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Does DSM-IV Have Equivalents for the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Diagnosis?

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, children legal status, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Foster CAre Abuse, judicial corruption, MMPI, MMPI 2, mothers rights, Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, National Parents Day, Obama, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, state crimes on November 7, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Does DSM-IV Have Equivalents for the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Diagnosis?

Richard A. Gardner. M.D.
Department of Child Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University, New York, New York, USA

Child custody evaluators commonly find themselves confronted with resistance when they attempt to use the term parental alienation syndrome (PAS) in courts of law. Although convinced that the patient being evaluated suffers with the disorder, they often find that the attorneys who represent alienated parents, although agreeing with the diagnosis, will discourage use of the term in the evaluators’ reports and testimony. Most often, they will request that the evaluator merely use the term parental alienation (PA). On occasion they will ask whether other DSM-IV diagnoses may be applicable. The purpose of this article is to elucidate the reasons for the reluctance to use the PAS diagnosis and the applicability of PA as well as current DSM-IV substitute diagnoses.

Mental health professionals, family law attorneys, and judges are generally in agreement that in recent years we have seen a disorder in which one parent alienates the child against the other parent. This problem is especially common in the context of child-custody disputes where such programming enables the indoctrinating parent to gain leverage in the court of law. There is significant controversy, however, regarding the term to use for this phenomenon. In 1985 I introduced the term parental alienation syndrome to describe this phenomenon (Gardner, 1985a).

The Parental Alienation Syndrome

In association with this burgeoning of child-custody litigation, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the frequency of a disorder rarely seen previously, a disorder that I refer to as the parental alienation syndrome (PAS). In this disorder we see not only programming (“brainwashing”) of the child by one parent to denigrate the other parent, but self-created contributions by the child in support of the alienating parent’s campaign of denigration against the alienated parent. Because of the child’s contribution I did not consider the terms brainwashing, programming, or other equivalent words to be sufficient. Furthermore, I observed a cluster of symptoms that typically appear together, a cluster that warranted the designation syndrome. Accordingly, I introduced the term parental alienation syndrome to encompass the combination of these two contributing factors that contributed to the development of the syndrome (Gardner, 1985a). In accordance with this use of the term I suggest this definition of the parental alienation syndrome:

The parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is a childhood disorder that arises almost exclusively in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parent’s indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent. When true parental abuse and/or neglect is present, the child’s animosity may be justified and so the parental alienation syndrome explanation for the child’s hostility is not applicable.

It is important to note that indoctrinating a PAS into a child is a form of abuse—emotional abuse—because it can reasonably result in progressive attenuation of the psychological bond between the child and a loving parent. In many cases it can result in total destruction of that bond, with lifelong alienation. In some cases, then, it may be even worse than other forms of abuse, e.g., physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. A parent who demonstrates such reprehensible behavior has a serious parenting defect, their professions of exemplary parenting notwithstanding. Typically, they are so intent on destroying the bond between the child and the alienated parent that they blind themselves to the formidable psychological consequences on the child of their PAS indoctrinations, both at the time of the indoctrinations and in the future.

Most evaluators, family law attorneys, and judges recognize that such programming and child alienation is common in the context of child-custody disputes. They agree, also, that there are situations in which the child’s alienation is the result of parental programming. Some object to the use of the term syndrome and claim that it is not a syndrome, but that the term parental alienation (PA) should be used. The problem with the use of the term PA is that there are many reasons why a child might be alienated from parents, reasons having nothing to do with programming. A child might be alienated from a parent because of parental abuse of the child, e.g., physical, emotional, or sexual. A child might be alienated because of parental neglect. Children with conduct disorders are often alienated from their parents, and adolescents commonly go through phases of alienation. The PAS is well viewed as one subtype of parental alienation. Accordingly, substituting the term PA for PAS cannot but cause confusion.

Is the PAS a True Syndrome?

Some who prefer to use the term parental alienation (PA) claim that the PAS is not really a syndrome. This position is especially seen in courts of law in the context of child-custody disputes. A syndrome, by medical definition, is a cluster of symptoms, occurring together, that characterize a specific disease. The symptoms, although seemingly disparate, warrant being grouped together because of a common etiology or basic underlying cause. Furthermore, there is a consistency with regard to such a cluster in that most (if not all) of the symptoms appear together. The term syndrome is more specific than the related term disease. A disease is usually a more general term, because there can be many causes of a particular disease. For example, pneumonia is a disease, but there are many types of pneumonia—e.g., pneumococcal pneumonia and bronchopneumonia—each of which has more specific symptoms, and each of which could reasonably be considered a syndrome (although common usage may not utilize the term).

The syndrome has a purity because most (if not all) of the symptoms in the cluster predictably manifest themselves together as a group. Often, the symptoms appear to be unrelated, but they actually are because they usually have a common etiology. An example would be Down’s Syndrome, which includes a host of seemingly disparate symptoms that do not appear to have a common link. These include mental retardation, Mongoloid faces, drooping lips, slanting eyes, short fifth finger, and atypical creases in the palms of the hands. Down’s Syndrome patients often look very much alike and most typically exhibit all these symptoms. The common etiology of these disparate symptoms relates to a specific chromosomal abnormality. It is this genetic factor that is responsible for linking together these seemingly disparate symptoms. There is then a primary, basic cause of Down’s Syndrome: a genetic abnormality.

Similarly, the PAS is characterized by a cluster of symptoms that usually appear together in the child, especially in the moderate and severe types. These include:

     

  1. A campaign of denigration
  2. Weak, absurd, or frivolous rationalizations for the deprecation
  3. Lack of ambivalence
  4. The “independent-thinker” phenomenon
  5. Reflexive support of the alienating parent in the parental conflict
  6. Absence of guilt over cruelty to and/or exploitation of the alienated parent
  7. The presence of borrowed scenarios
  8. Spread of the animosity to the friends and/or extended family of the alienated parent
  9.  

Typically, children who suffer with PAS will exhibit most (if not all) of these symptoms. However, in the mild cases one might not see all eight symptoms. When mild cases progress to moderate or severe, it is highly likely that most (if not all) of the symptoms will be present. This consistency results in PAS children resembling one another. It is because of these considerations that the PAS is a relatively “pure” diagnosis that can easily be made. Because of this purity, the PAS lends itself well to research studies because the population to be studied can usually be easily identified. Furthermore, I am confident that this purity will be verified by future interrater reliability studies. In contrast, children subsumed under the rubric PA are not likely to lend themselves well to research studies because of the wide variety of disorders to which it can refer, e.g., physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and defective parenting. As is true of other syndromes, there is in the PAS a specific underlying cause: programming by an alienating parent in conjunction with additional contributions by the programmed child. It is for these reasons that PAS is indeed a syndrome, and it is a syndrome by the best medical definition of the term.

In contrast, PA is not a syndrome and has no specific underlying cause. Nor do the proponents of the term PA claim that it is a syndrome. Actually, PA can be viewed as a group of syndromes, which share in common the phenomenon of the child’s alienation from a parent. To refer to PA as a group of syndromes would, by necessity, lead to the conclusion that the PAS is one of the syndromes subsumed under the PA rubric and would thereby weaken the argument of those who claim that PAS is not a syndrome.

The PAS and DSM-IV

There are some, especially adversaries in child-custody disputes, who claim that there is no such entity as the PAS. This position is especially likely to be taken by legal and mental health professionals who are supporting the position of someone who is clearly a PAS programmer. The main argument given to justify this position is that the PAS does not appear in DSM-IV. To say that PAS does not exist because it is not listed in DSM-IV is like saying in 1980 that AIDS (Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome) did not exist because it was not then listed in standard diagnostic medical textbooks. DSM-IV was published in 1994. From 1991 to 1993, when DSM committees were meeting to consider the inclusion of additional disorders, there were too few articles in the literature to warrant submission of the PAS for consideration. That is no longer the case. It is my understanding that committees will begin to meet for the next edition of the DSM (probably to be called DSM-V) in 2002 or 2003. Considering the fact that there are now at least 133 articles in peer-review journals on the PAS, it is highly likely that by that time there will be even more articles. (A list of peer-reviewed PAS articles is to be found on my website, www.rgardner.com/refs, a list that is continually being updated.)

It is important to note that DSM-IV does not frivolously accept every new proposal. Their requirements are very stringent with regard to the inclusion of newly described clinical entities. The committees require many years of research and numerous publications in peer-review scientific journals before considering the inclusion of a disorder, and justifiably so. Gille de La Tourette first described his syndrome in 1885. It was not until 1980, 95 years later, that the disorder found its way into the DSM. It is important to note that at that point, Tourette’s Syndrome became Tourette’s Disorder. Asperger first described his syndrome in 1957. It was not until 1994, 37 years later, that it was accepted into DSM-IV and Asperger’s Syndrome became Asperger’s Disorder.

DSM-IV states specifically that all disorders contained in the volume are “syndromes or patterns” (p. xxi), and they would not be there if they were not syndromes (American Psychiatric Association, 1994). Once accepted, the name syndrome is changed to disorder. However, this is not automatically the pattern for nonpsychiatric disorders. Often the term syndrome becomes locked into the name and becomes so well known that changing the word syndrome to disorder would seem awkward. For example, Down’s syndrome, although well recognized, has never become Down’s disorder. Similarly, AIDS (Autoimmune Deficiency Syndrome) is a well-recognized disease but still retains the syndrome term.

One of the most important (if not the most important) determinants as to whether a newly described disorder will be accepted into the DSM is the quantity and quality of research articles on the clinical entity, especially articles that have been published in peer-review journals. The committees are particularly interested in interrater reliability studies that will validate the relative “purity” of the disease entity being described. PAS lends itself well to such studies; PA does not. One of the first steps one must take when setting up a scientific study is to define and circumscribe the group(s) being studied. PAS lends itself well to such circumscription. PA is so diffuse and all-encompassing that no competent researcher would consider such a group to be a viable object of study. Whether one is going to study etiology, symptomatic manifestations, pathogenesis, treatment modalities, treatment efficacy, or conduct follow-up studies, one is more likely to obtain meaningful results if one starts with a discrete group (such as PAS) than if one starts with an amorphous group (such as PA). One of the major criticisms directed against many research projects is that the authors’ study group was not “pure” enough and/or well-selected enough to warrant the professed conclusions. Studies of PAS children are far less likely to justify this criticism than studies of PA children.

Whereas the PAS may ultimately be recognized in DSM-V, it is extremely unlikely that DSM committees will consider an entity referred to as parental alienation. It is too vague a term and covers such a wide variety of clinical phenomena that they could not justifiably be clumped together to warrant inclusion in DSM as a specific disorder. Because listing in the DSM ensures admissibility in courts of law, those who use the term PA instead of PAS are lessening the likelihood that PAS will be listed in DSM-V. The result will be that many PAS families will be deprived of the proper recognition they deserve in courts of law, which often depend heavily on the DSM.

Recognition of the PAS in Courts of Law

Some who hesitate to use the term PAS claim that it has not been accepted in courts of law. This is not so. Although there are certainly judges who have not recognized the PAS, there is no question that courts of law with increasing rapidity are recognizing the disorder. My website (www.rgardner.com/refs) currently cites 66 cases in which the PAS has been recognized. By the time this article is published, the number of citations will certainly be greater. Furthermore, I am certain that there are other citations that have not been brought to my attention.

It is important to note that on January 30, 2001, after a two-day hearing devoted to whether the PAS satisfied Frye Test criteria for admissibility in a court of law, a Tampa, Florida court ruled that the PAS had gained enough acceptance in the scientific community to be admissible in a court of law (Kilgore v. Boyd, 2001). This ruling was subsequently affirmed by the District Court of Appeals (February 6, 2001). In the course of my testimony, I brought to the court’s attention the more than 100 peer-reviewed articles (there are 133 at the time of this writing) by approximately 150 other authors and over 40 court rulings (there are 66 at the time of this writing) in which the PAS had been recognized. These lists of the PAS peer-reviewed articles and legal citations are frequently updated on my website (www.rgardner.com). I am certain that these publications played an important role in the judge’s decision. This case will clearly serve as a precedent and facilitate the admission of the PAS in other cases—not only in Florida, but elsewhere.

Whereas there are some courts of law that have not recognized PAS, there are far fewer courts that have not recognized PA. This is one of the important arguments given by those who prefer the term PA. They do not risk an opposing attorney claiming that PA does not exist or that courts of law have not recognized it. There are some evaluators who recognize that children are indeed suffering with a PAS, but studiously avoid using the term in their reports and courtroom, because they fear that their testimony will not be admissible. Accordingly, they use PA, which is much safer, because they are protected from the criticisms so commonly directed at those who use PAS. Later in this article I will detail the reasons why I consider this position injudicious.

Many of those who espouse PA claim not to be concerned with the fact that their more general construct will be less useful in courts of law. Their primary interest, they profess, is the expansion of knowledge about children’s alienation from parents. Considering the fact that the PAS is primarily (if not exclusively) a product of the adversary system, and considering the fact that PAS symptoms are directly proportionate to the intensity of the parental litigation, and considering the fact that the court that has more power than the therapist to alleviate and even cure the disorder, PA proponents who claim no concern for the long-term legal implications of their position are injudicious and, I suspect, their claims of unconcern are specious.

Sources of the Controversy Over the Parental Alienation Syndrome

There are some who claim that because there is such controversy swirling around the PAS, there must be something specious about the existence of the disorder. Those who discount the PAS entirely because it is “controversial” sidestep the real issues, namely, what specifically has engendered the controversy, and, more importantly, is the PAS formulation reasonable and valid? The fact that something is controversial does not invalidate it. But why do we have such controversy over the PAS? With regard to whether PAS exists, we generally do not see such controversy regarding most other clinical entities in psychiatry. Examiners may have different opinions regarding the etiology and treatment of a particular psychiatric disorder, but there is usually some consensus about its existence. And this should especially be the case for a relatively “pure” disorder such as the PAS, a disorder that is easily diagnosable because of the similarity of the children’s symptoms when one compares one family with another. Why, then, should there be such controversy over whether or not PAS exists?

The PAS and the Adversary System

The PAS is very much a product of the adversary system (Gardner, 1985a, 1986, 1987a, 1987b, 1989, 1992, 1998). Furthermore, a court of law is generally the place where clients attempt to resolve the PAS. Most newly developed scientific principles inevitably become controversial when they are dealt with in the courtroom. It behooves the attorneys — when working within the adversary system — to take an adversarial stand and create controversy where it may not exist. In that setting, it behooves one side to take just the opposite position from the other if one is to prevail. Furthermore, it behooves each attorney to attempt to discredit the experts of the opposing counsel. A good example of this phenomenon is the way in which DNA testing was dealt with in the OJ Simpson trial. DNA testing is one of the most scientifically valid procedures for identifying perpetrators. Yet the jury saw fit to question the validity of such evidence, and DNA became, for that trial, controversial. I strongly suspect that those jury members who concluded that DNA evidence was not scientifically valid for OJ Simpson would have vehemently fought for its admissibility if they themselves were being tried for a crime, which they did not commit. I am certain, as well, that any man in that jury who found himself falsely accused of paternity would be quite eager to accept DNA proof of his innocence.

The Denial of the PAS is the Primary Defense of the Alienator

A parent accused of inducing a PAS in a child is likely to engage the services of a lawyer who may invoke the argument that there is no such thing as a PAS. The reasoning goes like this: “If there is no such thing as the PAS, then there is no programmer, and therefore my client cannot be accused of brainwashing the children.” This is an extremely important point, and I cannot emphasize it strongly enough. It is a central element in the controversy over the PAS, a controversy that has been played out in courtrooms not only in the United States but in various other countries as well. And if the allegedly dubious lawyer can demonstrate that the PAS is not listed in DSM-IV, then the position is considered “proven” (I say “allegedly” because the lawyer may well recognize the PAS but is only serving his client by his deceitfulness). The only thing this proves is that in 1994 DSM-IV did not list the PAS. The lawyers hope, however, that the judge will be taken in by this specious argument and will then conclude that if there is no PAS, there is no programming, and so the client is thereby exonerated. Substituting the term PA circumvents this problem. No alienator is identified, the sources are vaguer, and the causes could lie with the mother, the father, or both. The drawback here is that the evaluator may not provide the court with proper information about the cause of the children’s alienation. It lessens the likelihood, then, that the court will have the proper data with which to make its recommendations.

Which Term to Use in the Courtroom: PA or PAS?

Many examiners, then, even those who recognize the existence of the PAS, may consciously and deliberately choose to use the term parental alienation in the courtroom. Their argument may go along these lines: “I fully recognize that there is such a disease as the PAS. I have seen many such cases and it is a widespread phenomenon. However, if I mention PAS in my report, I expose myself to criticism in the courtroom such as, ‘It doesn’t exist,’ ‘It’s not in DSM-IV’ etc. Therefore, I just use PA, and no one denies that.” I can recognize the attractiveness of this argument, but I have serious reservations about this way of dealing with the controversy—especially in a court of law.

Using PA is basically a terrible disservice to the PAS family because the cause of the children’s alienation is not properly identified. It is also a compromise in one’s obligation to the court, which is to provide accurate and useful information so that the court will be in the best position to make a proper ruling. Using PA is an abrogation of this responsibility; using PAS is in the service of fulfilling this obligation.

Furthermore, evaluators who use PA instead of PAS are losing sight of the fact that they are impeding the general acceptance of the term in the courtroom. This is a disservice to the legal system, because it deprives the legal network of the more specific PAS diagnosis that could be more helpful to courts for dealing with such families. Moreover, using the PA term is shortsighted because it lessens the likelihood that some future edition of DSM will recognize the subtype of PA that we call PAS. This not only has diagnostic implications, but even more importantly, therapeutic implications. The diagnoses included in the DSM serve as a foundation for treatment. The symptoms listed therein serve as guidelines for therapeutic interventions and goals. Insurance companies (who are always quick to look for reasons to deny coverage) strictly refrain from providing coverage for any disorder not listed in the DSM. Accordingly, PAS families cannot expect to be covered for treatment. I describe below additional diagnoses that are applicable to the PAS, diagnoses that justify requests for insurance coverage. Examiners in both the mental health and legal professions who genuinely recognize the PAS, but who refrain from using the term until it appears in DSM, are lessening the likelihood that it will ultimately be included, because widespread utilization is one of the criteria that DSM committees consider. Such restraint, therefore, is an abrogation of their responsibility to contribute to the enhancement of knowledge in their professions.

There is, however, a compromise. I use PAS in all those reports in which I consider the diagnosis justified. I also use the PAS term throughout my testimony. However, I sometimes make comments along these lines, both in my reports and in my testimony:

Although I have used the term PAS, the important questions for the court are: Are these children alienated? What is the cause of the alienation? and What can we then do about it? So if one wants to just use the term PA, one has learned something. But we haven’t really learned very much, because everyone involved in this case knows well that the children have been alienated. The question is what is the cause of the children’s alienation? In this case the alienation is caused by the mother’s (father’s) programming and something must be done about protecting the children from the programming. That is the central issue for this court in this case, and it is more important than whether one is going to call the disorder PA or PAS, even though I strongly prefer the PAS term for the reasons already given.

In addition, if the court does not wish to recognize the PAS diagnosis there are other DSM-IV diagnoses that are very much applicable in this case. For the alienating father (mother) the following diagnoses are warranted: (the examiner can select from the list provided in the next section of this article). For the PAS child the following DSM-IV diagnoses are warranted: (the examiner can select from the list provided in the next section of this article). With regard to the alienated parent, the mother (father), no DSM-IV diagnosis is warranted. (However, a DSM-IV diagnosis may be warranted, but generally it is not related to the PAS as the symptoms have not played a role in contributing to the disorder).

I wish to emphasize that I do not routinely include this compromise, because whenever I do so, I recognize that I am providing support for those who are injudiciously eschewing the term and compromising thereby their professional obligations to their clients and the court.

Warshak (1999, 2001), has also addressed the PA vs. PAS controversy. He emphasizes the point that espousers of both PA and PAS agree that in the severe cases the only hope for the victimized children is significant restriction of the programmer’s access to the children and, in many cases, custodial transfer—sometimes via a transitional site. Warshak concludes that the arguments for the utilization for PAS outweigh the arguments for the utilization of PA, although he has more sympathy for the PA position than do I. Elsewhere, I have also addressed myself to this issue (Gardner, 2002).

DSM-IV Diagnoses Related to the Parental Alienation Syndrome

Examiners writing reports for and testifying in courts of law can generally find diagnoses in DSM-IV that are immune to the argument, “It doesn’t exist because it’s not in DSM-IV.” These diagnoses are not identical to the PAS, but they have common elements that can justify their utilization. None of them, however, are identical to the PAS and cannot be used as substitutes for it. I present here those that are most applicable and potentially useful in courts of law.

