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Posts Tagged ‘Parental Rights Amendment’

Parental Rights Needs Help in Your State

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Childrens Rights, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parents rights on January 14, 2010 at 11:17 pm

Parental Rights Needs Help in Your State

It is January, and that means State legislatures are (or soon will be) gearing up again. Several of these State bodies will be considering resolutions calling on the U.S. Congress to pass the Parental Rights Amendment to the States for ratification.

A few states which will or may introduce such resolutions include California, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, Utah, and Virginia. ParentalRights.org stands ready to supply sample wording and other resources for any state that may wish to consider such a measure.

As a result, we would like to urge you this week to investigate your state legislature. Here’s all we’d ask you to do:

Action Item

  • Visit our States Watch page and click on your State to see if a parental rights resolution has already been introduced in your legislature. (As of this email, only Virginia and Hawaii are definites.)
  • Visit your state legislature’s website to find and write down the contact information for your state lawmakers.
  • If there is already a resolution in your state, contact your lawmakers and urge them to support that resolution for the sake of parents, families, and the rights of your particular state.
  • If there is not already a resolution in your state, contact your lawmakers and urge them to champion such a resolution. Tell them ParentalRights.org would welcome contact from them, and we would be happy to provide them with sample language from which such a resolution can be written. You might even offer to contact us on their behalf and get that information for them!
  • Remember to follow up in a couple of weeks to make sure your efforts are moving things forward. Many state legislatures won’t be convened for long, so time is of the essence.
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Children’s Day Rally for Parental Rights – Protecting Children by Empowering Parents

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Children and Domestic Violence, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Protective Dads, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on November 12, 2009 at 8:19 pm

Children’s Day Rally for Parental Rights

November 20 has been designated “Children’s Day” by the internationalists. But what greater way to support children than to protect their families? So, we’re celebrating Children’s Day with a Parental Rights Rally in Washington, D.C.

The rally will be held at the U.S. Capitol, on the East Lawn across from the Rayburn House Office building. It is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with several very special guests invited to speak, including Rep. Peter Hoekstra and Sen. Jim DeMint, the lead sponsors of the Parental Rights Amendment; Gerard Robinson with Black Alliance for Educational Options; William Estrada of Homeschool Legal Defense Association; Dean and Julie Nelson of National Black Home Educators; and Steven Groves of Heritage Foundation.

We know most of you won’t be able to come all the way to D.C. If you are among those who can, give us a call at 540-751-1200 for further details or directions.

Tell Us YOUR Story

Too many Americans – including congressmen – think the proposed Amendment is just about stopping the Convention on the Rights of the Child. But threats to parental rights are already going on in our nation today. You have seen them. You have experienced them, and we need to hear from you.

Have you: been harassed about your child’s school attendance? Had your child immunized without your consent? Been harassed for your decision over whether to immunize your child or not? Been denied your child’s library records? Had to fight to (or been refused to) opt your child out of specific classes, activities, or events at school? Been harassed for opting them out? Been denied access to your child’s health records, or been kept from staying with them at the doctor’s office? Had your child subjected to health screenings, drug tests, etc., without your knowledge or consent? Had your child obtain an abortion or birth-control prescription without your knowledge or consent? Received threats or had your child removed by social services without cause and a fair trial?

Please, email us at stories@parentalrights.org with a brief description of your run-in with parental rights limitations. (Remember, we will have to read every email sent in, so brevity will be greatly appreciated. We can always write you back if we need more information!) And pass this email along to anyone you know whose parental rights may have been violated, so that they will know to share their story with us, too!

 

Parentalrights.org – Protecting Children by Empowering Parents — Tell Us YOUR Story.

Parental Rights – U.N. treaty to muzzle children?

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Custody for fathers, Child Custody for Mothers, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment on October 9, 2009 at 6:23 pm


U.N. treaty to muzzle children?


Posted: October 09, 2009
1:00 am Eastern

© 2009 

The prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, recently announced that children of that nation should be excluded from all political activities. Quoted in the Indian newspaper The Daily Star, Hasina said, “Children would be aware of politics but should not be used in political activities.”

She made her proclamation in association with World Children’s Day and Child Rights Week 2009, suggesting that her nation’s actions were tied to its obligations under the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

This remarkable claim demonstrates how radically international human rights laws diverge from the American Bill of Rights. Evidence is mounting that the U.N. Convention of the Rights of the Child is exerting its influence across the globe in ways that may, one day soon, threaten the rights of American parents to raise their children as they see fit. This binding treaty is now being considered for ratification by the U.S. Senate.

