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


Edward Kruk, M.S.W., Ph.D. The University of British Columbia December, 2008
This paper was commissioned by the Father Involvement Research Alliance (FIRA) based at the University of Guelph. Funding support for FIRA and this paper was provided through a Community University Research Alliance grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The intent of this paper is to promote informed dialogue and debate. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of FIRA or of other researchers/collaborators associated with FIRA. Communications can be addressed to the author. About the Author Dr. Edward Kruk, Associate Professor of Social Work at the University of British Columbia, has been extensively involved in research in the area of child and family policy, particularly child custody, child care, and child protection policy. His research has focused on noncustodial fathers, women struggling with addiction, the working methods of divorce professionals, and harm reduction. Dr. Kruk has been the Academic Leader of the Cluster on Separated and Divorced Dads, a component of the Father Involvement Research Alliance, conducting research and working in partnership with a variety of programs dedicated to supporting fathers and their children. You can contact Professor Kruk at kruk@interchange dot ubc dot ca
Child custody and access law and policy remain among the most contentious areas of family law and family practice. A rights-based discourse dominates the field; as Mason (1994) has argued, the “best interests of the child” standard has historically reflected a struggle between mothers’ and fathers’ rights, with children’s needs considered to be commensurate with either position. Children are viewed at different times as fathers’ property, as requiring the “tender care” of mothers, and as rightfully “belonging” to one or the other parent. In recent years, however, with increasing scrutiny of the indeterminacy of the “best interests of the child” standard (Bala, 2000), a new ethic has emerged, one that recognizes the fact that children’s needs and interests are separate from (although related to) the rights of their parents. Thus a new “parental responsibility” discourse is gradually being introduced into legal statutes, public policy and, at the level of practice, mainly outside of Canada. Any analysis of child custody and access policy, then, must take into account both the limitations of the dominant “parental rights” discourse and the emergence of the new “parental responsibility” framework. Unlike previous examinations of child custody and access in Canada, this paper proceeds from the perspective that the “best interests of the child” during and after parental separation are, essentially, a matter of recognizing and addressing the child’s most fundamental needs in this time of family transition. These needs are, according to child development experts such as Penelope Leach and Gordon Neufeld, best addressed by supporting parents in the fulfillment of their parental responsibilities, a goal to which social institutions such as legislatures and the judiciary are bound. Such a focus on children’s needs, parental responsibilities, and the responsibilities of social institutions to support parents in meeting their parental obligations is largely absent in current Canadian socio-legal discourse. This paper aims to shift the current rights-based discourse of Canadian feminist and fathers’ rights groups to a responsibility-based framework focused on children’s needs.
The most recent research strongly supports a shift away from the “one size fits all,” “winner take all” sole custody framework toward the notion of shared parental responsibility. This report highlights the following research findings in this regard:
  1. Sole maternal custody often leads to parental alienation and father absence, and father absence is associated with negative child outcomes. Eighty five per cent of youth in prison are fatherless; 71 per cent of high school dropouts are fatherless; 90 per cent of runaway children are fatherless; and fatherless youth exhibit higher levels of depression and suicide, delinquency, promiscuity and teen pregnancy, behavioural problems and illicit and licit substance abuse (Statistics Canada, 2005; Crowder and Teachman, 2004; Ellis et al., 2003; Ringback Weitoft et al., 2003; Jeynes, 2001; Leonard et al., 2005; McCue Horwitz et al,, 2003; McMunn, 2001; Margolin and Craft, 1989; Blankenhorn, 1995; Popenoe, 1996; Vitz, 2000; Alexander, 2003). These studies also found that fatherless youth are more likely to be victims of exploitation and abuse, as father absence through divorce is strongly associated with diminished self-concepts in children (Parish, 1987).
  2. Children of divorce want equal time with their parents and consider shared parenting to be in their best interests. Seventy per cent of children of divorce believe that equal amounts of time with each parent is the best living arrangement for children, and children who have had equal time arrangements have the best relations with each of their parents after divorce (Fabricius, 2003).
  3. A recent meta-analysis of the major North American studies comparing sole and joint physical custody arrangements has shown that children in joint custody arrangements fare significantly better on all adjustment measures than children who live in sole custody arrangements (Bauserman, 2002). Bauserman compared child adjustment in joint physical and joint legal custody settings with sole (maternal and paternal) custody settings, and also intact family settings, examined children’s general adjustment, family relationships, self-esteem, emotional and behavioral adjustment, divorce-specific adjustment, as well as the degree and nature of ongoing conflict between parents. On every measure of adjustment, children in joint physical custody arrangements were faring significantly better than children in sole custody arrangements: “Children in joint custody arrangements had fewer behavior and emotional problems, higher self-esteem, and better family relations and school performance than children in sole custody arrangements.” The positive outcomes of joint custody were also evident among high-conflict couples.
  4. Inter-parental conflict decreases over time in shared custody arrangements, and increases in sole custody arrangements. Inter-parental cooperation increases over time in shared custody arrangements, and decreases in sole custody arrangements. One of the key findings of the Bauserman meta analysis was the unexpected pattern of decreasing parental conflict in joint custody families and the increase of conflict over time in sole custody families. The less a parent feels threatened by the loss of her or his child and the parental role, the less the likelihood of subsequent violence.
  5. Both U.S. and Canadian research indicates that mothers and fathers working outside the home now spend comparable amounts of time caring for their children. According to the most recent Health Canada research (Higgins and Duxbury, 2002), on average, each week mothers devote 11.1 hours to child care, fathers 10.5 hours. According to Statistics Canada (Marshall, 2006), men, although still less involved in primary child care, have significantly increased theirparticipation in recent years. As the gender difference in time spent in child care has diminished, shared parenting after separation has emerged as the norm among parents who are not involved in a legal contest over the custody of their children (Statistics Canada, 2004).
