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Archive for the ‘Torts’ Category

The Truth About NonCustodial Parents: An Interview with Rebekah Spicuglia // Co-Parenting 101

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Sociopath, Torts on July 10, 2009 at 5:33 pm

On her blog, NonCustodial Parent Community, Rebekah Spicuglia captions the above picture of her and her son: “This is what ‘visitation’ looks like.”

Think you know what “noncustodial” really means?  Think again, and check out our interview with a woman whom MSN calls a “Mom Inspired to Change History”…

One of your goals in creating NCP Community is to raise awareness about the issues noncustodial parents face.  What are some of the key issues?

Noncustodial parents face many of the same challenges that custodial parents face.  We want to instill our values in our children, ensure they are doing their homework and studying for that big test tomorrow, treating others with respect .  But it is much harder to do when you aren’t in the same house as your children.

Parental disagreements are common, and a noncustodial parent can often feel helpless in decisions ranging from whether or not a child should have a cell phone to medical care.   But once you get past divorce and mediation issues and settle into everyday life, it’s engaging our children’s teachers, maintaining regular communication with our children, and arranging visitation that are the big issues.  Visitation in particular can be very difficult – there is scheduling with the custodial parent, figuring out childcare, trying to arrange playdates when you may not have much of a parenting community to speak of, and trying to make those visits really meaningful for our relationship with our children.

Yet, despite our best efforts and loving intentions, noncustodial parents often feel shut out from our children’s day-to-day life, academic progress, and major decisions.  In extreme cases, there might even be concern about child’s well-being, even child abuse, in the custodial parent’s home.   Societal misconceptions about what “noncustodial” means can wrongly limit a parent’s access to their children’s education/medical records, and parents often do not have access to legal resources or even understand their parental rights.  This can be discouraging for a parent who is truly striving to do the best s/he can.

What are some common misconceptions about noncustodial parents?

One of the biggest issues noncustodial parents face is a lack of understanding generally in society about what “noncustodial” means.  This leads to a great deal of frustration when dealing with authorities, and we regularly find ourselves explaining legalities to people to defend our right to be involved, our right-to-parent.

Just to clarify, there are two kinds of child custody, legal and physical, and there are varied combinations, which can even include a noncustodial parent sharing joint legal AND physical custody.  I do not have physical custody, but I share joint legal custody with my son’s father, which gives me full parental authority under the law.  But someone has to move out of the house, right?   Every divorce naturally creates custodial and noncustodial parents, but the stereotypes of the deadbeat dad/disappearing mom leave a stigma that noncustodial parents are irresponsible or don’t want their children, or worse – that they are dangerous and should be viewed with suspicion.  I have written about this many times on my sit, two examples here and hereIn fact, the majority of noncustodial parents are law-abiding citizens and loving parents who want to be involved as much as possible in our children’s lives.

Recently on your blog, you posted a Globe and Mail article about “parental alienation syndrome”.  The article noted: “Court proceedings are not conducive to peacemaking; they tend to increase acrimony between parents, which is bad for children. Many non-custodial parents simply walk away from an impossible situation, devastated to lose contact with their children, but consoled to know that their children’s exposure to a toxic tug-of-war is over.”  What support is available to parents in these situations?  What resources can they find at NCP Community or elsewhere?

What I loved about that article was the focus on the best interests of the child, which often gets lost in discussions of Parental Alienation Syndrome.  Sadly, many of us have seen how a parent might bad-mouth or poisoning a child against the other parent.  Whether or not people agree on the definition of “parental alienation” or that PAS exists as a “syndrome,” few people would disagree that the problem exists.   Even if both parents have legal custody, the custodial parent is in a position of greater power than the noncustodial parent.  It is much easier to interfere with visitation as the custodial parent – it is unfortunate that withholding visitation is a tactic often used, but when was the last time you saw an amber alert for “child abducted by custodial parent”?

Ideally, parents should be able to find ways to work together to prevent or manage these negative situations by bringing in mediators or planning ahead and building in very specific parenting plans into their custody agreements to prevent disputes.  However, if the situation is very bad, legal counsel may be needed.  NCP Community is a place for sharing strategies and solutions that will help everyone work together for the best interests of our children.

What are some of the unique challenges for co-parents who live a far distance from their children?  What are some ways they “stay close” when they don’t live close by?

There are many reasons a parent might live far away from his/her child – living near family, finding work, or to start a new life – and while it is hard, families can make it work.  In fact it has become easier to keep in touch long-distance, with visitation via skype and flying our kids unaccompanied to visit us.

Most importantly, no matter the distance, children should be able to continue the same quality of relationship with each parent that they enjoyed prior to the separation.  Here are some suggestions for noncustodial parents:

  • Regular phone calls, scheduled & unscheduled, helps keep the lines of communication open and ensure that you are kept in the loop of your chidren’s lives.
  • In conversation, asking specific questions shows that you care and are paying attention, and I find that those are easier questions for children to answer (“how did you do on your test?” vs “how was school today?”)
  • Be creative in your communications and demonstration of your love.  Text messages, emails, cards, care packages…  Keep a stack of cute cards at the ready to send.  Buy things that remind our children how special they are (magnets, pictures, ID-sized notes to fit into a wallet).
  • Communicate with the custodial parent. Again, the more specific the questions, the better.  The custodial parent is a goldmine of information about your child and main decision-maker in your child’s life, so open communication should always be a priority.
  • Don’t be discouraged. Keep trying, and try not to place the burden of your frustration onto your children.  Remember that despite the challenges you face, you are ultimately responsible for your involvement in your children’s lives.

You’ve noted the growing voice of noncustodial mothers, including Karen Murphy in her Motherhood from Afar column at LiteraryMama.  What are some special concerns that noncustodial moms face that noncustodial dads do not (or do to a lesser degree)?

Society can be harsh towards moms who don’t fit a traditional mold.  The assumption that mothers will retain custody of their children after a divorce is so strong that if she does not take custody, her fitness or attachment to her child comes into question in a way that it does not for men.  People wonder if she had her children taken away from her, or maybe she just didn’t want her kids.  These are assumptions that often have no basis in reality.  It may come down to which parent has more resources to offer the children, or which parent has the better lawyer.

What’s most important is that custody arrangements are made in the best interests of the children, and although a child might reside with one parent, that should not reflect badly on the noncustodial mom or dad.  At the end of the day, noncustodial moms and dads have more in common than not– we are just trying to stay involved in our children’s lives in meaningful ways.

The Truth About NonCustodial Parents: An Interview with Rebekah Spicuglia // Co-Parenting 101.

Divorce: The Impact on our Children

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, federal crimes, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on July 8, 2009 at 12:30 am

The Impact on our Children

Inter-spousal violence perpetrated by men is only a small aspect of family violence. False abuse allegations are only a small tile in the mosaic of vilifying the men in our society. They serve well in successful attempts to remove fathers from the lives of our children. Here are some statistics resulting from that which show more of the whole picture.

  • 79.6% of custodial mothers receive a support award
  • 29.9% of custodial fathers receive a support award.
  • 46.9% of non-custodial mothers totally default on support.
  • 26.9% of non-custodial fathers totally default on support.
  • 20.0% of non-custodial mothers pay support at some level
  • 61.0% of non-custodial fathers pay support at some level
  • 66.2% of single custodial mothers work less than full time.
  • 10.2% of single custodial fathers work less than full time.
  • 7.0% of single custodial mothers work more than 44 hours weekly.
  • 24.5% of single custodial fathers work more that 44 hours weekly.
  • 46.2% of single custodial mothers receive public assistance.
  • 20.8% of single custodial fathers receive public assistance.

[Technical Analysis Paper No. 42 – U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services – Office of Income Security Policy]

  • 40% of mothers reported that they had interfered with the fathers visitation to punish their ex-spouse.

[“Frequency of Visitation” by Sanford Braver, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry]

  • 50% of mothers see no value in the fathers continued contact with his children.

[“Surviving the Breakup” by Joan Berlin Kelly]

  • 90.2% of fathers with joint custody pay the support due.
  • 79.1% of fathers with visitation privileges pay the support due.
  • 44.5% of fathers with no visitation pay the support due.
  • 37.9% of fathers are denied any visitation.
  • 66% of all support not paid by non-custodial fathers is due to the inability to pay.

[1988 Census “Child Support and Alimony: 1989 Series” P-60, No. 173 p.6-7, and “U.S. General Accounting Office Report” GAO/HRD-92-39FS January 1992]

[U. S. D.H.H.S. Bureau of the Census]

  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
  • 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.

[Center for Disease Control]

  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes.

[Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 14 p. 403-26]

  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.

[National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools]

  • 70% of juveniles in state operated institutions come from fatherless homes

[U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept., 1988]

  • 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.

[Fulton County Georgia Jail Populations and Texas Dept. of Corrections, 1992]

  • Nearly 2 of every 5 children in America do not live with their fathers.

[US News and World Report, February 27, 1995, p.39]

There are:

  • 11,268,000 total custodial mothers
  • 2,907,000 total custodial fathers

[Current Populations Reports, US Bureau of the Census, Series P-20, No. 458, 1991]

What does this mean? Children from fatherless homes are:

  • 4.6 times more likely to commit suicide,

  • 6.6 times to become teenaged mothers (if they are girls, of course),
  • 24.3 times more likely to run away,
  • 15.3 times more likely to have behavioral disorders,
  • 6.3 times more likely to be in a state-operated institutions,
  • 10.8 times more likely to commit rape,
  • 6.6 times more likely to drop out of school,
  • 15.3 times more likely to end up in prison while a teenager.

(The calculation of the relative risks shown in the preceding list is based on 27% of children being in the care of single mothers.)

and — compared to children who are in the care of two biological, married parents — children who are in the care of single mothers are:

  • 33 times more likely to be seriously abused (so that they will require medical attention), and
  • 73 times more likely to be killed.

[“Marriage: The Safest Place for Women and Children“, by Patrick F. Fagan and Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D. Backgrounder #1535.]

COMMON SENSE & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, #3.

Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, Marriage, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Torts, Troxel v. Granville on July 6, 2009 at 11:00 pm

Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting are harmful to children’s emotional and mental health.



What is Hostile Aggressive Parenting?

http://www.hostile-aggressive-parenting.com/what_is_Hostile_Aggressive_Parenting.asp

Hostile Aggressive Parenting (HAP) is defined as : A general pattern of behaviour, manipulation, actions or decision-making of a person (usually a parent or guardian) that either directly or indirectly; 1) creates undue difficulties or interferences in the relationship of a child with another person (usually a parent or guardian) involved with the parenting and/or rearing of the child and/or, 2) promotes or maintains an unwarranted unfairness or inequality in the parenting arrangements between a child’s parents and/or guardians and/or, 3) promotes ongoing and unnecessary conflict between parents and/or guardians which adversely affects the parenting, well-being and rearing of a child.

Hostile-Aggressive Parenting is most apparent in child-custody disputes and is used most often as a tool to align the child with one of the parents during litigation over custody or control of the child. However, HAP can be present in almost any situation where two or more people involved in a child’s life are at odds with each other over how a child may be raised or influenced by the parties. HAP can be present to some extent even when couples are still living together.

Although Hostile-Aggressive Parenting is often confused with Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS), a term coined by Dr. Richard Gardner, HAP and PAS are not the same. HAP refers to the behaviours, actions and decisions of a person, whereas, PAS relates to the psychological condition of the child. In the vast majority of cases HAP is the cause of PAS.

Hostile-Aggressive Parenting is not limited to the biological parents but also applies to any guardian – grandparents, extended family members, daycare providers and to any other person who may be involved in caring and rearing of a child. In some cases, it may even involve a parent in dispute with the child’s grandparents, sometimes the parent’s very own parent! Any form of interference to a normal, healthy relationship between a child and a person (most often one of the parents) caused by another person or agency having some control or influence over the child, is wrong and ultimately causes emotional and psychological harm to the child. Throughout this document the word “parent” shall be considered synonymous with “guardian”.

Hostile-Aggressive Parenting is a very serious and damaging form of abuse and maltreatment that parents and even other family members can engage in. HAP is most often identified in individuals with controlling and bullying personalities or those with mild to severe personality disorders. HAP can be a factor in all types of parenting arrangements including sole maternal custody, sole paternal custody and joint custody. Interestingly, it is sole custodial parents who are most often reported to practice Hostile-Aggressive-Parenting, especially in its most severe form.

In general, parents exhibiting Hostile-Aggressive-Parenting have not succeeded in getting on with their own life and remain, instead, controlled by their negative emotions and continue to exercise power and control over their ex-spouse’s life, their ex-spouse’s parenting and to a large extent, over the children of the relationship as well. HAP parents will blame everyone else except themselves.

High degrees of conflict during custody settlements and litigation are almost sure signs in these affected families. Hostile-aggressive parents are unable to appreciate the needs of their child and in many cases view their child as a possession belonging to them and no other persons have any right to the child, especially not the child’s other parent or other persons that the HAP parent does not like. Hostile-aggressive parents will use the child as a weapon against the other spouse and family members whenever they have the opportunity. A parent engaged in Hostile-Aggressive Parenting will also take comfort in that the community in general will choose not to get involved, probably because they don’t know what to do. Angry and vindictive HAP parents are often able to bring a reign of terror and revenge on to a non-custodial parent and their family, their goal being to get them out of the child’s life or at the very least to severely damage their child’s relationship with the other parent and other parent’s family.