In the United States, “children” – defined by the CRC as anyone below the age of 18 – have every right to be active participants in all manner of political activities, from canvassing for candidates, to manning call centers and beyond. It is a basic right of free speech guaranteed in our First Amendment. Any effort by the government of the United States to curtail political activity by teenagers or other children would be summarily found to be unconstitutional by American courts. Clearly, the international human rights view of free speech – supposedly guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child – runs contrary to our American system of law.

This declaration should be a strong warning to American judges who seem all-too-eager to submit to international precedent in the advocacy of human rights.

And those in the United States Senate seeking ratification of the U.N. children’s convention might be surprised to learn that the announcement from Bangladesh runs contrary their position on the treaty.

Edward Lee O’Brien, the executive director emeritus of Street Law Inc., recently sent an e-mail to public school teachers in the United States on behalf of the U.S. Campaign for the Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This advocacy organization has asked public school teachers (in grades 6-12) to “pilot a new curriculum to teach about the CRC,” even though to do so would certainly violate the CRC’s apparent restrictions on children’s political activities.

American advocates of the CRC do have this in common with their counterparts in Dhaka – they both apparently believe in government control of the political thoughts of children. In Bangladesh, the government intends to tell them what they may not do; in the United States, the pro-U.N. crowd would like to tell children what they must believe.

Whether the issue is environmentalism, tax policy, or international law, public schools should not become agencies of propaganda.

If we really believe in children’s rights – in a form that is recognized by the Bill of Rights – then we need to do everything we possibly can do to defeat the U.N. Convention on the “Rights” of the Child. And we need to pass the Parental Rights Amendment – with now more than 120 co-sponsors in the U.S. House – to see that it stays defeated for good.

If we believe in the right of young Americans to engage in the political process, then it is essential that we defeat this dangerous treaty.

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U.N. treaty to muzzle children?.

Folks gather and organize, fearing ‘evil’ forces within the government are plotting to undermine families – syracuse.com

In Freedom, Liberty, Marriage, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parents rights, United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child on August 20, 2009 at 5:20 pm

Folks gather and organize, fearing ‘evil’ forces within the government are plotting to undermine families

by Delen Goldberg / The Post-Standard

Thursday August 20, 2009, 7:14 AM

Michael Kicinski (left) of Earlville, a member of the Chenango County/Norwich Tea Party Patriots, and his sons, Stephen Kicinski, 15, and Jonathan Kicinski, 12, hold signs at a CNY Patriot rally at Terry’s Transmissions, 6217 E. Taft Road, North Syracuse. Speakers at the rally supported the passage of a constitutional amendment guaranteeing parental rights.

The rain had just cleared Tuesday as a group of about 40 people filtered into the parking lot of Terry’s Transmissions in North Syracuse.

They carried flags and umbrellas and set up lawn chairs as the song “God Bless the USA” played over a loudspeaker. Homemade signs reading “No More Lies” and “Parents decide, not government” lined a podium.

The group, made up of grandfathers, soccer moms and teens, had gathered to hear speakers talk about two federal bills: The once-named GIVE Act, which establishes voluntary community service programs for students, seniors and veterans (and was signed into law by President Obama in April) and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guarantees civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights for children (and is still pending in Congress).

The patriots, as they call themselves, rallied against both, bolstered by fears that the bills would allow the government to indoctrinate their children and take them away. The crowd instead supports a proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the Constitution, which they say would counteract the U.N. treaty and guarantee parents the right to raise their kids as they see fit.

“Evil people will do anything evil you allow them to,” said speaker Eric Lansing, a recent college graduate from Purcellville, Va., who is regional coordinator for ParentalRights.org. “They’ll take advantage … until you stand up.

“The problem is, they (supporters) have not been exposed to the full text of the bill,” Lansing continued. “We happen to know what’s in the best interest of your children.”

The speakers cast their opponents as misguided and misinformed, but a good portion of the information they provided was incorrect.

Jennifer Blount, of Skaneateles, likened Obama’s community service groups to Nazi youth camps and slavery. In reality, the programs will be completely voluntary.