Although recent research on Canadian child custody outcomes in contested cases is largely lacking, court file analysis data (Department of Justice, 1990) reveal that in 77 per cent of contested custody cases, child custody is awarded solely to the mother, and solely to the father in only 8.6 per cent of cases. The fact that sole maternal custody is the norm in contested custody cases in Canada is obfuscated by the fact that the label of “joint custody” is often applied by both judges and researchers to post-separation living arrangements in which children remain in the primary care of one parent. From the perspective of children, such de facto sole custody arrangements are woefully inadequate, often resulting in the loss of one of their primary caregivers. From the perspective of both international conventions (U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child) and reports such as that of the Special Joint House of Commons-Senate Committee on Child Custody and Access (1998), such arrangements undermine children’s fundamental need for both parents actively and responsibly involved in their lives. Canada lags behind several U.S. jurisdictions, Australia, France, Sweden and other countries in reforming child custody law and practice in a manner that positions children’s need for the responsible involvement of both parents in their lives at the forefront of child custody legislation. Children and other family members remain at risk of abuse, parental alienation, and depression within the dominant sole custody framework. The shared parental responsibility approach to child custody determination is presented here as a viable alternative to sole custody in contested cases, and as the arrangement most compatible with the stated objectives of Canadian legislative family law reform, as outlined in the Special Joint Committee on Child Custody and Access report, the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Family Law Committee report, and the Child-centred Family Justice Strategy: to promote meaningful relationships between children and their parents following separation and divorce, to encourage parental cooperation, and to reduce parental conflict and litigation. The shared parental responsibility model of child custody determination for the Canadian context is detailed herein as “A Four Pillar Approach to Child Custody Determination In Canada,” as follows:
  1. Legal Presumption of Shared Parental Responsibility (Rebuttable Presumption of Joint Physical Custody in Family Law): the first pillar establishes a legal expectation that existing parent-child relationships will continue after separation; in cases of dispute, shared parenting, defined as children spending equal time with each of their parents, would be the legal presumption in the absence of established family violence or child abuse. This expectationprovides judges with a clear guideline and will avoid placing judges, in the absence of expertise in this area, in the position of adjudicating children’s “best interests” in non-violence cases. It will preserve meaningful parental relationships between children and both of their parents, maximize parental cooperation and reduce conflict, and prevent serious family violence and child abuse. It will divert parents from a destructive court battle over their children’s care, and will provide an incentive for parents to engage in therapeutic family mediation focused on the development of cooperative parenting plans. Shared parental responsibility is in keeping with current caregiving patterns, as the majority of mothers and fathers are now sharing responsibility for child care in two-parent families.
  2. Parenting Plans, Mediation, and Support/Intervention in High Conflict Cases: the second pillar establishes a legal expectation that parents jointly develop a parenting plan before any court hearing is held on matters related to post-separation parenting. The court’s role would then be to ratify the negotiated plan. Through direct negotiation, parent education programs,court-based or independent mediation, or lawyer negotiation, a detailed parenting plan that delineates the parental responsibilities that will meet the needs of the children would be developed before any court hearing is held. With a legal presumption of shared parental responsibility as the cornerstone, mediation could become the instrument whereby parentscould be assisted in the development of a child-focused parenting plan. High conflict couples would be helped, with therapeutic intervention, to achieve more amicable shared parenting arrangements over the long term.
  3. Shared Parenting Education: shared parenting education within the high school system, in marriage preparation courses, and upon divorce, is an essential element of a much-needed program of parent education and support. Public education about various models of shared parenting, including models for “high conflict” couples, would replace the current focus on seeking partisan legal representation in an effort to “win” the custody of one’s children.
  4. Judicial Determination in Cases of Established Abuse; Enforcement of Shared Parental Responsibility Orders: a rebuttable presumption of shared parental responsibility means that proven cases of family violence would be exempt, and those cases involving either a criminal conviction, such as assault, in a matter directly related to the parenting of the children, or a finding that a child is in need of protection from a parent by a statutory child welfare authority, would be followed by judicial determination of child custody. It may be appropriate in such cases, argue Jaffe et al. (2006), for one or both parents to have limited or no contact with the children because of potential harm. In child custody situations in which assault is alleged, a thorough, informed and expeditious comprehensive child welfare assessment is required. The criminal prosecution of those family members who are alleged to have been violent toward any other member of the family would hold accountable perpetrators of violence as well as those who are found to have alleged abuse falsely. In such cases the family court would retain its traditional role in the determination of custody finding that a child is in need of protection from a parent by a statutory child welfare authority, would be followed by judicial determination of child custody. It may be appropriate in such cases, argue Jaffe et al. (2006), for one or both parents to have limited or no contact with the children because of potential harm. In child custody situations in which assault is alleged, a thorough, informed and expeditious comprehensive child welfare assessment is required. The criminal prosecution of those family members who are alleged to have been violent toward any other member of the family would hold accountable perpetrators of violence as well as those who are found to have alleged abuse falsely. In such cases the family court would retain its traditional role in the determination of custody.
The Bauserman study referred to above is down loadable from the A.P.A. site here