Hostile-Aggressive Parenting is considered by many health care and legal experts unhealthy, anti-social, abusive behaviour which is emotionally damaging and contrary interest of a child. Simply stated, it is dysfunctional parenting, emotional child abuse parent who is the target of Hostile-Aggressive Parenting, a form of discrimination.

Beal Bill in California to try and ban Parental Alienation Syndrome: Parental Alienation (Canada)

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Sociopath, Torts on July 6, 2009 at 5:40 pm

Friday, July 3, 2009

Beal Bill in California to try and ban Parental Alienation Syndrome

An email I sent to Beall through his website on July 5/09. This is the main header on his web page. Here you get a look at a man who appears to suck up to all things victim feminist, doesn’t understand the dynamics or effects of Parental Alienation and is an incipient child abuser. Californians in his district take note. You have an elected representative that cares not about children but about protecting victim feminist mythology.

To representative Beall: I have watched with interest Beall’s support of the abuse of children by wanting to craft a bill that gets rid of PAS in CA courts. Fortunately it did not work but the toughening up of false allegations is a good thing because that is what many so called protective parents do. How many dads are in these PP association do you think? Are they allowed in when they are the sole custodial parent.

Beall’s bravado as shown on this web site is as misplaced as his original bill. PAS already passes the Frye test for science in USA courts and the Mohan test for science in Canadian courts. It will be interesting to see how it plays out once a case is brought forward.

One thing is a certain. Beall is very misguided and NOW amongst other feminist organizations seem to have him in their back pocket. I remain incredulous that some Americans would elect and allow to stand in office a man who would work against the best interest of children and by doing so allow them to be emotionally abused. I shake my head in wonder. Does Beall not know Parental Alienation is performed by both genders or does he just work for one.

Mike Murphy

Check the ongoing discussion in California here http://parentalalienationcanada.blogspot.com/2009/06/family-law-makeover-california.html or here on the original Sacramento newspaper comment site with the same content. http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/content?oid=1020581

This legislation is quite different than the misguided State Representative Beall started with. Given PAS already has passed the Frye test in USA case law it will be interesting to see how it will proceed in court actions. False accusers should take note. If you are found out the penalties are steep. There is far too much focus on the term Syndrome that has gotten the Victim Feminists hair in a knot. Any parent, male or female, who seeks the loyalty and involvement of a child in a custody fight is an unfit parent. That is not science, heck it isn’t even rocket science, but it is common sense. MJM

california political news & opinion
Read. Create. Discuss.
california legislation > ab 612

AB 612
Custody and visitation: nonscientific theories.

Parental Alienation (Canada): Beal Bill in California to try and ban Parental Alienation Syndrome.

What we need is a fatherhood revolution: Parental Alienation (Canada)

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Foster CAre Abuse, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on July 2, 2009 at 2:32 am

Monday, June 29, 2009

What we need is a fatherhood revolution

It is nice to see more positive discussions on fatherhood. The Victim Feminist mantra that we are all bad and abusers is slowly being suffused with the benefits of paternity for children and that patriarchy is not completely without merit. I don’t mean the kind of patriarchy that suppresses anyone rather the kind that offers protection to those in need like our children. There is room for the equality women seek and the strengths dads have to offer in a family of parental equals. Have you ever noticed there is only a one non-vowel letter difference in the words matriarchy and patriarchy. Perhaps we can call a family of parental equals a natriarchy – the “n” standing for neutral. All 3 words start with a consonant.MJM

Warwick Marsh | Saturday, 20 June 2009

The times they are a-changing. Being a dad is becoming cool.

Father’s Day 2009 is being celebrated with a renewed sense of vigour and excitement. Fathers and children are appearing in more advertisements. The media are running father-friendly stories. Restaurants are booked out for Father’s Day as well as Mother’s Day.

When the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation was formed in 2002 to help and encourage Australian dads, our television community service advertisements were initially threatened with a black ban by the Advertising Standards Board. Political correctness ruled the day and fathers were incorrect. This would not happen today. Fatherhood has become sexy, a newspaper here said recently. A quick squiz at pop culture supports this optimistic statement.

Take the 2003 film Finding Nemo. That was a story about a father fish looking for his son. Amazingly, it is well inside the top 20 grossing movies of all time. Just a bit further down that list are other popular movies with positive fatherhood themes: I am Sam, Dear Frankie, The Incredibles, Night at the Museum, Pursuit of Happyness, and the brilliant Australian movie with Eric Bana, Romulus My Father. Even Snoop Dogg is cashing in on the fatherhood revival with his Father Hood TV show.

Last night, with my wife, I watched Swing Vote, Kevin Costner’s popular film about a no-hoper dad whose vote determines an entire presidential election. Interestingly, the plot revolves around a single father and his daughter and treats him with a great deal of respect. This story could never have screened 20 years ago. Fatherhood is coming in from the cold — and not before time.

Here in Australia, songwriter Colin George put together a compilation CD called Fatherhood which features some of our best artists such as Paul Kelly, Shane Howard, Neil Murray and John Butler. They sing about their children, fatherhood and families. This album has morphed into an annual Fatherhood Festival in the surfing town of Byron Bay, which is better known for hardcore punk, drugs and yoga festivals. The home of Australian counterculture has become the home of fatherhood. The idea of a Fatherhood Festival has spread to several other cities in Australia. Similar events are happening in the US. “Family First” is the name of a minor political party in Australia, but the idea putting your family first is catching on. Just like the 60s counterculture, it could be the beginning of a revolution.

The renovation of fatherhood and the renewal of masculinity have been heralded by writers like Ed Cole, author of Maximised Manhood; Gordon Dalby, Healing the Masculine Soul; Robert Bly, Iron John; and Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion and even by feminist authors such as Adrienne Burgess, Fatherhood Reclaimed and Susan Falundi, Stiffed. Australian author Steve Biddulph has been a trailblazer for the Australian fatherhood and men’s movement for many years. His books sell very smartly overseas as well.

The Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation believes that fatherlessness is a major contributor to the problems our children face. A leading expert, Dr Bruce Robinson, says that fatherlessness costs Australia A$13 billion a year. Similar estimates on the cost of fatherlessness in America by the National Fatherhood Initiative are well over US$100 billion per year. Fatherlessness increases the likelihood that children will grow up in poverty, increased crime, drug abuse, youth suicide, child sexual abuse, mental health problems, high levels of child obesity, poor health, poor nutrition and lower levels of educational performance for children. In spite of what radical feminists may say about the ills of patriarchy, involved and loving fathers are essential for the development of healthy children and strong families.

Last year Matthew Hayden, one of Australia’s most famous cricketers, was pleased to go in to bat for Aussie dads and their children. He starred in our community service advertisements around Australia as the epitome of the renewal of Australian fatherhood. I asked Matthew how he felt when he had his first child and how he now feels as a father of three children.

There’s nothing that replaces the moment of joy in your life when you have children. As a male I think you actually go through a bit of a chest beating stage. It’s like, “Gees, I’ve produced this beautiful baby, I’m a man.” It actually physically does change you as well because suddenly it’s not just your wife and you. It’s a very unselfish thing, you’ve now got this beautiful little individual and life, that you have to care and nurture and you become very selfless and that’s a difficult time in your life, but look, whatever you put into life, you get back ten-fold. With our three beautiful children, it’s just amazing how they give back to you in such simple but such rewarding ways. I wouldn’t change one damn thing.

Hayden’s passion for his family is inspirational and it is men like him, all across Australia, America and around the world, who are arresting the harmful effects of fatherlessness by their love and commitment to their families. We need a fatherhood revolution which will create involved, committed and responsible fathers. Everyone benefits. A fatherhood revolution will bring support and joy to hardworking mothers and will help children lead exceptional lives.

Warwick Marsh and his wife Alison are the founders of Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation. They have five children and have been married for 33 years.

http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/what_we_need_is_a_fatherhood_revolution/

//

Parental Alienation (Canada): What we need is a fatherhood revolution.

Restoring U.S. Fathers’ Confidence « Gaspard Lafalaise Jr | web log

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Obama, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Torts on July 1, 2009 at 8:14 pm

This is an excellent letter to President Barack Obama.  The president holds it within his power to respect fatherhood, or to continue down the path to pandering to victims groups that favor destroying tradtional marriage.

— Parental Rights.

Restoring U.S. Fathers’ Confidence

Blinded, or heavily concerned about the destructive effects of fatherlessness in the United States; President Barack H. Obama – perhaps because of misinformation or his ignorance on this matter – is taking a very dangerous stand against U.S. Fathers.  He is using the same old fearful speech that only alienates American Fathers and; by the same token, he is casting a shadow of bad reputation on his own dad.  However, as the President of the United States, a legislator, and an intelligent man; he also holds the key to destroy institutionalized American fatherlessness forever in his country – if he wants.
Consequently, it becomes more urgent that all concerned families and fatherhood  organizations; and all oppressed fathers to keep on the light, and to spread the truth about fatherhood.

We can help President Barack H Obama to understand that:

  1. Good responsible Fathers are frightened by the same old rhetoric that he and other political leaders are treacherously using;
  2. Fathers are not the enemy. They are the solution.
  3. Family court judges with their confederated watchdogs and with the complicity of duped single mothers are systematically and viciously orchestrating the abandonment by the fathers with falsehood and coercion.

I encourage you and all concerned organizations and U.S. citizens to contact President Barack H Obama directly by phone, fax, email, mail or in person – if possible – to urge him to take the lead in the restoration of American Fathers’ dignity before they can confidently return to their children to raise young men and young women who will have the capacity to bring prosperity back in the United States.

As a symbolic gesture of his commitment, let’s urge him to proclaim this Fourth of July 2009 the day of the liberation of the United States from the yokes of institutionalized fatherlessness by declaring it a day of prayers with reasonable and liberal visitation rights for all fathers and their children who are denied access to each other because of a disgraceful judge’s court order.
Read a copy of my “Open Letter to President Barack H Obama” on this matter – sent to several partner organizations for immediate release – for your consideration.
In our community of nations, we have learned the hard way that when one nation falls, we all suffer. Incidentally, when one nation rises up, we all benefit.
The restoration of U.S. Fathers’ confidence is a proven good investment in their children and in the future of nations. Political leaders must abide by that principle.

Ww/JD/9625

When kids get caught in the middle – Edmonton Examiner – Alberta, CA

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Feminism, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Torts on June 28, 2009 at 3:43 pm

Children of divorce are often forced to choose between mom and dad

Posted By Melanie Thompson,
EXAMINER STAFF

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The names in this story have been changed in order to protect “Jenny.”)

Ben no longer sees his daughter. He has lost all contact. A separation from his spouse forced their daughter to choose one parent over the other.

Jenny chose her mother.

Ben always had a normal father-daughter relationship with Jenny. After the separation, Jenny remained with her mother but Ben maintained a regular bi-weekly visitation schedule as agreed to by himself and his ex-spouse.

Things were going well. But soon he began to notice changes in Jenny.

HASN’T GIVEN UP HOPE

Now, seven years after the separation, she doesn’t want him near. She doesn’t want to go to his home for visits. She doesn’t want his birthday gifts.

Ben has almost given up all hope for a relationship with his daughter.

Jenny is caught in the middle of a case of parental alienation, which commonly occurs among divorced families.

This condition is described by the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) as a group of verbal and non-verbal behaviours by one or both parents that are damaging to children’s mental and emotional well being. Children are manipulated or brainwashed into choosing one parent over the other.

via When kids get caught in the middle – Edmonton Examiner – Alberta, CA.

Where is Michael Phelp’s father? Is this a case of Parental Alienation Syndrome?

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, kidnapped children, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 14, 2009 at 12:30 am

I found this interesting note on Washington Stepmothers & 2nd Wives website: http://washingtonsharedparenting.com/wssw/. The stoy is about the Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and what can happen to children after divorce and the alienation of one parent from their own children. Life is really not so good for Michael Phelps after all.

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I’ve been watching Phelps for years. His mom is NOT athletic looking AT ALL. I’ve been pondering how he became an uber-athlete from a mother like her. (If you study the athletes many of them have one or two very athletic parents, college athletes, former Olympians, etc.) She’s not tall, or svelte like he is. If she swims, its not apparent, she’s more like a pumpkin or an apple. Not willowy. (No offense, just a fact.)

So I started searching for Phelp’s father. There has been literally NO mention of him in Beijing.

Then a few mornings ago I heard Meredith on the Today show say, “Debbie Phelps (mom) did it ALL BY HERSELF.” And that just rubbed me the wrong way. We all know that hardly any of these women are “doing it by themselves….” (they receive huge sums of child support and dad visits EOWE at the minimum.) But they sure do love to take the CREDIT for having been the “poor single muuuuuther”.

I found my answer, and I am extrapolating from it (this article was written prior to Athens Olympics I think)

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/olympics/bal-sp.swim21nov21,0,7730011.story?page=2

Apparently I am correct. Its not MOM who is the “athlete” its DAD.