The GIVE Act, renamed as the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, authorizes about $6 billion in spending over the next five years to expand the number of AmeriCorps positions from 75,000 to 250,000 and create new community service programs for middle- and high-school students, senior citizens and other Americans. In return for service, volunteers will receive academic credits, educational stipends or other financial awards. Service would not be required for students taking school loans, another common misconception.

Lansing said the service bill Obama signed “was not as bad as it could have been, but there are still some awful things in there.” He correctly pointed out that service would not be mandatory, but added: “That could come.”

When asked by an audience member what “awful things” were included in the bill, Lansing deferred.

“I’m not sure about specifics,” he said. “It was a long time ago that I studied the bill.”

Dave Brewster Sr., of Canastota, characterized the bill as a way for the government “not just to control people, but to own them.” Brewster, who founded the conservative group, “United Strength of America,” also called Obama “our gangsta president” and a “street thug from Chicago.”

Several attendees worried out loud that the U.N. agreement would allow the United Nations to take away their children. But the agreement allows no such thing.

Article 5 reads: “Parties shall respect the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents or, where applicable, the members of the extended family.”

Article 9 reads: “Parties shall ensure that a child shall not be separated from his or her parents against their will.”

Instead, the convention is a legally binding international treaty that covers protection from abuse and exploitation and rights to adequate food, shelter, clean water, education and health care. Only two nations — the United States and Somalia — have yet to sign on.

The demonization of the two measures has been promoted by rightwing Web sites and talk radio that have stoked anti-tax tea parties and health-care town hall disruptions nationwide.

The people attending said they found out about the event through word of mouth, blogs and e-mails. Many took notes during the speakers’ lectures, and at least a few passed around printed material from conservative Web sites.

The patriots said they have put in requests for meetings with several local elected officials, including Rep. Dan Maffei, D-DeWitt, and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to try to gain their support for a Parental Rights Amendment.

“We are sane people,” explained Lee Deyulio, of Baldwinsville. “We are not a bunch of rightwing nuts. We are not the enemy. We are just trying to save our country.”

Delen Goldberg can be reached at dgoldberg@syracuse.com or 470-2274.

// //

Folks gather and organize, fearing ‘evil’ forces within the government are plotting to undermine families – syracuse.com.

Parental Rights Amendment Reaches 110 Co-Sponsors

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, CPS, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment on July 28, 2009 at 5:16 pm

New CoSponsors in the House – and Senate!

This morning, in conjunction with Representative Hoekstra’s office, we proudly sent out the following press release:

Parental Rights Amendment Reaches 110 Co-Sponsors

Grassroots Movement behind Effort to Ensure Parents’ Rights to Raise their Children

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / July 27, 2009 / Washington, D.C. – A Constitutional Amendment to protect the parent-child relationship introduced by U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Michigan, has reached 110 co-sponsors in the House.

“More and more members of Congress are recognizing the threat from government and foreign interference into the parent-child relationship,” Hoekstra said. “I encourage my colleagues to support the initiative by co-sponsoring the Parents’ Rights Amendment.”

The Parental Rights Amendment (H.J.Res.42) would state explicitly in the U.S. Constitution that parents have a fundamental right to raise their children as they see fit, while protecting against abuse and neglect. Threats to the parent-child relationship include potential Senate ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and the erosion of fundamental parental rights in our federal courts.

“Just about every member of Congress agrees with the legal principle that parents have the fundamental right to make decisions for the upbringing of their children,” said Michael Farris, J.D., president of Parentalrights.org. “Because of international law and shifting judicial philosophies, the right is being steadily undermined. We now have 110 members of Congress with the foresight to say that we need to protect this long-standing right before the erosion goes too far. We appreciate the leadership of Pete Hoekstra and the 109 other members of Congress who believe that it is important to secure the rights of American families for generations to come.”

More information on the Parental Rights Amendment can be viewed at http://www.parentalrights.org.

More Good News

In addition, we also received word that Senator Coburn of Oklahoma has signed on as a cosponsor of S.J. Res. 16, the Parental Rights Amendment in the Senate. This brings our total in the Senate to three (3) – a slow but important start.

While there is no way to track the direct effects of your calls and emails and our visits last week, it is safe to assume that at least some of these cosponsors would not have signed on before the summer break without this contact. When we visited Congress last week, everyone we spoke to was already aware of the Amendment – a major change from just four months ago! Our thanks and congratulations to you for your efforts to bring this vital issue to the attention of your Senators and Congressmen. With help like yours, we will win!