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.


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.
***************** ACFC
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.

Baskerville's infuriating but indispensable new book, Taken Into Custody,

The Judicial War On Fatherhood

by William N. Grigg
Portrait of a policy failure: Somehow, this young father was left unmolested to raise his two beautiful children. How on earth did such a thing happen? The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

Dick the Butcher, adding his contribution to Jack Cade's Utopian promises, from Shakespeare's Henry VI, pt. II (Act 4, scene 2)

Most people mistakenly assume metal detectors were installed in courthouses because of criminals and terrorists,” observes Dr. Stephen Baskerville, an assistant professor of government at Patrick Henry College.
In fact, retrofitting courtrooms with metal detectors and other security enhancements was prompted by concerns over violence perpetrated by fathers whose families have been sundered and children have been stolen by what Dr. Baskerville calls “the divorce regime.”

The advent of no-fault – or, as Dr. Baskerville calls it, unilateral – divorce decades ago brought into existence a huge and ever-metastasizing apparatus of coercion, intervention, and social engineering that subsists on the destruction of flawed but salvageable marriages.

Although divorce can be initiated at whim by either party, the system described in Baskerville's infuriating but indispensable new book, Taken Into Custody, is designed to encourage women to file first. Not that it matters all that much: Whenever a divorce ensues, under the logic of the “no-fault” system, either parent can end the marriage and both are considered equally at fault, so the children immediately become the property of the State. Which is what this is all about.

"Now, that's more like it!" exclaim defenders of the Total State: Another helpless man is arrested for the supposed crime of being a divorced father.

After all, writes Baskerville, when a family is broken up each child becomes “a walking bundle of cash” -- not just for the custodial parent or relatives, but for the large and expanding population of tax-gorged bureaucrats who “adopt as their mission in life the practice of interfering with other people's children.”

This system is rigged to treat fathers as dangerous and disposable. “In fact,” as Baskerville correctly observes, “it is no exaggeration to say that the existence of family courts, and virtually every issue they adjudicate – divorce, custody, child abuse, child-support enforcement, even adoption and juvenile crime – depend on one overriding principle: remove the father.”

Regardless of the specific facts of a given divorce, the father is generally treated as useful only for making the initial biological contribution to conception and then to provide regular child support payments once his children are seized by the State. Oh, and we shouldn't forget the father's value as the object of a State-created cult of ritual execration.

Since the early 1990s, the public has been relentlessly barraged with propaganda about “Deadbeat Dads” who, with the calculated malice of Dickensian villains, heartlessly refuse to provide their struggling ex-wives and estranged children the means to avoid starvation.

A staple of radical feminism, the Deadbeat Dad is also dutifully denounced by mainstream conservatives like Alan Keyes and Oliver North. The child support enforcement mechanism is a bi-partisan creation: The enabling legislation was signed into law by Republican Gerald Ford in 1975; funding has been boosted by Congress under both Democratic and Republican control; and in 2002 the Bush administration eagerly carried out a nationwide “Deadbeat Dads” enforcement sweep under a program called “Project Save Our Children” created by Bill Clinton.

The federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) and its state franchises constitute an army of 60,000 enforcement agents (all of whom are permitted to carry firearms under the “Deadbeat Parents Enforcement Act”). This means that in its successful war on parenthood, the OCSE deploys a force thirteen times larger than that mustered by the DEA, which has 4,600 agents employed in the fraudulent “war on drugs.”

