I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

ACFC ~ James Cook, a giant in the struggle for family law reform, passed away last weekend.

Read the statement by the bar association below and the neanderthal statements of a judge. Its hard to believe so-called intelligent people would actually say stuff like that. But then - look at all the gender feminists and feminazis out there - they say it each and every day on their inane blogs. The Time magazine article from 2001 follows the ACFC announcement of Mr. Cook's passing. It is worth a read.MJM

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Our work for shared parenting builds on the pioneering work of people we may not have known, or recall from earlier decades. Jim Cook, one such individual, recently passed and his memorial service is today in California. Below is the announcement and further information.

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James Cook, a giant in the struggle for family law reform, passed away last weekend. Starting in 1974 in the Dark Ages of the "tender years doctrine", Jim Cook almost single-handedly created joint custody legislation in every state with his Joint Custody Association. We need to go further and now achieve "shared parenting", because self-serving bar associations have managed to successfully sabotage most "joint custody" legislation to the point that it is usually meaningless, and millions of children are still unnecessarily deprived of one of their parents. But the long struggle for family law reform wouldn't be where it is today without the outstanding efforts of giants like Jim Cook.

Note the following excerpt from Time Magazine, 11 November 2003, "Father Makes Two", By Margot Roosevelt: "As late as 1971, the Minnesota State Bar Association's handbook advised lawyers and judges that "except in very rare cases, the father should not have custody of the minor children. He is usually unqualified psychologically and emotionally." When James Cook, a Los Angeles real estate lobbyist, divorced in 1974 and sought shared custody of his son, "the judge thought it was preposterous," he recalls. "He told me, 'I don't have permission to do it.'" Outraged, Cook and some friends organized the Joint Custody Association and in 1979 pushed through the California legislature the first law encouraging joint custody. All 50 states eventually followed suit..." A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 4:30 p.m. at the Hall of Liberty. All services will be held at: Forest Lawn Memorial-Parks, Hollywood Hills 6300 Forest Lawn Drive
All who can are urged to attend Jim Cook's memorial service.
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Sunday, Nov. 11, 2001

Father Makes Two

Gary Weiss was laid off from his job at a Toyota dealership when he refused to work on Father's Day. And he tells any new employer to forget it if the hours aren't flexible. The occasional girlfriend comes and goes--and stays gone. "Too time consuming," he shrugs. But what's to regret when you can play hopscotch, stage pillow fights and attend 96 parenting classes in four years? Raising daughter Sarah, 6, is "my greatest job," he says. "I put my life on stop, and I don't regret it."

When the U.S. Census took its once-a-decade snapshot of the American people last year, Gary and Sarah Weiss, who spends weekdays with her dad in Calabasas, Calif., and weekends with her mom in nearby Los Angeles, joined one of the fastest-growing categories in the statistical kaleidoscope: households headed by unmarried men with children. Nationwide, the Census counted 2.2 million of them, a 62% increase over 1990 and a 171% increase in the past two decades. Some are divorced fathers with sole or joint custody. Some are widowers or single men with adopted children. And as many as a third may be unmarried fathers living with the mothers of their children. But if the population of single dads that make up those Census statistics is diverse, the trend remains clear. "We're at the tipping point," says James Levine, head of the Fatherhood Project at New York City's Families and Work Institute. "Three decades ago, it was hard to find these guys. Now everybody knows a single father."

The image of 2 million dads flipping flapjacks and carpooling preschoolers still comes across as anomalous, which is not surprising since such homes still represent only 6.3% of households with kids 17 and younger. There are more than three times as many homes headed by single mothers.

That ratio is not likely to change soon, but the stigma attached to mothers who relinquish custody is dissipating. Houston tennis pro Ross Persons and his wife divorced when their daughter Michelle was five. Although he shared custody, "I did not see her enough," he recalls. "You don't have those moments of sitting around just enjoying each other." So he was delighted when, seven years later, his ex-wife suggested that Michelle move in with her father. Now 22 and a college student, she still lives in Persons' home but sees her mother often. "Every child is looking for love, acceptance and direction," Persons says. "That can come from a mother, father, aunt, uncle--it's the quality that matters."