NCCPR Child Welfare Blog: Another reporter suckered by the myths of Mary Ellen (and an amazing number of other myths as well)

In Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, child trafficking, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, judicial corruption, kidnapped children, Liberty, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, parental rights, Parentectomy, Parents rights on June 28, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another reporter suckered by the myths of Mary Ellen (and an amazing number of other myths as well)

It’s been nearly 20 years since my book about child welfare, Wounded Innocents was published (Prometheus Books, 1990, 1995). I began the chapter about the history of American child welfare with an attempt to debunk one of the most enduring, and pernicious, myths in the field. In fact, one might call it the creation myth of the entire modern child welfare establishment.

The mountain of myth is built upon a molehill of truth about Mary Ellen Wilson, a little girl who lived in New York City in the 1870s, who was repeatedly and brutally beaten. In court she testified to beatings by her “Mamma.”

The first myth propounded by America’s “child savers,” as they proudly called themselves in the 19th Century, is that it required the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to intervene and seek protection of Mary Ellen as an animal.

To this day, I wrote in Wounded Innocents,

Child savers point to the case of Mary Ellen as a prime example of what life for children would be like without them. The case teaches us, they say, that parents cannot be allowed to control their children like property and that massive intervention is essential to protect “children’s rights.”

But if you know the real story of Mary Ellen, using it to justify the current system of massive coercive intervention into families becomes impossible.

For starters, though the head of the local SPCA did indeed call the case to the attention of the court, he did so as a prominent private citizen, not in his official capacity – and not by suggesting that Mary Ellen be protected as an animal.

But even more important, there’s one vital part of the story the child savers, and the credulous reporters who love the Mary Ellen myth, almost always leave out:

Mary Ellen was a foster child.

The “mamma” who did her so much harm was her foster mother. Mary Ellen had been taken from her real mamma and placed with her abuser by the New York Board of Charities – which then failed to monitor her care.

As I wrote in the book:

The real lessons of Mary Ellen concern the inability of the state to be an effective parent, the risks of abuse in foster care, and the need to help parents – like Mary Ellen’s real “mamma” – take care of their children. In short, the lesson of Mary Ellen is the lesson every doctor is taught in medical school: First, do no harm.

But a few inconvenient facts aren’t going to quash a myth with such powerful visceral appeal – one that panders to all our middle-class rescue fantasies at once. So every generation of young, journalists seems to embrace it all over again. (And they’re not alone, even one of the best reporters ever to cover these issues fell for this one, long ago.)

The latest example turned up earlier this year. I’m not going to name the reporter or the paper since there’s no reason to pick on one, earnest, well-meaning reporter when so many have been fooled. But it was a classic. For her one and only identified source, the reporter relied on a local real estate agent and fiction writer who’d co-authored a book that accepted all the Mary Ellen mythology at face value. Based on this, the reporter declared that

Indeed, the head of an animal protection group helped rescue a child in the 1874 case that ignited the child protection movement. Advocates argued she deserved at least the rights of an animal. [The real estate agent/author] … said children were viewed as property and “it was about not interfering between a parent and a child.” Uneasiness about government interference in families endured.

The reporter then turns to the local judge, whose comments over the years to not suggest overwhelming insight, but someone regarded by the local paper as wiser than Solomon himself. The judge tells the reporter that, in the reporter’s words,

“liberty interests led to parents being allowed to raise children largely how they saw fit until as recently as the early 1970s.”

Absolutely none of this is true. Mary Ellen’s foster mother was convicted of felonious assault, not animal cruelty. New York City’s first statute against child abuse dates to 1833. By 1874 thousands of New York City children, whose parents’ primary crimes had been being poor and being immigrants, already had been taken from those parents and shipped out to the south and Midwest on so-called “orphan trains” – even though many of them were not orphans. And by the early 1970s, there were hundreds of thousands of children trapped in foster care on any given day.

Most important, of course, that little detail about Mary Ellen being a foster child is nowhere to be found in the reporter’s account.

But it’s how the reporter defended her account that would, I am sure, make at least one of my former journalism professors roll over in his grave. It’s true, she wrote on the newspaper’s website, because the American Humane Association says so. You know – American Humane, the animal rights group with a child saving arm – the close cousin of the SPCA. This is, of course, like saying “I know what the candidate said about his economic plan is true because his campaign office vouched for every word!” or “I know the drug is safe because the drug company flack told me so!”