“Fred was a 165-pound defensive back in high school, but went 190 as a college freshman. He said he didn’t need the extra weight to leave an impression.”

“At Fairmont State College in West Virginia, Fred studied physical education and set school records for interceptions in a season and, after he was steered to track and field by a football assistant, the triple jump.”

Michael Fred Phelps II (yes named after DAD) has two older sisters, Whitney and Hilary who were both swimmers first. Michael grew up at the pool watching the sisters.

According to sister Hilary:

“When we started, my dad would be up at 4 a.m. on the mornings I had 5:30 practice,” Hilary said.

“Whitney, 23, accepted a scholarship to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, competed sparingly there as a freshman and sophomore, then ended her career. She returned to the area in late summer, lives with her father and stepmother, Jackie.”

“Father and son, both proud men, one 53 and the other 18, have not spoken since Michael’s high school graduation party.
Whether real or perceived, slights had been simmering.

Fred remarried one week before the 2000 Olympic final in the 200 butterfly. He and Jackie went to Sydney, where Fred had a pep talk with Michael after the semifinals. They went to the Duel in the Pool, but not to Barcelona for this summer’s world championships, where Michael’s status covered some of the travel expenses for Debbie and Hilary.

Overseas trips are costly, but Fred also did not go to the U.S. Summer Nationals in College Park last August.

Both say calls to the other have not been returned.

“There are reasons, and I really don’t want to get into that,” Michael said, when asked about being estranged from his father. Pressed, Michael said: “He didn’t call me after I set my first world record [in 2001]. He didn’t call me after Barcelona.”

“Two days after he graduated,” Fred said, “he said he didn’t want me to go to Barcelona because I hadn’t been around. This is his world, and I’m just watching him travel through it. People ask me how he’s doing, where he’s swimming next, and it’s hard to say that I don’t know.”

This all comes from the article above.

Here’s my theory on this, knowing what I know as a second wife and dealing with severely PASed children. Debbie spent the years post divorce PASing this kid. Once he turned 18 he shut dad out and it was encouraged. It didn’t help that dad finally remarried and Mom hadn’t. So her son, her baby boy sided with her and turned on his dad.

I read somewhere else that Fred Phelps was there at practice when Michael’s his coach said, “if Michael will focus he can go on to the Olympics” (this happened after he won a race at 11…the divorce was at 8 yrs. so dad was THERE, involved STILL at 11 yrs.)

Dad wasn’t a deadbeat or absentee, there’s a campaign going on against him to erase his MAJOR contribution. Without DAD, I don’t think there would be a Michael Fred Phelps II. KWIM? And yet he gets NO credit. None.

I’m not debating that Phelps had to practice and work hard to get where he is, and without a doubt he’s a super athlete, but there is certainly a genetic component as well as the support of family too.

What’s your take on this? Where’s Phelp’s dad? Even if he stopped visiting, was it because he WANTED to or because mom made him so miserable all the time that he couldn’t/didn’t want to deal with the stress? It appears that he tried to be involved with the kids. I’d sure like to know more about this story. How about you?

Fred Phelps, what’s your story? I sure would like to hear DAD’s side of things…..

The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome – Part 1

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 11, 2009 at 12:00 pm

by Forensic Psychologist, Deirdre Conway Rand, PhD
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY, VOLUME 15, NUMBER 3, 1997

The Parental Alienation Syndrome, so named by Dr. Richard Gardner, is a distinctive family response to divorce in which the child becomes aligned with one parent and preoccupied with unjustified and/or exaggerated denigration of the other target parent. In severe cases, the child’s once love-bonded relationship with relected/target parent is destroyed. Testimony on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in legal proceedings has sparked debate. This two-part article seeks to shed light on the debate by reviewing Gardner’s work and that of others on PAS, integrating the concept of PAS with research on high conflict divorce and other related literature. The material is organized under topic headings such as parents who induce alienation, the child in PAS, the target/alienated parent. attorneys on PAS, and evaluation and intervention. Part II begins with the child in PAS. Case vignettes of moderate to severe PAS are presented in both parts, some of which illustrate the consequences for children and families when the system is successfully manipulated by the alienating parent, as well as some difficult but effective interventions implemented by the author, her husband Randy Rand, Ed.D., and other colleagues.

Dr. Richard Gardner was an experienced child and forensic psychiatrist conducting evaluations when, in 1985, he introduced the concept of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in an article entitled “Recent Trends in Divorce and Custody Litigation” (1). His work with children and families during the 1970s led him to write such books as Boys and Girls Book of Divorce, The Parents Book About Divorce and Psychotherapy with Children of Divorce. He knew from experience that the norm for children of divorce was to continue to love and long for both parents, in spite of the divorce and the passage of years, a finding replicated by one of the first large scale studies of divorce (2). With this background, Gardner became concerned in the early 1980s about the increasing number of divorce children he was seeing who, especially in the course of custody evaluations, presented as preoccupied with denigrating one parent, sometimes to the point of expressing hatred toward a once loved parent. He used the term Parental Alienation Syndrome to refer to the child’s symptoms of denigrating and rejecting a previously loved parent in the context of divorce.

Gardner’s focus on PAS as a disturbance of children in divorce is unique, although from the mid-1980s on there has been a proliferation of professional literature on disturbing trends in divorce/custody disputes, including false allegations of abuse to influence the outcome. At least three other divorce syndromes have been identified. In 1986, two psychologists in Michigan, who were as yet unaware of Gardner’s work, published the first of several papers on the SAID syndrome, Blush and Ross’s acronym for sex abuse allegations in divorce (3). Drawing on their experience doing evaluations for the family court, and the experience of their colleagues at the clinic there, these authors delineated typologies for the falsely accusing parent, the child involved and the accused parent. Two of the divorce syndromes named in the literature focus on the rage and pathology of the alienating or falsely accusing parent. Jacobs in New York and Wallerstein in California published case reports of what they called Medea Syndrome (4, 5). Jacobs discussed Gardner’s work on PAS in his 1988 study of a Medea Syndrome mother, as did Turkat when he described Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome in 1994 (6). Fathers, too, can be found with this disorder, as one of the case vignettes below indicates, but for some reason Turkat has not encountered any.

In addition to articles specifically on PAS and literature which refers to it, there is a body of divorce research and clinical writings which, without a name, describe the phenomenon. The literature reviewed here comes from a number of sources including: practitioners who like Gardner are seeking to improve the diagnostic skills and intervention strategies of the courts and other professionals who deal with high conflict divorce; attorneys and judges who come in contact with PAS cases; researchers like Clawar and Rivlin who reference Gardner’s work on PAS in their large scale study of parental programming in divorce (7) and Johnston whose work on high conflict divorce (8) led her to study the problem of children who refuse visitation, including a discussion of PAS (9). When PAS is viewed from the standpoint of parts and subprocesses which create the whole, the literature which pertains increases exponentially, for example: psychological characteristics of parents who falsely accuse in divorce/custody disputes; cults who help divorcing parents alienate their children from the other parent; and psychological abuse of children in severe PAS including Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy type abuse.

The trends identified by Gardner and others are the result of important social changes which began to take root and flower around the mid 1970s. The legal treatment of divorce and child custody shifted from the preference for mothers to have sole custody and the “tender years presumption” to the preference for joint custody and “best interests of the child.” This gave divorce fathers more legal options for parenting their children and increased the quantity and intensity of divorce disputes as parents vehemently disagreed over the numerous custodial arrangements now possible. By the late 1970s, rising concern about parental programming of children to influence the outcome of disputes led the American Bar Association Section of Family Law to commission a large scale study of the problem. The results of this 12 year study were published in 1991 in a book called Children Held Hostage (7). Clawar and Rivlin found that parental programming was practiced to varying degrees by 80 percent of divorcing parents, with 20 percent of engaging in such behaviors with their children at least once a day. Further discussion of this book appears below.

At the same time as new divorce trends have been emerging, sweeping social changes have been occurring in society’s treatment of child abuse. Mandated reporting became the law of the land in the 1970s and the procedures for making reports were simplified such that anonymous reports are now accepted and acted upon in some states. As the number of suspected abuse reports practically doubled, so did the number of false and unsubstantiated reports, according to statistics compiled by the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect in 1988 which showed that non-valid reports outnumbered cases of bona fide abuse by a ratio of two to one ( 10).

According to some observers, false allegations of abuse in contested divorce/custody cases have become the ultimate weapon. Judge Stewart wrote that “Family Courts nationwide are feeling the effects of a new fad being used by parties to a custody dispute-the charge that the other parent is molesting the child…The impact of such an allegation on the custody litigation is swift and major…The Family Court judge is apt to cut off the accused’s access to the child pending completion of the investigation” (11, p. 329). In response to concerns such as these, the Research Unit of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts obtained funding for a study on sex abuse accusations in divorce/custody disputes (12). Data for 1985-1986 were gathered from family court sites across the country. At that time, the incidence of sex abuse allegations in divorce was found to average two percent, but varied from one percent to eight percent depending on the court site. Results of this study suggest that sex abuse allegations in divorce may be valid only about 50 percent of the time. Many of the court counselors and administrators interviewed believed they were seeing a greater proportion of such cases than in previous decades.

Ten years later in 1996, Congress amended the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to eliminate blanket immunity for persons who knowingly make false reports, based on information that 2,000,000 children were involved that year in non-valid reports, as opposed to 1,000,000 children who were genuinely abused (13). In addition, many states have already enacted laws against willfully making a false child abuse report. In California where the author and her husband practice, the Office of Child Abuse Prevention revised their manual for mandated reporters several years ago to include a section on false allegations in which the coaching of children during custody disputes is described as a major problem and Gardner’s work on PAS is referenced (14).

In the meantime, the 1980s saw a massive campaign to train social workers, police, judges and mental health professionals in such concepts as “children don’t lie about abuse.” To make up for society’s blind eye to child abuse in the past, professionals are encouraged to unquestioningly ” believe the child ” and to reflexively accept all allegations of child abuse as true. Widespread media attention and a proliferation of popular books and movies on child abuse continues to suggest that the problem is widespread and insidious. Parents and professionals alike are enjoined to be vigilant for what are touted as “behavioral indicators” of sex abuse. These include the common but vague symptom of poor self esteem, conflicting “indicators” such as aggressive behavior and social withdrawal, and child behaviors which may be developmentally normal such as sexual curiosity and nightmares. Little attention is paid to the fact that children may develop the same symptoms in response to other stressors, including divorce and father absence.

Children, too, are being sensitized to abuse, taught about “good touch/bad touch.” At the end of such a lesson in school, they may be asked to report anyone who they think may have touched them in a bad way. Although some instances of legitimate abuse are detected in this manner, children sometimes misunderstand the lesson such that a kindly grandfather going to scoop up his young grandson in his arms, as he had done many times before, may find the child pulling back from him in horror and accusing him of “bad touch.” Adults conducting these classes are sometimes so eager to find abuse that in one Southern state, the parents of over half the class were arrested.

The foregoing outline of recent social changes is not meant to imply that Parental Alienation Syndrome and false allegations of sex abuse in divorce are synonymous. PAS can occur with or without such abuse accusations. Although false allegations of sex abuse are a common spin-off of severe PAS, other derivative false allegations may include physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, or a fabricated history of spousal abuse. In addition, there seems to be an increase in PAS type cases of accusations by the alienating parent that it is the alienated parent who is practicing PAS, a tactic which tends to confuse and neutralize interveners.

PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME

According to Gardner, PAS is a disturbance in the child who, in the context of divorce, becomes preoccupied with deprecation and criticism of one parent, which denigration is either unjustified and/or exaggerated. Gardner sees PAS as arising primarily from a combination of parental influence and the child’s active contributions to the campaign of denigration, factors which may mutually reinforce one another. Gardner distinguishes between Parental Alienation Syndrome and the term “parental alienation.” There are a wide variety of causes for parental alienation, including bonafide parental abuse and/or neglect, as well as significant deficits in a rejected parent’s functioning which may not rise to the level of abuse. From Gardner’s perspective, a diagnosis of PAS only applies where abuse, neglect and other conduct by the alienated parent which would reasonably justify the alienation are relatively minimal. Thus Gardner conceives of PAS as a specialized subcategory of generic parental alienation. Since introducing the concept of PAS in 1985, Gardner has written two books on the subject (15, 16), and included a chapter on it in his book entitled Family Evaluation, in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration and Litigation(17).

Depending on the severity of the PAS, a child may exhibit all or only some of the following behaviors. It is the cluster of these symptoms which prompted Gardner to consider them as a syndrome.

1. The child is aligned with the alienating parent in a campaign of denigration against the target parent, with the child making active contributions;

2. Rationalizations for deprecating the target parent are often weak, frivolous or absurd;

3. Animosity toward the rejected parent lacks the ambivalence normal to human relationships;

4. The child asserts that the decision to reject the target parent is his or her own, what Gardner calls the “independent thinker” phenomenon;

5. The child reflexively supports the parent with whom he or she is aligned;

6.The child expresses guiltless disregard for the feelings of the target or hated parent;

7. Borrowed scenarios are present, i.e., the child’s statements reflect themes and terminology of the alienating parent;

8. Animosity is spread to the extended family and others associated with the hated parent.

In Gardner’s experience, born out by the clinical and research literature reviewed below, mothers are more frequently found to engage in PAS, which is likened by Clawar and Rivlin to psychological kidnapping (7). Where PAS with physical child abduction occurs, however, Huntington reports that fathers are in the majority (18). Gardner recognizes that fathers, too, may engage in PAS and gives examples in his books. For consistency and simplicity, though, he refers to the alienating parent as “mother” and target parent as “father.”