At the center of this system is the family court, a legal venue that operates secretly and with plenary powers. Baskerville describes the “regime of involuntary divorce,” particularly the family courts, as “the most authoritarian institution in our society today.”

The divorce regime has infected our legal system with concepts entirely foreign to Anglo-Saxon law, “such as the principle that one could be decreed guilty of violating an agreement that one had, in fact, not violated,” writes Baskerville. A father who is an unwilling party to a unilateral divorce “could be summoned to court without having committed any legal infraction; the verdict was pre-determined before any evidence was examined; and one could be found `guilty' of things that were not illegal.”

Through the family court system, “Citizens who are completely innocent of any legal wrongdoing and minding their own business – not seeking any litigation and neither convicted nor accused of any legal infraction, criminal or civil – are ordered into court and told to write checks to officials of the court or they will be summarily arrested and jailed. Judges also order citizens to sell their houses and other property and turn the proceeds over to lawyers and other cronies they never hired.”

In similar fashion, family court judges “regularly order involuntary litigants to pay the fees of attorneys, psychotherapists, and other court officials they have not hired and jail them for failing to comply.” The system is a racket by any rational definition, and it's often operated with undisguised, vulgar corruption.

In 1999, an Insight magazine investigation learned of a “slush fund” controlled by family court judges in Los Angeles; donors included court-appointed “monitors” who received lucrative government pay-outs for keeping parents (generally fathers) accused of domestic violence under surveillance during child visitations. In Marin County, family court judges were caught funneling child support and alimony payments to preferred attorneys and other cronies.

However, as Baskerville notes, “the real scandal is not what is illegal but what is legal.” Even if scrupulously operated, the family courts are not tribunals of justice, but rather “revenue-generating engines for state governments”; in fact, as Baskerville observes, states frequently depend on child-support moneys to balance their budgets. Which is why the State does everything it can to abet and capitalize on divorce – and why hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of fathers find themselves in the equivalent of debtor's prison.

As he points out, “the astonishing but incontrovertible fact is that with the exception of convicted criminals, no group in our society today has fewer rights than fathers.... A father can be deprived of his children, his home, his savings, his future earnings, his privacy, and his freedom without any ... constitutional protections.”

Baskerville has collected and documented a small but representative sample of cases in which fathers dragged into divorce court have been slapped with impossible child support judgments, deprived of the means to earn enough to pay those judgments, and then jailed for contempt. Some who have been driven to publicize their plight have been jailed or otherwise punished for seeking redress, since “in many jurisdictions it is a crime to criticize family court judges or otherwise discuss family law cases publicly.”

The system also makes use of extra-legal means to punish dissidents. Baskerville recounts how a State-allied virago named Liz Richards operates an identity theft and blackmail scheme through her group Family Court Reform of Annandale, Virginia. Richards circulates e-mail messages “threatening to publicize information that she obtains through government files on the private lives of politically active parents” who criticize the system. The material used to blackmail critics includes financial information pried from parents by family court judges and somehow supplied to Richards.

Meanwhile, “Deadbeat Dads” routinely find themselves publicly vilified, summarily imprisoned, and financially ruined. They are “routinely ordered into employment, the wages from which are then confiscated.” In an Illinois case, a custodial father stayed at home to care for his three children, only to be arrested under an obscure and asinine state law that makes it a felony for a man to be deliberately unemployed.

Rendered permanently insolvent by ... incarceration, [such fathers] are farmed out to trash companies and similar concerns, where they work fourteen- to sixteen-hour days,” writes Baskerville. “Most of their earnings are confiscated for child support, the costs of their incarceration, and mandatory drug testing.” In addition, “the courts are also not above summarily jailing children who fail to cooperate with the criminalization of their parents.”

How can an imprisoned man pay child support? And how can a man whose wages are automatically garnished be accused of failure to make payments? Don't bother posing logical questions of this sort to those in charge of the child support enforcement system.

One spectacularly smug judge who richly deserves a beating gloated that he enjoyed incarcerating fathers who failed to make payments. He calls the jail his “magic fountain”: “Of course, there is no magic. The money is paid by his mother, or by the second wife, or by some other innocent who perhaps had to liquidate her life's savings.” Some judges have seized the bank accounts of grandparents when a father has been accused of an arrearage in child support payments.

Baskerville makes a compelling, if not irrefutable, case that the “Deadbeat Dad” epidemic is a deliberately engineered hoax. He points out that “the government machinery [for child support enforcement] ... was created not in response to claims of widespread nonpayment but before them, and that it was less a response to `deadbeat dads' than a mechanism to create them.”