Diagnoses Applicable to Both Alienating Parents and PAS Childrem

297.3 Shared Psychotic Disorder

     

  1. A delusion develops in an individual in the context of a close relationship with another person(s) who has an already-established delusion.
  2. The delusion is similar in content to that of the person who already has the established delusion.
  3.  

This DSM-IV diagnosis is warranted in some of the severe PAS cases in which the programmer is paranoid, and the child’s campaign of denigration incorporates the same paranoid ideation. In a sense, most of the moderate, and even some of the mild cases of PAS, are examples of the folie à deux phenomenon. However, one cannot justifiably consider the mild and moderate cases of PAS to warrant the label psychotic with the implication of complete break with reality. In severe cases we do see bona fide delusions of persecution that can justifiably be considered paranoid. Most often, the delusional system is circumscribed to the alienated parent. It is important to note that this single diagnosis can be applied to both the alienator and the alienated child.

V61.20 Parent-Child Relational Problem

This category should be used when the focus of clinical attention is a pattern of interaction between parent and child (e.g., impaired communication, overprotection, inadequate discipline) that is associated with clinically significant impairment in individual or family functioning or the development of clinically significant symptoms in parent or child.

This diagnosis generally applies to a dyad. Obviously, there are a wide variety of parent-child relational problems that have nothing to do with PAS. In fact, it is reasonable to state that parent-child relational problems probably began with the first families that existed. This diagnosis is an excellent example of the aforementioned principle that none of the DSM-IV diagnoses described here can be reasonably substituted for the PAS. Rather, they are best viewed as disorders that have some symptoms in common with the PAS and may therefore justify being listed as additional diagnoses.

In the PAS situation there is a pathological dyad between the alienating parent and the child and another pathological dyad between the alienated parent and the child. The pathological dyad between the alienated parent and the child is one in which the child is being programmed into a campaign of denigration against the previously loving parent. The child is being programmed to exhibit any and all of the primary symptomatic manifestations of the PAS. With regard to the relationship between the child and the alienated parent, the child exhibits inordinate hostility, denigration, and fear of the target parent to the point where that parent is viewed as noxious and loathsome. Examiners using this criterion do well to emphasize that two separate parent-child relational problems are manifested.

Diagnoses Applicable to Alienating Parents

297.71 Delusional Disorder

     

  1. Nonbizarre delusions (i.e., involving situations that occur in real life, such as being followed, poisoned, infected, loved at a distance, or deceived by spouse or lover, or having a disease) of at least 1 month’s duration.
  2.  

Of the various subtypes of delusional disorder, the one that is most applicable to the PAS:

Persecutory Type: delusions that the person (or someone to whom the person is close) is being malevolently treated in some way

This diagnosis is generally applicable to the PAS indoctrinator who may initially recognize that the complaints about the behavior of the alienated parent are conscious and deliberate fabrications. However, over time, the fabrications may become delusions, actually believed by the programming parent. And the same process may ultimately be applicable to the child. Specifically, at first the child may recognize that the professions of hatred are feigned and serve to ingratiate the child to the programmer. However, over time the child may come to actually believe what were originally conscious and deliberate fabrications. When that point is reached the delusional disorder diagnosis is applicable to the child. Generally, this diagnosis is applicable to relentless programmers who are obsessed with their hatred of the victim parent, by which time the child will have probably entered the severe level of PAS. It is to be noted that when the PAS is present, most often one observes a circumscribed delusional system, confined almost exclusively to the alienated parent. This diagnosis may also be applicable to the PAS child, especially the child who is in the severe category.

301.0 Paranoid Personality Disorder

     

  1. A pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others such that their motives are interpreted as malevolent, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:
    1. suspects, without sufficient basis, that others are exploiting, harming, or deceiving him or her
    2. is preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends or associates
    3. is reluctant to confide in others because of unwarranted fear that the information will be used maliciously against him or her
    4. reads hidden demeaning or threatening meanings into benign remarks or events
    5. persistently bears grudges, i.e., is unforgiving of insults, injuries, or slights
    6. perceives attacks on his or her character or reputation that are not apparent to others and is quick to react angrily or to counterattack
    7. has recurrent suspicions, without justification, regarding fidelity of spouse or sexual partner
  2.  

PAS programmers who warrant this diagnosis would often satisfy these criteria before the marital separation. A detailed history from the victim parent as well as collaterals may be important because the programming parent is not likely to directly reveal such symptoms. They may, however, reveal them in the course of the evaluation, because they are such deep-seated traits, and are so deeply embedded in their personality structure, that they cannot be hidden. Most people involved in protracted child-custody litigation become “a little paranoid,” and this is often revealed by elevations on the paranoid scale of the MMPI. After all, there are indeed people who are speaking behind the patient’s back, are plotting against them, and are developing schemes and strategies with opposing lawyers. This reality results in an elevation of the paranoid scale in people who would not have manifested such elevations prior to the onset of the litigation. We see here how adversarial proceedings intensify psychopathology in general (Gardner, 1986), and in this case, paranoid psychopathology especially. The PAS child is less likely to warrant this diagnosis. When the severe level is reached PAS children may warrant the aforementioned Shared Psychotic Disorder diagnosis. On occasion, the diagnosis Schizophrenia, Paranoid Type (295.30) is warranted for the programming parent, but such patients generally exhibited other manifestations of schizophrenia, especially prior to the separation. It goes beyond the purposes of this paper to detail the marital symptoms of schizophrenia which should be investigated if the examiner has reason to believe that this diagnosis may be applicable.

It is important for the examiner to appreciate that there is a continuum from delusional disorder, to paranoid personality disorder, to paranoid schizophrenia. Furthermore, in the course of protracted litigation, a patient may move along the track from the milder to a more severe disorder on this continuum.

301.83 Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

A pervasive pattern of instability of interpersonal relationships, self-image, and affects, and marked impulsivity beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

     

  1. frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
    Note:Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  2. a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation
  3. identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self
  4. impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating).
    Note Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.
  5. recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
  6. affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g. intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
  7. chronic feelings of emptiness
  8. inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)
  9. transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms
  10.  

Some alienators may exhibit some of these symptoms prior to the separation. However, as a result of the stresses of the separation, the symptoms may progress to the point where the diagnosis is applicable. Criterion (1) is likely to be exhibited soon after the separation because the marital dissolution is generally associated with real feelings of abandonment. Criterion (2) is often seen when there is a dramatic shift from idealization of the spouse to extreme devaluation. The campaign of denigration is the best example of this manifestation of BPD.

Criterion (4) may manifest itself by excessive spending, especially when such spending causes significant stress and grief to the alienated parent. Following the separation, alienating parents may satisfy Criterion (6) with affect instability, irritability, and intense episodic dysphoria. Although such reactions are common among most people involved in a divorce, especially when litigating the divorce, patients with BPD exhibit these symptoms to an even greater degree. Chronic feelings of emptiness (Criterion [7]) go beyond those that are generally felt by people following a separation. Criterion (8) is extremely common among PAS programmers. The tirades of anger against the alienated parent serve as a model for the child and contribute to the development of the campaign of denigration. The stress-related paranoia, an intensification of the usual suspiciousness exhibited by people involved in litigation, may reach the point that Criterion (9) is satisfied.

The examiner should note which of the symptoms are present and comment: “Five criteria need to be satisfied for the BPD diagnosis. Ms. X satisfies four. Although she does not qualify for the diagnosis at this point, she is at high risk for its development. Furthermore, when one lists diagnoses at the end of the report one might note the DSM-IV diagnosis and add in parenthesis “incipient.”

301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

     

  1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements
  2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  4. requires excessive admiration
  5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  7. lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
  10.  

My experience has been that most PAS indoctrinators do not satisfy enough criteria (five) to warrant this diagnosis. However, many do exhibit three or four of them, which is worthy of the examiner’s attention and should be noted in the report.

Criterion (5) is especially common in PAS indoctrinators. They act as if court orders have absolutely nothing to do with them, even though their names may be specifically spelled out in the ruling. Unfortunately, they often violate these orders with impunity because courts are typically lax with regard to implementing punitive measures for PAS contemnors. As mentioned in other publications of mine (Gardner, 1998; 2001), the failure of courts to take action against PAS programmers is one of the most common reasons why the symptoms become entrenched in the children.

Criterion (6) is often frequently satisfied by the programmer’s ongoing attempts to extract ever more money from the victim parent, but feels little need to allow access to the children. There is no sense of shame or guilt over this common form of exploitation. The programmer’s lack of empathy and sympathy for the victim parent is quite common and easily satisfies Criterion (7). The PAS, by definition, is a disorder in which a programmer tries to destroy the bond between the children and a good, loving parent. In order to accomplish the goal, the alienator must have a serious deficiency in the ability to empathize with the target parent. Criterion (9) is often seen in that PAS indoctrinators are often haughty and arrogant and this symptom goes along with their sense of entitlement. Again, if warranted, the diagnosis can be listed as “incipient.”

DSM-IV Diagnoses Applicable to PAS Children

312.8 Conduct Disorder

  1. A repetitive and persistent pattern of behavior in which the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms or rules are violated, as manifested by the presence of three (or more) of the following criteria in the past 12 months, with at least one criterion present in the past 6 months:
  2.  

This diagnosis is often applicable to the PAS child, especially in situations when the conduct disturbances are the most salient manifestation. Under such circumstances, an examiner who is not familiar with the PAS may erroneously conclude that this is the only diagnosis. Such a conclusion necessitates selective inattention to the programming process, which is the hallmark of the PAS. Once again, we see here how a diagnosis, although in DSM-IV, cannot be used as a substitute for the PAS, but may be used as an additional diagnosis. I will not list here all 15 of the DSM-IV criteria, but only those that are most applicable to the PAS:

    Aggression to people and animals

     

  1. often bullies, threatens, or intimidates others
  2. often initiates physical fights
  3. has used a weapon that can cause serious physical harm to others (e.g., a bat, brick, broken bottle, knife, gun)
  4. has been physically cruel to animals
  5. has stolen while confronting a victim (e.g., mugging, purse snatching, extortion, armed robbery) Destruction of property
  6. has deliberately engaged in fire setting with the intention of causing serious damage
  7. has deliberately destroyed others’ property (other than by fire setting)Deceitfulness or theft
  8. often lies to obtain goods or favors or to avoid obligations (i.e., “cons” others)
  9. has stolen items of nontrivial value without confronting a victim (e.g., shoplifting, but without breaking and entering; forgery)Serious violations of rules
  10. has run away from home overnight at least twice while living in parental or parental surrogate home (or once without returning for a lengthy period
  11.  

As can be seen, most of the 15 criteria for the conduct disorder diagnosis can be satisfied by PAS children, especially those in the severe category. The target parent is very much scapegoated and victimized by PAS children. In severe cases they are screamed at, intimidated, and sometimes physically assaulted with objects such as bats, bottles, and knives. The child may perpetrate acts of sabotage in the home of the victim parent. Destruction of property in that person’s home is common and, on rare occasion, even fire setting. Deceitfulness is common, especially fabrications facilitated and supported by the alienator. Stealing things, such as legal documents and important records, and bringing them to the home of the alienator is common. Running away from the home of the target parent and returning to the home of the alienator is common, especially in moderate and severe cases.

309.21 Separation Anxiety Disorder

     

  1. Developmentally inappropriate and excessive anxiety concerning separation from home or from those to whom the individual is attached, as evidenced by three (or more) of the following:
  2.  

I reproduce here those of the eight criteria that are applicable to the PAS:

1) recurrent excessive distress when separation from home or major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated

4) persistent reluctance or refusal to go to school or elsewhere because of fear of separation

8) repeated complaints of physical symptoms (such as headaches, stomachaches, nausea, or vomiting) when separation from major attachment figures occurs or is anticipated

It is important for the reader to appreciate that the original diagnosis for separation anxiety disorder was school phobia. The term separation anxiety disorder is a relatively recent development emerging from the recognition that the child’s fear was less that of the school per se and much more related to the fear of separation from a parent, commonly an overprotective mother (Gardner, 1985b). DSM-IV recognizes this and doesn’t necessarily require the school to be the object of fear, but rather separation from the home, especially from someone with whom the child is pathologically attached.

It is important to note that the PAS child’s hatred of the victim parent has less to do with actual dislike of that parent and has much more to do with fear that if affection is displayed toward the target parent, the alienating parent will be angry at and rejecting of the child. At the prospect of going with the victim parent, the child may exhibit a wide variety of psychosomatic symptoms, all manifestations of the tension associated with the visit. The distress may be especially apparent when the alienating parent is at the site of the transfer. The child recognizes that expression of willingness or happiness to go off with the alienated parent might result in rejection by the alienator. The separation anxiety disorder diagnosis is most often applicable to the mild and moderate cases of PAS. In the severe cases, the anxiety element is less operative than the anger element.

When applying these criteria to the PAS child, one does well to substitute the PAS indoctrinating parent for the parent with whom the child is pathologically attached. At the same time one should substitute the alienated parent for the school or other place outside the child’s home. When one does this, one can see how most of the aforementioned criteria apply. When the child with a separation anxiety disorder is fearful of leaving the home to go to many destinations, the school is the destination the child most fears. It is there that the child feels imprisoned. In contrast, PAS children generally fear only the target parent and are not afraid to leave the programming parent and go elsewhere, such as to the homes of friends and relatives. In short, the PAS child’s fear is focused on the alienated parent. In contrast, the child with a separation anxiety disorder has fears that focus on school but which have spread to many other situations and destinations.

300.15 Dissociative Disorder
Not Otherwise Specified

This category is included for disorders in which the predominant feature is a dissociative symptom (i.e., a disruption in the usually integrated functions of consciousness, memory, identity, or perception of the environment) that does not meet the criteria for any specific Dissociative Disorder. Examples include:

     

  1. States of dissociation that occur in individuals who have been subjected to periods of prolonged and coercive persuasion (e.g., brainwashing, thought reform, or indoctrination while captive).
  2.  

Of the four categories of dissociative disorder (NOS), only Category 3 is applicable to the PAS. This criterion was designed for people who have been subjected to cult indoctrinations or for military prisoners subjected to brainwashing designed to convert their loyalty from their homeland to the enemy that has imprisoned them. It is very applicable to PAS children, especially those in the severe category. Such children have been programmed to convert their loyalty from a loving parent to the brainwashing parent exclusively. Cult victims and those subjected to prisoner indoctrinations often appear to be in a trance-like state in which they profess their indoctrinations in litany-like fashion. PAS children as well (especially those in the severe category) are often like robots or automatons in the way in which they profess the campaign of denigration in litany-like fashion. They seem to be in an altered state of consciousness when doing so.

Adjustment Disorders

The following subtypes of adjustment disorders are sometimes applicable to PAS children:

309.0 With Depressed Mood.

309.24 With Anxiety.

309.28 With Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood.

309.3 With Disturbance of Conduct.

309.4 With Mixed Disturbance of Emotions and Conduct

Each of these types of adjustment disorders may be applicable to the PAS child. The child is indeed adjusting to a situation in which one parent is trying to convince the youngster that a previously loving, dedicated, and loyal parent has really been noxious, loathsome, and dangerous. The programmed data does not seem to coincide with what the child has experienced. This produces confusion. The child fears that any expression of affection for the target parent will result in rejection by the alienator. Under such circumstances, the child may respond with anxiety, depression, and disturbances of conduct.

313.9 Disorder of Infancy, Childhood or Adolescence Not Otherwise Specified

This category is a residual category for disorders with onset in infancy, childhood, or adolescence that do not meet criteria for any specific order in the Classification.

This would be a “last resort” diagnosis for the PAS child, the child who, although suffering with a PAS, does not have symptoms that warrant other DSM-IV childhood diagnoses. However, if one still feels the need to use a DSM-IV diagnosis, especially if the report will be compromised without one, then this last-resort diagnosis can justifiably be utilized. However, it is so vague that it says absolutely nothing other than that the person who is suffering with this disorder is a child. I do not recommend its utilization because of its weakness and because it provides practically no new information to the court.

DSM-IV Diagnoses Applicable to Alienated Parents

In most PAS cases, a diagnosis is not warranted for the alienated parent. On occasion that parent does warrant a DSM-IV diagnosis, but its applicability usually antedated the separation and usually has not played a role in the PAS development or promulgation. As mentioned elsewhere (Gardner, 2001), the primary problem I have seen with alienated parents is their passivity. They are afraid to implement traditional disciplinary and punitive measures with their children, lest they alienate them even further. And they are afraid to criticize the alienator because of the risk that such criticism will be reported to the court and compromise even further their position in the child-custody litigation. Generally, their passivity is not so deep-seated that they would warrant DSM-IV diagnoses such as avoidant personality disorder (301.82) or dependent personality disorder (301.6), because such passivity does not extend into other areas of life and did not antedate the marital separation. One could argue that they have an adjustment disorder, but there is no DSM diagnosis called “adjustment disorder, with passivity.” Accordingly, I will often state for alienated parents, “No Axis 1 diagnosis.”

If, indeed, the alienated parent did suffer with a psychiatric disorder that contributed to the alienation, then this should be noted. Certainly, there are situations in which the alienated parent’s psychiatric disorder is so profound that it is the primary cause of the children’s alienation. In such cases, the PAS diagnosis is not warranted. Under such circumstances, this disorder should be described instead as the cause of the children’s alienation.

Final Comments About Alternative DSM-IV Diagnoses for the PAS

As mentioned, the primary reason for using these diagnoses is that the PAS, at this point, is not recognized in some courts of law. They cannot be used as substitute diagnoses for the PAS, but sometimes share in common some of the symptoms. Accordingly, they can be used as additional diagnoses. It is too early to expect widespread recognition because it was not feasible for the PAS to have been placed in the 1994 edition, so few were the publications on the disorder when the preparatory committees were meeting. This will certainly not be the case when the committees meet in the next few years for the preparation of DSM-V, which is scheduled for publication in 2010. None of the aforementioned substitute diagnoses are fully applicable to the PAS; however, as mentioned, each one has certain characteristics which overlap the PAS diagnosis. Because no combination of these alternative diagnoses can properly replace the PAS, they should be used in addition to rather than instead of the PAS. There is hardly a diagnosis in DSM-IV that does not share symptoms in common with other diagnoses. There is significant overlap and often fluidity in DSM diagnoses. None are “pure,” but some are purer than others, and the PAS is one of the purer ones.

At this point, examiners who conclude that PAS is an applicable diagnosis do well to list it in the appropriate place(s) in their reports (especially at the end). At the same time, they do well to list any DSM-IV diagnoses that are applicable for the alienator, the alienated child, and (if warranted) for the alienated parent. Accordingly, even if the court will not recognize the PAS diagnosis, it will have a more difficult time ignoring these alternative DSM diagnoses.

Conclusions

Controversies are likely when a new disorder is first described. This is predictable. The PAS, however, has probably generated more controversy than most new diagnostic contributions. The primary reason for this is that the PAS is very much a product of the adversary legal system that adjudicates child-custody disputes. Under such circumstances, it behooves opposing attorneys to discredit the contribution and to find every argument possible for obstructing its admission into courts of law. And this is what happened with the PAS. The purpose of this article has been to help evaluators involved in such disputes understand better the nature of the controversy and to deal with it in the context of the present legal situation. Like all compromises, the solution is not perfect. None of the additional diagnoses are identical to the PAS, but they do serve a purpose in a court of law in that they are established psychiatric diagnoses that are applicable to PAS alienators, PAS children, and (on occasion) the alienated parent. Ultimately, if PAS is admitted into DSM-V, the main argument for its inadmissibility in courts of law will no longer be applicable and the need for listing these additional diagnoses in courts of law will be reduced.

References

American Psychiatric Association (1994), Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Third Edition, Revised (DSM-IV). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.

Boyd v. Kilgore, 773 So. 2d 546 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000) (Prohibition Denied)

Kilgore v. Boyd, 13th Circuit Court, Hillsborough County, FL., Case No. 94-7573, 733 So. 2d 546 (Fla. 2d DCA 2000) Jan 30, 2001

Gardner, R. A. (1985a), Recent trends in divorce and custody litigation. The Academy Forum, 29(2):3-7.

_______ (1985b), Separation Anxiety Disorder: Psychodynamics and Psychotherapy. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1986), Child Custody Litigation: A Guide for Parents and Mental Health Professionals. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1987), The Parental Alienation Syndrome and the Differentiation Between Fabricated and Genuine Child Sex Abuse. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1987), Child Custody. In Basic Handbook of Child Psychiatry, ed. J. Noshpitz, Vol. V, pp. 637-646. New York: Basic Books, Inc.