But the mythology and hype didn’t end with Mary Ellen. In fact, when it comes to misinformation-per-column-inch, this story is hard to top.

For instance, in keeping with the “we-treat-animals-better-than-children” theme, there’s the return of this old chestnut: “Foster care board rates … are less than what it often costs to board a dog…” I dealt with that one in this previous post to the Blog.

And there are two big errors right in the lead, which reads: “More than 300 abused and neglected children lack voices in … County court. There are not enough volunteers.”

Error number one: Just because a child has been brought to court – and even just because a child is in foster care does not mean that child is abused and neglected. It may mean only that a caseworker thinks the child may be abused and neglected and a judge is allowing the government to hold that child in foster care while everyone tries to find out. Saying that every child in foster care is “abused and neglected” is like saying everyone sitting in a jail is a criminal. Some are. But others are awaiting trial because they can’t make bail.

The second error is the claim that those volunteer advocates are a voice for the child. They are not. In this state, as in most, the advocates advocate for whatever they think is best. If the child happens to agree, then the child has a voice. But if the child wants to go home and the advocate thinks it is in that child’s “best interests” to remain in foster care (or if the child wants to stay in foster care and the advocate wants the child to go home) the child has no voice. Whether or not one believes this is as it should be (and I certainly don’t) this is simply a blatant error of fact – one of many in a story riddled with misinformation and mythology.

NCCPR Child Welfare Blog: Another reporter suckered by the myths of Mary Ellen (and an amazing number of other myths as well).

Parents Rights’ Amendment Reaches Milestone

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Civil Rights, CPS, cps fraud, custody, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Feminism, Foster CAre Abuse, Freedom, HIPAA Law, Homeschool, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, parental rights, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine on June 26, 2009 at 6:57 pm

American Family Rights Association :: The Voice of America’s Families©.

Parents Rights’ Amendment Reaches Milestone

100 Members of Congress Cosponsor Grassroots Movement to Ensure Parents’ Freedom to Raise their Children

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A Constitutional Amendment introduced by U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, to protect the parent-child relationship has reached more than 100 co-sponsors in the House.

“More and more members of Congress and their constituents are recognizing the slow erosion of individual rights posed by the courts, government and international organizations and the threat presented to the parent-child relationship,” Hoekstra said. “This is a grassroots movement fueled by increased awareness about sovereignty and the need to protect rights against government intrusion and international law. It is as simple as preserving parents’ freedom to parent.”

The Parents’ Rights Amendment (H.J.Res.42) would state explicitly in the U.S. Constitution that parents have a fundamental right to raise their children as they see fit while protecting against abuse and neglect.  Threats to the parent-child relationship include potential Senate ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“A review of federal appellate decisions from 2008 demonstrates that our lower courts are turning away from the traditional Supreme Court standards on parental rights,” said Michael Farris, J.D., president of Parentalrights.org. “We need to act now to protect parental rights before this erosion results in a wholesale repudiation of our traditional American principles.”

More information on the Parents’ Rights Amendment and the list of co-sponsors can be viewed at www.parentsrights.us.

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

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

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

National Parents Day – July 26

In Childrens Rights, CPS, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, federal crimes, judicial corruption, National Parents Day, parental alienation, Parental Rights Amendment on June 8, 2009 at 12:30 pm

by Mark Godbey
March 27, 2009

Many children have the joy of being reared in two-parent homes. Unfortunately approximately 30-60 million children are nurtured in only single-parent homes. This is a national tragedy.

Children deserve to have a mom and a dad, but through no fault of their own, children are forced by divorce or out-of-wedlock births to live only their mom, and infrequently their dad. Census statistic from 1996-2006 show dad is custodial parent in only 2% of homes. In 40% of all single-parent homes, children never see their dad.

The federal funding of divorce through the Social Security Act block grants to the states, has given state government financial incentives to destroy the traditional family home and in most cases grant sole custody to one parent. This has to stop; not only for parents but for children. What started out as simple welfare has turned into a profitable business for the states agencies, attorneys and state courts.

Congress has set aside the 4th Sunday in July every year to celebrate National Parent’s Day. “All private citizens, organizations, and Federal, State, and local governmental and legislative entities are encouraged to recognize Parents’ Day through proclamations, activities, and educational efforts in furtherance of recognizing, uplifting, and supporting the role of parents in bringing up their children.”

Join in celebration of Parent’s Day in the United States this year on July 26, officially it is the 4th Sunday in July. Remember the dads left out of children lives, and the moms, too.