Here's how the process works, in brief:

“A parent [generally a father] whose children are taken away by a family court is only at the beginning of his troubles. The next step comes as he is summoned to court and ordered to pay as much as two-thirds or even more of his income as `child support' to whomever has been given custody. His wages will immediately be garnished and his name will be entered on a federal register of `delinquents.' This is even before he has had a chance to become one, though it is also likely that the order will be backdated, so he will already be delinquent as he steps out of the courtroom. If the ordered amount is high enough, and the backdating far enough, he will be an instant felon and subject to immediate arrest.”

Fathers in such circumstances are often imprisoned for having any unauthorized contact with their children, and the terms of that contact are defined entirely by their kidnappers. The children are often indoctrinated to see their fathers as their enemies – if not by embittered ex-wives, then by officials of the system itself. One inconceivably repellent example was offered by Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox, who in 2004 actually “tried to enlist the state's children in an art competition to depict their own fathers as criminals. Cox offered free Domino's pizza to children who participated in the campaign to create billboards vilifying their fathers.”

Once it learned of the nature of the competition – call it the “Pavlik Morozov Memorial Art Contest” -- Domino's withdrew its support. Mike Cox, who really deserves to get his back dirty, continues to afflict Michigan.

By Baskerville's reckoning, “nearly a quarter-million parents could now be incarcerated” on child support-related charges. To relieve the pressure on jails and prisons overburdened by America's inmate population – easily the world's largest – some officials have suggested alternate means of imprisoning “Deadbeat Dads.”

In Georgia, a sheriff and superior court judge recommended the creation of a literal gulag -- “detention camps specifically for fathers.” A city planning commission in Pittsburgh considered a proposal to “convert a former chemical processing plant ... into a detention center” for fathers.

It's hardly surprising that fathers trapped in this Kafkaesque system are often – not occasionally, mind you, but frequently – driven to despairing acts of despairing violence. In 1996, four days before he was to receive a medal of valor for his role in rescuing victims from the Murrah building following the Oklahoma City Bombing, Terrance Yeakey committed suicide. Yeakey could surmount what he witnessed on the morning of April 19, but he was over-matched by the horrors that descended on him when he fell behind in child support payments arising from a bitter divorce.

Other fathers direct their rage at those immediately responsible for their predicament.

The most volatile court in the nation, where judges are killed on the bench, is family courts,” notes Bruce Howell, administrator for the Montgomery, Alabama Juvenile Court. “When you're dealing with people's children, they get really upset. Family court is where it all happens, and judges get killed right on the bench. People whip out guns and start shooting them in front of the courtroom.”

Ugly as it is to say so, it must nonetheless be said: At least some of the judges on the receiving end of the violence Howell describes deserve something akin to what they got – not being summarily gunned down, of course, but some combination of professional ruin and personal humiliation.

The instinct to protect one's children is the single strongest impulse implanted in our nature by our Creator. It easily eclipses the need for food or fame; it is even stronger than the primal drive to create children in the first place. When a flawed but conscientious father whose marriage ends without his consent has his children taken from him, “we call him a `monster' and a criminal for doing what any normal parent is expected to do” -- fight back against those who have attacked his family and threaten his children, using whatever means he can muster.

Those who employ deceit, coercion, and blackmail to separate an honest father from his children really shouldn't expect to be immune to very ugly consequences – beginning, but hardly limited to, unemployment and irreversible ostracism from decent society. And the worst of them really ought to end up like Mussolini.

(To hear a radio interview of Dr. Baskerville in Quicktime audio, click here.)

Dum spiro, pugno!

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posted by William N. Grigg @ 3:52 PM 17 Comments Links to this

Gender Discount for Ozzy Feminists in Drunk Driving Incident

All you men who just know what would happen to you under the same circumstances can justly state when you hear from judges there is no gender bias in court - is that your nose growing your honour?MJM

No jail for blind drunk feminist

Byron Kaye

February 25, 2009

A PROMINENT academic has avoided jail for crashing her car with her child onboard, after consuming an estimated 15-20 standard drinks.

Dr Fiona Rummery, 41, a lecturer at the University of Western Sydney was found guilty of drink driving after crashing her Volvo into the back of another parked car in Haberfield on the evening December 10 last year. Rummery's young daughter and pet dog were both in the car at the time but none were injured.

Rummery, a prominent academic in her field of women's studies and sexual assault returned a blood alcohol reading of 0.32, a figure experts have described as close to that required for potentially fatal alcohol poisoning. “It’s as though dealing with two separate people,” Magistrate Elizabeth Ellis told Rummery at Burwood Local Court this afternoon.

Magistrate Ellis said she was amazed such a well respected figure could put her child at risk, adding a reading of 0.32 was “rare - it’s one of the highest”. She suspended Rummery’s licence until June 9, 2011, and placed her on a two-year good behaviour bond, saying prison was not appropriate.

However, she said, “it did take some consideration before I made that decision".