_______ (1989), Family Evaluation in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration, and Litigation. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1992), The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health and Legal Professionals. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (1998), The Parental Alienation Syndrome, Second Edition. Cresskill, New Jersey: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

________ (2001), Therapeutic Interventions for Children with Parental Alienation Syndrome. Cresskill, New Jersey: Creative Therapeutics, Inc.

_______ (2002), Parental alienation syndrome vs. parental alienation: Which diagnosis should be used in child-custody litigation? The American Journal of Family Therapy, 30(2):101-123.

rgardner.com, Articles in Peer-reviewed journals and Published Books on the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS). www.rgardner.com/refs

_______, Testimony Concerning the Parental Alienation Syndrome Has Been Admitted in Courts of Law in Many States and Countries. www.rgardner.com/refs

Warshak, R. A. (1999), Psychological syndromes: Parental alienation syndrome. Expert Witness Manual, Chapter 3-32. Dallas, TX:State Bar of Texas, Family Law Section.

_______ (2001), Current controversies regarding parental alienation syndrome. The American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 19(3):29-59.

©2002 Richard A. Gardner, M.D.

The American Conservative » Married to the State

In Activism, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, child abuse, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Support, child trafficking, Children and Domestic Violence, 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 Rights, Feminism, Foster Care, Foster Care Scam, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Protective Parents, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on September 27, 2009 at 8:44 pm

Married to the State

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How government colonizes the family

By Stephen Baskerville

In 1947, with the baby boom in its infancy and few disposed to hearing of family crisis, Harvard sociologist Carle Zimmerman saw the long-term reality: the family had been deteriorating since the Renaissance and was nearing the point of no return. Whenever the family shows signs of dysfunction, Zimmerman observed, “the state helps to break it up.” During the 19th century, “law piled on law, and government agency upon government agency” until by 1900 “the state had become master of the family.” The result, he wrote in Family and Civilization, was that “the family is now truly the agent, the slave, the handmaiden of the state.”

Today we might regard 1947 as a golden age for the family. Without perceiving it, each generation has become acculturated to family deterioration and added to it. We now accept as normal what would have shocked our grandparents: cohabitation, illegitimacy, divorce, same-sex marriage, daycare, fast-food dinners. Indeed, shocking the previous generation is part of the thrill of filial rebellion.

What should shock even the liberal and the young—but today does not much disturb even the conservative and the old—are destruction of constitutional protections and invasions of personal freedom and privacy by the government’s family machinery. Some four decades ago, the Western world embarked on the boldest social experiment in its history. With no public discussion, laws were enacted in virtually every jurisdiction that ended marriage as an enforceable contract. Today it is not possible to form a binding agreement to create a family.

Few stopped to consider the implications of laws that shifted the breakup of private households from a voluntary to an involuntary process. Unilateral divorce involves government agents forcibly removing legally innocent people from their homes and seizing their property. It inherently abrogates not only the inviolability of marriage but the very concept of private life.

The most serious consequences involve children. Through involuntary divorce, a legally unimpeachable parent can be arrested for seeing his own children without government authorization. He can be charged with domestic violence or child abuse, without evidence that he has committed either crime. He can be hauled before a judge for not paying child support without proof that he actually owes it. He can even be arrested for not paying an attorney or psychotherapist whom he has not hired. No formal charge, no jury, no trial required.

To justify this repression, the divorce machinery has generated hysterias against fathers so inflammatory that few dare question them: child abuse, wife-beating, nonpayment of child support. The accused parent simply loses his family and finds himself abandoned, with everyone terrified to be associated with an accused “pedophile,” “batterer,” or “deadbeat dad.”

Our passivity before repression this serious is stunning and the starkest example yet of the erosion of that civic virtue that has been integral to American political thought since before the founding of the Republic.

Conservatives have labored this idea into a cliché. We preach that people must be more virtuous, less selfish, and more devoted to the public good. But these exhortations earn us nothing but contempt when we remain silent in the face of real tyranny, which, as usual, has appeared where we least expected it and are least equipped to resist it. Instead of resisting, we lament a decline in “culture” and declare there is very little we can do.

But as Linda McClain writes, families are “seedbeds of civic virtue” and “have a place in the project of forming persons into capable, responsible, self-governing citizens.” The family is where parents and children learn to love sacrificially, to put others’ needs before their own desires, to sacrifice for the welfare and protection of the whole. If this does not begin with one’s own home and loved ones it, does not begin at all. People unwilling to sacrifice for their own flesh and blood will not do so for the strangers who comprise their country. In the family, children learn to obey authorities other than the state—God, parents, clergy, teachers, coaches, neighbors. By accepting these, some of whom they love, children learn that government is not the only authority and is one that can and must be limited.

Conservatives have recently been eager to declare marriage and the family to be “public” institutions, largely in response to homosexual insistence that families are purely private and therefore may be defined according to the whims of individuals. But it is more precise to say that the family mediates between the public and the private, ensuring each its proper sphere. In the family children learn to distinguish and defend private life from encroachment by public power. Involvement in public affairs, which is important, begins as an extension of private responsibilities as parents, homeowners, neighbors, and parishioners. Citizens participate in public life as amateurs with a stake in their families, homes, and communities, not as professionals with a stake in a government program or ideology.

Children raised without intact families do not as readily absorb concepts such as family privacy, sacrificial love, parental authority, limited government, or civic virtue. For their rules and values come not from parents but from government officials, who have ultimate sovereignty over their lives: courts, lawyers, social workers, forensic therapists, public-school bureaucrats, and police. These are the figures they must obey rather than their parents. Thus children whose authority figures are government officials cannot distinguish the private from the public and come to see the public sphere as a realm not of civic duty and community leadership but of abstract ideology, government funding, professional employment, career advancement, and state power, in whose growth they acquire a vested interest.

It is no accident that the traditional family is described as patriarchal and that civic virtue traditionally suggested masculinity. It is also no coincidence that fathers are the ones marginalized by family decline.

Enormous attention has been devoted to the crisis of 24 million fatherless children, a phenomenon directly linked to every major social pathology from violent crime to substance abuse and truancy. Because these ills justify almost all domestic government spending, fatherlessness has resulted in a huge expansion of state power. The Obama administration aims to promote virtue with programs preaching “responsible fatherhood” and nagging men to practice “good fathering.” The Bush administration used similar schemes to argue for the importance of marriage. The result is the same: bewailing other people’s moral failings at taxpayer expense.

There is certainly truth in the connection between fatherhood and civil society. “Fathers play a key role in developing and sustaining the kind of personal character on which democracy depends,” writes Don Eberly of the National Fatherhood Initiative. Government therapy, on the other hand, cannot create virtue because it requires no sacrifice. Federal funding only gives officials incentives to perpetuate problems, so it is hardly surprising that not only have these programs done nothing to improve either fatherhood or marriage, they have exacerbated the breakdown of both.

Eberly’s point connecting fathers and freedom contains a larger truth. While families require sacrifice from all members, it is fathers whose sacrifice may extend to their very lives. Children deprived of their fathers by state officials therefore lose more than a parent. They lose the parent who connects them with the civic order. When the father protects and provides for his family, he will resist the state’s efforts to assume those roles. Under his leadership, the family is a force for limiting state power.

The single mother does not resist the state’s encroachment. On the contrary, she is our society’s principal claimant on a vast array of state services, without which she cannot manage her children. When the state usurps the roles of protector and provider and disciplinarian, the state becomes the father.

This is the story of modern politics: increasingly centralized police, plus the regulatory and welfare states that also promise various forms of protection. These paternal—and increasingly maternal—substitutes brought massive bureaucracies, fulfilling Tocqueville’s prophecy that democracy would lead to increasingly bureaucratic intrusion into private life. These agencies expanded by creating problems to solve. As police functionaries, they had to create criminals and newfangled, nonviolent crimes that most people (such as juries) could not understand and required “experts” to adjudicate—crimes that were safe for female police, crimes that could be committed only by men.

Fathers whose children are taken away by state officials do not heroically rescue them or organize opposition to the divorce machinery because the enervating power of the bureaucratic behemoth makes resistance pointless. Men are thus politically neutered and, as a result, often despised by their own children and the rest of us.

That most people do not regard these practices as tyrannical may be the most alarming aspect of all. Government agents seize control of children and property of vast numbers of law-abiding citizens through literally “no fault” of their own, and we accept it because of jargon that makes it all appear banal: “custody battle” and “division of property.” Fidelity to one’s word—let alone one’s spouse—is disdained. Basic civilities become irrelevant because family members can be made to obey through court orders. Family wealth—traditionally used to leverage both obedience from children and limits on government—is useless for both purposes. In divorce it is simply confiscated.

So vast numbers of children now grow up believing from the earliest age that it is normal for government officials to assume control over their family life, to order their parents about as if they were naughty children. This is causing more than social chaos. It is destroying our freedom and our will to defend it.

Stephen Baskerville is associate professor of government at Patrick Henry College and author of Taken into Custody: The War Against Fatherhood, Marriage, and the Family. A longer version of this essay will appear in The Family in America: A Journal of Public Policy.

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The American Conservative » Married to the State.

Mediation – Allow the Child to Love the Other Parent

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, 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, 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, state crimes on June 15, 2009 at 12:00 pm

The message is: allow the child to love the other parent.

How and Why the UK Ministry of Justice ‘Monitoring Publicly Funded Mediation. Summary Report to the Legal Services Commission’ showed failure in mediation programs and why mothers, the “primary parents” were allowed to continue to keep the children away from the father:

She tells the class: “If parents are cordial and businesslike in taking care of the children’s needs, the children will do fine. But if there’s conflict, using the children as pawns, putting them in the middle, no communication or inappropriate communication, what you’re doing is beating on the children’s wounds. You’re not allowing the child any opportunity to heal.”

Armed with that information, parents go on to a mandatory session with a mediator, usually one and a half hours, to try to reach agreement on a parenting plan.

The mediator sees both parents together, then each separately, and finally together again to try to hammer out a final parenting-time schedule. They have a 10-day cooling off period to change their minds before the agreement is turned into an enforceable court order.

There is a presumption that the children will spend substantial time with each parent, although the final plan will depend on the children’s ages, how close their homes are to each other, and their parents’ work patterns. A “normal” plan for school age children would have them with their father for alternate weekends – Friday to Monday morning – an after-school meeting once a week and half the school holidays.

Programmes for early intervention to divert parents from the court process have been common throughout the US for more than 20 years. Legislation in California and Florida was introduced in the early 1980s in response to research showing that children from broken homes need both parents to go on playing a significant part in their lives.

Unlike in Britain, the right of children to have access to both their parents until 18 is written into statute. In both states, mediation is mandatory and in Florida no parents, including those who have been models of parental cooperation from the beginning, can divorce without taking a four-hour parent education course.

Gap in law

As in England and Wales, about 90% of parents manage the difficult transition to post-separation parenting without involving the courts. But where cases do go to court, the English experience is radically different.

The resident parent, usually the mother, holds all the cards. There is a presumption that the other parent will spend time with the child, but no presumption written into statute that contact will be “frequent and continuous”.

Absent parents, usually fathers, are left to apply to the court if the resident parent denies contact. Fathers can spend years making dozens of court applications, with many months between them, to little effect.

Last year a high court family division judge, Mr Justice Munby, delivered a blistering attack on the system when a father left his court in tears after being driven to abandon a five-year battle to see his daughter, which had involved 43 court hearings.

He called for sweeping changes and suggested that the way the English courts dealt with contact applications might even breach the European convention on human rights, which guarantees the right to respect for family life, the right to a fair hearing within a reasonable time, and the enforcement of court orders.

The judge said he could understand why there was disappointment that the family resolutions pilot scheme, then just announced, only encouraged mediation rather than making it mandatory.

Nine months after the pilot started in three English courts last September, the latest figures – showing that only 47 couples entered it, against an estimate of 1,000, and that only 23 completed the programme – seem to fulfil the prophecy by fathers’ groups that making it optional would doom it to failure.

Although ministers estimate that 90% of separating parents work out their own arrangements for the children without involving the courts, some 40,000 took cases to court in England and Wales in 2003-04. Half were repeat applications and 7,000 applications were for enforcement of contact orders which were flouted by the resident parent.

In Florida, by contrast, very few cases now go to court, according to Judge John Lenderman, a circuit judge on the state’s sixth circuit. He said: “I’m totally con vinced mediation should be mandatory. Every judge that I’ve talked to around the United States says mandatory mediation is the way to go.”

Nor is there anything peculiar to the US about the mandatory schemes: disputes over contact in Norway are dealt with a similar way. “There are distinct cultural differences but people in western civilisation are the same,” said Judge Lenderman. “[Parents] love their children worldwide.”

Senior judges in Britain agree that parents need more support to resolve their cases outside the courts if possible. The retired high court family division judge Dame Margaret Booth told a conference which was trying to get a Florida-type scheme off the ground three years ago: “It is a shame that our country does not easily learn from what other jurisdictions have done successfully for so long.

“In this matter we are years behind. I believe profoundly that the time has come to remove our blinkers.”

Two couples, two sessions with the mediator

Juan and Kelly

At the superior court in downtown LA, Juan, a plumber, and Kelly, an underwriter, have come to court for their mediation session. After an 18-month marriage, they separated six years ago, before the birth of their second daughter, now five (her sister is seven).

Both work long hours. For years after their separation they shared parenting time, with Juan having the girls on alternate weekends and a big input from Kelly’s mother.

Now Juan has filed an application with the court, triggering the compulsory mediation session. “The whole reason we’re here today is the situation where she left the girls with me for three months,” he says.

Kelly says she was “overwhelmed with bills and responsibility” and asked her ex-husband to look after the girls for a time. He had just moved in with a new girlfriend who “didn’t really agree to it but had no choice”.

She agrees to go back to the alternate weekends schedule. But the mediator proposes that the girls also see him one night a week for dinner, drawing on psychological research suggesting the gap between alternate weekends is too long at their age.

He resists, saying he can’t guarantee his boss would let him leave the job early enough. That one issue will go to the judge to decide. “If the judge says I have to do it, I can give it to my boss,” he says.

Marie and Jack

Marie, from France, and her English-born former husband, Jack, have their mediation session by telephone conferencing because Jack, a record producer, is working in Australia. He is due to return to LA the following month after three months away.

This is a “high-conflict” case and the couple, separated for a year but not yet divorced, have been ordered to take the basic parenting class – which should happen before mediation, but which they have not yet taken – and an extra “parenting without conflict” course.

Marie, who gets $5,000 a month child support, and Jack are arguing over whether she should take their daughters, aged six and three, on a previously agreed month-long holiday in France.

He was upset when he came back to LA on a visit and his younger daughter did not recognise him. He had the girls with him for four days then and “could see some serious problems.” He accuses Marie of arguing in front of the children.

Marie and Jack reach an agreement that she will allow the girls to talk to him on the phone every day at 7pm while he is away, but the other issues will be left for the judge.

· Clare Dyer sat in on several mediations at the LA superior court at the downtown and Santa Monica locations. The couples’ names have been changed.

For the original article:

http://eventoddlers.atspace.com/contents.html

From Welfare State to Police State

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, Freedom, Homeschool, 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, state crimes, Title Iv-D on June 9, 2009 at 7:14 pm

May 4, 2008
by Stephen Baskerville

Family fragmentation costs taxpayers at least $112 billion annually in antipoverty programs, justice and education systems, and lost revenue, according to a report released last week. Astonishingly, the report’s publisher, Institute for American Values, is using these findings to advocate even higher costs, through more federal programs.

As welfare and child support enforcement programs show, there is zero proof that further government intervention into families would be a good investment for taxpayers.

After more than a decade of welfare reform, out-of-wedlock births remain at record highs, and married couples now comprise less than half the nation’s households. “The impact of welfare reform is now virtually zero,” says Robert Rector of Heritage Foundation.

Welfare reform, as currently conceived, cannot possibly make a difference. Out-of-wedlock births no longer proceed only from low-income teenagers. Increasingly, middle-class, middle-aged women are bearing the fatherless children. This excludes children of divorce, which almost doubles the 1.5 million out-of-wedlock births.

The problem is driven not only by culture, but by federal programs not addressed by welfare reform—such as child support enforcement, domestic violence, and child abuse prevention—which subsidize single-parent homes through their quasi-welfare entitlements for the affluent.

It’s not called the welfare “state” for nothing. Even more serious than the economic effects has been the quiet metamorphosis of welfare from a system of public assistance into a miniature penal apparatus, replete with its own tribunals, prosecutors, police, and jails.

The subsidy on single-mother homes was never really curtailed. Reformers largely replaced welfare with child support. The consequences were profound: this change transformed welfare from public assistance into law enforcement, creating yet another federal plainclothes police force without constitutional justification.

Like any bureaucracy, this one found rationalizations to expand. During the 1980s and 1990s—without explanation or public debate—enforcement machinery created for children in poverty was dramatically expanded to cover all child-support cases, including those not receiving welfare.

This vastly expanded the program by bringing in millions of middle-class divorce cases. The system was intended for welfare—but other cases now account for 83% of its cases and 92% of the money collected.

Contrary to what was promised, the cost to taxpayers increased sharply. By padding their rolls with millions of middle-class parents, state governments could collect a windfall of federal incentive payments. State officials may spend this revenue however they wish. Federal taxpayers subsidize state government operations through child support. They also subsidize family dissolution, for every fatherless child is another source of revenue for states.

To collect, states must channel not just delinquent but current payments through their criminal enforcement machinery, subjecting law-abiding parents to criminal measures. While officials claim their crackdowns on “deadbeat dads” increase collections, the “increase” is achieved not by collecting arrearages of low-income fathers already in the system, but simply by pulling in more middle-class fathers—and creating more fatherless children.

These fathers haven’t abandoned their children. Most were actively involved, and, following what is usually involuntary divorce, desire more time with them. Yet for the state to collect funding, fathers willing to care for them must be designated as “absent.” Divorce courts are pressured to cut children off from their fathers to conform to the welfare model of “custodial” and “noncustodial.” These perverse incentives further criminalize fathers, by impelling states to make child-support levels as onerous as possible and to squeeze every dollar from every parent available.

Beyond the subsidy expense are costs of diverting the criminal justice system from protecting society to criminalizing parents and keeping them from their children. The entitlement state must then devise additional programs—far more expensive—to deal with the social costs of fatherless children. Former Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary Wade Horn contends that most of the $47 billion spent by his department is necessitated by broken homes and fatherless children. One might extend his point to most of the half-trillion dollar HHS budget. Given the social ills attributed to fatherless homes—crime, truancy, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, suicide—it is reasonable to see a huge proportion of domestic spending among the costs.

These developments offer a preview of where our entire system of welfare taxation is headed: expropriating citizens to pay for destructive programs that create the need for more spending and taxation. It cannot end anywhere but in the criminalization of more and more of the population.

Stephen Baskerville is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Associate Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College, and author of Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family (Cumberland House, 2007).

The original article can be found here: http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2184

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/

How To Kidnap A Child

In 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 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, 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, state crimes, Title Iv-D on June 8, 2009 at 3:53 pm

by Stephen Baskerville, PhD

Congratulations! You have embarked on a great adventure. Kidnapping a child is probably unlike anything you have done before. If you are a first-time kidnapper you may be hesitant; perhaps you have lingering scruples. It is true you will probably do irreparable harm to your own child. Children of divorce more often become involved in drugs, alcohol, and crime, become pregnant as teenagers, perform poorly in school, join gangs, and commit suicide.

But look at the advantages! You can be rid of that swine you live with, with all his tedious opinions about child-rearing. YOU call the shots! What could be more rewarding? And a little extra cash each month never hurts, eh?

Few people realize how easy abduction is. It happens 1,000 times a day, mostly by parents! So if you’re thinking, “I could never get away with it,” wake up! Millions do. In fact many only realize the possibility when they become victims. Then they invariably say, “If only I had known how easy it is I would have done it myself!” So don’t be caught off guard. Read on, and discover the exciting world of child kidnapping and extortion.

If you are mother the best time to snatch is soon after you have a new child or pregnancy. Once you have what you want, you will realize that the father is no longer necessary (except for child support).

A father should consider snatching as soon as he suspects the mother might. Once she has the child, you have pretty much lost the game. You will always be at a disadvantage, but it is in your interest (as it is in hers) to snatch first. Preventive snatching may not look good (and unlike her, it can be used against you). But hey, you have the kid. If you hit the road, it could take years to track you down.

Surprise is crucial for an elegant abduction.
Wait until the other parent is away, and clean the place out thoroughly. Take all the child’s effects, because if you don’t grab it now you will never get it, and you will never be forced to return any of it. The more you have, the better “home” you can claim to provide. You also want to achieve the maximum emotional devastation to your spouse. Like the terrorist, you want to impress with how swift, sudden, and unpredictable your strike can be.