According to Gardner, the brainwashing component in PAS can be more or less conscious on the part of the programming parent and may be systematic or subtle. The child’s active contributions to the campaign of denigration may help to create and maintain a mutually reinforcing feedback loop between the child and the programming parent. The child’s contributions notwithstanding, Gardner views the alienating parent as the responsible adult who elicits or transmits a negative set of beliefs about the target parent. The child’s loving experiences with the target parent in the past are replaced with a new reality, the negative scenario shared by the programming parent and child which justifies their rejection of the alienated parent. In light of these observations, Gardner warned that children’s statements in divorce/custody about rejecting one parent should not be taken at face value and should be evaluated for PAS dynamics. According to psychologist Mary Lund, this insight is one of Gardner’s most important contributions because it alerted the legal system, parents and mental health professionals dealing with divorce to an important possibility which can have disastrous effects if unrecognized (19).

Gardner emphasizes the importance of differentiating between mild, moderate and severe PAS in determining what court orders and therapeutic interventions to apply. In mild cases, there is some parental programming but visitation is not seriously effected and the child manages to negotiate the transitions without too much difficulty. The child has a reasonably healthy relationship with the programming parent and is usually participating in the campaign of denigration to maintain the primary emotional bond with the preferred parent, usually the mother. PAS in this category can usually be alleviated by the court’s affirming that the preferred or primary parent will retain primary custody.

In moderate PAS, there is a significant degree of parental programming, along with significant struggles around visitation. The child often displays difficulties around the transition between homes but is eventually able to settle down and become benevolently involved with the parent he or she is visiting. The bond between the aligned parent and child is still reasonably healthy, despite their shared conviction that the target parent is somehow despicable. At this level, stronger legal interventions are required and a court ordered PAS therapist is recommended who can monitor visits, make their office available as a visit exchange site, and report to the court regarding failures to implement visitation. The threat of sanctions against the alienating parent may be needed to gain compliance. Failure of the system to apply the appropriate level of court orders and therapeutic interventions in moderate PAS may put the child at risk for developing severe PAS. In some moderate cases, after court-ordered special therapy and sanctions have failed, Gardner states that it may be necessary to seriously consider transferring custody to the allegedly hated parent, assuming that parent is fit. In some situations, this is the only hope of protecting the child from progression to the severe category.

The child in severe PAS is fanatic in his or her hatred of the target parent. The child may refuse to visit, personally make false allegations of abuse, and threaten to run away, commit suicide or homicide if forced to see the father. Mother and child have a pathological bond, often based on shared paranoid fantasies about the father, sometimes to the point of folie a deux. In severe PAS, Gardner has found that if the child is allowed to stay with the mother the relationship with the father is doomed and the child develops long-standing psychopathology and even paranoia. Assuming the target parent is fit, Gardner believes that the only effective remedy in severe PAS is to give custody to the alienated parent. In 1992 he suggested that courts might be more receptive to the change of custody option if the child was provided with a therapeutic transitional placement such as hospitalization, an intervention employed with success by the author and her husband (see case vignette in Part II).

Gardner’s original conception of PAS was based on the child’s preoccupation with denigration of the target parent. It was not until two years later when he published his first book on PAS that he addressed the problem of PAS with false allegations of abuse. Gardner prefers to view such allegations as derivative of the PAS, observing that they often emerge after other efforts to exclude the target parent have failed. Some of the literature reviewed below, however, indicates that false allegations of abuse may also surface prior to the marital separation, symptomatic of a pre-existing psychiatric disorder of the alienating parent which may not be diagnosed until there is further mental deterioration after the divorce. Gardner was among the first to recognize that involving a child in false allegations of abuse is a form of abuse in itself and indicative of serious problems somewhere in the divorce family system. Insofar as PAS with false allegations of abuse can result in permanent destruction of the child’s relationship with the alienated parent, it can be more harmful to the child than if the alleged abuse had actually occurred.

Gardner supports joint custody for those parents who can sincerely agree on it and have the ability to fulfill this ideal. Research by Maccoby and Mnookin suggests that about 29 percent of divorced parents are successfully co-parenting three to four years after filing (20). Gardner opposes imposing joint custody on parents in dispute and between whom there is significant animosity. For these families, Gardner recommends that a thorough evaluation be conducted to develop a case specific plan with the right combination of court orders, mediation, therapeutic interventions, and arbitration.

HIGH CONFLICT DIVORCE AND PAS

High conflict divorce is characterized by intense and/or protracted post separation conflict and hostility between the parents which may be expressed overtly or covertly through ongoing litigation, verbal and physical aggression, and tactics of sabotage and deception. Clinical and research literature suggest that Parental Alienation Syndrome is a distinctive type of high conflict divorce which may require PAS specific interventions, just as the problems of divorced families have been found to respond to divorce specific interventions rather than to traditional therapies. In their book on children caught in the middle of high conflict divorce, Garrity and Baris treat PAS as a distinctive divorce family dynamic, devoting two chapters to PAS, one on understanding it and the other on a comprehensive intervention model (#21).

In high conflict divorce without significant PAS, the parents do most of the fighting while the children manage to go back and forth between homes, maintain their own views and preserve their affection for both parents. They cope by developing active skills for maneuvering the situation or by adopting a survival strategy of treating both parents with equal fairness and distance (8). Periodically, children may exacerbate parental conflicts by embellishing age appropriate separation anxieties, telling each parent things the parent wants to hear and shifting their allegiance back and forth between the parents. Nevertheless, they avoid consistent alignment with one parent against the other and are able to enjoy their time with each parent once the often difficult transition between homes has been accomplished.

In high conflict divorce with significant PAS, the children are personally involved in the parental conflict. Unable to manage the situation so as to preserve an affectionate relationship with both parents, the child takes the side of one parent against the other and participates in the battle as an ally of the alienating parent who is defined as good against the other parent who is viewed as despicable. In a study of 175 children from high conflict families, Johnston found that chronic hostility and protracted litigation between the parents contributed to the development of PAS among older children (9). In other words, where the system is unable to settle and contain parental divorce conflicts, the children may be at increasing risk for developing PAS as they get older. Johnston acknowledges that her findings support Gardner’s contention that as many as 90 percent of children involved in protracted custody show symptoms of PAS.

A large scale study of patterns of legal conflict between divorce parents three to four years after filing contained them significant finding that the most hostile divorce couples were not necessarily those engaged in the most contentious legal battles (20). This suggests that PAS may occur not only in the context of litigation but may develop after litigation has ceased, or proceed a new round of litigation after many years, supporting what Dunne and Hedrick found in their clinical study of severe PAS families (22).

According to Johnston, high conflict divorce is the product of a multilayered divorce impasse between the parents (8). Often, the impasse has its roots in one or both parents’ extreme vulnerability to issues of narcissistic injury, loss, anger and control. These vulnerabilities prevent a satisfactory divorce adjustment and feed an endless, sometimes escalating cycle of action and reaction which promotes and maintains parental conflict. The parents are frozen in transition, psychologically neither married, separated or divorced, a pattern which may pertain even when only one parent is significantly disturbed. Using Johnston’s model, PAS can be viewed as an effort by one parent, with the help of the children, to “resolve” the divorce impasse with a clear-cut understanding of who is good, who is to blame and how the parent to blame should be punished. The following vignette illustrates this. Like the other case examples interspersed throughout this article, it is a composite scenario synthesized from real cases encountered by the author and her colleagues.

Mr. L had adopted his wife’s child from her previous marriage and he and Mrs. L. had a child of their own, a girl who was six years old when Mr. L. moved out of the family home. During the six months leading up to this precipitous event, Mrs. L. was living in one part of the house with the older child while Mr. L. and his daughter had rooms together in a separate part of the house. The parents hardly spoke to one another but the children visited back and forth freely with each other and with both parents. Under the circumstances, Mr. L. did not think his wife would object to his leaving, but just in case there was a scene he decided to move out first and then work out the practical issues with Mrs. L. He left a letter for her and another one for the children, explaining his decision and affirming his desire to make arrangements for visitation and child support. Mrs. L. was furious. She immediately had the locks changed and successfully blocked her husband’s efforts to contact the children by phone or to see them. Both children probably felt betrayed by father and Mrs. L. amplified such feelings by telling the children their father had abandoned them and did not- care about them at all. She also alleged that he had had numerous affairs during the marriage although Mr. L. always denied that. These allegations may have sprung from the fact that Mrs. L. found out six weeks after her husband left that he was dating someone. Outraged, she told Mr. L. that he would never see the children again. She and the children began calling Mr. L. and his girl- friend at all hours, screaming accusations and obscenities over the phone until a restraining order was obtained. When efforts by father’s attorney to arrange for mediation between Mr. and Mrs. L. were stonewalled, Mr. L. got a court order for visitation. Three months had passed when his first opportunity to see his children since moving out was scheduled. On the eve of this visit, Mrs. L. called child protective services and accused Mr. L. of sexually molesting their daughter. According to the social worker’s notes which were obtained during subsequent litigation, Mrs. L. told the social worker that she “knew” while she and her husband were still living together that he was molesting their daughter.

The family law judge ordered a custody evaluation which was very thorough and took months to complete. The evaluator documented a number of instances in which the girl’s statements about abuse and hat mg. her father seemed to be strongly influenced by mother’s overwhelming anger and that of the older half sibling, who was strongly aligned with the mother. Mrs. L. was diagnosed with a severe narcissistic personality disorder with antisocial features, while Mr. L. was seen by the evaluator as rather passive by comparison and as ambivalent and conflict avoidant. The evaluator was able to hold one meeting with father and daughter together, during which their loving attachment to one another was apparent. This was the little girl’s first opportunity to talk to her father about the feelings engendered by his leaving. As it turned out, it was also her last opportunity. The PAS intensified such that efforts to convene further father/daughter sessions failed when the child threw tantrums in the waiting room and ran screaming into the parking lot where her mother was waiting.

Seven months after the marital separation, the custody evaluator’s report was released. It stated that the alleged abuse had in all probability not occurred but failed to diagnose severe PAS with false allegations of abuse. The evaluator recommended that the mother retain primary custody and that the girl and her parents each become involved in individual therapy to facilitate father/daughter reunification. Not surprisingly, Mrs. L. arranged for the child to see a therapist/intern who never saw the custody evaluator’s report. Based on input from the mother alone, the therapist treated the girl for abuse by her father instead of providing divorce specific therapy aimed at helping the little girl to adjust to her parent’s divorce and to establish a post divorce relationship with her father. The girl’s anger at her father became more extreme with each passing month and defeated the visitations planned by the family mediation center. Finally, a year after the separation, the custody evaluator was prepared to testify as to the PAS and to make the strong recommendations needed to remedy the situation. By that time, the father was convinced that nobody could do anything about his daughter’s continued expressions of hatred toward him. He also felt daunted by the prospect of further litigation and an even greater financial drain. He decided to let go, hoping that one day when his daughter was older she would understand and seek him out.

CHILDREN HELD HOSTAGE: DEALING WITH PROGRAMMED AND BRAINWASHED CHILDREN

By the late 1970s, judges, parents, and mental health professionals involved with divorce were so concerned about parental programming that the American Bar Association Section on Family Law commissioned this 12 year study of 700 divorce families (7). Clawar and Rivlin found that the problem of parental programming was indeed widespread and that even at low levels it had significant impact on children. Data from multiple sources was analyzed including: written records such as court transcripts, forensic reports, therapy notes and children’s diaries; audio and video tapes of interactions between children, their parents and others related to the case; direct observations, such as children with parents and clients with attorneys; and interviews with children, relatives, family friends, mental health professionals, school personnel, judges and conciliators.

Gardner’s work on PAS is referenced at the beginning of Clawar and Rivlin’s book (7), but the authors take issue with what they represent as his position, that less severe cases need not be a cause of great concern. They found that PAS can result from a variety of complex processes, whether or not one parent engages in a systematic programming campaign and whether or not alienation is the programming parent’s goal. Parental alienation is only one of a number of detrimental effects. According to this study, even well meaning parents often at tempt to influence what their children say in the custody and visitation proceedings.

Mild levels of parental programming and brainwashing seem to have significant effects.

Clawar and Rivlin anchor their work in 30 years of literature on social psychology and the processes of social influence, variously referred to in the literature as thought reform, brainwashing, indoctrination, modeling, mimicking, mind control, re-education, and coercive persuasion. These terms describe a variety of psychological methods for ridding people of ideas which authorities do not want them to have and for replacing old ways of thinking and behavior with new ones. For the purposes of research, Clawar and Rivlin ascertained the need for more precisely defined terminology. They selected the words “programming” and “brainwashing.” They defined “program” as the content, themes, and beliefs transmitted by the programming parent to the child regarding the other parent.