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.

LA County Puts the “Fix” on Parents Rights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The law also goes on to state:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Primary Parent Presumption: Primarily Meaningless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The original article can be found here.

The Mysterious Marriage Advantage – Politically Correct Scientists Try to Explain Away

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, Child Custody, Child Support, children legal status, children's behaviour, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, deadbeat dads, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, due process rights, family court, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, fatherlessness, fathers rights, federal crimes, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Liberty, motherlessness, mothers rights, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Orphan Trains, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D on June 2, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Children living with married parents do better than children living with single or cohabiting parents. Virtually all sociologists acknowledge this simple truth. However, under the ubiquitous campus pressures to be politically correct, many social scientists try very hard to explain away this marital advantage as an artifact of socioeconomic characteristics other than marital status per se.

Both the advantage children experience by living with married parents and the urge progressive scholars feel to explain away that advantage are on full display in a study of children’s economic well-being recently published in the Journal of Marriage and Family by sociologists at Bowling Green State University.

Scrutinizing nationally representative data collected in 1999 from 42,000 households, the Bowling Green researchers outline a familiar and predictable pattern of marital advantage: Children living with married biological parents enjoy a decided economic advantage over those living with cohabiting biological parents, with single mothers, with married-couple stepfamilies, and with cohabiting stepfamilies. The official poverty level for children living with married biological parents runs less than 8%, compared with 23% for children living with cohabiting biological parents, 43% for those living with single mothers, 10% for those living with married stepfamilies, and 19% for those living with cohabiting stepfamilies. A similar pattern emerges in data for food and housing insecurity.

By using multivariable statistical analyses, the authors of the new study establish that for their overall sample “child and parent characteristics account for at least 70% of the difference in the well-being of children living in married and cohabiting two biological parent families.” The researchers consequently use such analyses to assert that “the benefits of marriage may be a result of parents’ education and race and ethnic group rather than marriage per se.” This assertion no doubt serves the authors’ ideological interests, since the political correctness of the modern university militates against belief in the social benefits of “marriage per se.”

But the data compel the authors to admit that “marriage per se” apparently confers some benefits that even multivariable analyses cannot account for. For instance, when looking at the data for black children, the authors concede that “the marital status gap in housing insecurity is not explained by the covariates in the [statistical] model.” Similarly, in multivariable analyses of the data of white children, the researchers find that “the marital advantage persists when considering a reduction in food and housing security.” Such findings force the researchers to concede that “among white children, there sometimes is a marriage advantage that cannot be accounted for by their parents’ socioeconomic characteristics.” For politically correct academics, such concessions can be quite painful.

(Source: Wendy D. Manning and Susan Brown, “Children’s Economic Well-Being in Married and Cohabiting Parent Families,” Journal of Marriage and Family 68 [2006]: 345-362.)

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

The Macabre Dance of Family Law Court, Abnormal Psychology, and Parental Alienation Syndrome – Summary

In Alienation of Affection, Best Interest of the Child, California Parental Rights Amendment, Child Custody, 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, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Jayne Major, judicial corruption, Liberty, MMPI, MMPI 2, motherlessness, mothers rights, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, parental alienation, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, state crimes, Title Iv-D, Torts on May 31, 2009 at 5:15 pm

by Jayne A. Major, Ph.D. http://www.breakthroughparentingservices.org/index.htm
Copyright 2009: Jayne Major. All rights reserved.

Dr. Major attended the latests Symposium For Parental Alienation Syndrome during March 27-29, 2009 in Toronto, Canada and gave this speech reprinted here:

“Our litigation system is too costly, too painful, too destructive,
and too inefficient for civilized people.”
~ Justice Warren Burger

If we accept that Family Law courts have a moral imperative to seek truth and to do as little harm as
possible, our Family Court system is failing miserably. Too often what prevails in court is not the truth, but the illusion of truth. The current litigation system is not capable of protecting children from the horrendous damage inflicted by those parents who are disturbed. Children lose critical thinking ability, incur the devastating loss of one-half of their heritage and a lifetime doomed for failed social relationships and
psychiatric disorders.