Concealing the child is illegal, but it will also buy you time. The police will make the case a low priority, and if you are a mother you will never be prosecuted. In the meantime claim to have established a “stable routine” and that returning the child (or even visits) would be “disruptive.” Anything that keeps the child in your possession and away from their father works to your advantage.

Find superficial ways to appear cooperative. Inform the father of your decisions (after you have made them). At the same time avoid real cooperation. The judge will conclude that the parents “can’t agree” and leave you in charge. Since it is standard piety that joint custody requires “cooperation,” the easiest way to sabotage joint custody is to be as uncooperative as possible.

Go to court right away. The more aggressive you are with litigation the more it will appear you have some valid grievance. The judge and lawyers (including your spouse’s) will be grateful for the business you create. Despite professions of heavy caseloads, courts are under pressure to channel money to lawyers, whose bar associations appoint and promote judges. File a motion for sole custody, and get a restraining order to keep the father from seeing his children. (A nice touch is to say he is planning to “kidnap” them.) Or have him restricted to supervised visitation.

Going to court is also a great opportunity to curtail anything you dislike about your spouse’s child-rearing. If you don’t like his religion, get an injunction against him discussing it. Is he fussy about table manners or proper behavior? Getting a court order is easier than you think. You may even get the child’s entire upbringing micro-managed by judicial directives.

Charges of physical and sexual abuse are also helpful. Accusing a father of sexually abusing his own children is very easy and can be satisfying for its own sake.

Don’t worry about proving the charges.
An experienced judge will recognize trumped-up allegations. This is not important, since no one will ever blame the judge for being “better safe than sorry,” and accusations create business for his cronies. You yourself will never have to answer for false charges. The investigation also buys time during which you can further claim to be establishing a routine while keeping Dad at a distance and programming the children against him.

Abuse accusations are also marvelously self-fulfilling.
What more logical way to provoke a parent to lash out than to take away his children? Men naturally become violent when someone interferes with their children. This is what fathers are for. The more you can torment him with the ruin of his family, home, livelihood, savings, and sanity, the more likely that he will self-destruct, thus demonstrating his unfitness.

Get the children themselves involved. Children are easily convinced they have been molested. Once the suggestion is planted, any affection from their father will elicit a negative reaction, making your suggestion self-fulfilling in the child’s mind. And if one of your new lovers actually has molested the child, you can divert the accusation to Dad.

Dripping poison into the hearts of your children can be gratifying, and it is a joy to watch the darlings absorb your hostility. Young children can be filled with venom fairly easily just by telling them what a rat their father is as frequently as possible.

Older children present more of a challenge. They may have fond memories of the love and fun they once experienced with him. These need to be expunged or at least tainted. Try little tricks like saying, “Today you will be seeing your father, but don’t worry, it won’t last long.” Worry aloud about the other parent’s competence to care for the child or what unpleasant or dangerous experience may be in store during the child’s visit. Sign the child up for organized activities that conflict with Dad’s visits. Or promise fun things, like a trip to Disneyland, which then must be “cancelled” to visit Dad.

You will soon discover how neatly your techniques reinforce one another. For example, marginalizing the father and alienating the child become perfect complements merely by suggesting that Daddy is absent because he does not love you. What could be more logical in their sweet little minds!

And what works with children is also effective with judges. The more you can make the children hate their father the easier you make it to leave custody with you.

Remember too, this guide is no substitute for a good lawyer, since nothing is more satisfying than watching a hired goon beat up on your child’s father in a courtroom.

And now you can do what you like! You can warehouse the kids in daycare while you work (or whatever). You don’t have to worry about brushing hair or teeth. You can slap them when they’re being brats. You can feed them fast food every night (or just give them Cheez Whiz). If they become a real annoyance you can turn them over to the state social services agency. You are free!

November 19, 2001

The original article can be found here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/baskerville1.html

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

Torts Arising Out of Interference with Custody and Visitation

In adoption abuse, Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Torts on May 29, 2009 at 3:41 pm

© 1995 National Legal Research Group, Inc.

I. INTRODUCTION

In the United States, between 25,000 and 100,000 children are kidnapped each year. See generally Proposed Federal Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act: Hearings on S. 105 Before the Subcomm. on Child and Human Development of the Senate Comm. on Labor and Human Resources, 96th Cong., 1st Sess. 1 (1970) (statement of Senator Alan Cranston). As a result, “[s]tates have applied various legislative and judicial remedies to the parental kidnapping problem. These remedies include uniform laws concerning child custody jurisdiction, tougher criminal sanctions against parental kidnapping, and traditional civil remedies.” Campbell, “The Tort of Custodial Interference Toward a More Complete Remedy to Parental Kidnappings,” 1983 U. Ill. L. Rev. 229.

In addition, the federal government has added its legislative efforts to the cause of prevention of kidnapping by enacting the Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act, 28 U.S.C. 1738 (A).

Rather than focusing on the jurisdictional aspects of parental kidnapping, this article focuses on tort remedies that are available to parents when other parents or third parties interfere with custodial or visitation rights. The article begins with a discussion of the remedy that is nearly universally available, the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress resulting from the denial of custody. Next, the article discusses the somewhat less popular but easier to prove tort of custodial interference. In the subsequent section, the article takes a detour by focusing on the rights of parents who have been awarded visitation, not custody. In some jurisdictions, parents have been awarded damages when the custodial parents or others deny the noncustodial parents their right to visitation, or otherwise cause the children to reject the noncustodial parents.

The next section discusses the tort of alienation of affections in the context of child custody and visitation. Although this tort continues to thrive in some states, many states have statutorily abolished it.

Finally, the article concludes with a general discussion of tort law in the area of child custody and visitation, and the author makes two recommendations for changes.

II. INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

The most well recognized tort arising out of custodial interference is intentional infliction of emotional distress. The Restatement (Second) of Torts 46(1) (1977) provides the nearly universally adopted definition of intentional infliction of emotional distress:

(1) One who by extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly causes emotional distress to another is subject to liability for such emotional distress, and if bodily harm to the other results from it, for such bodily harm.

Thus, pursuant to this definition, a person would be liable for damages if he intentionally or recklessly commits extreme and outrageous acts that cause emotional distress. As noted by comment d to 46, this tort has severe limitations:

The cases thus far decided have found liability only where the defendant’s conduct has been extreme and outrageous. It has not been enough that the defendant has acted with an intent which is tortious or even criminal, or that he has intended to inflict emotional distress, or even that his conduct has been characterized by “malice,” or a degree of aggravation which would entitle the plaintiff to punitive damages for another tort. Liability has been found only where the conduct has been so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community. Generally, the case is one in which the recitation of the facts to an average member of the community would arouse his resentment against the actor, and lead him to exclaim, “Outrageous!”

As this comment indicates, in order for a plaintiff to recover for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the defendant’s actions must not merely be “tortious or criminal” or characterized by “malice.” Id. Rather, the defendant’s conduct must “go beyond all possible bounds of decency” and cause the typical member of the community to exclaim, “Outrageous!” Id.

Because a defendant may only be held liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress if his conduct is outrageous, it is extremely difficult for a plaintiff to recover under this theory. Nonetheless, in some circumstances, where the noncustodial parent or some other third party interferes with the right to custody of the custodial parent, a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress will be recognized. For example, in Zaharias v. Gammill, 844 P.2d 137 (Okla. 1992), the wife, who was the mother of the children, removed the children from the husband’s home. Several days later, the husband filed an action for legal separation. The court awarded the husband custody of the children. Nonetheless, the husband alleged that the wife’s parents aided the wife in concealing the children from the husband, even after the wife’s parents had become aware of the husband’s court-ordered right to custody. For this reason, the husband filed a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court dismissed the claim, and the husband appealed. On appeal to the Supreme Court of Oklahoma, the court reversed the decision of the trial court, finding that if the husband could prove that the wife’s parents’ acts were “extreme” or “outrageous,” the husband could be awarded damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Id. at 141.

Likewise, the court determined that the noncustodial parent had committed acts which permitted a recovery for intentional infliction of emotional distress in Kajtazi v. Kajtazi, 488 F. Supp. 15 (E.D.N.Y. 1978). In Kajtazi, the husband and wife separated in 1977. Subsequently, the wife commenced an action for divorce. During the pendency of the action, the wife was awarded custody of the child. Soon after this award, however, the husband, the husband’s brother, and the husband’s father informed the wife that they would defy the order and take custody of the child. Subsequently, the husband visited the wife and abducted the child. At the time of the abduction, the child was in need of surgery. The wife filed a habeas corpus petition. The husband’s brother and father appeared at the habeas corpus proceeding, but the husband did not appear. The husband’s brother and father informed the court that they did not know the whereabouts of the husband. In fact, the husband’s brother and father did know that the husband had spirited the child away to Yugoslavia. In a later proceeding, the husband’s brother and father informed the court that the husband and the child would never return to the United States. Id.at 18. For this reason, the wife commenced an action for, among other claims, intentional infliction of emotional distress against the husband, the husband’s brother, and the husband’s father.

In determining whether the defendants’ acts were sufficiently outrageous to permit recovery, the court first noted that “intentional infliction of serious mental distress without physical impact can constitute an independent tort which is actionable per se.” Id. at 20 (emphasis added). Hence, in order for a plaintiff to recover, although the defendant’s actions must be outrageous, the plaintiff need only have suffered mental distress, and a physical impact upon the plaintiff is not necessary.

Further, the court held that the defendant’s actions in abducting the child and spiriting him away to a foreign country allowed recovery for intentional infliction of emotional distress:

It is difficult to conceive of intentional conduct more calculated to cause severe emotional distress than the outrageous conduct of the defendant [husband] in surreptitiously abducting the infant, from his mother who had legal custody, and falsely imprisoning him in Yugoslavia. This outrageous conduct constitutes the distinct tort of intentional infliction of mental suffering under New York decisional law.

Id. Hence, if the noncustodial parent abducts the child from the custodial parent and spirits the child away to a foreign country, the noncustodial parent could be held liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The noncustodial parent would be well advised to avoid such actions, as the court in Kajtazi held in 1978 that the abducting parent was liable in the amount of $50 for each day that the child was missing.

The court reached a similar conclusion in Bartanus v. Lis, 332 Pa. Super. 48, 480 A.2d 1178 (1984). In Bartanus, a child was born to the husband and wife in 1961. In 1963, the husband and wife divorced, and the wife moved to Germany. Apparently, the wife ceased having any relationship with the husband or the child. From 1964 until 1972, the husband, who was employed by the United States government, was assigned to various posts. During this time, the husband’s sister and brother-in-law raised the child. In 1972, the husband retired. From 1972 until 1977, the husband began to spend much time with the child, although the child continued to reside with his aunt and uncle. In 1977, the husband proposed to the aunt and uncle that the child begin to reside with the husband. This suggestion caused the aunt and uncle to fly into a rage. The aunt and uncle began to prevent the child from visiting with his father. Furthermore, they told the child that the husband did not love the child and that the husband’s house had rats and was dirty. In spite of the actions of the aunt and uncle, the child accompanied his father on a trip to Germany. The aunt and uncle wrote letters to the child that described the husband as “a whoremaster, liar and con artist who did not love his son.” 480 A.2d at 1183. Eventually, the aunt and uncle persuaded the child to stay away from his father. Because of these actions, the husband sued the aunt and uncle on the grounds of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The court held that the husband had stated a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. In reaching this conclusion, the court focused on the fact that the aunt and uncle intentionally manipulated the child in order to specifically cause distress to the husband:

The complaint alleges intentional misrepresentations made to an adolescent by his aunt and uncle concerning the morals and behavior of his father. The actions outlined in the complaint may be of the extreme and outrageous nature contemplated by Comment d to RESTATEMENT 46. Accepting [the husband’s] version of the facts as true, as we must at this time, it appears that [the aunt and uncle] intentionally manipulated [the husband’s] son in a manner “peculiarly calculated” to cause [the husband] serious mental or emotional distress. Id. If [the aunt and uncle] did act intentionally, there need not be a showing that they were aware of the natural and probable consequences of their actions. Rather, it is enough that [the husband] was substantially certain to suffer severe mental or emotional distress as a result of their alleged tortious conduct.

Id. at 1185. Thus, if third parties manipulate the child in order to cause the parent distress, the parent has a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Although most courts that have considered the issue have determined that the custodial parent may state a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress when the noncustodial parent or some other third party interferes with the custodial parent’s right to custody, some courts have refused to recognize this claim. The Fourth District Court of Appeals of Illinois refused to recognize the claim, even though the circumstances were severe, in the case of Whitehorse v. Critchfield, 144 Ill. App. 3d 192, 494 N.E.2d 743 (4th Dist. 1986). In Whitehorse, the father was a member of an Indian tribe in Utah. The daughter was 17 years old and attended school in Utah. The defendants were teachers in the daughter’s school. In 1982, the defendants purchased a one-way ticket for the child and placed the child on a plane that was bound for Illinois. The defendants knew that the father did not desire that the child leave his home. Upon the child’s arrival in Illinois, the defendants “counseled, compelled, and induced her not to return to plaintiff’s home or reveal her location to him.” 494 N.E.2d at 744. The defendants also caused the daughter to write fictitious letters to themselves, in order to mislead the father about the whereabouts of the child. Also, the defendants lied to the police, the F.B.I., and school officials about the child’s location. In addition, the defendants attempted to convert the child to their religion. Subsequently, the defendants attempted to adopt the child, but ultimately returned the child to the parents.

The father filed an action in Illinois against the defendants for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court dismissed the claim for failure to state a cause of action. Even though the acts committed by the defendants were most outrageous, the decision by the trial court was upheld on appeal. The court believed that a recognition of this tort in the area of child custody would have “the potential for abuse.” Id. The court failed to consider whether the deterrence value of the recognition of the claim would outweigh the alleged “potential for abuse.” See also Curtis v. State Department for Children & Their Families, 522 A.2d 203 (R.I. 1987) (no claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress where the defendants, who were employed by the state, restricted access to the child from the parents for three days because the defendants suspected that the child was a victim of child abuse); Settle v. Settle, 858 F. Supp. 610 (S.D. W.Va. 1994) (mother was not liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress where she moved the children from Florida to West Virginia and then demanded that the husband post a $5,000 bond before she would allow him to visit with the children).

III. TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE WITH PARENTAL RIGHTS

A related tort that has been recognized by some courts is the tort of interference with the parent-child relationship. This tort is distinct from the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Plante v. Engel, 124 N.H. 213, 469 A.2d 1299 (1983). Section 700 of the Restatement (Second) of Torts (1977) states:

One who, with the knowledge that the parent does not consent, abducts or otherwise compels or induces a minor child to leave a parent legally entitled to its custody or not to return to the parent after it has been left him, is subject to liability to the parent.

As stated in the Restatement, if a defendant abducts or causes a minor child to leave the custody of a parent, the defendant is subject to liability to that parent. Unlike the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, however, there is no requirement that the plaintiff demonstrate outrageous conduct.

Several jurisdictions have adopted the tort of parental interference as written in the Restatement. See, e.g., Lloyd v. Loeffler, 694 F.2d 489 (7th Cir. 1982) (Wisconsin law); Bennett v. Bennett, 682 F.2d 1039 (2d Cir. 1982) (District of Columbia law); Ruffalo v. United States, 590 F. Supp. 706 (W.D. Mo. 1984); Plante v. Engel, 124 N.H. 213, 469 A.2d 1299 (1983); Kramer v. Leineweber, 642 S.W.2d 364 (Mo. Ct. App. 1982); LaGrenade v. Gordon, 46 N.C. App. 329, 264 S.E.2d 757 (1980); Spencer v. Terebelo, 373 So. 2d 200 (La. Ct. App.), writ refused, 376 So. 2d 960 (La. 1979); McBride v. Magnuson, 282 Or. 433, 578 P.2d 1259 (1978); Lisker v. City of New York, 72 Misc. 2d 85, 338 N.Y.S.2d 359 (Sup. Ct., Queens County 1972); Rosefield v. Rosefield, 221 Cal. 2d 431, 34 Cal. Rptr. 479 (1963).

For example, in Lloyd v. Loeffler, 694 F.2d 489 (7th Cir. 1982), the court held in an opinion by Judge Posner that the father stated a claim for custodial interference. In Lloyd, the child was born in 1978 in Washington, D.C. The parents were not married. In 1979, a court in Maryland awarded custody of the child to the father. The mother was awarded visitation rights. The mother subsequently married a man named Earl McMahan.

In July 1979, the mother and Earl went to the child’s babysitter’s house in order to pick up the child for a visitation and take the child to the mother’s parents’ house in Wisconsin. The mother was required to return the child on August 5, 1979. Nonetheless, the child was never returned. The father hired private detectives in attempts to locate the child, but the detectives failed. In 1980, the father filed an action against the mother, Earl, and the mother’s parents in federal district court in Wisconsin, alleging that the defendants had interfered with his right to custody. The trial court awarded judgment for the father, and the grandparents appealed. The wife and Earl did not appeal, as they had disappeared with the child.

On appeal, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals held that, pursuant to the law of Wisconsin, the trial court rightfully awarded judgment to the father for his claim of interference with his custodial rights. The grandparents attempted to argue that because there was no physical injury to the father, he could not bring a claim for interference with his custodial rights. Judge Posner did not agree:

The only question therefore is whether it would draw the line at physical injury and refuse to recognize any tort liability for abduction even though the effect on the parent’s interest in the companionship of the child is the same. This would be an arbitrary distinction, and we doubt very much that Wisconsin would make it. We know of no state that, having swallowed the camel of allowing parents to sue for intangible loss of companionship as well as pecuniary loss, has strained at the gnat of allowing that loss to be recovered when it is caused by abduction rather than physical injury. Moreover, since abductions are always deliberate and physical injuries usually, as in [Shockley v. Prier, 66 Wis. 2d 394, 225 N.W.2d 495 (1975)], merely negligent, it would be anomalous to allow liability only in the latter case.

Lloyd v. Loeffler, supra, 694 F.2d at 496. Hence, regardless of whether physical injury results, if the noncustodial parent or some third party abducts a child from the rightful custody of a parent, the defendant is liable for damages to the custodial parent.

Of course, since the tort of custodial interference is actionable even without proof of physical injury, it may be difficult to quantify damages. The court addressed this particular but important issue in Plante v. Engel, 124 N.H. 213, 469 A.2d 1299 (1983). In Plante, the plaintiff was the father of the children. The father was awarded custody of the children pursuant to a divorce decree. Contrary to the terms of the decree, the mother moved to Texas with the children, without the consent of the father. The father alleged that the mother’s parents interfered with his custodial rights by defying the order of custody and assisting the mother’s attempt to spirit the children away to Texas. For this reason, the father sought damages against the wife’s parents. Nonetheless, the trial court dismissed the father’s claim for failure to state a cognizable cause of action, and the father appealed.

On appeal to the Supreme Court of New Hampshire, the court reversed the trial court’s decision to dismiss the father’s claim. The court first noted that in New Hampshire, parental rights were considered fundamental:

The high place accorded filiation stems not from the material bond whereby services are provided to each other by parent and child but from a recognition that there is a sanctity in the union of parent and child that transcends economies and deserves the utmost respect. Because this relationship is so intimately connected with the parent’s person, we hold that where there is an intentional interference with a person’s custody of his or her child, an injured parent is entitled to a remedy that completely compensates him or her.

469 A.2d at 1301-02. Thus, because of the “sanctity in the union of parent and child,” where a person interferes with the parent-child relationship, that person should be held liable in damages.

The court next addressed the issue of damages. The court held that there were two elements of damages that could be awarded to the plaintiff, including (1) “expenses incurred in recovering the child, including legal fees,” and (2) “compensation for the loss of the child’s services and/or his care, comfort and companionship.” Id. at 1302. Thus, a parent may recover all out-of-pocket costs associated with reobtaining custody, as well as any damages for the loss of the parent-child relationship.

Although most courts that have considered the issue have recognized the tort of custodial interference, some courts have refused to recognize this tort. See, e.g., Whitehorse v. Critchfield, 144 Ill. App. 3d 192, 494 N.E.2d 743 (1986) (no civil cause of action for tortious interference with custodial parent’s right to custody in Illinois); Zaharias v. Gammill, 844 P.2d 137 (Okla. 1992) (no tort of intentional interference with custodial rights in Oklahoma).

IV. INTERFERENCE WITH VISITATION

Following a divorce, it is often the case that the noncustodial parent’s only connection with his or her child is the right to visitation. Thus, a denial of visitation for any substantial period of time could work to remove the noncustodial parent from even the memory of the young child. For this and other reasons, some courts have recognized the tort of interference with visitation rights, or intentional infliction of emotional distress, when the custodial parent or others interfere with the noncustodial parent’s right to visitation.