“Brainwashing” was defined as the interactional process by which the child was persuaded to accept and elaborate on the program. Brainwashing occurs over time and involves repetition of the program, or code words referring to the program, until the subject responds with attitudinal and behavioral compliance.

According to Clawar and Rivlin, the influence of a programming parent can be conscious and willful or unconscious and unintentional. It can be obvious or subtle, with rewards for compliance that were material, social or psychological. Noncompliance may be met with subtle psychological punishment such as withdrawal of love or direct corporal punishment, as illustrated in the case vignette of S in Part II. The author encountered another case in which the alienating mother handcuffed her son to the bedpost when he was 12 years old and the boy asserted he was not willing tocontinue saying his father had physically abused him. The Clawar and Rivlin study found that children may be active or passive participants in the alienation process. As the case of the 12- year-old boy suggests, the nature and degree of the child’s involvement in the PAS may change over time.

This study identifies the influential role of other people in the child’s life, such as relatives and professionals aligned with the alienating parent, whose endorsement of the program advances the brainwashing process. In a general way, these findings appear to replicate Johnston’s research on high conflict divorce which identified the importance of third party participants in parental conflicts (8). Rand noted the influence of so-called “professional participants in Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy type abuse which in divorce can overlap with PAS “(23).

Clawar and Rivlin identify eight stages of the programming/brainwashing process which culminates in severe Parental Alienation Syndrome (7). Recognizing the power imbalance between parent and child, they view the process as driven by the alienating parent who induces the child’s compliance on step by step basis:

1. A thematic focus to be shared by the programming parent and child emerges or is chosen. This may be tied to a more or less formal ideology relating to the family, religion, or ethnicity;

2. A sense of support and connection to the programming parent is created;

3. Feeling of sympathy for the programming parent is induced;

4. The child begins to show signs of compliance, such as expressing fear of visiting the target parent or refusing to talk to that parent on the phone;

5. The programming parent tests the child’s compliance, for example, asking the child questions after a visit and rewarding the child for ” correct ” answers;

6. The programming parent tests the child’s loyalty by having the child express views and attitudes which suggest a preference for one parent over the other;

7. Escalation/intensification/generalization occurs, for example, broadening the program with embellished or new allegations; the child rejects the target parent in a global, unambivalent fashion;

8. The program is maintained along with the child’s compliance, which may range from minor reminders and suggestions to intense pressure, depending on court activity and the child’s frame of mind.

CLINICAL STUDIES OF PAS

According to Gardner and seconded by Cartwright, Parental Alienation Syndrome is a developing concept which clinical and forensic practitioners will refine and redefine as new cases with different features become better understood (24). This section reviews the work of practitioners who, like Cartwright, seek to elaborate on Gardner’s work by contributing their own knowledge and experience from work with moderate to severe PAS cases.

Dunne and Hedrick

Practicing in Seattle, Washington, Dunne and Hedrick analyzed sixteen families who met Gardner’s criteria for severe PAS (22). Although the cases show a wide diversity of characteristics, the authors found Gardner’s criteria useful in differentiating these cases from other post-divorce difficulties, lending support for the idea that PAS has distinctive features which differentiate it from other forms of high conflict divorce. Among the severe PAS cases examined, some involved false allegations of abuse and some did not. Children in the same family sometimes responded to the divorce with opposing adjustments. For example, the oldest child in one family, a 16-year-old girl, aligned with her alienating mother while her 12-year-old brother’s desire for a relationship with his father led to the mother finally rejecting the boy.

US Constitutional, State, and Federal Rights to Parent Your Children

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 9, 2009 at 11:34 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 parent 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)

Case Law:

Doe v. Irwin, 441 F Supp 1247; U.S. D.C. of Michigan, (1985).
Wallace v. Jaffree, 105 S Ct 2479; 472 US 38, (1985).
Elrod v. Burns, 96 S Ct 2673; 427 US 347, (1976).
Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 US 356, (1886).
Santosky v. Kramer, 102 S Ct 1388; 455 US 745, (1982).
Matter of Delaney, 617 P 2d 886, Oklahoma (1980).
Langton v. Maloney, 527 F Supp 538, D.C. Conn. (1981).
Regenold v. Baby Fold, Inc., 369 NE 2d 858; 68 Ill 2d 419, appeal dismissed 98 S Ct 1598, 435 US 963, IL, (1977).
In the Interest of Cooper, 621 P 2d 437; 5 Kansas App Div 2d 584, (1980).
Bell v. City of Milwaukee, 746 F 2d 1205; US Ct App 7th Cir WI, (1984).
Mabra v. Schmidt, 356 F Supp 620; DC, WI (1973).
May v. Anderson, 345 US 528, 533; 73 S Ct 840, 843, (1952).
In re: J.S. and C., 324 A 2d 90; supra 129 NJ Super, at 489.
Stanley v. Illinois, 405 US 645, 651; 92 S Ct 1208, (1972).
Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 US 390; 43 S Ct 625, (1923).
Quilloin v. Walcott, 98 S Ct 549; 434 US 246, 255^Q56, (1978).
Kelson v. Springfield, 767 F 2d 651; US Ct App 9th Cir, (1985).
Bell v. City of Milwaukee, 746 f 2d 1205, 1242^Q45; US Ct App 7th Cir WI, (1985).
Carson v. Elrod, 411 F Supp 645, 649; DC E.D. VA (1976).
Franz v. U.S., 707 F 2d 582, 595^Q599; US Ct App (1983).
Matter of Gentry, 369 NW 2d 889, MI App Div (1983).
Palmore v. Sidoti, 104 S Ct 1879; 466 US 429.
Orr v. Orr, 99 S Ct 1102; 440 US 268, (1979).
Stanton v. Stanton, 421 US 7, 10; 95 S Ct 1373, 1376, (1975).
28 USCA § 2411; Pfizer v. Lord, 456 F.2d 532; cert denied 92 S Ct 2411; US Ct App MN, (1972).
Gross v. State of Illinois, 312 F 2d 257; (1963).
Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 US 479, (1965).
In re U.P., 648 P 2d 1364; Utah, (1982).
Fantony v. Fantony, 122 A 2d 593, (1956); Brennan v. Brennan, 454 A 2d 901, (1982).
Wise v. Bravo, 666 F.2d 1328, (1981).

Does Family Preservation Work? – Parental Rights

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Maternal Deprivation, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm

From the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform / 53 Skyhill Road (Suite 202) / Alexandria, Va., 22314 / info@nccpr.org / www.nccpr.org

Family preservation is one of the most intensively-scrutinized programs in all of child welfare. Several studies — and real world experience — show that family preservation programs that follow the Homebuilders model safely prevent placement in foster care.

Michigan’s Families First program sticks rigorously to the Homebuilders model. The Michigan program was evaluated by comparing children who received family preservation services to a “control group” that did not. After one year, among children who were referred because of abuse or neglect, the control group children were nearly twice as likely to be placed in foster care, as the Families First children. Thirty-six percent of children in the control group were placed, compared to only 19.4 percent of the Families First children. [1]

Another Michigan study went further. In this study, judges actually gave permission to researchers to “take back” some children they had just ordered into foster care and place them in Families First instead. One year later, 93 percent of these children still were in their own homes. [2] And Michigan’s State Auditor concluded that the Families First program “has generally been effective in providing a safe alternative to the out-of-home placement of children who are at imminent risk of being removed from the home The program places a high priority on the safety of children.” [3]

An experiment in Utah and Washington State also used a comparison group. After one year, 85.2 percent of the children in the comparison group were placed in foster care, compared to only 44.4 percent of the children who received intensive family preservation services.[4]

A study in California found that 55 percent of the control group children were placed, compared to only 26 percent of the children who received intensive family preservation services. [5]

A North Carolina study comparing 1,254 families receiving Intensive Family Preservation Services to more than 100,000 families who didn’t found that “IFPS consistently resulted in fewer placements…”[6]

And still another study, in Minnesota, found that, in dealing with troubled adolescents, fully 90 percent of the control group children were placed, compared to only 56 percent of those who received intensive family preservation services.[7]

Some agencies are now using IFPS to help make sure children are safe when they are returned home after foster care. Here again, researchers are beginning to see impressive results. In a Utah study, 77.2 percent of children whose families received IFPS help after reunification were still safely with their birth parents after one year, compared with 49.1 percent in a control group.[8]

Critics ignore all of this evidence, preferring to cite a study done for the federal government which purports to find that IFPS is no better than conventional services. But though critics of family preservation claim that this study evaluated programs that followed the Homebuilders model, that’s not true. In a rigorous critique of the study, Prof. Ray Kirk of the University of North Carolina School of Social Work notes that the so-called IFPS programs in this study actually diluted the Homebuilders model, providing service that was less intensive and less timely. At the same time, the “conventional” services sometimes were better than average. In at least one case, they may well have been just as intensive as the IFPS program – so it’s hardly surprising that the researchers would find little difference between the two.

Furthermore, efforts to truly assign families at random to experimental and control groups sometimes were thwarted by workers in the field who felt this was unethical. Workers resisted assigning what they considered to be “high risk” families to control groups that would not receive help from IFPS programs. In addition, the study failed to target children who actually were at imminent risk of placement.

Given all these problems, writes Prof. Kirk, “a finding of ‘no difference between treatment and experimental groups’ is simply a non-finding from a failed study.”[9]

Prof. Kirk’s findings mirror those of an evaluation of earlier studies purporting to show that IFPS was ineffective. The evaluation found that these studies “did not adhere to rigorous methodological criteria.”[10]

In contrast, according to Prof. Kirk, “there is a growing body of evidence that IFPS works, in that it is more effective than traditional services in preventing out-of-home placements of children in high-risk families.”[11]

Prof. Kirk’s assessment was confirmed by a detailed review of IFPS studies conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. According to this review:

“IFPS programs that adhere closely to the Homebuilders model significantly reduce out-of-home placements and subsequent abuse and neglect. We estimate that such programs produce $2.54 of benefits for each dollar of cost. Non-Homebuilders programs produce no significant effect on either outcome.”[12]

Some critics argue that evaluations of family preservation programs are inherently flawed because they allegedly focus on placement prevention instead of child safety. But a placement can only be prevented if a child is believed to be safe. Placement prevention is a measure of safety.

Of course, the key words here are “believed to be.” Children who have been through intensive family preservation programs are generally among the most closely monitored. But there are cases in which children are reabused and nobody finds out. And there are cases — like Joseph Wallace — in which the warnings of family preservation workers are ignored. No one can be absolutely certain that the child left at home is safe — but no one can be absolutely certain that the child placed in foster care is safe either — and family preservation has the better track record.

And, as discussed in Issue Paper 1, with safe, proven strategies to keep families together now widely used in Alabama, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere, the result is fewer foster care placements and safer children.

Indeed, the whole idea that family preservation — and only family preservation — should be required to prove itself over and over again reflects a double standard. After more than a century of experience, isn’t it time that the advocates of foster care be held to account for the failure of their program?

Updated, April 24, 2006

1. Carol Berquist, et. al., Evaluation of Michigan’s Families First Program (Lansing Mich: University Associates, March, 1993). Back to Text.

2. Betty J. Blythe, Ph.D., Srinika Jayaratne, Ph.D, Michigan Families First Effectiveness Study: A Summary of Findings, Sept. 28, 1999, p.18. Back to Text.

3. State of Michigan, Office of the Auditor General, Performance Audit of the Families First of Michigan Program, July, 1998, pp. 2-4. Back to Text.

4. Mark W. Fraser, et. al., Families in Crisis: The Impact of Intensive Family Preservation Services (New York: Aldine De Gruyter, 1991), p.168. Back to Text.

5. S. Wood, S., K. Barton, C. Schroeder, “In-Home Treatment of Abusive Families: Cost and Placement at One Year.” Psychotherapy Vol. 25 (1988) pp. 409-14, cited in Howard Bath and David Haapala, “Family Preservation Services: What Does the Outcome Research Really Tell Us,” Social Services Review, September, 1994, Table A1, p.400. Back to Text.

6. R.S. Kirk, Tailoring Intensive Family Preservation Services for Family Reunification Cases: Research, Evaluation and Assessment, (www.nfpn.org/resourcess/articles/tailoring.html). Back to Text.

7. I.M. Schwartz, et. al., “Family Preservation Services as an Alternative to Out-of-Home Placement of Adolescents,” in K. Wells and D.E. Biegel, eds., Family Preservation Services: Research and Evaluation (Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1991) pp.33-46, cited in Bath and Happala, note 3, supra.Back to Text.

8. R.E. Lewis, et. al., “Examining family reunification services: A process analysis of a successful experiment,” Research on Social Work Practice, 5, (3), 259-282, cited in Kirk, note 6, supra.Back to Text.

9. R.S. Kirk, A Critique of the “Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report,” May, 2001. Back to Text.

10. A. Heneghan, et. al., Evaluating intensive family preservation services: A methodological review. Pediatrics, 97(4), 535-542, cited in Kirk, note 6, supra.Back to Text.