Rummery's lawyer John Meadley told the court she had been depressed and seeking treatment for alcohol abuse before the incident. It came after a year in which a good friend died, her mother had surgery and her partner left her. “She said it was the worst year of her life,” Mr Meadley said. Rummery, who was supported by family in court, did not speak as she left the building.

F & F Protest in Support of Truth-Telling Politician Crow Dickinson Causes Uproar in NH Town

In the Conway Daily Sun of February 27, 2009 a column appears by a feminist by the name of Susan Bruce who entitled it "The Slap Heard ‘Round the World". She is getting her 15 minutes of fame and is fully enamoured of it. From the obscurity of her location in NH she now gets hits from lots of different places for criticizing Crow Dickinson for doing nothing more than speaking the truth. See my article here http://parentalalienationcanada.blogspot.com/2009/02/mom-ordered-to-foot-dad-full-costs.html about a women recently "caught out" doing that very thing and was obliged to pay her former partner's $30,000.00 legal fees for trying to get a "leg up" by taking the child with her to a shelter and hiding. Now who would do such a thing do you think? If the local Starting Point Shelter Director, Suzette Indelicato, actually does screen for false representations she is one of the very few. Kudo's to her. Somehow I don't quite believe her entirely but heck maybe they are far more advanced than most who take the female at her word because that is the feminist mantra. "A woman wouldn't lie about DV." Yeah Right! Bruce also opines "The Conway selectmen probably didn’t intend to tacitly condone wife beating, but they did." Well no they didn't. They spoke the truth and biased feminists and others who don't have a clue that Domestic Violence is not a gender issue but a family issue given the statistics it is perpetrated in equal doses by either sex. Men suffer at least 1/3 of all injuries but there are no places for them to get help in this community unless this shelter actually provides service to battered men. As always gender bias is at play. DV shelters are important components of a community safety program but they need to be bias free providing services to families not one gender only. The police although indicating they refer both parties of a DV incident to a shelter don't seem to understand that very few men will admit to being a victim of DV. They need to address this shortfall in their thinking.MJM. The following is my email to the community on the statements of Mr. Dickinson: Mike Murphy [mailto:mike.murphy@ Sent: February 25, 2009 12:18 AM To: 'conway@conwaynh.org'; 'khallowell@conwaynh.org'; 'glennsacks@fathersandfamilies.org' Cc: 'jeremy swanson' Subject: Fathers and Families: In Defense of Crow Dickinson's Comments on False DV Allegations in Divorce

The use of false allegations in DV is a well established tactic by women to get a “leg up” in divorce/custody proceedings. Many bar associations also recognize the ease with which one can get a restraining order without benefit of any credible evidence.

DV shelters in many parts of North America teach this to women as part of their feminist indoctrination. To hear them get self righteous is the height of hypocrisy.

A recent court case in Ontario, Canada recognized the unilateral action of a women to take herself and a child to a DV shelter to get an advantage was inappropriate. On Jan. 30, 2009, Justice Denis Power, in Tulchinksy v Shuster, [2009] O.J.No.405.” holds that Elena Shuster's actions amounted to "abduction" as well as to "bad faith conduct" under Rule 24(8) of Ontario's Family Court Rules which provides cost sanctions for litigation misconduct. Justice Power condemned Shuster’s "pre-meditated”, "unjustified" and "ill-advised unilateral conduct" in secretly taking the six-year-old girl away from the matrimonial home and her father, against the child's best interest”. Ian Vallance of Ottawa's Kimmel Victor Ages, called the decision a warning to those who try to get the upper hand in custody disputes. "We've all dealt with situations where a parent, typically the mother, abuses the criminal justice system and runs to a shelter with the children-for a ‘leg up’ in the custody dispute:' said Vallance. "This case sends a strong message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated and severe sanctions, namely a realistic award of costs, will be brought to bear 'on the offending party. The DV industry promotes this kind of behaviour and advises women to do this to get the advantage in custody cases.

Mr. Dickinson is speaking the truth. Do not kill the messenger.

Michael Murphy

February 27th, 2009 by Glenn Sacks, MA for Fathers & Families

"David Nevers, of Hinsdale, Ill., was once featured on an ABC domestic violence special after his wife got his kids — even though she put him in the hospital, he said.

“'Please, before you crucify Mr. Dickinson for his comments, listen to some of the stories divorced fathers have to tell,' he added."

In a story recently reported by the Associated Press in hundreds of news outlets, embattled politician Crow Dickinson of Conway, New Hampshire pointed to the problem of women using false domestic violence accusations to gain leverage in divorce. He is being crucified by misguided women's advocates. His comments came as he was asked to explain his vote against more funding for a local domestic violence service provider.