One court held that the defendants could be held liable for the tort of interference with visitation and intentional infliction of emotional distress in Brown v. Denny, 72 Ohio App. 3d 417, 594 N.E.2d 1008 (1991). In Brown, the husband and wife divorced in 1985. Pursuant to the divorce decree, the wife was awarded custody of the children, and the husband was awarded supervised visitation. In 1987, the court ordered the wife to allow the children to visit with the husband from August 10, 1987 until August 14, 1987. Instead of allowing the children to attend their visitation, the wife’s parents took the wife and the children to the wife’s parents’ home in Tennessee. The husband filed a claim against the maternal grandparents, alleging that the maternal grandparents had interfered with the husband’s visitation rights and committed intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court granted the maternal grandparents a directed verdict, and the husband appealed.

The Ohio Court of Appeals first held that, pursuant to a statute in Ohio, the defendants could be held liable for interference with visitation. 594 N.E.2d at 1011-12. Next, the court held that the maternal grandparents could be held liable for the common-law tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress for their interference with the husband’s custody rights. Interestingly, the only fact cited by the court for its decision that the maternal grandparents could be held liable by a jury for intentional infliction of emotional distress was that the grandparents “decided to support their daughter in her decision to violate a visitation order issued by a domestic relations court, and thereby to frustrate [the husband’s] desire to enjoy his visitation rights.” Id. at 1012. Thus, even without other facts that indicate “outrageousness,” if a person simply promotes the violation of a visitation order, he may be held liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress in Ohio. See also Ruffalo v. United States, 590 F. Supp. 70 (W.D. Mo. 1984) (federal government was liable for interfering with the mother’s visitation rights by discouraging the father, who was in the federal Witness Protection Program, from allowing the mother to visit with the child). But see R.J. v. S.L.J., 810 S.W.2d 608 (Mo. Ct. App. 1991) (father could maintain no action for intentional infliction of emotional distress against the wife).

In contrast to the decision in Ohio, most other courts that have determined that the defendant could be held liable for violating the noncustodial parent’s right to visitation have determined that the defendant could only be subject to liability if he has concealed the child for a long period of time or has committed some other egregious act. For example, the maternal grandparents were held liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress after they assisted their daughter’s attempt to completely disappear with the child in Pankratz v. Willis, 155 Ariz. 8, 744 P.2d 1182 (1987). In Pankratz, the wife married the husband in 1979. Shortly thereafter, the marriage produced a daughter. In 1981 and 1982, the husband and wife engaged in a protracted custody battle. In December 1982, the wife was awarded custody of the minor child, and the husband was awarded visitation. However, the tensions between the former spouses continued. In 1983, while the wife and the child were at a motel near Disneyland, the wife called her parents and informed them that she would not return home. Subsequently, the wife and the child disappeared, and had not been located at the time the husband filed a civil action against the maternal grandparents. In his complaint, the husband alleged that the wife was financially and emotionally dependent on her parents, and that the parents had enabled the wife and child to completely disappear, causing him extreme emotional distress. The husband noted that the wife had never supported herself, the grandparents paid the wife’s attorney’s fees for the divorce proceeding, the wife resided with the grandparents during the separation, the wife deposited all of her funds into her parents’ checking account, and the wife had called her parents from Geneva, Switzerland around the time that she disappeared. In fact, the wife had called her parents seven times since the day she disappeared with the child. In addition, the husband presented evidence that he had suffered emotional distress following the disappearance. 744 P.2d at 1186. Based upon this evidence, the trial court let stand a jury award of $125,000 against the maternal grandparents, and the grandparents appealed.

On appeal to the Court of Appeals of Arizona, the grandparents alleged that they had not intentionally or recklessly committed outrageous acts, and that the husband had not suffered distress. However, the court of appeals held that the jury could have reasonably found the defendants liable. The wife was completely dependent upon her parents for financial resources, and, thus, the jury could have concluded that the grandparents financially assisted in the disappearance. Also, the evidence indicated that the grandfather was hostile to the husband and encouraged the wife to disappear. The court concluded that these facts indicated that the grandparents had intentionally committed outrageous acts. Id.at 1189. Because the evidence also indicated that the husband had suffered emotional distress as a result of the grandparents’ conduct, the decision by the trial court to award damages to the husband was affirmed. Thus, if a defendant assists in the complete disappearance of the child, he may be held liable to a parent who has visitation rights for intentional infliction of emotional distress.

In addition, a custodial parent could be held liable for the creation of a negative relationship between the noncustodial parent and the child. The court reached this conclusion in Bhama v. Bhama, 169 Mich. App. 73, 425 N.W.2d 733 (1988). In Bhama, the parties were divorced in 1977. The wife was awarded custody of the parties’ children. In 1982, this decree was modified, and the court awarded custody to the husband. In 1986, the wife filed a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress, alleging that the husband had used his psychiatric training in order to “`systematically manipulate, instigate, involuntarily convert, intimidate, indoctrinate and brainwash the minor children into totally rejecting’ her to `the point of extreme antagonism and instilled hatred.'” 425 N.W.2d at 734. The trial court ruled for the husband, concluding that “the creation of negative relationships does not amount to outrageous conduct.” Id. The wife appealed.

On appeal, the decision by the trial court to summarily dismiss the wife’s claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress was overruled. In entering this decision, the Court of Appeals of Michigan concluded that the “abuse of a relationship” could be considered outrageous conduct which would justify an award to the wife. Id. at 736. Thus, if the custodial parent manipulates a child in order to create a negative relationship between the noncustodial parent and the child, the custodial parent could be held liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress. See also Raferty v. Scott, 756 F.2d 335 (4th Cir. 1985) (wife was liable for intentional infliction of emotional distress where she successfully destroyed the relationship between the husband and the child); Hershey v. Hershey, 467 N.W.2d 484 (S.D. 1991) (custodial parent could be held liable where she prevented the father from visiting with the child for many years).

Although some courts have held that defendants could be held liable for interfering with visitation or creating a negative relationship between the noncustodial parent and the child, other courts have simply refused to recognize claims by parents who only have rights to visitation. One recent case where the court refused to recognize any claim by the noncustodial parent was Cosner v. Ridinger, 882 P.2d 1243 (Wyo. 1994). In Cosner, the wife gave birth to a child in 1980. The husband and wife divorced in 1982. Pursuant to the divorce decree, the wife was awarded custody of the child, and the husband was granted visitation rights. In March 1993, the husband filed a claim against the wife and other third parties, alleging that they had intentionally interfered with his parental rights. Furthermore, the husband alleged intentional infliction of emotional distress because the defendants had concealed his daughter and prevented his visitation. The trial court dismissed the husband’s complaint for failure to state a cause of action, and the husband appealed. Id. at 1246.

The decision by the trial court to dismiss the husband’s claims was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Wyoming. First, the court specifically limited the application of the tort of interference with parental rights to cases where the plaintiff has the right to custody, not merely the right to visitation. In reaching this conclusion, the court stated that it believed that it was in the best interests of children to promote harmony and discourage “intrafamily warfare.” Id. at 1247. Furthermore, “[c]reating this tort would create a new wrong. It would place innocent children in the middle of a vigorous, probably vicious, lawsuit between their parents.” Id. (emphasis in original).

Second, the court affirmed the dismissal of the husband’s claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress. The court noted that the allegations of conduct were identical to the conduct alleged with respect to the claim for interference with visitation. Because the court believed that no facts presented supported an allegation of outrageousness by the defendants, the husband could not recover under a theory of intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Another court also clearly held that the noncustodial parent could not recover damages from the custodial parent for the custodial parent’s violation of a visitation order in Owens v. Owens, 471 So. 2d 920 (La. Ct. App. 1985). In Owens, the marriage of the parties produced one child in 1981. In 1982, the parties were judicially separated. The judgment of separation awarded custody of the parties’ child to the wife, subject to the visitation rights of the husband. After the date of the judgment of separation, the wife “consistently” prevented the husband from exercising his visitation rights. Id. at 921. Accordingly, the husband filed a claim against the wife for damages, alleging that the wife should be held liable since she repeatedly violated the husband’s right to visitation. The trial court dismissed the husband’s complaint, concluding that the husband failed to state a claim upon which the court could grant relief. The husband appealed.

The Court of Appeal of Louisiana, Second Circuit, agreed with the trial court that the husband’s claim should be dismissed. In reaching this conclusion, the court reasoned that other remedies were available to the husband; therefore, the husband did not need damages:

The plaintiff has several remedies available to him here. He may institute proceedings to enforce his visitation rights and he may obtain attorney’s fees for the pursuit of such actions. . . . He may institute contempt proceedings or he may institute proceedings to obtain custody of the child for himself. There is evidence in the record that he has pursued these other remedies simultaneously with this suit for damages for which he has no cause of action.

Id. at 922. Thus, according to the analysis by the court in Owens, because the husband could file an action for contempt or an action to seek custody, he should not be able to file a private action for damages against the wife for her denial of visitation. See also McGrady v. Rosenbaum, 62 Misc. 2d 182, 308 N.Y.S.2d 181 (Sup. Ct., New York County 1970) (remedy against spouse who violates order respecting visitation rights is by way of contempt, not by an action for damages); Gleiss v. Newman, 141 Wis. 2d 379, 415 N.W.2d 845 (Ct. App. 1987) (noncustodial parent does not have a cause of action in tort to recover damages against custodial parent for interfering with noncustodial parent’s visitation rights).

While courts have argued that damages for contempt will tend to deter violations of visitation decrees, in reality it appears that no damages actually deter abductions. Also, damages for contempt may not compensate the noncustodial parent if the parent suffers extreme mental anguish from the loss of the relationship with his child. Furthermore, the noncustodial parent may have to undergo psychiatric treatment, and he should not bear the burden of these costs when the damage was proximately caused by the denial of visitation by the custodial parent. Also, suppose, for example, that the noncustodial parent suffers physical ailments as a result of the custodial parents’ intentional tort. Contempt damages will not compensate him for these injuries.

In addition, fairness dictates a different result than that reached by the court in Owens. A custodial parent in Louisiana may recover damages against the noncustodial parent if the noncustodial parent interferes with the custodial parent’s custody rights. Spencer v. Terebelo, 373 So. 2d 200 (La. Ct. App.), writ refused, 376 So. 2d 960 (La. 1979). The court in Spencer reached this conclusion even though the remedy of contempt was available to the custodial parent. Therefore, where either the noncustodial parent or the custodial parent suffers damages as a result of the interference with the parent-child relationship, either parent should be able to recover damages.

V. ALIENATION OF AFFECTIONS

Unlike the torts of intentional infliction of emotional distress and interference with custody or visitation, courts are most reluctant to award damages on a theory of alienation of affections when a party interferes with the other party’s right to custody or visitation.

Essentially, there are three elements to the claim of alienation of affections. First, the plaintiff must prove wrongful conduct by the defendant. Second, the plaintiff must prove a loss of consortium. Third, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions caused the loss of consortium. Hunt v. Hunt, 309 N.W.2d 818 (S.D. 1981).

The courts’ reluctance to consider claims of alienation of affections is partly due to the fact that some states have, by statute, eliminated the tort of alienation of affections. See Hyman v. Moldovan, 166 Ga. App. 891, 305 S.E.2d 648 (1983); Raferty v. Scott, 756 F.2d 335 (4th Cir. 1985) (Virginia law).

Other courts have concluded that, regardless of the statutory authority, a parent should not be able to recover damages for alienation of a child’s affections. See, e.g., R.J. v. S.L.J., 810 S.W.2d 608 (Mo. Ct. App. 1991); Hester v. Barnett, 723 S.W.2d 544 (Mo. Ct. App. 1987); Bock v. Lindquist, 278 N.W.2d 326 (Minn. 1979); Bartanus v. Lis, 332 Pa. Super. 48, 480 A.2d 1178 (1984).

Nonetheless, in some unusual circumstances, in jurisdictions that have not completely eliminated this tort, a parent may be able to recover damages under the theory of alienation of a child’s affections. For example, in Hershey v. Hershey, 467 N.W.2d 484 (S.D. 1991), the parties were divorced in 1968. Pursuant to the divorce decree, the wife was awarded custody of the parties’ son. From 1968 to 1971, however, the parties continued to litigate the issues of custody and visitation. In 1971, during a battle over custody and visitation, the wife took the son and left the parties’ home state. The husband did not see the child at any time after this incident. The wife and son had moved to Oregon and the son was registered in a school under an assumed name. From 1971 until 1985, the wife prevented the husband from having any contact with the child. In 1988, the wife filed a claim to collect child support arrearages. The husband counterclaimed, alleging tortious interference with the father-son relationship. The trial court dismissed the husband’s counterclaim on the basis that the husband had failed to state a cognizable claim under the law of South Dakota. Id. at 486. The husband appealed.

On appeal to the Supreme Court of South Dakota, the husband argued that he had stated a claim under the doctrine of alienation of affections. The court agreed that the husband had stated such a claim. In reaching this conclusion, the court did acknowledge, however, that many states had abolished the claim of alienation of affections. Id. at 488. Nonetheless, South Dakota had not abolished this claim, and the facts indicated that the husband had a viable claim against the wife for alienation of his child’s affections:

In the present case, Mother kept Son’s whereabouts secret from Father for some fourteen years. Son is now an adult. That fact eliminates the three policy considerations usually advanced for refusing to recognize the cause of action: best interests of the child; availability of other remedies; and opening the floodgates to ongoing custody and visitation battles. Therefore, we hold that Father states a cause of action in tort against Mother for alienation of Son’s affections.

Id. at 489. Thus, as the court stated, where a custodial parent prevents the noncustodial parent from having a relationship with his child for many years, if the jurisdiction has not eliminated the cause of action for alienation of affections, the noncustodial parent may recover under a theory of alienation of affections. See also Strode v. Gleason, 9 Wash. App. 13, 510 P.2d 250 (1973) (parent has cause of action against a third party who maliciously alienates the affections of a minor child).

VI. CONCLUSION

As the above authority indicates, most jurisdictions have made efforts to deter interference with custody by providing tort remedies to injured parents. Nonetheless, parental kidnapping is a tremendous problem in this country, as one author noted:

Parental kidnapping has become a major problem in the United States in the last decade. The battle between divorced or separated parents for custody of their children often escalates into guerilla warfare. Frequently, the parent who lost custody of the children in a divorce proceeding steals the children from the custodial parent and establishes a new identity in a distant part of the country. This struggle between parents for their children can cause severe emotional problems in the children. Various reports estimate that up to 100,000 parental kidnappings occur each year. Moreover, the rising divorce rate suggests that parental kidnapping will continue to increase in coming years. The harm to both parents and children caused by parental kidnapping requires that courts and legislatures deal with this problem, yet the complexity and personal nature of the parental kidnapping make formulating a solution difficult.

Campbell, “The Tort of Custodial Interference Toward a More Complete Remedy to Parental Kidnappings,” 1983 U. Ill. L. Rev. 229. As this passage notes, because of the rise in divorce rates, and the “guerilla warfare” of modern divorces, parents frequently spirit children away from their “opponent” in divorce matters. By providing a variety of civil and criminal remedies, states have attempted, with little success, to deter these kidnappings.

As long as the divorce rate remains high and divorce proceedings are conducted in accordance with the traditional American advocacy system, Americans will continue to battle over children and prevent parents from exercising their parental rights. Civil remedies have, in fact, had little deterrent value. Nonetheless, civil damages do help compensate injured parents. As one author has noted, because victims need to be compensated and because justice requires that tort feasors be held accountable, courts should recognize torts that arise out of custodial relationships:

Courts should adjudicate these claims because of the lack of other adequate remedies. The Restatement of Torts’ remedy allows a custodial parent to receive damages but offers no compensation to the noncustodial parent. Also, the possibility exists that the harm could come to a custodial parent without that parent actually losing custody. Thus, courts should not dismiss the action on the premise that it is derivative of other torts. Intentional infliction of emotional distress is merely the application of an existing tort to a new area. A court should award damages to a parent for intentional infliction of emotional distress in the child custody context. This application is necessary to compensate legitimate injuries and to hold tortfeasors accountable for their acts.

Bargamian, “Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress in the Child Custody Contest: Proposed Guidelines,” 36 Wayne L. Rev. 124, 142 (1989). Thus, because all other remedies are inadequate, victims of intentional infliction of emotional distress in the child custody or visitation context should be able to recover damages against the tort feasor. For this reason, tort remedies should be expanded in two ways.

First, jurisdictions that have not already done so should adopt the tort of parental interference. Because it requires proof of “outrageous” conduct, the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress is generally an inadequate remedy. Apparently, with a few exceptions, because of the popularity of denials of custody and visitation, it is difficult to prove that such denials are outrageous in modern society.

Second, states should provide remedies for parents who have been denied visitation. The only explanation that courts have provided for refusing to grant remedies for interference with visitation is that this tort would “encourage claims for petty infractions.” Gleiss v. Newman, 141 Wis. 2d 379, 415 N.W.2d 845, 846 (Ct. App. 1987). The courts present no evidence that this evil has occurred in any state that has adopted remedies for parents who only have visitation rights. In fact, in the states that have adopted torts resulting from denials of visitation, it is rare to find more than one appellate case where this tort was an issue.

In addition, jurisdictions that have provided damage remedies only to custodial parents have raised serious equal protection questions. Why should the parent who won the custody battle have a right to recover damages, but not the other parent? Since women are usually the custodial parents, does the failure to provide equal remedies to noncustodial parents unfairly discriminate against men? While these questions are beyond the scope of this article, it is difficult to imagine how a jurisdiction could award damages only to custodial parents yet provide satisfactory answers to these two questions. The better approach is to allow a cause of action in tort for deprivation of either custody or visitation.

Deadbeat Social Scientists – Child Support Myths Debunked

In Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D on May 27, 2009 at 12:30 am

By Robert Locke
Monday, July 02, 2001

EVERYBODY HATES DEADBEAT DADS. They are excoriated from the feminist Left to the familyvalues Right. This has resulted in a national frenzy of efforts to tighten up childsupport enforcement, beginning with the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1975 (amended in 1984) and including numerous state statutes. Unfortunately, as a new book persuasively argues, they are largely a myth. In fact, they are frequently victims in their own right. Dr. Braver began his research intending only to refine the received wisdom, but his empirical findings changed his own mind. The prevalence of the myths he has exploded raises serious questions about the entire structure of liberal social science, on which our nation’s public policies are based, and the susceptibility of statistics to manipulation by liberal academics.

Dr. Braver refutes six key antifather myths one by one. He writes:

“1. Divorced dads are not overwhelmingly deadbeats in terms of child support compliance. They actually pay far better than assumed, especially if they remain fully employed.”

The horrifying figures for nonpayment of child support that are usually quoted are wrong for a number of reasons. First, they are based solely on maternal reporting. Second, they are based on lumping together divorcees with nevermarrieds, who pay at a lower rate. Third, some studies of the problem record only payments made through court clerks, not all payments. Fourth, most of the remaining deadbeats are in jail, unemployed, in poverty, or otherwise unable to pay for understandable reasons.

“2. Divorced dads are not overwhelmingly disappearing or runaway dads. Most continue a surprisingly high amount of contact with their children, and much of whatever disconnection does occur can be attributed directly to mothers impeding or interfering with visitation.”

Myth holds that divorced men are generally uninterested in their children, a view that derives mainly from a single inaccurate study and from the popculture stereotype of the divorced father with sports car and girlfriend in tow. But, in reality, roughly threequarters of divorced fathers who live in the same town as their children see them regularly, according to Dr. Braver’s own research. And they would frequently see them even more often if it were not illegal for them to do so under the visitation rules to which they are legally subject. Not to mention maternal denial of these visitation privileges, which is a serious and underappreciated issue in its own right.

“3. Divorced fathers do not end up noticeably more economically advantaged by divorce than mothers… in the long run, many divorced mothers will surpass divorced fathers in economic well being. Divorced mothers and children do not disproportionately end up in poverty, and those few who do almost without exception would continue to be in that state whether or not their ex-husbands paid full child support.”

An entire feminist obsession, which many nonfeminists have been taken in by, has been erected upon the so-called “feminization of poverty.” This turns out to be a statistical mirage generated by biased studies. Those divorced mothers who end up in longterm poverty turn out to be (surprise, surprise) those who were from poor backgrounds in the first place, even when they were married. In only 2% of divorces would full payment of alimony and child support lift a poor mother out of poverty who is now in it.

“4. Divorced fathers are not far better satisfied or advantaged in the negotiations leading to their divorce settlements. In fact, fathers are significantly disadvantaged and dissatisfied compared to mothers, who feel more in control of the settlement process than fathers.”

A substantial feminist inspired mythology claims that because the judicial system is run mainly by men, it favors fathers at every step in the divorce process. Despite the fact that every major feminist demand (starting with abortion and running right down the list) has been passed by maledominated legislatures and courts, this men vs. women mythology is emotionally satisfying and therefore believed in. But in fact, the court system has a demonstrable maternalist bias in custody awards and other issues which can be traced in the history of legislation and court decisions.