11. Kirk, note 6, supra.Back to Text.

12. Washington State Institute for Public Policy, Intensive Family Preservation Programs: Program Fidelity Influences Effectiveness. February, 2006, available online at http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/06-02-3901.pdf

The original article can be found here: http://www.nccpr.org/newissues/11.html

Parental Mediation Does Not Work, Wake Up U.S. Courts

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Maternal Deprivation, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 8, 2009 at 11:16 pm

Introduction

One of the government’s most exhaustive research reports ever commissioned called ‘Monitoring Publicly Funded Family Mediation’ found that ‘mediation‘ in this country did not ‘meet the objectives of saving marriages or helping divorcing couples to resolve problems with a minimum of acrimony’ and as a result was forced to scrap the idea of making mediation compulsory – see the statement from the former Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine, 16th.January 2000. However it is is still used as a method for deflecting fathers from receiving reasonable contact with their child or children. This section is intended to help fathers by highlighting some of the pitfalls of mediation with reference to the government’s own research report. If you have a query regarding any aspect of the mediation process, for example, Section 10, ‘The Parties Attitudes to Negotiation’, you can consult the government’s own research by clicking alongside!

“The government is committed to supporting marriage and to supporting families when relationships fail, especially when there are children involved. But this very comprehensive research, together with other recent valuable research in the field, has shown that Part II of the Family Law Act (i.e. Mediation) is not the best way of achieving those aims. The government is not therefore satisfied that it would be right to proceed with the implementation of Part II and proposes to ask Parliament to repeal it once suitable legislative opportunity occurs.”

Former Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine,
16th.January 2000

NB For all legal aid certificates ‘mediation’ has to take place before the certificate (or funding) can be issued. However it can be deemed unnecessary if the mother makes an allegation of domestic abuse.

The original article can be found here: http://www.eventoddlersneedfathers.com/

Why Kids Usually Side with the Custodial Parent Especially If They’re Emotionally Abusive

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 7, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Do your children refuse to see you since you and your ex separated? When you actually get to see your kid(s), do they lash out at you? Do they know things about your break up or divorce that they shouldn’t know? Do they “diagnose” or berate you by using adult terms and expressions that are beyond their years?

If so, you’re probably experiencing the effects of parental alienation or hostile aggressive parenting. It’s normal to have hard feelings at the end of a significant relationship, however, you have a choice about how you handle it.

Most cases of parental alienation occur in dissolved marriages/relationships, break ups, and divorces in which there’s a high degree of conflict, emotional abuse, and/or mental illness or personality disorders.

If you were emotionally abused by your ex while you were still together, then your kid(s) learned some powerful lessons about relationships, especially if you had a “no talk” policy about the rages, yelling, and verbal attacks. Children are adversely affected by witnessing constant conflict and emotional abuse, no matter their age.

Emotionally abusive women and men are scary when on the attack, which probably makes it all the more confusing to see your ex turn your child(ren) against you. Don’t your kids see how out of whack their mom or dad is being? Don’t they know that you love them and how much you want to be in their lives? Don’t they realize they need you now more than ever? Yes and no.

On some level, they do know this. Nonetheless, they’re lashing out at you like mini-versions of your ex. Why?

It’s not that confusing if you think about it from a child’s perspective. Children depend utterly upon their custodial parent. Seeing mom or dad lose it and out of control is anxiety provoking, if not downright terrifying. The following are possible reasons why your ex’s campaign of parental alienation may be successful.

1.) You left them alone with the crazy person. You got out and they didn’t. They’re mad that you’re not there anymore to intervene, buffer, protect, or take the brunt of it.

2.) Self-preservation. They see how your ex is treating you because she or he is angry with you. Your kid(s) don’t want your ex’s wrath directed at them. It’s like siding with the bully at school so they don’t beat the crap out of you.

3.) Fear of loss. If they make your ex mad they worry that they’ll be emotionally and/or physically banished, too. This is especially true if your ex used to shut you out, give you the cold shoulder, and/or ignore you when she or he was upset with you. Your kids probably fear your ex will do this to them if they don’t go along with him or her.

4.) They’re mad at you. You’re no longer physically present at home, which they experience as psychological loss. Many kids experience this as betrayal and/or abandonment. Even if they can recognize that you didn’t have a happy marriage, they still want mom and dad to be together.

Loss, whether it’s physical (death) or psychological (divorce), requires a mourning period. Children aren’t psychologically equipped to handle grief and mourning. Pending other developmental milestones, kids don’t have the psychological capacity to successfully navigate loss until mid-adolescence. If you’d died, they could idealize your memory. However, you’re alive and chose to leave (or your ex chose for you). How do you mourn the loss of someone who’s not dead? It takes a level of intellectual sophistication children don’t possess not to vilify the physically absent parent—especially when your ex isn’t capable of it as an adult.

5.) Rewards and punishment. Your ex “rewards” the kids (material goods, praise, trips and fun activities—probably with your support money—oh the irony) for siding with her or him, being cruel to you, or cutting you off. If your kid(s) stand up for you or challenge your ex’s smear campaign, they’re chastised, lose privileges, or have affection withheld from them. Remember how your ex used to treat you when she or he was displeased? It’s way scarier when you’re a kid. You have options as an adult that your children don’t.

6.) The good son or daughter. They see how upset and out of control your ex is and want to take care of and make her or him “better.” They try to do this by doing what your ex wants, which is being hostile toward you and/or excluding you from their lives. This creates what psychologists refer to as the parentified child. Parentification forces a child to shoulder emotions and responsibilities for which she or he isn’t developmentally prepared.

Emotional parentification is particularly destructive for children and frequently occurs in parental alienation cases. The custodial parent implicitly or explicitly dumps their emotional needs on the child. The child becomes the parent’s confidante, champion/hero and surrogate for an adult partner. This is extremely unhealthy as it robs these kids of their childhood and leads to difficulty in having normal adult relationships later in life.

7..) Power and control. They see the power your ex wields by behaving in an abusive and hurtful way toward you. They can wield the same power by acting out and hurting you, too. A child or teenager’s first taste of power can be thrilling for them. Of course, what they’re learning from you ex is how to gain control by being an emotionally abusive bully.

8.) It’s good to be the victim. The more your ex plays the professional victim to friends, family and the legal system, the more benefits she or he gains—deferential treatment, sympathy, power, and money. The kids pick up on this victim mentality and behaviors and use it to net their own gains.

A combination of the above reasons probably applies to your child(ren) siding with your ex, particularly when you’ve been a good and loving parent. It’s demoralizing to have your kid(s) slap or push you away each time you reach out to them. It’s maddening that family court, in many cases, is blind to the abuses of parental alienation. Try to keep in mind that most children aren’t consciously aware that the above phenomena are occurring. Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier to be the emotional and financial punching bag for your ex and children.

The original article can be found here: http://washingtonsharedparenting.com/?p=411

Maternal Deprivation? Monkeys, Yes; Mommies, No…

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Indians, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Maternal Deprivation, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Sociopath, state crimes, Torts on June 7, 2009 at 5:00 am

Do children do best with one parent over another? Or does biology determine who is the better parent?

If you ask the feminists of the 70s who wanted to be free of restrictive child-rearing and assume an equal station in the workplace and politics, the answer to the first question would be no. Why would feminists give up their biologically superior position of motherhood, in which a mother is the primary caregiver, in favor of a job? What narcissists mother would do that?

And yet, today, if you ask the very self-same feminists who are leading the charge to narrow sole-custody of children in divorce proceedings to a woman based on some “biological advantage” the answer to the second question would be yes.

Upon this, you have the creation of a legally untenable position given to women based on gender. To get around “having your cake and eating it, too,” state family law has created the “imaginary world” of the “primary parent” dictum, which guides family law today, which is just a primary rehashing of “tender years doctrine”, both of which do not have the legal merit whatsover, nor the empirical research to support either.

But if you go back to the Maternal Deprivation nonsense, you quickly find the empirical research that throws this theory back into the area of “junk science” where it belongs. Maternal Deprivation is both empirically wrong and a sexist theory.

The junk science theory and refutation can be found here:
http://www.simplypsychology.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/bowlby.html

“Although Bowlby may not dispute that young children form multiple attachments, he still contends that the attachment to the mother is unique in that it is the first to appear and remains the strongest of all. However, on both of these counts, the evidence seems to suggest otherwise.

* Schaffer & Emerson (1964) noted that specific attachments started at about 8 months and, very shortly thereafter, the infants became attached to other people. By 18 months very few (13%) were attached to only one person; some had five or more attachments.

* Rutter (1981) points out that several indicators of attachment (such as protest or distress when attached person leaves) has been shown for a variety of attachment figures – fathers, siblings, peers and even inanimate objects.

Critics such as Rutter have also accused Bowlby of not distinguishing between deprivation and privation – the complete lack of an attachment bond, rather than its loss. Rutter stresses that the quality of the attachment bond is the most important factor, rather than just deprivation in the critical period.

Another criticism of 44 Thieves Study as that it concluded that affectionless psychopathy was caused by maternal deprivation. This is correlational data and as such only shows a relationship between these two variables. Indeed, other external variables, such as diet, parental income, education etc. may have affected the behaviour of the 44 thieves, and not, as concluded, the disruption of the attachment bond.”

There are implications arising from Bowlby’s work. As he believed the mother to be the most central care giver and that this care should be given on a continuous basis an obvious implication is that mothers should not go out to work. There have been many attacks on this claim:

* Mothers are the exclusive carers in only a very small percentage of human societies; often there are a number of people involved in the care of children, such as relations and friends (Weisner & Gallimore, 1977).

* Ijzendoorn & Tavecchio (1987) argue that a stable network of adults can provide adequate care and that this care may even have advantages over a system where a mother has to meet all a child’s needs.

* There is evidence that children develop better with a mother who is happy in her work, than a mother who is frustrated by staying at home (Schaffer, 1990).

There are many articles relating to this nonsense, and how it has been refuted. The original theory was promulgated by John Bowlby. Bowlby grew up mother-fixated because he did not have a relationship with his father. See why here.

Psychological research includes a shocking history and continuation of maternal deprivation experiments on animals. While maternal deprivation experiments have been conducted far more frequently on rhesus macaques and other monkeys, chimpanzees were not spared as victims of this unnecessary research.
Maternal Deprivation applies to monkeys only.

Custody Relocation: A Negative Effect on Children – In LaMusga

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 5, 2009 at 4:00 pm

© 2004 National Legal Research Group, Inc.

A custodial parent’s proposed relocation will almost always have a negative impact on the relationship of the noncustodial parent and the children. The California Supreme Court recently clarified the standard to be used in relocation cases in that state, holding that this impact should be considered as a factor in determining whether the custodial parent’s proposed relocation will result in detriment to the children sufficient to warrant a modification of custody.

In In re Marriage of LaMusga, Cal. 4th 12 Cal. Rptr. 3d 356 (2004), after a contentious custody battle, the parties were awarded joint custody of their two children with the mother being awarded primary physical custody. Several years later, the mother again sought to relocate to Ohio with the children. A child custody evaluation was performed that established that the father’s relationship with the children would deteriorate after the relocation and that, based on the mother’s previous behavior, there was no indication that she would be supportive of the father’s continued relationship with the children despite her claims to the contrary. The trial court found that the mother’s proposed relocation was not made in bad faith but concluded that the effect of the move would be detrimental to the welfare of the children because it would hinder frequent and continuing contact between the children and the father. The trial court held that if the mother chose to relocate, primary physical custody of the children would be transferred to the father.

The trial court’s decision was reversed by the California Court of Appeal. The court of appeal held that the trial court had failed to properly consider the mother’s presumptive right as custodial parent to change the residence of the children or the children’s need for continuity and stability in the existing custodial arrangement. 12 Cal. Rptr. 3d at 371. The court of appeal also found that the trial court had “placed undue emphasis on the detriment that would be caused by the children’s relationship with Father if they moved.” Id.

The court of appeal relied on an earlier California Supreme Court decision, In re Marriage of Burgess, 13 Cal. 4th 25, 51 Cal. Rptr. 2d 444 (1996). In Burgess, the Supreme Court of California held that in relocation cases there was no requirement that the custodial parent demonstrate that the proposed relocation was “necessary.” LaMusga, 12 Cal. Rptr. 3d at 367 (quoting Burgess, 51 Cal. Rptr. 2d at 452). Instead, the burden is on the noncustodial parent to prove that a change of circumstances exists warranting a change in the custody arrangement. LaMusga, 12 Cal. Rptr. 3d at 367. The supreme court also held that “paramount needs for continuity and stability in custody arrangements . . . weigh heavily in favor of maintaining ongoing custody arrangements.” Id. at 371 (quoting Burgess, 51 Cal. Rptr. 2d at 449-50).