A father's legal claim to a child once was unquestioned. In the 18th century, fathers had custody because children were considered property. But the Industrial Revolution ushered in the so-called tender-years doctrine, by which mothers held sway. As late as 1971, the Minnesota State Bar Association's handbook advised lawyers and judges that "except in very rare cases, the father should not have custody of the minor children. He is usually unqualified psychologically and emotionally." When James Cook, a Los Angeles real estate lobbyist, divorced in 1974 and sought shared custody of his son, "the judge thought it was preposterous," he recalls. "He told me, 'I don't have permission to do it.'"

Outraged, Cook and some friends organized the Joint Custody Association and in 1979 pushed through the California legislature the first law encouraging joint custody. All 50 states eventually followed suit, and today 26 states have gone even further, declaring joint custody to be not just legal but the preferred arrangement. Although some judges remain biased in favor of mothers, an estimated 1 in 5 custody arrangements today are shared. Sole custody for the father--mainly in cases in which the mother is unfit or unwilling to share responsibilities--has grown to 15% from 10% a decade ago. "Family courts are flooded with fathers clamoring to be part of their children's lives," says Jayne Major, who runs a Los Angeles support group for parents in custody disputes. "I tell them, 'Unless you are the ax murderer of the century, you have a legal right to your children.'"

The growth in single-father households cuts across economic and racial strata. Ervin Daye, 58, works two jobs, as a shoeshine man in a Dallas hotel and as a limo driver, to support his daughter Kymber Lee, 11. A onetime blues musician who fathered seven children with various women, Daye says he was determined to play a role in his youngest daughter's life. After a bitter court fight, he won sole custody six years ago. "My wife said I didn't know anything about raising kids," he recalls. "But I learned a man could be just as good a single parent as a woman." He takes Kymber Lee to church and piano lessons and volunteers at her school. And he teaches her that in life "there is a time to cry and a time to be strong."

Single fathers mostly scoff at those who assert the inherent superiority of mothers. And some scholars say gender is less important than factors like a supportive network of family and friends. "Twenty years of research has shown that fathers can learn to do most anything that mother does," says Jeffery Evans of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. That's not to say there are no differences. Studies show fathers tend to roughhouse more with kids, pushing them to take risks, while mothers tend be better organizers. So far, though, these differences have been measured in married parents; little research has compared male against female single-parent homes. "The fathers taking custody of their kids are not the grumpy, macho, distancing fathers of stereotype," says Johns Hopkins University demographer Andrew Cherlin.

And here's one way the stereotypes don't apply: some of the increase in households headed by unmarried fathers may be attributed to gay men who recently won the right to get custody or adopt. Curt Peterson, a Minneapolis strategic-planning consultant, split with his wife after he came out as a homosexual. They share custody of Andrew, 16, but Peterson's house is home base. Peterson takes pleasure in "the simple stuff of life. Just being there. Making sure that on Saturdays and Sundays we have hot cinnamon rolls for breakfast." As manager of Andrew's ice-hockey team, Peterson also invited the whole team to see In and Out, the Kevin Kline film about a gay teacher.

Some research has suggested that after divorce, teenagers fare better with the parent of the same sex. "Single dads tend to have older children on average than single moms, and may be especially likely to parent older boys," says University of Maryland sociologist Suzanne Bianchi. Thomas Hoerner, a Fort Worth, Texas, sales manager, took primary custody of his three sons, then 3, 7 and 9, at his wife's suggestion. Balancing his career, relationships with his kids and ex-wife and running a household was difficult. "I couldn't get my arms around it all," he confesses. He tried to take a job out of state, but his ex-wife took him to court and won. Hoerner became active in Fathers for Equal Rights and wrote a book, Bachelor Parents and Their (Dys)Functional Families: A Guide to Successful Parenting for the Single Male. Now, 10 years after his divorce, he recalls with a chuckle, "My oldest son says that what was missing with a woman's touch was certainly made up for with electronics."

For fathers of daughters, the challenges are different. "I can't teach her all the frilly things of being a girl," says Brent Ahrens, a Birmingham, Ala., store detective who cares for Malia, 5. But there are compensations. On his days off, Malia wakes him early, and they head off to a lake where a buddy has a boat. "She outfishes us both," he boasts. Deryck Miller, a youth counselor in Eagan, Minn., who has custody of daughter Nashan, 13, wasn't sure how to broach the subject of menstruation. In the end, he says, a Girl Scout manual "gave me the best breakdown." His advice to other dads: "Get to that other side, and don't stay stuck on that male macho-ism." It's a pointer that any single father, whether hopscotching or serving hot rolls, is sure to endorse.

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