“5. Divorced fathers are not more content and better emotionally adjusted after divorce than mothers. In fact, overwhelming evidence suggests that they are far more emotionally devastated by divorce than mothers. Only with respect to calming their anger more quickly than their exspouse do fathers have an emotional advantage over mothers.”

The myth holds that divorced dads don’t have a care in the world, with the possible exception of their new, younger, girlfriends. In fact, they tend to be less well adjusted emotionally than their exwives by standard measures of psychological well being. According to a 1985 USA Today poll believed to be valid, 85% of divorced women claim to be happier postdivorce, compared to only 58% of men. Divorced women still usually have their children; divorced men often end up with nothing, relationshipwise.

“6. Fathers do not generally trigger the marriage’s demise by abandoning their wives and families.”

The myth holds that women are devotedly maternal while contemporary American men are too immature to “commit” enough to make their marriages work and are therefore responsible for most divorces. In fact, 2/3 of all divorces are initiated by the woman. And women tend to initiate divorces not because they are abused or otherwise objectively illtreated, but for emotional reasons like “my husband doesn’t communicate with me.”

Not only does Dr. Braver exonerate deadbeat dads, but he documents a number of ways in which postdivorce custodial mothers misbehave. The big thing mothers do is deprive fathers of their lawful visitation rights. The courts are set up to take very seriously the enforcement of childsupport payments by fathers, but they assign little seriousness to the issue of visitation rights. Mothers in most jurisdictions can arbitrarily deny courtordered visitation rights without fear of sanction from police or the judicial system. It would seem that one appropriate reform is to enable fathers to withhold childsupport payments when visitation rights have not been honored.

Mothers routinely practice more subtle forms of aggression. Because they have custody of the children most of the time, they are well placed to poison their minds against their fathers. They are particularly prone to do this if they remarry and wish to “reprogram” the kids to accept their new spouse as their father. They also have a tendency to do it simply out of spite at their ex-husband. Some mothers cynically exploit the police to falsely claim harassment or domestic violence to keep their ex-husband away, a tactic that the law stupidly encourages in a number of ways. It seems that the maternal instinct may not always be the good thing it is usually depicted as, if it drives women to behave like enraged shebears and clutch their children at the expense of their fathers’ legitimate rights.

So where did these myths come from, if untrue? Basically, our society developed a massive emotional desire to believe the worst of divorced fathers. Then social scientists, despite their pretensions to objectivity and hard statistics, lamely translated these biases into research findings. The negative stereotyping of divorced fathers that routinely appears would get people arrested by the PC police if it were applied to minorities, women, or any other category of person. Dr. Braver suggests that our society is experiencing a great deal of stress over the ongoing decay of the traditional family and needed to find a scapegoat. Deadbeat dads conveniently appealed as villains to both feminists and family values types, guaranteeing political support and ideological cover on both sides of the aisle. Conservatives also sought to cultivate respectability with the liberal bestowers of moral respectability by endorsing the liberal line (a classic case of the negative consequences of allowing the Left the moral high ground.) There was also an appeal to a pseudoscientific version of sociobiology, which claimed that it is the nature of males to seek polygamous or serialmonogamous relationships because of an evolutionary incentive to spread their DNA around. This has been called the “Darwin made me do it” defense and raises obvious questions on its own that this is not the place for. Once again, truth was intimidated out of people by the sheer selfassertion of liberals who arrogated to themselves the right to decide which ideas are “offensive.” We have got to learn to simply ignore them, and to use their mistakes on issues like this one as a battering ram to destroy their credibility. Fortunately, and partly due to Dr. Braver’s research, which was expressed in a Presidential commission in 1996, the political system is starting to recognize the necessity of fathers again. For example, more states are establishing joint custody as the norm.

But the most disturbing thing Dr. Braver shows has nothing to do with divorced families per se, but pertains to the shabby standards of social science research. This research, which forms the picture of society on which government policy is based, is conducted almost entirely by liberal academics, and yet is taken by legislatures and courts, not to mention the general public, as being simply objective truth. He documents in devastating detail the degree to which sloppy research standards have opened the door to liberal bias. Properly disciplined research has epistemological safeguards built in to protect it from the biases of the researchers. Naturally, this makes one wonder what other received truths of our society are myths generated by biased research.

Liberal social scientists have mangled their research on divorce in a number of ways. Here are a few:

1. Almost all studies have been based on what people report to be true, not on verified tax returns or bank statements.

2. This reporting hasn’t even included the father most of the time.

3. One notorious study that claimed to show a 73% decrease in maternal incomes after divorce used incomeadjustment figures based on Labor Department raw data gathered in… 1961!

4. This same study also measured pretax income, not aftertax, ignoring the fact that childsupport is taxfree. (There is also a tax credit for child care.) Headofhousehold mothers are taxed at a lower rate than nowsingle divorced fathers, and can claim their children as exemptions.

5. Divorced fathers spend substantial amounts of money on their children beyond simple child support. They spend significant undocumented amounts on visitation and buying necessities and other items for their children. They must maintain larger residences than they would without children visiting now and then. They bear most visitational transportation costs.

6. Divorced fathers are often ordered to pay for their children’s medical insurance over and above child support. Not only do most studies not count this, some even falsely assume the mother is paying.

7. Divorced fathers and nevermarried fathers behave very differently, the nevermarrieds being consistently worse in almost every way. Studies tend to lump them together.

8. Studies of the decline in maternal standardofliving tend to ignore the fact that after divorce, mothers tend to upgrade their job skills and otherwise move up the economic ladder, as is the general pattern over time of the whole population.

9. In the reams of studies being done about divorced fathers, almost none of the studies ever asked these fathers why they were abandoning their children, which the received wisdom claimed they were doing. Naturally, if they had, they might have found there was no reason, because they weren’t.

No one on the peer review committees that oversee the publication of this research in academic journals, or the giving of grants to fund it, ever blew the whistle on these errors. The system failed.

But it gets worse. Many of the bad figures and illogical analyses are from the Census Bureau reinforcing the view that, like the National Endowment for the Arts, the Census Bureau and its budget should be ruthlessly gutted as soon as possible to restrict it to the narrow duty prescribed to it by the Constitution and keep it from spouting liberal nonsense by collecting figures the Constitution does not authorize it to.

The second great intellectual villain of divorce mythology is one Prof. Lenore Weitzman of Harvard University. She was the author of an immensely influential 1985 study that claimed that after divorce, mothers experience a 73% drop in their standard of living and fathers a 42% rise. This study was the basis for several pieces of legislation. It turns out that her finding was based on a simple misprogramming of the computer analyzing the data which reveal that mothers end up with 73% of their former standard of living, (a 27% drop) not 73% less.

This was not an innocent “computer error.” The computer did what it was supposed to do; the investigator mangled the result. The idea that vast policy changes can come from such incompetence is nothing less than mind boggling. This incident needs to be treated as the My Lai of academic social science, which needs to be dethroned from its privileged position in policy disputes. Dr. Braver, who investigated this error and gave Prof. Weitzman a chance to respond, documents her mendacity and evasive behavior throughout this episode, which ended in her admitting the charges against her, for which she has never been disciplined.

The Left has chased conservative social scientists who could have blown the whistle on these shenanigans out of the academy. When will people learn that having a conservative presence in academia really does matter? If there had been an adequate number of conservative sociologists in the academy, someone could have critiqued these figures when they came out and before they had the chance to mislead the public and influence policy. Frankly, it is time to start pruning government funding for sociological research, which always seems to just prove we need more government spending, and to start cutting back sociology departments at the universities.

Dr. Braver’s Deadbeat Dads is thus probably the most important work of conservative social science in a decade, easily in a class with Charles Murray’s “Losing Ground”

The original article can be found on Frontpage Magazine: http://www.frontpagemag.com/Printable.aspx?ArtId=24190

Parental Rights – Involuntary Divorce and Child Support

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, 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, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D on May 26, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Fueling the Machinery: The Role of Child Support
By Stephen Baskerville
The Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society
May/June 2006

The other dilemma raised by involuntary divorce — also now manifest in today’s marriage controversies — was how to finance the increased costs it inevitably brought. The solution was child support, which provides financial incentives to weaken marriage and sever the ties between children and parents, particularly fathers.

Like most of the government machinery now used to administer divorce, child support grew directly out of welfare. It was designed not for middle-class divorced families, but for welfare families that had never been formed through marriage in the first place. Its justification was to recover welfare costs and save public revenue. (In fact, it has consistently lost money, with a current annual deficit approaching $3 billion.)[113] In fact, the subsequent experience might well be seen as a vindication of prophecies that a quasi-socialistic welfare state would inevitably create a “road to serfdom.”

Though the social consequences of mass fatherlessness have been apparent for decades in welfare-dependent communities, thanks to the 1965 Moynihan Report, the political implications for freedom were not as apparent as they are now becoming with middle-class divorce. Because most low-income parents were not living together (which welfare discouraged), there was seldom a need to forcibly evict the father. Employing law-enforcement methods to coerce him to provide for the family was also readily justified, both because his children were receiving welfare and because he was not residing in the home where he could provide for his children as he saw fit. The fact that often he had not made a formal lifetime commitment to the family through marriage no doubt also contributed to the moral case for coercive action against him. No distinction was recognized between fathers who shirked their responsibilities and those who accepted them. Similar to the status later afforded to involuntarily divorced spouses, the unmarried father was treated as “guilty” of paternity and subject to the penal system.

Having erected this machinery to coerce relatively small sums from low-income fathers, where marriage had not taken place, the welfare agencies then extended their jurisdiction to middle-class fathers, whose marriages had to be — and because of no-fault divorce, now could be — forcibly dissolved by court action and where much more substantial sums were available. As with no-fault divorce, no public debate preceded a massive expansion in the scope of state power over family finances and private family life.[114]

It was already known that welfare payments to low-income mothers result in increased divorce (before it led them to forego marriage altogether).[115] Child support added a dimension of law enforcement and forced the middle-class father, as Jed Abraham puts it, “to finance the filching of his own children.”[116] Child support thus became an “unintended economic incentive for middle-class women to seek divorce”: “Strong enforcement…may, in fact, lead to…the unintended consequence of increasing the likelihood of divorce.”[117]

“Deadbeat dads” are another of those public malefactors whose crimes are so repugnant that innocence is no excuse. Yet no government agency has ever produced any scientific evidence that there is, or ever has been, a problem of parents not supporting their children other than that created by the government. Psychologist Sanford Braver, in the largest federally funded study ever undertaken on the subject, conclusively demonstrated that the “deadbeat dad” is largely a government creation. Described by FrontPageMagazine as “the most important work of conservative social science in a decade,”[118] Braver’s study showed that the child support “crisis” consists of little more than the government separating children from their fathers, imposing patently impossible debts on fathers who have done nothing to incur those debts, and then arresting those who, quite predictably, cannot pay. His research undermined every justification for the multi-billion dollar criminal enforcement machinery. Yet eight years after Braver’s book, no enforcement agency has responded to his findings.

Others have confirmed them. William Comanor and a team of scholars have documented the faulty economics. Ronald Henry calls the system and its rationalization “an obvious sham,” “the most onerous form of debt collection practiced in the United States,” and one “that is matched nowhere else in [the] legal system.”[119]

The consequences are corrosive of not only family stability, but constitutional protections. Bryce Christensen argues for a “linkage between aggressive child-support policies and the erosion of wedlock” and writes, “the advocates of ever-more-aggressive measures for collecting child support have trampled on the prerogatives of local government, have moved us a dangerous step closer to a police state, and have violated the rights of innocent and often impoverished fathers.”[120] Abraham writes that “the government commands an extensive enforcement apparatus, a veritable gulag, complete with sophisticated surveillance and compliance capabilities such as computer-based tracing, license revocation, asset confiscation, and incarceration. The face of this regime is decidedly Orwellian.”[121]

Like domestic violence and child abuse measures, child support enforcement is governed by an explicit presumption of guilt, wherein the accused must prove his innocence. “The burden of proof may be shifted to the defendant,” according to an approving legal analysis by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Further, “not all child support contempt proceedings classified as criminal are entitled to a jury trial,” and “even indigent obligors are not necessarily entitled to a lawyer.”[122] A father who has lost his children through literally “no fault” of his own must prove his innocence without a formal charge, without counsel, and without facing a jury of his peers.

Child support enforcement further blurs the distinction between guilt and innocence, since officials monitor parents with arrearages, those whose payments are current, and even citizens who are not under an order. The presumption of guilt against those obeying the law was revealed by one official who boasted that “we don’t give them an opportunity to become deadbeats” and by former Attorney General Janet Reno, who referred to current payments “collected from deadbeat parents,” branding as criminals parents who do pay.[123] The presumption that not only all parents under child support orders are already quasi-criminals, but all citizens are potential criminals against whom pre-emptive enforcement measures must be initiated now in anticipation of their future criminality, is revealed by NCSL, which justifies collecting names from the general population by saying, “At one point or another, many people will either be obligated to pay or eligible to receive child support.”[124]

The role of child support in undermining marriage also explains why the fatherhood and marriage promotion measures of the last two administrations have achieved little and why they may be exacerbating the problem.

During the 1990s, the Clinton administration and other governments initiated programs to “promote fatherhood.” Despite the professed (and possibly quite sincere) aim of extolling the importance of fathers and the need to reconnect them with their children, in practice these programs themselves often ended up serving as justifications for collecting child support. The result, therefore, was somewhat opposite of what was advertised, since the federal government was promoting fatherhood with one hand while subsidizing divorce and fatherless homes financially with the other.

Under the Bush administration, the emphasis shifted from fatherhood to marriage. Yet the substance remained similar. While the initiative seems likewise to have proceeded from a genuine desire to redirect priorities toward programs that enhance marriage, with funds devoted to marriage counseling, in practice it has also been compromised by political pressure to continue the essentially punitive approach to family dissolution dominated by the child support system. Since January 2003, some substantial grants announced by HHS under the Healthy Marriage initiative have gone to child support enforcement agencies and private groups involved in collection.[125]

In short, the debate about the desirability of the government promoting marriage and fatherhood may be rendered irrelevant by the fact that the programs are not always what they appear. Whatever the merits of programs encouraging marriage formation, it is not clear that these disbursements even can achieve the desired goal. It is more likely that by expanding programs that are predicated on the removal of the father from the home, the federal funds are undermining marriage rather than encouraging it. Whatever one’s sympathies, on both sides the public debate over government marriage programs has been somewhat beside the point.

113 Child Support Enforcement (CSE) FY 2002 Preliminary Data Report, 29 April 2003, figures 1 and 2 (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cse/pubs/2003/reports/prelim_datareport/).

114 See “Statement of Leslie L. Frye, Chief, Office of Child Support California Department of Social Services Testimony…on the Administration’s Child Support Enforcement Incentive Payment Proposal, March 20, 1997” (http://waysandmeans.house.gov/legacy/humres/105cong/3-20-97/3-20frye.htm), 1-2.

115 Saul Hoffman and Greg Duncan, “The Effects of Incomes, Wages, and AFDC Benefits on Marital Disruption,” Journal of Human Resources 30 (1995), 19-41.

116 Jed Abraham, From Courtship to Courtroom: What Divorce Law Is Doing to Marriage (New York: Bloch, 1999), 151.

117 Kimberly Folse and Hugo Varela-Alvarez, “Long-Run Economic Consequences of Child Support Enforcement,” Journal of Socio-Economics, vol. 31, issue 3 (2002), 274, 283, 284.

118 Sanford L. Braver, Divorced Dads: Shattering the Myths (New York: Tarcher/Putnam, 1998); Robert Locke, “Deadbeat Social Scientists,” FrontPageMagazine.com, 2 July 2001 (http://frontpagemag.com/columnists/ locke/2001/locke06-29-01.htm).

119 Ronald Henry, “Child Support Policy and the Unintended Consequences of Good Intentions,” in W.S. Comanor (ed.), The Law and Economics of Child Support Payments (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2004), 130, 135, 139.

120 Bryce Christensen, “The Strange Politics of Child Support,” Society, vol. 39, no. 1 (Nov.-Dec. 2001), p. 63.

121 Jed Abraham, From Courtship to Courtroom: What Divorce Law Is Doing to Marriage (New York: Bloch, 1999), pp. 154-155.

122 NCSL Internet site: http://www.ncsl.org/programs/cyf/Criminalnon.htm (accessed 28 August 2001).

123 Robert O’Harrow, “Uncle Sam Has All Your Numbers,” Washington Post, 27 June 1999, A1; “Attorney General Reno Announces Plan to Crack Down on Dead-Beat Parents Who Fail to Pay Child Support,” Department of Justice press release, 22 December 1994.

124 NCSL Internet site: http://www.ncsl.org/programs/cyf/csissue.htm (accessed 24 January 2000).

125 “ACF Approves Child Support Demonstrations in Four States,” Administration for Children and Families press release, 29 April 2004.

The original article can be found here: The Real Danger of Same-Sex Marriage http://www.profam.org/pub/fia/fia.2005.6.htm#Fueling_the_Machinery:_The_Role_of_Child_Support

IMMUNITY BROKEN – Children Not Protected by Legal System

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 24, 2009 at 5:08 pm

by Demosthenes Lorandos, Ph.D., J.D.

ABSTRACT

This article was written to address the immunity claims made by those hired, elected or appointed to serve children in our legal system when they are sued for outrageous acts. This article argues that since the passage of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (“The Mondale Act”) false claims of child abuse have wrecked havoc on American families. In order to understand the claims for immunity made by doctors, social workers and attorneys who mis-serve children, this article provides a discussion of immunity and its operation in our law. Following a historical overview, this article describes the various claims to immunity from suit made by government officials, prosecutors, law enforcement personnel, guardians, appointed counsel, social workers and various private parties. For the purpose of illustrating how immunity claims may be addressed, this article presents an actual account of a Michigan case concerning issues of Guardian ad Litem immunity. It is the express position of this author that people who chose to aide or represent children must do so competently and professionally or not at all.

_________________________________________________

Since the passage of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (“The Mondale Act”) false claims of child abuse have wrecked havoc on American families.

Certainly it is true that children are starved, beaten, raped and killed every day. They deserve protection. The purpose of this article is to address the immunity claims made by those hired, elected or appointed to serve children in our legal system. In order to understand the claims for immunity made by doctors, social workers and attorneys who mis-serve children, this article will begin with a brief discussion of immunity and its operation in our law.

The second part of this article will focus on the various claims to immunity from suit made by government officials, prosecutors, law enforcement personnel, guardians, appointed counsel, social workers and various private parties. The last portion of this work will present an actual account of a ground breaking case being fought through the courts of Michigan on the issue of Guardian ad Litem immunity from suit for negligence, incompetence and intentional torts. It is the express position of this author that people who chose to aide or represent children must do so competently and professionally or not at all.

A. JUDICIAL IMMUNITY
EARLY FORMULATIONS:

The concept of judicial immunity developed in our law from early Anglo-Saxon origins. As Professor Block informs:

“Under Anglo-Saxon law of the tenth and eleventh centuries, a judgment (doom) could be impeached by charging the official proposing the judgment (the doomsman) with falsehood. This proceeding, known as “forsaking the doom”, developed into the complaint of “false judgment”, whereby a dissatisfied litigant obtained a writ commanding the challenged court to cause a record of its proceedings to be made and brought before the court of the litigant’s superior lord. The complainant could accept the court’s record and thus confine the issues to errors of law. But this record could be challenged by anyone willing to engage in physical combat with the champions of the challenged court. If the challenge succeeded, the lower court’s judgment was annulled and the court was amerced.” Block, Stump v Sparkman and the History of Judicial Immunity, 4980 Duke L.J. 879, 881 (l980).

Displeased with trial by combat, law evolved in England, and in the early l7th century Sir Edward Coke in Floyd and Barker, 77 Eng. Rep. 1305 (Star Chamber l607), and The Case of the Marshalsea, 77 Eng. Rep. 1027 (Star Chamber l6l2), laid out the foundation for the doctrine of judicial immunity. In Barker, Coke established the immunity of a judge “for anything done by him as a judge” 77 Eng. Rep. at l307. It seems that Judge Barker convicted William Price of murder and sentenced him to death. After the sheriff executed Mr. Price, one Mr. Floyd brought charges against Judge Barker for conspiracy. Sir Edward Coke’s decision gave immunity from suit to all of those involved in the prosecution of Price, made it quite clear that Judge Barker’s immunity was absolute. In so doing, Coke identified four (4) grounds in public policy for judicial immunity. First, he indicated a necessity for a finality of judgment. Second, Coke offered that immunity is necessary to maintain judicial independence. Third, Coke held for the independence of thought and freedom from manipulation that immunity would provide, and lastly, Coke offered that in order to engender respect and confidence in the judiciary and the government, immunity for judicial acts was necessary.