The supreme court rejected the court of appeal’s position that undue emphasis was placed on the detrimental effect of the proposed relocation on the father’s relationship with the children. The court of appeal concluded that all relocations result in “a significant detriment to the relationship between the child and the noncustodial parent” and, therefore, no custodial parent would ever be permitted to relocate with the children as long as any detriment could be established. Id. at 373. The supreme court accepted the validity of the court of appeal’s position but noted that the court of appeal’s fears were unfounded. The supreme court stated that “a showing that a proposed move will cause detriment to the relationship between the children and the noncustodial parent” will not mandate a change in custody. Id. Instead, a trial court has discretion to order such a change in custody based on the showing of such a detriment if such a change is in the best interests of the child. Id. The supreme court explained its holding as follows:

The likely consequences of a proposed change in the residence of a child, when considered in the light of all the relevant factors, may constitute a change of circumstances that warrants a change in custody, and the detriment to the child’s relationship with the noncustodial parent that will be caused by the proposed move, when considered in light of all the relevant factors, may warrant denying a request to change the child’s residence or changing custody. The extent to which a proposed move will detrimentally impact a child varies greatly depending upon the circumstances. We will generally leave it to the superior court to assess that impact in light of the other relevant factors in determining what is in the best interests of the child.

Id. at 374-75.

The Supreme Court of California in LaMusga has seemingly retreated from its much broader decision in Burgess. In Burgess, the court essentially established a presumption in favor of maintaining a custody arrangement in the interests of a child’s paramount need for continuity and stability. In LaMusga, however, the court stepped away from this presumption and found that the child’s need for continuity and stability was just one factor in determining whether to modify a custody award. The court found that other factors, such as the detrimental effect of the proposed relocation on the relationship between a child and the noncustodial parent, could also control the outcome of a custody case depending on the unique facts of each case. The supreme court’s decision in LaMusga seems to subscribe to the principle that due to the fact-intensive nature of relocation cases a comprehensive review of all possible factors impacting on a child’s best interest will yield the most equitable results.

LA County Puts the “Fix” on Parents Rights

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Indians, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Jayne Major, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 4, 2009 at 7:13 pm

Your rights to retain physical and legal custody of your children during divorce proceeding is compromised by California’s new ex post facto law recently passed by the California Senate. As a matter of fact, in Los Angeles County, it already is.

In California counties divorce proceedings in the past 12 years may have been “fixed” in counties where counties supplemented Judges salaries with benefits above the state mandated salary. (Under California Law, only the state may compensate judges for performance of their work. The California Constitution (Sec. 17, 19, 20) states that Judges may not receive money from other parties than their employer, the State of California, and the Legislature has the sole responsibility for setting compensation and retirement benefits.)

However California, like all 50 states and territories, receive hundreds of Billions of $$ from the federal government to run its state courts and welfare programs, including Social Security Act Title Iv-D, Child Support Iv-E, Foster Care and VAWA prevention and intimidation programs against family law litigants. The federal block grants are then given to the counties applying for the monies.

If counties have been paying judges money above state legislated salaries, then counties have been fixing cases for years by maintaining de facto judicial officers to rule in their favor. How does this affect parent’s rights? The money received in block grants is applied for by the counties based on the divorce and custody proceeding awards. For example, the more sole custody or foster home proceedings existing in the county, the more money the county is qualified to receive.

Both the US Constitution, and the California Constitution. California’s wording is even stronger than the US Constitution. Here are the direct quotes:

United States Constitution, Section 9, Article 3
“No bill of attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.”

Constitution of the State of California – Article I, Section 9
“A bill of attainder ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts may not be passed.”

The law in question is SBX2 11 which retroactively pardons, just about everyone involved in official activity including judges who received money for benefits from the county.

“The California Constitution requires the Legislature to prescribe compensation for judges of courts of record. Existing law authorizes a county to deem judges and court employees as county employees for purposes of providing employment benefits. These provisions were held unconstitutional as an impermissible delegation of the obligation of the Legislature to prescribe the compensation of judges of courts of record. This bill would provide that judges who received supplemental judicial benefits provided by a county or court, or both, as of July 1, 2008, shall continue to receive supplemental benefits from the county or court then paying the benefits on the same terms and conditions as were in effect on that date.”

The law also goes on to state:

“This bill would provide that no governmental entity, or officer or employee of a governmental entity, shall incur any liability or be subject to prosecution or disciplinary action because of benefits provided to a judge under the official action of a governmental entity prior to the effective date of the bill on the ground that those benefits were not authorized under law.”

Is this why attorney Richard I Fine is in a LA County Jail? For more on his story see:

Attorney Richard Fine files suit against judges http://www.dailynews.com/ci_8113733

Richard Fine, a brave and talented California attorney and United States Department of Justice Attorney http://www.ahrc.se/new/index.php/src/tools/sub/yp/action/display/id/2652

Metropolitan News-Enterprise http://www.metnews.com/articles/2009/stur021809.htm

The Full Disclosure Network: http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/538.php and http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/539.php

JUDICIAL BENEFITS & COURT CORRUPTION (Part 3-4) http://www.fulldisclosure.net/Programs/540.php

FISCAL CRISIS: Illegal Payments Create Law For Judicial Criminal & Liability Immunity: Nominees For U S Supreme Court To Be Impacted? See: http://www.fulldisclosure.net/news/labels/SBX2%2011.html

The Bill as passed by the Senate: http://info.sen.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_0001-0050/sbx2_11_bill_20090214_amended_sen_v98.html

The Primary Parent Presumption: Primarily Meaningless

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 4, 2009 at 11:00 am

By Dr. Richard A. Warshak, Ph.D.
16970 Dallas Parkway, #202, Dallas, TX 75248

Nineteen ninety-three marked the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of The Feminine Mystique, the book that spearheaded the drive to unlace the cultural straitjacket of rigid sex-role prescriptions. As we expanded the conventional image of women to include roles beyond those of wife, housekeeper, and mother, we encouraged men to think of themselves as more than just husbands and bread-winners. We invited them to become active partners in the delivery room . . . and they accepted. We required their participation in Indian Guides . . . and they complied. We extolled the importance of father-child bonding, trumpeted statistics linking a father’s absence to juvenile delinquency. . . and they listened.

The problem, for some divorcing women, is that their husbands listened too well, and took seriously the call to parenthood. They became emotionally attached to their offspring, and, when the marriage ended, they were unwilling to be demoted to the second string; unwilling to sit on the sidelines of their children’s lives. Although lacking in hard data to prove the point, we have at least the perception that more men are seeking and gaining custody of their children after divorce.

Why is this a problem? Because women do not enjoy living apart from their children any more than do men. Also, most women do not want to relinquish the power that goes with custody. This has led to the ironic situation in which some of the same feminists who, in the early 70s, denounced motherhood as “enslavement” now lead a campaign to protect motherhood from divorced fathers who want more involvement with their children. But they face a crucial dilemma: They need to resurrect the belief that women are uniquely suited to rear children and therefore the natural choice for sole custody without appearing to endorse the notions that biology is destiny and that the sexes merit unequal treatment before the law.

The solution to this dilemma is the linguistic sleight of hand known as the “primary parent presumption.” This guideline would give preference to the parent who is designated “primary” in the child’s life, variously defined as the parent who spends the most time with the child, is more responsible for the child’s day-to-day care, or performs more of the daily repetitive maintenance tasks such as chauffeuring, shopping for clothes, preparing meals, and bathing. Although touted as a gender-neutral standard, everyone agrees that the primary parent presumption would give mothers the same advantage that they enjoyed with the tender years presumption. In fact, law professor Mary Becker advocates dropping the pretense of gender-neutrality and renaming the primary parent presumption the “maternal deference standard.”

Briefly, the argument goes that since women are more involved in primary caregiving, they deserve custody.
Fathers’-rights advocates respond that it is unfair to penalize men for reduced involvement with their children, since they are only fulfilling society’s notions of the man’s role as the family’s breadwinner. Neither side’s arguments are compelling. Both are blinded by the pre-19th century premise that children are property to be “awarded” to the rightful owner. Both sides miss the point that a custody decision should be guided by the needs of the child not the parents’ sense of entitlement.

Some of my colleagues offer arguments in support of the primary parent presumption. They point out that a
woman who has been most involved in her children’s daily care already possesses the requisite skills. She has less to learn than the father and, by virtue of her experience, is probably more competent to assume the duties of sole custody. Also, because the primary parent standard appears less ambiguous than the best interests standard, parents would be less likely to litigate over custody — a distinct advantage to the family. But that may be its only advantage. Under critical appraisal, this proposal suffers many serious drawbacks.

Unless we regard custody as a reward for past deeds, the decision about the children’s living arrangements should reflect a judgment about what situation will best meet their needs now and in the future. Differences in past performance are relevant only if they predict future parental competence and child adjustment. But they do not.

The primary parent presumption overlooks the fact that being a single parent is a very different challenge than being one of two parents in the same home. A consensus of research reveals a predictable deterioration in the single mother’s relationship with her children. After divorce, the average mother has less time and energy for her children and more problems managing their behavior, particularly that of her sons. Research has also demonstrated that despite mother’s greater experience in daily child care, fathers who would not be considered primary caretakers during the marriage are as capable as divorced mothers in managing the responsibilities of custody.

And, most important, their children fare as well as children do in mother-custody homes.

A more basic problem with the proposed standard: How do we determine who is the primary parent? Before divorce parents think of themselves as partners in rearing their children. Whether or not they spend equal time with the children, both parents are important, and mountains of psychological research support this.

Before divorce, we do not rank order parents. Only in the heat of a custody battle do Mom and Dad begin vying for the designation “primary parent.”

On what basis do we award this coveted title? We cannot simply measure the amount of time each parent
spends with the child. Research has established that, beyond a certain minimum, the amount of time a parent spends with a child is a poor index of that parent’s importance to the child, of the quality of their
relationship, or of the parent’s competence in childrearing.
In fact, we all know of parents who are too involved with their children, so-called “smothering” parents who squelch any signs of independence.

If more extensive contact does not make a primary parent, what does? Most definitions provide a list of responsibilities: The primary parent shops for food and clothes, prepares meals, changes diapers, bathes and dresses the child, takes the child to the doctor, and drives the child to school and recreational activities. Such criteria, though, ignore the overriding importance of the quality of parent-child relationships.

Furthermore, critics have argued that this list reflects gender bias. Shopping for food and clothes is included, but not earning the money which funds the shopping trips. Also conspicuously absent are responsibilities typically shared by fathers and in which fathers often predominate, activities such as playing, discipline, moral guidance, encouragement and assistance with school work, gender socialization, coaching team sports, and — something whose significance to children is often overlooked — providing a sense of physical protection and security.

Is the primary caretaker the one who does the most to foster the child’s sense of emotional security, the person to whom the child turns in times of stress — the role we most often associate with mothers? Or is it the parent who does the most to promote the child’s ability to meet the demands of the world outside the family — the role we most often associate with fathers? We really have no basis for preferring one contribution over the other. Both are necessary for healthy psychological functioning.

We can say that both parents contribute distinctively to their child’s welfare. And during different
developmental stages a child may relate better to one parent than the other, or rely on one parent more than
the other. But most children form strong attachments to both parents in the first year of life and maintain important ties to both parents throughout their lives. By rank ordering the importance of parents, we dismiss children’s own experiences of their parents’ value, reinforce gender stereotypes, and perhaps discourage fathers from assuming more parenting responsibilities.

In sum, the primary parent presumption is misinformed, misguided, misleading, and primarily meaningless.

Copyright © 1996 by Richard A. Warshak, Ph.D.
16970 Dallas Parkway, #202, Dallas, TX 75248 Dr. Richard A. Warshak is a clinical, research, and
consulting psychologist, clinical professor of psychology at the University of Texas Southwestern
Medical Center at Dallas, and author of The Custody Revolution and Divorce Poison: Protecting the
Parent-Child Bond From a Vindictive Ex. He has published extensively in the area of divorce and
custody and consults with attorneys, mental health professionals, and families. Additional custody
resources, including material on relocation, overnight access, and parental alienation syndrome,
can be found at http://www.warshak.com.

[A version of this essay was published as Chapter 28 (pages 101-103) in 101+ Practical Solutions for the
Family Lawyer, Gregg M. Herman, Editor, American Bar Association (1996).]

The original article can be found here.

Parental Rights – Analysis by Article of the UNCRC – Part 9 of 9

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Autism, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Christian, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Jayne Major, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Obama, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on June 4, 2009 at 12:30 am

Last year the Parental Rights.org group analyzed article by article the impact of ratification of the
United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (UNCRC) would have on Parental Rights and Children’s Rights in the United States.

Here is that continuing analysis:

Giving the State a Grasp on Your Kids

Part II of an in-depth look at Article 18 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

When Kevin and Peggy Lewis volunteered their child for special education services, they never dreamed they would need a lawyer if they wanted to change their minds. After their son developed several learning issues, including an inability to focus in class and difficulty processing and understanding oral and written communication, the Lewis’s turned to the Cohasset Middle School in Massachusetts for help.1 But after a year in the school’s special education program, their son was not improving academically, and felt harassed by school officials who were closely monitoring and reporting on his behavior – everything from chewing gum in class to forgetting his pencil.2

Initially, the Lewis’s requested that the school pay for private tutoring, but as their relationship with the administration continued to decline, the exasperated parents finally decided to withdraw their son from the school’s program and to pay for private tutoring out of their own pockets.3

Apparently, that option wasn’t good enough for the school.

