase violence and harm, because studies show that the safest place for adults and children is in a home with two parents, rather than one that is broken by a restraining order. In 1999 there were 58,200 abductions of children by non-family members, a crime typically the direct result of inadequate adult supervision. When an adult is ordered out of a home based on some allegation of domestic violence, the children in that home are no longer supervised, and victimization by crime (and accidents) necessarily increases.

There is no evidence that the millions of restraining orders issued annually each year increase the overall safety of the applicants or their children, and most likely the opposite is true.

It is false to claim that because domestic violence often occurs behind closed doors, it is somehow difficult to prove. In fact, real domestic violence is easier to prove than most crimes. Medical record and forensic evidence is clear and convincing for real domestic violence, and the time and place of the crime are easy to determine, and a restraining order may be appropriate.

What is difficult is to disprove false allegations of non-serious domestic violence, so a higher standard of proof is essential to sift fact from fiction.

It seems elementary that husband and fathers who are accused of crimes by their wives or girl friends should have the same constitutional rights accorded to any criminal, but they do not in family courts. They are routinely denied equal treatment under law, the right to a fair trial, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, the right to confront accusers, and a court-appointed lawyer when they can’t afford to hire an attorney.

It’s time to restore basic constitutional rights to husbands and fathers and repudiate the feminist agenda that treats men as guilty unless proven innocent.

VAWA will be coming up for reauthorization soon, and it must be reformed. Reforming the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is today’s basic civil rights issue. Domestic violence must be redefined to mean violence. State laws must be changed to repeal mandatory arrest laws and no-drop prosecution laws. We must eliminate the incentives for false accusations of domestic violence, which include using restraining orders as the “gamesmanship” for divorce, child custody, money, or ownership of the family home.

Persons accused of domestic violence, man or woman, are entitled to have fundamental constitutional rights, including due process and presumption of innocence until proven guilty by clear and convincing evidence in court.

The Awesome Power of Family Courts — June 2010 Phyllis Schlafly Report.

Fatherlessness

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Disorders, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parents rights on July 20, 2010 at 11:10 pm

THE FACTS ON FATHERLESSNESS

Prepared for the Fatherhood Foundation by Bill Muehlenberg, Australian Family Association – August 2002

Fatherlessness is a growing problem in Australia and the Western world. Whether caused by divorce and broken families, or by deliberate single parenting, more and more children grow up without fathers. Indeed, 85 per cent of single parent families are fatherless families. Father absence has been shown to be a major disadvantage to the well being of children. The following is a summary of the evidence for the importance of fathers and the need for two-parent families.

One expert from Harvard medical school who has studied over 40 years of research on the question of parental absence and children’s well-being said this: “What has been shown over and over again to contribute most to the emotional development of the child is a close, warm, sustained and continuous relationship with both parents.” Or as David Blankenhorn has stated in Fatherless America: “Fatherlessness is the most harmful demographic trend of this generation.”

Bryan Rodgers of the Australian National University has recently re-examined the Australian research. Says Rodgers: “Australian studies with adequate samples have shown parental divorce to be a risk factor for a wide range of social and psychological problems in adolescence and adulthood, including poor academic achievement, low self-esteem, psychological distress, delinquency and recidivism, substance use and abuse, sexual precocity, adult criminal offending, depression, and suicidal behaviour.” He concludes: “There is no scientific justification for disregarding the public health significance of marital dissolution in Australia, especially with respect to mental heath.” Here then is a sampling of the evidence:

Fatherlessness brings poverty

a.. In America, among families with dependent children, only 8.3 per cent of married couples were living below the poverty line, compared to 47.1 percent of female-headed households.

b.. In Australia, a recent study of 500 divorcees with children five to eight years after the separation found that four in five divorced mothers were dependent on social security after their marriages dissolved.

c.. Figures from Monash University’s Centre for Population and Urban Research show that family break-up, rather than unemployment, is the main cause of the rise in poverty levels in Australia.

Fatherlessness lowers educational performance

a.. American children from intact families have a 21 per cent chance of dropping out of high school whereas children from broken families have a 46 per cent chance.

b.. American school children who became father-absent early in life generally scored significantly lower on measures of IQ and achievement tests.

c.. A study of Australian primary school children from three family types (married heterosexual couples, cohabiting heterosexual couples and homosexual couples) found that in every area of educational endeavour (language; mathematics; social studies; sport; class work, sociability and popularity; and attitudes to learning), children from married heterosexual couples performed better than the other two groups. The study concludes with these words: “Married couples seem to offer the best environment for a child ’s social and educational development”.

Fatherlessness increases crime

a.. A British study found a direct statistical link between single parenthood and virtually every major type of crime, including mugging, violence against strangers, car theft and burglary.

b.. One American study even arrived at this startling conclusion: the proportion of single-parent households in a community predicts its rates of violent crime and burglary, but the community’s poverty level does not. Neither poverty nor race seem to account very much for the crime rate, compared to the proportion of single parent families.

c.. In Australia, a recent book noted the connection between broken families and crime. In a discussion of rising crime rates in Western Australia, the book reported that “family breakdown in the form of divorce and separation is the main cause of the crime wave”.

Fatherlessness increases drug abuse

a.. A UCLA study pointed out that inadequate family structure makes children more susceptible to drug use “as a coping mechanism to relieve depression and anxiety.”

b.. Another US study found that among the homes with strict fathers, only 18 per cent had children used alcohol or drugs at all. In contrast, among mother-dominated homes, 35 per cent had children who used drugs frequently.

c.. A New Zealand study of nearly 1000 children observed over a period of 15 years found that children who have watched their parents separate are more likely to use illegal drugs than those whose parents stay together.

Fatherlessness increase mental health problems

a.. From nations as diverse as Finland and South Africa, a number of studies have reported that anywhere from 50 to 80 per cent of psychiatric patients come from broken homes.

b.. A Canadian study of teenagers discharged from psychiatric hospitals found that only 16 per cent were living with both parents when they were admitted.

c.. A study of nearly 14,000 Dutch adolescents between the ages of 12 to 19 found that, “In general, children from one parent and stepparent families reported lower self-esteem, more symptoms of anxiety and loneliness, more depressed mood and more suicidal thoughts than children from intact families.”

Fatherlessness and family breakdown cost Australia 3.5 billion dollars per year

a.. In Australia it has been estimated that marriage breakdown costs $2.5 billion annually. Each separation is estimated to cost society some $12,000.

b.. Also, Australian industry is reported to lose production of more than $1 billion a year due to problems of family breakdown.

c.. Homelessness is also closely linked with family breakdown. A recent Australian study conducted at two Melbourne universities has found that children whose biological parents stay together are about three times less likely to become homeless than those from other family types.

Fatherlessness increases child abuse

a.. A 1994 study of 52,000 children found that those who are most at risk of being abused are those who are not living with both parents.

b.. A Finnish study of nearly 4,000 ninth-grade girls found that “stepfather-daughter incest was about 15 times as common as father-daughter incest”.

c.. In Australia, former Human Rights Commissioner Mr Brian Burdekin has reported a 500 to 600 per cent increase in sexual abuse of girls in families where the adult male was not the natural father.

Fatherlessness and Family Breakdown are the major social problems of our society

With the rise of fatherlessness Australia and the Western world has also experienced a marked rise in social problems. And the brunt of these problems have been borne by children. We owe it to our children to do better. We urgently need to address the twin problems of fatherlessness and family breakdown. Public policy must begin to address these crucial areas. Until we tackle these problems, our children and our societies will continue to suffer.

Fatherlessness | John Mark Ministries.