Some five years after declaring immunity for judicial acts, Lord Coke modified his doctrine in The Case of the Marshalsea, 77 Eng. Rep. 1027 (Star Chambers l6l2). In Marshalsea, Coke set forth a jurisdictional limitation on the doctrine of judicial immunity. For immunity to apply said Coke, not only did the act have to be judicial in nature, but the judge must have had subject matter jurisdiction over the cause for which he acted. In Marshalsea, a judge presiding over a case in assumpsit found against the defendant. This defendant’s surety was jailed until the judgment was paid. The surety brought an action against the judge for his imprisonment and the judge defended by claiming immunity. Rejecting the immunity claim, Coke held that the judge had no jurisdiction over actions in assumpsit and thus the proceedings were void. As Coke described it:

“[W]hen a Court has (a) jurisdiction of the cause, and proceeds inverso ordine or erroneously, there the party who sues, or the officer or minister of the Court who executes the precept or process of the Court, no action lies against them. But (b) when the Court has not jurisdiction of the cause, there the whole proceeding is [before a person who is not a judge], and actions will lie against them without any regard of the precept or process…” 77 Eng. Rep. at 1038-41.

Clearly, this laid the foundation for judicial immunity. Coke established requirements for its application, restricting immunity to judicial acts made within the judge’s jurisdiction. In addition, he set forth a policy underlying the doctrine: (1) insuring the finality of judgment; (2) protecting judicial independence; (3) avoiding continuous attacks on sincere and conscientious judges; and (4) maintaining respect for the judiciary and the government.

To read the remaining portion of this article on http://familyrights.us/bin/white_papers-articles/immunity_broken.htm

Indentured Families – Social conservatives and the GOP: Can this marriage be saved?

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, children criminals, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, DSM-IV, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Homeschool, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D on May 24, 2009 at 12:30 am

by Allan Carlson
03/27/2006, Volume 011, Issue 26

IN THE INTERNAL POLITICS OF the Republican coalition, some members are consistently more equal than others. In particular, where the interests of the proverbial “Sam’s Club Republicans” collide with the interests of the great banks, the Sam’s Club set might as well pile into the family car and go home.

Consider, to take one recent instance, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, enacted last year, after a long delay, with support from congressional Republicans. A controversial clause that would have prevented abortion protesters from filing for bankruptcy to avoid paying court-ordered fines had stalled the measure. After the Senate rejected this provision, GOP leaders drove the bill through both houses of Congress and gained an enthusiastic signature from President George W. Bush.

In a nutshell, the new law makes a “clean start” after filing for bankruptcy much more difficult for families with at least one wage earner. Instead, most affected households will find themselves essentially indentured to a bank or credit card bureau, paying off their debt for years to come. “A new form of feudalism,” one critic calls it.

In truth, some had abused the old law, turning repeated bankruptcy filings into a kind of circus. A tightening on this side probably made sense. Significantly, though, the new law made no real changes on the lenders’ side, measures that might have reined in an increasingly predatory credit industry. It is common knowledge, for example, that credit card companies intentionally urge financially troubled families to borrow still more money, because they can charge these households exorbitant interest rates. As one Citibank executive has candidly observed, “They are the ones who provide most of our profit.” Late payment fees, another favored industry device, reportedly deliver over 30 percent of credit card financing revenue. Assurances by lawmakers that the new law will bring credit card interest rates down fly in the face of these more fundamental corporate strategies.

True, in the context of America’s new debt-driven economy, this treatment of financially troubled families may constitute “good business” (even if under older ethical standards it’s the equivalent of offering a barrel of whiskey to an alcoholic). More fundamentally, though, the GOP’s opting for an outcome that’s good for Citibank’s profits while disregarding the effects on families should cause no surprise.

SOME HISTORY may help here. The modern “family issues” are actually about a century old. The first openly “pro-family” president was a Republican, Theodore Roosevelt. Between 1900 and about 1912, he wrote and spoke often, and eloquently, about the dangers of a rising divorce rate and a falling birth rate. He celebrated motherhood and fatherhood as the most important human tasks, and described the true marriage as “a partnership of the soul, the spirit and the mind, no less than of the body.” He blasted as “foes of our household” the birth control movement, equity feminism, eugenics, and liberal Christianity.

However, the Rough Rider was the only prominent Republican of his time to think and talk this way. The dominant wing of the GOP tilted in favor of the banks, the great industries, and–perhaps more surprisingly–the feminist movement. Indeed, as early as 1904, the National Association of Manufacturers had formed an alliance with the feminists, for they shared an interest in moving women out of their homes and into the paid labor market. When the feminists reorganized as the National Woman’s party in 1917, the manufacturers’ association apparently provided secret financial support. More openly, Republican leaders embraced the feminists’ proposed Equal Rights Amendment, first advanced in Congress in 1923. The GOP was also the first major party to endorse the ERA in its platform.

Meanwhile, the Democrats consolidated their 19th-century legacy of “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion”: that is, as the party favoring beer halls, the new immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe, southern agrarians, northern Catholics, small property, the trade unions, and–importantly–the “family wage” for male workers. This cultural and legal device sought to deliver a single wage to fathers sufficient to support a wife and children at home. The Democrats also welcomed the “Maternalists” into their ranks, female activists who–while believing strongly in equal legal and political rights for women–also emphasized the natural differences between the sexes when it came to childbirth and child care. They favored federal programs for the training of girls in home economics and for “baby saving,” meaning efforts to reduce infant and maternal mortality. They fiercely opposed working mothers and day care. Under this Maternalist influence, every New Deal domestic program openly assumed or quietly reinforced the goal of a “family wage” and the model American family of a breadwinning father, a homemaking mother, and an average of three or four children.

In short, from 1912 until 1964, the Democrats were–on balance–the pro-family party. The Republicans, on balance, were the party of business interests and the feminists.

All this changed between 1964 and 1980 with the emergence of the “Reagan Democrats.” This radical reorientation of American domestic politics began with debate about adding “sex” to the list of prohibited discriminations under Title VII (employment issues) of the proposed Civil Rights Act of 1964, a fascinating event that ended with the addition of “sex” and the ensuing legal destruction of the “family wage” regime. The broad transformation continued with the rise of the “pro-family movement” during the 1970s, behind early leaders such as Phyllis Schlafly and Paul Weyrich. It ended in 1980 with the solid movement of northern Catholics and southern evangelicals into the Republican party, and the counter-movement of feminists and the new sexual revolutionaries into the Democratic fold. Ronald Reagan, a proud four-time voter for Franklin D. Roosevelt and a lifelong admirer of the New Deal, explained his 1980 victory to a group of Catholic voters this way:

The secret is that when the left took over the Democratic party we [former Democrats] took over the Republican party. We made the Republican party into the party of the working people, the family, the neighborhood, the defense of freedom. And yes, the American Flag and the Pledge of Allegiance to One Nation Under God. So, you see, the party that so many of us grew up with still exists except that today it’s called the Republican party.

In fact, this was only partly true. For the Republican party as reshaped by Reagan now saw pro-family social conservatives in political alliance with the interests of the banks and the large corporations. Main Street and Wall Street were under the same tent, which was a very new development.

SO, HOW WELL has the Republican party performed as the party of the traditional family? At the level of the party platform, it has done fairly well. Since 1980, pro-family activists have successfully shaped Republican platforms that oppose ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, endorse a constitutional amendment to overturn Roe v. Wade and protect pre-born infant life, and call for pro-family tax measures.

And there have been concrete wins. Regarding taxation, for example, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 doubled the value of the child-friendly personal exemption and indexed it to inflation. Ten years later, another tax bill created a new Child Tax Credit. George Bush’s 2001 tax cut raised this credit to $1,000 per child and began to eliminate the tax code’s notorious marriage penalty.

There have been other gains. Congress approved and President Bush signed a ban on partial-birth abortion. The welfare reform of 1996 eliminated perverse incentives to out-of-wedlock births. Under the current President Bush, the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families and the Office of Population Affairs, important branches of the Department of Health and Human Services, are in pro-family hands. As of last month, so is the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. Judges with pro-family records have won presidential appointment to federal courts, most recently Samuel Alito. Especially with the current administration, social conservatives have sometimes felt that they actually hold a true seat at the table.

Even so, all is not well within the existing Republican coalition. Indeed, there are other indicators that the Republican party has done relatively little to help traditional families, and may in fact be contributing to their new indentured status. Certainly at the level of net incomes, the one-earner family today is worse off than it was thirty years ago, when the GOP began to claim the pro-family banner. Specifically, the median income of married-couple families, with the wife not in the paid labor force, was $40,100 in 2002, less than it had been in 1970 ($40,785) when inflation is taken into account. In contrast, the real earnings of two-income married couple families rose by 35 percent over the same years (to nearly $73,000). Put another way, families have been able to get ahead only by becoming “nontraditional” and sending mother to work or forgoing children altogether. As the Maternalists had warned, eliminating America’s “family wage” system would drive male wages down and severely handicap the one-income home. So it has happened.

Despite the economic pressures, though, such families are not extinct. They still form core social conservative constituencies such as home schooling families and families with four or more children. But again, they have little to show from the years of the Republican alliance. Indeed, the GOP has done absolutely nothing to curb the egalitarian frenzy and the gender-role engineering set off by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and enshrined at the Pentagon. Equity feminism still rules these roosts.

Or consider child care. A timely veto by Richard Nixon stopped the government’s day care juggernaut in 1971, but only for a few months. The same year, Nixon signed a Republican-designed measure also backed by the National Organization for Women (heir to the GOP-favored National Woman’s party). This law allowed families to deduct day care costs from their income tax, cleverly labeling them “business expenses.” This has since grown into a credit worth between $1,500 and $2,100 in reduced taxes for households using day care. Even the wealthiest qualify.

Meanwhile, families that sacrifice a second income to keep a mother or father at home receive nothing except a higher net tax. Bills to correct this gross inequity have been regularly introduced in Congress since 1996, most recently the Parents’ Tax Relief Act of 2006 (H.R. 3080). However, the Republican leadership has ignored them. To underscore the lost opportunity here, note that conservatives in Canada rode to victory just a few weeks ago by embracing a plan to extend that nation’s day care benefit to stay-at-home parents; not a whiff of this, though, in the recent State of the Union address.

Add to these examples the bankruptcy reform measure discussed earlier, and ask: What do these issues have in common? All three are matters where the interests of big business and the interests of traditional, one-breadwinner families have collided, and in each case the Republican party has sided in the end with business. Concerning one-income families, the great corporations continue to view them as a waste of human resources, artificially raising labor costs by holding adults at home. Judging by its inaction and results, the GOP agrees. For the same reason, large businesses generally favor federally subsidized day care, for it creates incentives for mothers to work rather than care for their children. Existing Republican policy strongly favors this social parenting. And the credit industry has every interest in creating a new, indentured debtor class annually sending 20 percent of its income to the banks. The Republicans concur.

OTHER DEBT-DRIVEN FAMILY ISSUES are looming, with little indication of a Republican willingness to tackle them in a pro-family way. Consider the Federal Student Loan program, launched in the mid-1960s as a modest supplement to means-tested federal education grants. The system has since morphed into a massive debt machine, lending out $58 billion in 2005 alone and fueling a huge increase in college and university costs. The average bachelor’s degree recipient currently graduates with $20,000 in debt; students having attended graduate school report another $50,000 to $100,000 in debt, creating in one commentator’s words “the most indebted generation of young Americans ever.”

Here we find another newly indentured class of Americans, also paying about 20 percent of their incomes to the banks for decades to come. Disturbingly, over 20 percent of these borrowers report that they have delayed having children because of their debt, while 15 percent say they have delayed marriage. These are not pro-family outcomes. The most recent Republican response to the borrowers’ plight–undertaken in early February in the name of fiscal responsibility–was to pass a measure whose net effect will be to raise the long-term debt facing young adults.

Another troubling new issue is Title IV-D of the Social Security Act, the federal government’s child support collection and enforcement program. Originally designed to track down the welfare fathers of illegitimate children, the measure has increasingly targeted middle income households affected by divorce. There is mounting evidence that the system now encourages marital breakup and exacerbates fatherlessness by creating a winner-take-all game, where the losing parent–commonly a father wanting to save the marriage–is unfairly penalized by the loss of his children and by a federally enforced child support obligation. Here we find objectively false feminist views–the assumption that men are always the abusers and women are always the victims–driving public policy. And here we find still another newly indentured class of citizens–noncustodial parents–being squeezed financially by the state. If you think this an exaggeration,

I refer you to no less an authority than Phyllis Schlafly, who calls this runaway federal law the most serious danger facing American families today.

Democrats often dream of wooing the “Reagan Democrats” back into the fold. Bill Clinton, who could speak “evangelical” and who embraced pro-family tax and welfare reforms, succeeded to some degree. Democratic strategist Stanley Greenberg, who actually coined the phrase “Reagan Democrats,” argues that “a new, family-centered politics can define and revitalize the Democratic party.” Its message should highlight “family integrity and parental responsibility” and offer a “progressive vision of family support.” Greenberg even theorizes that “Roman Catholics would [again] rally to a Democratic party respectful of family and committed to defending government’s unique role in supporting it.”

If the Democratic party remains the party of the sexual revolution, as its open yearning for same-sex marriage suggests it may, such dreams will remain just that. However, if a Democratic leader can ever shake that monkey off his–or her–back, and if this occurs in conjunction with an economic downturn, the prospects for another broad political realignment are fairly high. A new economic populism, delivering child-sensitive benefits and skewering predatory banks and bureaucrats, could work politically for a clever Democrat.

Moreover, when push comes to shove, social conservatives remain second class citizens under the Republican tent. During the 2004 Republican convention, they were virtually confined to the party’s attic, kept off the main stage, treated like slightly lunatic children. Republican lobbyist Michael Scanlon’s infamous candid comment–“The wackos get their information [from] the Christian right [and] Christian radio”–suggests a common opinion among the dominant “K Street” Republicans toward their coalition allies.

Contemporary Republican leaders need to do better–much better–toward social conservatives. They must creatively address pressing new family issues centered on debt burden. And they must learn to say “no” sometimes to Wall Street, lest they squander the revolutionary political legacy of Ronald Reagan.

Allan Carlson is president of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society in Rockford, Illinois.
© Copyright 2005, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

The Criminalization of Parents – Parental Rights Under Assault!

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes on May 23, 2009 at 3:00 pm

By Stephen Baskerville
© 2009

The California appeals court decision criminalizing parents who homeschool their children is only the tip of an iceberg. Nationwide, parents are already being criminalized in huge numbers, and it is not limited to homeschoolers.

During the Clinton years, the trend toward turning children into tools for expanding government power increased rapidly. Otherwise indefensible programs and regulations are now rationalized as “for the children.”

As a result, government now has so many ways to incarcerate parents that hardly a family in America has not been touched. The criminalization of parents is highly bureaucratic, effected through a bureaucratic judiciary and supported by a vast “social services” machinery that few understand until it strikes them. They then find themselves against a faceless government behemoth from which they are powerless to protect their children or defend themselves.

Homeschoolers are usually accused of “educational neglect,” a form of child abuse. Like other child abuse accusations, it does not usually involve a formal charge, uniformed police, or a jury trial. Instead the accusations are leveled by social workers, whose subjective judgment is minimally restrained by due-process protections. As Susan Orr, head of the federal Children’s Bureau points out, these social workers are in effect plainclothes police – but they are not trained or restricted like regular police.

Homeschoolers are not alone. Any parents can be charged with “child abuse” on the flimsiest of pretexts, because child abuse has no definition. Because of our presumption of innocence, crimes are generally defined as they are adjudicated: A crime has been committed if a jury convicts. But the roughly 1 million cases of child abuse annually (out of 3 million accusations) are “confirmed” or “substantiated” not by jury trials but by social workers or (sometimes) judges.

Most such parents are not imprisoned. They merely lose their children.

Virtually every American can now tell of a relative or friend visited by the feared Child Protective Services because of a playground injury or a routine bruise.
Too many dismiss these frightening ordeals as aberrations. In fact, they proceed from a bureaucratic logic that is driven by federal funding. The more “abuse” the social workers find, the more money they get to combat it.

But serious as this is, it is still mild compared to the largest sector of semi-criminalized parents: the involuntarily divorced. The moment one parent files for divorce, even when no grounds are evinced, the government automatically and immediately seizes control of the children, who become effectively wards of the state. Astoundingly, they are then almost always placed in the “custody” of the parent that initiates the divorce, placing the divorcing parent and the state in collusion against the parent that is faithful to the marriage and family. The non-divorcing parent, even if legally unimpeachable, can then be arrested for unauthorized contact with his or her own children. Here too abuse accusations can be readily fabricated out of thin air, further criminalizing the innocent parent. He (it is usually, though not always, the father) can then be arrested, even without a shred of evidence that any abuse has occurred. He can also be arrested if he cannot pay child support that may consume most or even all his income. He can even be arrested for not paying a lawyer or psychotherapist he has not hired.

But what is most striking here – in contrast to homeschoolers – is the absence of opposition. The genius of the feminists is to vilify fathers in terms designed to incur the revulsion of decent people“pedophiles,” “batterers,” “deadbeat dads” – and too many conservatives and Christians are fooled.

In fact, the social science data are clear that these alleged malefactors are rare among biological fathers and almost entirely the creation of feminist propaganda. Accused fathers are no more likely to be criminals or child abusers than are homeschooling parents. They have merely fallen into the clutches of another sector of the child exploitation bureaucracy.

Indeed, it is well-known among scholars that true child abuse takes place overwhelmingly in single parent homes – homes without fathers. By removing fathers under trumped-up abuse accusations, the child abuse apparatchiks create the environment for real abuse, further expanding their business.

Campaigns against homeschoolers and fathers are only the extreme manifestations of the larger attack on all parents. They indicate where we all may be headed if we do not take a united stand for parental rights against a judicial-bureaucratic machine that is not only destroying families but justifying its own expansion in the process.

Though conservatives often misuse the term, two features used by scholars to define totalitarian government were its highly bureaucratic methods and its willingness to invade and destroy the private sphere of life, particularly family life.

Both these tendencies come together in the governmental leviathan that now administers our children: the education establishments, family courts, child protective services, child support enforcement agents, “human services” agencies, counseling services, domestic violence programs and much more.

The very idea that the criminal justice system has been diverted from its role of protecting society from dangerous criminals and instead used to threaten law-abiding parents with jail for educating or raising or simply being with their children should be seen by all Americans as a serious threat to our families and our freedom.

Stephen Baskerville is associate professor of government at Patrick Henry College and author of “Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family” (Cumberland House, 2007).

The original article can be found on World Net Daily: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=58963

Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Lost Parent’s Perspective – Chapter 5 of 5

In child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, cps fraud, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, DSM-IV, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, judicial corruption, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, state crimes on May 23, 2009 at 1:00 am

by Despina Vassiliou
Department of Educational Psychology and Counselling, McGill University
3700 McTavish, Montreal, QC, Canada H3A 1Y2
CHAPTER 5

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

The present qualitative study examined lost parents’ perceptions of the alienating circumstances they and their families experienced in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the nature of Parental Alienation Syndrome and its consequences. The participants included five fathers and one mother who perceived themselves as having experienced PAS. The data were collected via semi-structured, open-ended interview questionnaires. The results consisted of verbatim data transcribed from participants’ tape recorded responses. A qualitative analysis of the compiled data was performed for each participant. This section presents a summary and discussion of all the results. The four previously outlined study objectives are addressed with respect to the findings of the present study.

Question 1: Are there characteristics (e.g., number of children, number of marriages, etc.) common to alienated families?

Previous studies on alienation that have examined the role of family characteristics as possible factors in the occurrence of the alienation have found differing results. For instance, in the study conducted by Dunne and Hedrick (1994) family characteristics were not found to be a factor of PAS, whereas a study conducted by Calabrese et al., (1987) found that characteristics of individuals were better predictors of alienation than family characteristics. Specifically, high levels of alienation were found to be associated with unemployed, single mothers with a daughter. Further, the daughter was found to have had few friends. Although a number of the participants in the present study had tended to only one PAS child, the lost parents tended to remarry after the alienation, and the alienators had tended to relocate with the PAS child. These results were found to be weak indicators of PAS as they were not reported by a majority of the participants (i.e., greater than 50%). Supporting the results of Dunne and Hedrick (1994), it appears that family characteristics such as number of children, number of marriages, and number of relocations are weak indicators in the occurrence of PAS. Though these findings contradict those of Calabrese et al., (1987), they examined different family characteristics reported by the alienator and found that individual family members characteristics, such as the alienator’s employment and the gender of PAS and non-PAS children were relevant in the occurrence of PAS. Further study is required with a larger sample and more detailed questions concerning the number and gender of PAS children and non-PAS children, the number of marriages by both alienator and lost parent, the current marital status and employment of each parent, and the number and reasons for relocations. With these specific questions, a larger sample, and a comparison group of non-PAS divorced families, more light might be shed on the role of family characteristics in the occurrence of PAS.