Few lawyers, judges, nor laypersons are able to recognize seriously disturbed people who look and often act
“normal.” Yet, their numbers are large and the damage they do to other parents, their children, and society is
staggering. Sociopaths are cruel—without moral conscience, empathy, sympathy, or compassion. Their purpose is to win by domination. Harvard psychologist Martha Stout, in her book The Sociopath Next Door, states that one in twenty-five people is a sociopath. Furthermore, there is an estimated 20% of the general population with personality disorders. Those individuals who are the most dangerous are described in the DSM IV, Axis II Cluster B. The descriptive labels of these disorders are borderline, narcissistic, histrionic, and anti-social.

We can assume that a much higher percentage of these disturbed people can be found in Family Law courts
because they are unable to compromise or to work out family solutions without conflict. They lack insight, are unable to realize how they contribute to the problem, want their way, blame others, can’t self-correct, have difficulty forming trusting relationships, are unreasonable and demanding, create upset and distress with people around them, and justify inappropriate behavior. They have a “my way or the highway” mindset. Their behavior is not episodic but a pervasive character flaw that has always been present.

Therapy is of little help to these individuals, as their disorder is not fixable. The reason is that you can’t have a conversation about a problem when the problem is answering the question. Thus, the cure-all of sending such people to therapy is of little value. In fact, because sociopaths have no moral conscience, therapy gives them the language and skills to manipulate others more effectively; it helps them become better at being sociopaths. And they often get the upper hand in court by diverting attention off of themselves and onto the targeted parent by making numerous false allegations.

Often judges order a psychological evaluation to help them decide what would be the best orders for a
family. The evaluation is intended to curb the dysfunctional parent from doing more damage; however, this
is often not the outcome. When only one professional evaluates a family, the chance for error is high.
Personal bias is one problem.

Psychologists are not immune to being unduly influenced by a cunning and persuasive sociopath. Another problem is a policy followed by most evaluators to routinely offer a middleof-the-road recommendation rather than address the psychiatric problems directly. A third problem is that evaluators are unwilling to use labels that would identify these disorders. While there are many valid reasons to not label people, the end result is that the psychologists’ report does not provide a clear and accurate picture of the underlying dynamics of the family and causes of the dysfunction.

Imagine a parent who has to deal with the other parent’s crazy-making behavior day in and day out as they watch his or her child deteriorate under the disturbed parent’s care. They do not understand why the alienating person is so difficult and irrational. Most of all, the targeted parent wants to know what they can do to make the situation better. Without clarity, truth is hard to distinguish. The unfortunate outcome of too many psychological evaluations is that hard decisions to protect a child are not made early, which necessitates more litigation and future evaluations… in the mean time, more damage is done.

Furthermore, in litigation, lawyers are supposed to advocate for their clients, not for their clients’ children or
the well-being of the family. It is very easy for a lawyer to manipulate situations to make the healthier parent
look disturbed and their own disturbed client appear superior. For those lawyers who hold litigation as a
sport of winning and losing combatants, the principle of “the best interest of the child” is used as a slogan to
justify what is not in a child’s best interest. The result is often disastrous. The parent who will do the most damage to a child ends up with substantial legal and physical custody. In terms of preserving the mental health of all concerned, litigation of these cases causes profound and permanent damage, a loss of family assets, and untold suffering. The dance between Family Law courts and those who are psychologically abnormal is macabre indeed.

Do we really want to continue to let mentally unstable people get the upper hand and create mayhem? We are the professionals, the leaders, the creative thinkers who have the responsibility to implement a better way of handling family reorganization. The destruction of our families, our children, our wealth, has a horrific ripple effect into all of society.

Following is a paradigm that will not only stop parental alienation syndrome but preserve the well-being of
all members of separating families. The plan relies on mediation, education, and prompt legal intervention.
Highly trained professionals who understand family systems and are able to recognize mentally disturbed
parents work as a team. Families are tracked by a Case Manager.

A 6-week Divorce Education course provides a foundation of knowledge that creates understanding and enhances positive adjustment in the reorganizing family. Financial issues are worked out by professionals who also educate parents about how to manage their money. Parents pay for the services they receive according to their ability to pay. Most of all, parents always have a place to go when they see that the family plan is not working. The cost of this method of resolving family dissolution is minimal compared to the cost of maintaining an elaborate Family Law court system. High-conflict disputes are minimized or eliminated. The result of using this method would have a healthy impact on society as we would not be passing on from one generation to the next abusive practices that carry mental instability to the next generation.

To read more of the article see: http://www.breakthroughparentingservices.org/3-09_Summary_of_Presentation.pdf

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

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.
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