In response, Fathers & Families supporters deluged the Conway town council ("Board of Selectmen") with letters in support of Dickinson. Today the local newspaper group, which includes the Laconia Daily Sun, Conway Daily Sun, and others, wrote a series of articles about our protests and the controversy.

For those who live in New Hampshire/Massachusetts, Fathers & Families' Rachel Forrest will be leading a group of supporters to the Board meeting this Monday, March 2 at 7 PM in Conway, New Hampshire to support Dickinson. If you are interested in attending, click here.

For more background on the issue, click here.

In "Domestic violence against men a ‘hidden problem," (2/27/09), reporter Nate Giarnese writes:

Who’s sticking up for men? Droves are too ashamed to admit abuse at the hands of women they love. Many fear that reporting it means losing wives, kids and homes, or getting carted off to jail by a system geared toward women, men’s advocates say.

“It’s a hidden problem,” said Glenn Sacks of Fathers and Families. Sacks said he’s got nothing against women’s shelters and takes no position on Conway’s decision not to fund Starting Point. But after Conway selectman Crow Dickinson was vilified across the nation last week for saying women file false claims to gain leverage in divorce battles, group members are leaping to Dickinson’s side.

“It’s completely true,” Sacks said. “Several hundred of our members have written to selectmen in support of Crow Dickinson.”

David Nevers, of Hinsdale, Ill., was once featured on an ABC domestic violence special after his wife got his kids — even though she put him in the hospital, he said.

“Despite sending me to the ER four times (second- degree burns, broken nose, torn kneecap and a concussion), and despite being arrested for domestic battery (and pleading guilty), my ex-wife was awarded sole custody of our three daughters, and ownership of the marital residence,” he wrote.

“Please, before you crucify Mr. Dickinson for his comments, listen to some of the stories divorced fathers have to tell,” he added.

Even women rose to declare that men being falsely accused is a recurring problem.

“Sometimes when a man can prove that these charges are false, the woman gets no sanctions put against her,” wrote Barbara LaMarra. “It is a good time to check out the judges who believe this nonsense and put them off the bench. It is certainly time for change.”

Sacks said men resist calling police or shelters for help because they know they can be immediately arrested under laws aimed at safeguarding women. If they have any hopes of keeping their children, leaving home, even through a court-regulated divorce, is a scary risk, he said.

“They don’t want to provoke a divorce if a divorce means she’s going to get custody of the kids,” he said. “If they leave with the kids, there’s an Amber Alert, they get arrested. But they don’t want to leave their kids alone with a violent woman.”

Sacks agreed Dickinson’s comments were by no means a valid argument against funding Starting Point.

“We’re certainly not against domestic violence service programs,” he said.

But he said the cards are stacked against men, who [suffer 1/3 of all domestic violence injuries.]

“It’s a hidden problem,” he said, noting while men use brute force, women employ weapons and the element of surprise.

William M., of Wellesley, Mass., stood behind Dickinson.

"My wife has attempted to fake violence. The only thing that has saved me has been the luck of having a witness when it happened,” he said. “The facts support Dickinson, and so do I.”

Nevers said he finally won back his children. But it was a hard road, fraught with failed appeals and a trial court that decided her domestic violence was not a “relevant” factor.

“Five years after the divorce, my two younger daughters fled their mother’s house to live with me, rather than face her abuse,” he said. “It took another three years before I was named as their custodial parent.”

The full article can be seen beginning on page 1 here. Reporter Nate Giarnese did a good job--he can be reached at Nate@mountwashingtonvalley.com

[Note: We are not familiar with the details of the funding dispute involving Starting Point, and we take no position on the matter. However, we oppose Starting Point's supporters' vilification of Dickinson and their apparent refusal to discuss the very real issue of false allegations.]



December 2008


A Talk by Barbara Kay Columnist, National Post

Summary by Cecilia Forsyth Western Vice-President REAL Women of Canada Saskatoon

In introducing her talk, a critique of feminist ideology, Barbara Kay noted a shared belief with REAL Women that “many of our present social ills can be traced not only to the breakdown of the traditional family, but to a breakdown of respect for the idea of the traditional family, which in turn can be traced back to the feminist revolution.” The feminists' zeal to redress alleged past imbalances has resulted in their regarding men as the collective enemy in a gender war. Kay called this phenomenon of targeting men with suspicion and resentment “misandry”. She described misandry as a gendered worldview where the negative aspects of manliness exhibited by a minority of men - sexual aggression, brutality and territoriality - are portrayed as the majority masculine characteristics. Kay said, “Culturally, misandry is the most troubling fallout from the feminist revolution because it seeks to suppress the qualities of trust, the instinct for collaboration, protection, and mutual gratitude for the sacrifices and strengths of the other sex - that a healthy society demands.” She explained that once entrenched, prejudice is extremely difficult to uproot. Examples are found in governments funding feminist groups, women-friendly family law decisions, school curricula with men-bashing domestic violence material, social services for women but not for men, and of course, advertising and entertainment portraying women as competent, smart and attractive, while men are portrayed as crude, ineffectual and infantile. Barbara Kay, rightly, called herself one of the few opinion columnists in the mainstream media who addresses the marginalization of men's rights and the denigration of their character. With only one side of the story dominating the public forum, society has become compliant in accepting these radical feminist revolution theories and speech. Although calling the feminist revolution a spent force, Kay explained that the feminists have, nonetheless, “captured the culture” through the institutions. Today's family lawyers, governmental staff, judges, and family therapists were taught the feminist ideology that women are victims of a patriarchy