Question 2: Are there common themes or issues among the conflicts within couples that contribute to marriage dissolution?

Previous studies examined the effects of conflict involved in separation and/or divorce on individual family members. For instance, Johnston, Gonzalez, and Campbell (1987) examined the behaviour of children from separated and/or divorced families who were subjected to “entrenched” parental conflict regarding their custody. It was postulated, in the current study, that an elevated level of conflict contributed to the occurrence of PAS. However, the results suggest that the dissolution of the PAS marriages occurred with varying degrees of conflict, from high levels of conflict including physical aggression, to situations with absolutely no conflict. The current study also found that with time, the majority of the participants reported strained relationships with their ex-spouses, where most had little or no contact with their ex-spouses due to a degradation of communication between the parents. These results suggest that there may be other factors aside from initial marital conflict that contributes to the occurrence of PAS. Lund’s (1995) findings indicated that a heightened number of conflicts occurring during the divorce, not during the marriage, may contribute to the occurrence of PAS. Again, further study of separating families is necessary to determine whether it is other factors that occur during the dissolution of the marriage and subsequent custody proceedings or if it is the time of the conflicts with respect to the divorce that plays a more significant role in PAS. Such studies should consist of a long-term examination of the situations that occur in separating families and the family member’s responses to them. For instance, a future study may have participants maintain daily journals that chronicle the events of the separation and these journals may later be analyzed qualitatively in order to determine whether any similarities exist across different families.

Question 3: Are there common themes in the participants’ experience of the alienation process?

Several common themes among the cases were found in the present study. Interestingly, these commonalties spanned the continent; they were not focused geographically. One commonality was that the PAS children were “enlisted” by the alienating parent as secondary alienators to them (i.e., to the primary alienator) to contribute to the alienation. This finding is consistent with the characteristics of PAS children described by Gardner (1992). Also described by Gardner (1992) and Cartwright (1993), others such as grandparents participated and contributed to the alienation. The reasons for which extended family members participate in that alienation remains unclear. Although there is some support for the notion that the closeness of these other alienators to the alienating parent may play a role, the results were inconclusive. A future study could contribute to the knowledge of PAS by examining the roles of the extended family members of PAS children.

A second commonality was that the lost parents reported feeling powerless as a result of the alienating situation. Others, especially the children, appeared to have gained control of the lost parents’ behaviour. These children could determine when, if at all, they would see their lost parent under what circumstances, and particularly what the lost parent would do with the child. The lost parent had to be careful not to anger their child lest they not see the child again. The sense that power shifted from the parent to the child, although not previously examined in the field of PAS, remains a logical consequence of the custody proceedings. As Turkat (1994) noted, the family undergoes a shift from having two parents who make decisions for the child, to one parent becoming a “visitor” in the child’s life. The “visiting” parent then loses the influence that he or she had previously and is unable to make the same decisions as he or she once did.

Third, the results suggest a lack of satisfaction with the services rendered by both legal and mental health professionals. The participants perceived a lack of knowledge of PAS on the part of the professionals, as well as a failure at the professional level to gather pertinent information prior to drawing conclusions. Participants perceived the psychological services they received as not helping the alienating situation, and perceived the legal professionals as supporting and even contributing to the alienation. The sense of dissatisfaction toward mental health professionals may be merited. Currently, there is a minimal amount of research conducted on PAS by psychologists and psychiatrists. Consequently, the number of these professionals who have any knowledge and understanding of PAS may be limited. Further research and discussion of the topic is imperative in order to provide more mental health professionals with greater knowledge of PAS and the intervention techniques that may be useful.

Legal professionals appear to be more aware of PAS as more articles are published by lawyers. However, the dissatisfaction with the legal system appears to stem from lawyers contributing to the alienation. Many have postulated that the legal system contributes to the occurrence of PAS (Gardner, 1992; 1991; Clawar & Rivlin, 1991; Dunne & Hedrick, 1994; and Girdner 1985). For instance, Cartwright (1993) had noted that prolonged legal proceedings contribute to the occurrence of PAS. Much of the blame for the occurrence of PAS may be related to the dissatisfaction the lost parents experienced with the legal system. This dissatisfaction may be due to the lost parents losing primary custody of their children to alienators. As a result, it is imperative that indicators and precursors of PAS be established in order to better inform judges, lawyers, and mental health professionals about PAS. These professionals, working together, can influence the outcome for PAS families. Their influence is shown with the findings of Dunne and Hedrick (1994) who linked the termination of PAS to the legal enforcement of a change in custody from the alienators to the lost parents. This finding was the only one to suggest an effective intervention for PAS families. Specifically, a possible intervention includes mental health professionals identifying PAS families to the legal professionals, who can then legally enforce the necessary change in custody.

The role of these professionals is also to inform others of PAS and its consequences. Currently, Anita Woolfolk (1998), in her bestselling textbook Educational Psychology, provides some startling information to student teachers. In her note to be “sensitive” to the rights of information for both parents, she suggests the following:

1. “When parents have joint custody, both are entitled to receive information and attend parent-teacher conferences.”
2. “The noncustodial parent may still be concerned about the child’s school progress.” (emphasis added) (p. 96)

In her first point, she neglects to mention the rights of noncustodial parents and when she does so in her second point, she states that they “may still be concerned” about their child. Such remarks provide future teachers with the impression that once a parent loses custody they also lose their parental rights and feelings for their children. Under Quebec law, Article 648 stipulates that a parent retains parental authority even if that parent does not have physical custody of the child (as cited in Department of Justice Canada, 1993). Specifically, parental authority is elaborated in Article 647 of the Quebec Civil Code (as cited in Department of Justice Canada, 1993) is stated as follows:

The father and mother have the rights and duties of custody, supervision and education of their children. They must maintain their children.

Fourth, the results of the present study suggest that the lost parents attributed the cause of the alienation to the alienators’ feelings and desires. Specifically, they perceived the alienators’ actions as motivated by hate and anger, revenge or some combination of these. However, these results lack enough detail to determine whether these motivations may be influenced by the influences that Gardner (1992) had suggested, such as the alienators’ mental health and the legal system. Specifically, the motivations of hate and/or anger and revenge found in the present study may be mediated by the alienators’ mental health as well as the alienators’ reactions to the lengths, processes, and outcomes of their legal cases.

Fifth, the results suggest a change in the frequency of visitation and custody arrangements impact on the relationships between the lost parents and their children. The participants reported that primary custody was given to the mother at the onset of the divorce, regardless of who later became the alienator and who later became the lost parent. Further, the fathers all had a consistent visitation schedule at the beginning of the custody arrangements (e.g., one weekend every two weeks). The final custody arrangements resulted in the alienators receiving custody and the lost parents receiving a significant reduction in their visitation schedules from half the original plan to no contact at all. Of interest is the apparent gender bias in initial custody agreements; specifically, mothers received primary custody. However, following the alienation all the lost parents — even the mother with initial primary custody — had their visitation drastically reduced. Moreover, as expected with a reduction of visitation, the lost parents described limited relationships with their children to whom they often wrote without reply. The only exception were two fathers who related that they probably maintained a relatively steady relationship with their children because the PAS was mild and even one of these fathers was alienated from his eldest child and with whom he had a limited relationship.

Overall, these findings indicate that there are several possible factors, such as changes in relationships among family members, the roles of mental health and legal professionals, as well as custody arrangements, that may be indicators or precursors to PAS. All of these factors lend support to several of Lund’s (1995) findings. First, Lund’s (1995) identified separation difficulties that are developmentally inappropriate as a contribution to PAS. It is possible that the pattern of the change in custody arrangements (where the alienator received primary custody at the end of the custody dispute) may result in the separation difficulties described by Lund’s (1995). Second, a characteristic of PAS children is that they exhibit some form of “oppositional” behaviour at least to the lost parent, as supported in the present study. Third, Lund’s (1995) also found that the non-custodians’ parental skills deteriorated and contributed to the occurrence of PAS. Such deterioration of the parental skills may be a result of the lost parent’s sense of lost power over their situation and, as indicated in the present study, they did not exercise their usual parenting styles. The lost parents reported that they felt that disciplining the PAS child may result in the child becoming angry and retaliating by denying visits with the lost parent. Since there appears to be several factors that may influence the occurrence of PAS, a long-term study that examines these singly and in combination may provide a useful insight as to possible indicators.

Question 4: Given the opportunity, what are some things that the lost parents perceive they might do differently?

The results of the current study suggest that armed with the knowledge they have now, each participant would have taken other means in order to prevent the current alienated situation from ever occurring. Examples of the means they would take include never having married, taking different legal routes, or seeking psychological services at an earlier date. Few studies have addressed this issue, however, the importance of preventing PAS is evident in that all of the participant’s would never want to repeat the experience.

A summary of the findings of the present study is as follows:

(1) Family characteristics, such as number of children, number of marriages, and the alienators number of relocations were weak factors in the occurrence of PAS.
(2) Marital conflicts and their intensity were weak predictors in the occurrence of PAS.
(3) As expected, the relationship between the alienating and lost parents were strained after the onset of PAS.
(4) There was a general decrease in the frequency of visitation for the lost parent which may or may not have been due to PAS.
(5) There was a reduction of other contacts (aside from visitation) between the lost parents and their children that, as expected, limited their relationship.
(6) By the very nature of PAS, all of the participants perceived a general “sabotage” of their relationships with their children by the alienators. The findings confirmed that the alienators used denigrating techniques (e.g., implying that the lost parents were not good people).
(7) The children acted as secondary alienators.
(8) The alienator’s closer family members tended to also alienate.
(9) The participants perceived the underlying cause of the alienation as the hatred toward the lost parents, anger, or revenge, or some combination of these.
(10) The lost parents experienced a loss of parental role and power whether or not they had visitation with their children.
(11) Although the lost parents sought the assistance of both legal and mental health professionals, they remained dissatisfied with these services. Both the legal and mental health professionals have inadequately explored all the parameters implied in PAS.
(12) The participants, provided that they had the knowledge about PAS that they presently have, would have behaved differently towards their ex-spouse.
(13) As expected, the participants perceived the alienating circumstances as exerting serious negative emotional and financial consequences on their lives.
(14) They hoped to be able to be reunited with their children in the future. They would be able to do so by maintaining contact with the children (i.e., by sending letters and cards). These findings illustrate both the complexity and seriousness of PAS. Thus the ability to identify precursors, indicators, and effective interventions for these families is essential.

Limitations of the Study and Recommendations for Additional Research

The research conducted in the present study involved a small sample of participants who described themselves as victims of PAS and consequently, generalizations can only be made cautiously. Although some pre-defined criteria were given as a basis for choosing the participants, additional specific criteria are necessary. For instance, a useful future criterion may be that the participants be identified as PAS subjects by trained professionals. However, due to time limitations, a lack of resources and the difficulty of identifying cases of PAS when there were so few professionals who had any knowledge of PAS, it might be difficult for a researcher to include this criteria. Second, interviews were conducted by telephone due to the great distances involved. Such a means of interview may be prone to overlook or minimize important qualitative data from nonverbal cues. Ideally, with a larger sample size, possibly a random sample, and the inclusion of a comparison group (e.g., families involved in amicable divorces) greater generalizability may be attained in such a study. To date there is very little research specifically on PAS; much that is known remains tentative. Further building on the data base available to researchers to date can provide greater information upon which to base hypotheses for future research.

The importance of a greater wealth of knowledge on PAS is evident by examining the focus placed on problems encountered in custody disputes by the government. The Senate of Canada has debated drafts of legislation Bill-C41, whose principle is to have both spouses share the “financial obligation to maintain the children of the marriage in accordance with their relative abilities” (Chapter 1, article 11-2). As a result, the Senate of Canada and the House of Commons has created a Joint Committee on Custody and Access. The purpose of this committee is to “examine and analyze issues relating to parenting arrangements after separations and divorce” (Senate Debates, October 28, 1997, pp. 253). Senator Anne C. Cools presented a speech to amend certain aspects of the Joint Committee. The amendment passed and has been sent to the House of Commons for their approval. The amendment Senator Anne C. Cools proposed was to have the Joint Committee on Custody and Access examine important issues relating to separation and divorce. Specifically, she noted that issues such as Parental Alienation Syndrome and false allegations of sexual abuse are difficulties that non-custodial parents encounter. As a result the Committee will set out to:

assess the need for a more child-centred approach to family law policies and practices that would emphasize joint parental responsibilities and child-focused parenting arrangements based on children’s needs and best interests; (Senate Debates, p. 257)

The Committee will be examining issues related to custody and access to children after divorce and separation. Mental health professionals will likely be sources of information for this Committee, and Parental Alienation Syndrome will likely be a relevant issue to be examined. Consequently, mental health professionals need to examine PAS further in order to provide both pertinent information to the Committee and more importantly help for the families of PAS.

References

Arditti, J. A. (1992). Factors related to custody, visitation, and child support for divorced fathers: An exploratory analysis. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 17(3-4), 23-42.

BILL-C41, Chapter 1, Statutes of Canada (1997).

Calabrese, R. M., Miller, J. W., and Dooley, B. (1987). The identification of alienated parents and children: Implications for school psychologists. Psychology in the Schools, 24, 145-150.

Cartwright, G. F. (1993). Expanding the parameters of parental alienation syndrome. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 21(3), 205-215.

Child custody and access reform: Special joint committee established, Senate of Canada, Senate Debates, 1997.

Clawar, S. S., and Rivlin, B. V. (1991). Children Held Hostage: Dealing with Programmed and Brainwashed Children. Chicago: American Bar Association.

Demo, A. H. and Acock, A. C. (1988). The impact of divorce on children, Journal of Marriage and the Family, 50, 619-648.

Department of Justice Canada (1993). Custody and access: Public discussion. Canada, Ministry of Supply and Services Canada.

Dunne, J., and Hedrick, M. (1994). The parental alienation syndrome: An analysis of sixteen cases. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 21(3/4), 21-38.

Gardner, R. A. (1991). Psychotherapeutic and legal approaches to the three types of parental alienation syndrome families. In Family evaluation in child custody mediation, arbitration, and litigation. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics.

Gardner, R. A. (1992). The Parental Alienation Syndrome: A Guide for Mental Health and Legal Professionals. Cresskill, NJ: Creative Therapeutics.

Girdner, L. K. (1985). Strategies of conflict: Custody litigation in the United States. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 9(1), 1-15.

Goldwater, A. (1991). Le syndrome d’alienation parentale[in English]. In Developments en droits familial (pp. 121-145) Cowansville, Quebec: Les Edition Yvons Blais.

Hoffman, M. L. (1971). Father absence and conscience development. Developmental Psychology, 4, 400-406.

Johnston, J.R., Gonzalez, R., and Campbell, L.E.G. (1987). Ongoing postdivorce conflict and child disturbance. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 15(4), 493-509.

Kressel, K. (1985). The process of divorce. New York: Basic Books.

Kurdek, L. A. (1981). An integrative perspective on children’s divorce adjustment. American Psychologist, 36(8), 856-866.

Lund, M. (1995). A therapist’s view of parental alienation syndrome. Family and Conciliation Courts Review, 33(3), 308-316.

Palmer, N. K. (1988). Legal recognition of parental alienation syndrome. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 16(4), 360-363.

Slater, E. J., and Haber, J. D., (1984). Adolescent adjustment following divorce as a function of familial conflict. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 52(5), 920-921.

Rand, D.C. (1997). The spectrum of parental alienation syndrome: Part I. American Journal of Forensic Psychology, 15(3), 23-52.

Turkat, I.D. (1994). Child visitation interference in divorce. Clinical Psychology Review, 14, 737-742.

Woolfolk, A. E. (1998). Educational psychology: Seventh edition (pp. 96). Toronto: Allyn and Bacon.

Yin, R. K. (1984). Case study research, designs and methods. Beverly Hills.

APPENDIX A

LETTERS TO PARTICIPANTS

PARENTAL ALIENATION STUDY

If you or someone you know has experienced Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) and are willing to participate in a study, please contact Despina at (514)-840-1159 or via e-mail at dvassi@PO-BOX.Mcgill.Ca.

*PAS is defined as a syndrome where one parent (usually the custodial parent) attempts to alienate the child or children from another parent. It includes a series of conscious and subconscious techniques, such as brainwashing, by the alienating parent, as well as the child or children’s own contributions for denigrating the allegedly hated parent (Cartwright, 1993, Gardner, 1992).

APPENDIX B

CONSENT FORMS

Note: All consent forms will be kept by the researcher (Despina Vassiliou) until the completion and acceptance of her thesis and graduation. After that time, the consent forms will be destroyed.

Consent Form
McGill University Research Project

The Effects of Parental Alienation Syndrome on Individual Family Members

Dear Sir/Madam,

We are presently conducting research that will examine the development of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)* within the family unit. More specifically, we are interested in examining each of the family member’s role in the alienation process. Participants will be asked a series of questions pertaining to the alienating relationships within the family unit. The questions are straightforward and will take approximately one hour to discuss and will be tape recorded. Your responses will be kept completely confidential and anonymous. You are not under any obligation to participate, and you may choose to discontinue the study at any point. If you agree to participate in this research project, please sign the form below.

We greatly appreciate your consideration of this project. We would be delighted to provide more background information and answer any questions you might have. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Despina Vassiliou
MA student, School Psychology
McGill University
514-398-4257

Glenn F. Cartwright, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Educational Psychology
McGill University
514-398-4240

I, ________________________, agree to participate in the McGill PAS study.
(Please print your name in full)

Participant’s Signature

Date

APPENDIX C

INTERVIEW QUESTIONNAIRES

Interview Questions

Current Status:
1. Describe to me your current family constellation?
· How many children do you have?
· Are they currently living with you?
· If no, how often do you get to see them if at all?
· Have you remarried?
2. Describe your current relationship with your ex-spouse.

Beginning of the Marital Dissolution:

3. When did the conflicts that lead to the dissolution of your marriage begin?
4. Did you see a common theme or issue in the conflicts?
5. How long did these conflicts before divorce became an option?
6. Who initiated the divorce and on what grounds?

Initiating and Proceedings of the Custody Case(s):
7. Describe the events that lead up to the custody proceedings?
8. How long was each of the legal cases (custody and divorce)?
9. Do you remember an occasion during the custody proceedings that lead to the delay of the case?
If yes,
· What effects did the delay have on the case?
· What effects did the delay have on your children and your relationship with them?

Contributions to P.A.S.:
10. Tell me some factors that contributed to the alienation in your case?
11. Do you believe that you had any role or make any contributions to the alienating situation?
12. What were your children’s role in the alienation? Describe some of their behaviours.
· Describe some of your behaviours or actions that contributed to the alienation?
13. Tell me about the effects of the alienation on your relationship with your children?
14. Describe for me your relationship with your children today?
15. Do you remember an occasion when other individuals contributed to the alienation? (How?)

Cause and Possible Termination of P.A.S.:
16. For how long did the alienation occur (in months)?
17. What do you believe was the underlying cause of the alienation?
18. How do you feel about the alienation now?
19. Has the alienation ceased? In your opinion, why is this so?
If the alienation has ceased:
· How long has it been since you have been removed from the alienated situation?
· Can you tell me about the circumstances that have made it possible for the alienation to have been terminated?
If the alienation has not ceased:
· Do you believe that there is a possibility of a reconciliation?
· If yes, what do you believe would make a reconciliation possible?

Looking Back:
20. When and how did you realize the implications of what was occurring, with regard to the alienation?
21. What do you feel is the impact of this whole experience on your life?
22. Had you or any of your family members sought out services for emotional assistance?
If yes,
· Who? And for what reasons?
· What was the outcome? (Were there any diagnoses made? Were you taking any medication?)
If not,
· How did you or they cope with the situation on your/their own?
23. How do you view the experience now as compared to how you viewed it then (while you were experiencing it)?
24. Has your opinion changed over time? How much time? How did it change?
25. Is there anything else that you would like to change or do over again?

APPENDIX D

SAMPLE PAGE OF TRANSCRIPT

APPENDIX E

CERTIFICATE OF ETHICAL RESPONSIBILITY

The original article can be found here: http://www.fact.on.ca/Info/pas/vassil98.htm#CHAPTER%205

How Our Tax Dollars Subsidize Family Breakup

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

By Stephen Baskerville
© 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newsweek’s Lies about Divorce

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

Posted: December 30, 2008
1:00 am Eastern

By Stephen Baskerville
© 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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