In December 2007, Cohasset hauled Kevin and Peggy into court, claiming that the parents were interfering with their son’s “constitutional right to a free and appropriate education.”4

After a day-and-a-half of argument, the judge sided with the school in an unwritten opinion.5

“This is truly devastating to all parents who have children on an IEP,” Peggy said, referring to the individual education plans for special education students. “What it means in fact when you sign an IEP for your child, you sign away your parental rights. . . . Now Cohasset has their grasp on my kid.”6

“Help” for Parents

At first glance, it seems odd that a school would take parents to court to compel them to accept state services. After all, as observers of the case commented, schools usually objects when parents demand more aid for their children, not when the parents try to withdraw their child from the program.7

But according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, once parents have asked the state for assistance in raising their children, the state has both the responsibility and the authority to see the job through – even if the parents no longer support the state’s solution.

In addition to imposing legally-enforceable “responsibilities” on parents, Article 18 of the Convention also requires states to “render appropriate assistance to parents and legal guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities,” and to establish “institutions, facilities and services for the care of children.”8

At first glance, the offer of “assistance” to parents may appear harmless, and even generous, but appearances are often deceiving. While the government may claim to offer services to parents on a purely “voluntary” basis, parents soon discover that government “assistance” isn’t always free.

When “voluntary” doesn’t mean “voluntary”

For examples of this dangerous trend, one need look no further than the nation of Sweden, the first western nation to ratify the Convention.

In addition to mandatory sex-education, free child care for working parents, and a national ban on corporal punishment, Sweden’s local municipalities are also required by law to offer parents a broad array of “voluntary” services that promote “the favourable development of children and young persons.”9 Unfortunately, according to Swedish attorney and activist Ruby Harrold-Claesson, voluntary care “in no way is voluntary since the social workers threaten the parents to either give up their child voluntarily or the child will be taken into compulsory care.”10

If the state determines at a later date that the “voluntary” services are not helping, the municipality has both the responsibility and the authority to physically “take a child into care and place him in a foster home, a children’s home or another suitable institution.”11 According to Harrold-Claesson, since the emergence of such programs, “children are being taken from their parents on a more routine basis.”12

Unfortunately, these disturbing trends are not confined to Sweden. Even here in the United States, “voluntary” services for parents are often the first step toward state control of families.

Holding Children Hostage

As a young mother of three, “Katianne H.” faced tremendous difficulties in making ends meet.13 Although she was never unemployed, Katianne had difficulty putting her job ahead of the needs of her young family. So when her three-month-old son Xavier developed severe allergies to milk and soy protein, her pediatrician recommended that she relieve some of the pressure placed upon her by requesting that her son be placed in “temporary out-of-home care.”14 Thinking such a placement was truly “voluntary,” Katianne agreed.

Within a few months, Xavier was weaned from the feeding tube to a bottle, but when Katianne sought to bring him home, the state refused. It would take more than two-and-a-half years – and a decision from the Nebraska Supreme Court – before Katianne would win her baby boy back. 15

In a unanimous ruling, the court said the child should have been returned to his mother as soon as his medical condition was resolved. Instead, state authorities drew up a detailed plan requiring the mother to maintain steady employment, attend therapy and parenting classes, pay her bills on time, keep her house clean, improve her time management, and be cooperative with social workers. When she failed to fully comply with all these obligations within fifteen months, her parental rights were terminated.16

The Court condemned the state for keeping Xavier “out of the home once the reasons for his removal had been resolved,” and warned that a child should never be “held hostage to compel a parent’s compliance with a case plan” when the child could safely be returned home.17

A familiar pattern

According to studies, scholars, lawyers, and advocates, voluntary placement in the United States – like “voluntary” placement in Sweden – is often the first step toward the state getting a grasp on children. Here are just a few examples from within our own borders:

· A 1994 study in New Jersey found that “parents often report signing placement agreements under the threat that court action against them will be taken if they do not sign,” particularly parents who have “language or other barriers making it difficult or impossible for them to read and understand the agreement they were signing.”18 There are also no “clear legal standards to protect a family once it has entered the system,” even if it enters voluntarily: “existing legislation grants judges and caseworkers virtually unrestricted dispositional authority.”19

· In 1998, Melville D. Miller, President and General Counsel of Legal Services of New Jersey, warned that when parents sign voluntary placement agreements, parents give the state “custody of their children without any decision by the court that they have abused or neglected them.”20 In addition, voluntary placement often waives a family’s opportunity for free legal representation in court, leaving families – particularly poor families – with “no assistance in advocating for what they need” when disputes with the state arise.21

· In 1999, Dr. Frank J. Dyer, author and member of the American Board of Professional Psychology, warned that parents can be “intimidated into “voluntarily” signing placement agreements out of a fear that they will lose their children,” and that in his professional counseling experience, birth parents frequently complain that “if they had known from the outset that the document that they were signing for temporary placement of their children into foster care gave the state such enormous power over them, they would have refused to sign and would have sought to resist the placement legally.”22

· The Child Welfare League of America, in its 2004 Family’s Guide to the Child Welfare System, reassures parents that the state “do[es] not have to pursue termination of parental rights,” as long as the state feels that “there is a compelling reason why terminating parental rights would not be in the best interest of the child.”23 If parents and social workers disagree about the fate of a child in “voluntary placement,” the CWLA simply states that “if you decide to bring your child home, and the agency believes that this would interfere with your child’s safety, it has the right to ask the court to intervene. You also have the right to explain to the court why your child’s safety would not be in jeopardy if he came home.”24

· The National Crittenton Foundation, in a web booklet published for young, expectant mothers who are currently in the foster care system, warns in large, bold print that by signing a voluntary placement agreement, “you will most likely lose all custody of your baby, even if you want to regain custody of your baby after you turn 18.”25

Never Too Late

If one can learn anything from the stories of the Lewises, Katianne, and the plight of Swedish parents, it is that the government wields incredible power over parents who have “voluntarily” accepted its aid when caring for their children. These parents are often poor, struggling, and searching for the means to keep their families together, but instead of helping them, the open hand of the state can easily become a clenched fist, either bullying parents into submission or forcibly taking their children from them.

Thankfully, it is not too late to protect children and their families by protecting the fundamental right of parents to raise their children, and to reject government programs that are unneeded or unwanted. The state should only interfere with the family for the most compelling reasons – not because loving parents were misled about the true nature of “voluntary” care.

Please consider sending this message to your friends and urging them to sign the Petition to Protect Parental Rights.

This article was written for ParentalRights.org by Peter Kamakawiwoole, Jan. 29, 2009.

Notes

1. James Vazniz, “Cohasset schools win case v. parents,” The Boston Herald (December 15, 2007) (accessed January 28, 2009).
2. James Vazniz, “Parents want son out of special ed,” The Boston Herald (December 13, 2007) (accessed January 28, 2009).

3. Vazniz, “Cohasset schools win case v. parents.”

4. Vazniz, “Parents want son out of special ed.”

5. Vazniz, “Cohasset schools win case v. parents.”

6. Vazniz, “Cohasset schools win case v. parents.”

7. Vazniz, “Cohasset schools win case v. parents.”

8. UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 18.2.

9. Ruby Harrold-Claesson, “Confiscating Children: When Parents Become Victims,” The Nordic Committee on Human Rights (2005) (accessed January 17, 2009)

10. Harrold-Claesson, “Confiscating Children: When Parents Become Victims”

11. Harrold-Claesson, “Confiscating Children: When Parents Become Victims”

12. Harrold-Claesson, “Confiscating Children: When Parents Become Victims”

13. “Katianne” is the name given to the mother by the Nebraska Supreme Court, which decided her case in In Re Xavier H., 740 N.W.2d 13 (Neb. 2007).

14. In re Xavier H., 740 N.W.2d at 21.

15. “Nebraska Supreme Court returns boy to mother,” Omaha World Herald (October 19, 2007) (accessed January 29, 2009).

16. “Nebraska Supreme Court returns boy to mother.”

17. In re Xavier H., 740 N.W.2d at 26.

18. Emerich Thoma, “If you lived here, you’d be home now: The business of foster care,” Issues in Child Abuse Accusations, Vol. 10 (1998) (accessed January 27, 2009).

19. Thoma, “If you lived here, you’d be home now.”

20. Melville D. Miller, “You and the Law in New Jersey ” (Rutgers University Press, 1998): 200.

21. Miller, You and the Law in New Jersey,” 200.

22. Frank J. Dyer, “Psychological Consultation in Parental Rights Cases” (The Guilford Press, 1999): 26.

23. Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), “Placements to Obtain Treatment and Services for Children,” A Family’s Guide to the Child Welfare System (2004): 5 (accessed January 27, 2009).

24. CWLA, “Placements to Obtain Treatment and Services for Children,” p. 5.

25. The National Crittenton Foundation, “Crittenton Booklet for Web,” pp. 11-12. (accessed January 28, 2009)

Divorce Casualities: Protecting Your Children from Parental Alienation – Book Review

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Freedom, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Torts on June 3, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Description:

Some parents consciously, blatantly, and even maliciously harm their ex-spouse through negative comments and actions. Others simply sigh or tense up at the mention of the other parent, causing guilt and anxiety in the children. The result is a child full of hate, fear, and rejection toward an unknowing and often undeserving parent.

Divorce Casualties: Protecting Your Children from Parental Alienation is the first-ever guide for divorced parents to help you understand the effects of your actions on your children. Parental alienation – behaviors, whether conscious or unconscious, that could evoke a disturbance in the relationship between a child and the other parent – was first recognized among mental health professionals in the mid-1980s. Not until now has there been a book for you, the parent, to turn to for help.

Protecting Your Children from Parental Alienation

Protecting Your Children from Parental Alienation

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
A Cautionary Note
Chapter 1: What is Parental Alienation Syndrome?
Chapter 2: How Parental Alienation Affects Children
Chapter 3: Giving Your Children What They Need
Chapter 4: Why Parents Alienate
Chapter 5: How Parents Alienate
Chapter 6: More Alienation Tactics: Secrecy and Spying
Chapter 7: The Importance of Symbolic Communication
Chapter 8: Values and Discipline
Chapter 9: Parenting Time and Children’s Activities
Chapter 10: Health and Safety
Chapter 11: Allegations of Sexual Abuse
Chapter 12: Significant Others
Chapter 13: Working Successfully with Attorneys, Mediators and Counselors
Chapter 14: When All Else Fails: Seeking a Change in Custody
Chapter 15: What Are You To Do?
Appendix
Custody and The Court System
Bibliography
Index

About the Author:

Dougals Darnall, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and CEO of PsyCare, an outpatient psychology center in Youngstown, Ohio. He teaches workshops and parental alienation syndrome and divorce to mental health care professionals.

Traumatized Teens after Divorce

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes, Torts on June 2, 2009 at 11:00 pm

As a consequence of the epidemic of divorce that has swept the nation in recent decades, millions of young Americans have seen their parents’ marriage torn apart and have then found themselves incorporated into a new stepfamily. The emotions that adolescents experience during this two-step process recently received attention from researchers at Pacific University and Reed College. Their findings are sobering evidence that the members of the younger generation pay a high price for their parents’ marital failures and remarriages.

After conducting a series of in-depth interviews of adolescents affected by parental divorce and re-marriage, the Pacific and Reed scholars are able to identify some common themes. The researchers limn “two recurring reactions” to the first event of interest (namely, parental divorce):

1. largely suppressed feelings over the loss of the biological family, and
2. frustration over the disruption in life by the divorce.”

A somewhat more complex tangle of emotions emerges in adolescents’ characterization of their parents’ remarriage and of their own lives as part of a new stepfamily. The researchers acknowledge that the teens in their study do recognize some “positive aspects of their stepfamily situation”—including “increased material resources, a bigger house, and more gifts on holidays.” However, the researchers see “a preponderance of distress” in teens’ descriptions of stepfamily formation. In surveying the “numerous themes of distress and struggle” in these descriptions, the researchers highlight three:

1. losses in relationships, privacy and space, resulting in sadness, resentment and anger;
2. powerlessness in their tumultuous lives; and
3. confusion and feelings of being overwhelmed by all the changes.

Again and again the adolescents interviewed for this study lament the difficulties of “relocating to a new home and incurring losses of a former home, friends, extended family, school, and time with the noncustodial parent [usually the father].” These teens express “feelings of powerlessness … associated with the development of new family rules, differing values in the new family, and unequal enforcement of discipline among the stepsiblings.” And many of the adolescents struggle with “the burden of divided loyalties between their parents and their stepparent” as they try to sort out their “confusion [over] the changes in power structure.” A number of teens in the study express “open dislike and discord with their stepparent.” Not surprisingly, many of these adolescents have resorted to “‘hiding out’ in their bedrooms, ignoring the stepparent, and talking with friends or siblings [as] solutions to the stress of stepfamily life.”

The authors of the new study find heartening evidence of “resilience” in the “survival strategies” adolescents have developed for “coping with family distress.” But Americans who care about children’s well-being can only fear the long-term consequences of making home a place where teens struggle to survive emotionally.

(Source: Barre M. Stoll, “Adolescents in Stepfamilies: A Qualitative Analysis,” Journal of Divorce & Remarriage 44.1/2 [2005]: 177-189.)

The original article can be found here:
http://www.profam.org/pub/nr/nr.2103.htm#Traumatized_Teens