According to Kay, domestic violence is the single most effective propaganda tool feminists have found for entrenching misandry in the general population. She said, “the truth is that domestic violence affects perhaps 7% of the population, is initiated in near-equal proportion by men and women and results in Canada in about 70 intimate partner deaths a year.” Noting that more women are killed than men, Kay explained that “the overall figure is nugatory in a country of 35 million, and clearly individual dysfunction accounts for all of it, and no possible generalization about the nature of one sex or the other can be drawn from it.” Unfortunately, authorities on domestic violence, who have arrived at this conclusion, are ignored

Family Courts Calling the family court the most illustrative example of the punitive character of feminist excesses, Kay said, “It is where misandry in its most open, cynical and pernicious form is found.” She noted over 85% of contested custody suits end with mothers receiving sole custody over children, with the remaining 15% going to other family members, agencies and fathers. In fact, fathers receive sole custody about 7% of the time. Kay explained, “Only an extreme systemic contempt for the value of a father’s role in the life of a child can explain such a disparity, and only an extreme prejudice against men in general can explain that contempt, and nobody pretends otherwise.” She continued, “ In totalitarian societies, some people are more equal than others, and in the totalitarian world of family court, it is mothers who are more equal than fathers.” Kay called “family court, a visible shame, the Berlin Wall, erected by feminism, that stands between men and their human rights. It must come down.” Mrs. Kay concluded, “Every healthy individual knows that children want, and have a right to, the love of both their parents in equal measure. It is time – past time - to entrench this principle in law.”

Frustrated father stages one-man protest

There is no end to the blatant inequality and discrimination by feminist judges or those trained by feminist sensitivity enablers. Here is a man with joint custody but still having to pay child-- and get this - spousal support. What crime did he commit. I guess he married someone who has no ability to earn an income. Another woman who wants entitlements created by the Nanny State not one who wants equality. Send her to feminist training to learn about being equal and earning a living like the rest of us. There is a whole army of parasitic dole collectors in Australia called Anonymums. Little female trolls on government and former male partner handouts protesting how hard done by they are all the while protesting against how men are such evil brutes and the courts are biased. It doesn't have to be logical at all. It just has to be parasitic so they suck on the breast of the Nanny state to get their entitlements. Pity isn't it.MJM

February 18, 2009

By Jillian Follert


Ron Pietroniro / Metroland OSHAWA -- John Little pauses outside of the Michael Starr building during his

one-man protest of unfair family law decisions. Mr. Little, who has joint custody of his two daughters, has

been in a long expensive court battle with his former wife. February 18, 2009.

OSHAWA -- John Little caught a few confused stares and a lot of sympathetic nods this week, as he staged a one-man protest in downtown Oshawa.

The local father of two spent hours in front of the Michael Starr building on Tuesday and Wednesday, carrying a large homemade sign that read "Another good father screwed by family court."

"I'm not a radical, I'm just a regular guy who doesn't know what to do anymore," he said. "I have nowhere to turn."

Mr. Little is frustrated with the state of family law in Ontario, saying he was stunned to learn that he has to pay both spousal support and child support, even though he has joint custody of his daughters, ages 10 and 12.

"I can't pay twice, I can't pay to take care of them when they're with me and pay to take care of them when they're with their mother," he said.

Mr. Little is on disability leave from his railroad job, saying the stress of the child custody battle made him physically ill. Now, about half of his $2,000 a month income is going to child and spousal support, which doesn't leave enough for his mortgage and bills.

"I'm behind on everything. I have to tell my daughters they can't do gymnastics or soccer anymore," he said.

Mr. Little said he hoped his protest would raise awareness of parental legal issues and grab the attention of politicians and bureaucrats.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Giving parents equal parenting time by law ~ Washington State

Wednesday, February 25, 2009 - Page updated at 04:13 PM

Giving parents equal parenting time by law

Special to The Times

For the third time in 22 years, Washington state is leading the nation in family law reform. This time, the report is called the Residential Time Summary Report prepared by the state Office of the Administrator for the Courts. This is a first-in-the-nation compilation of post-divorce breakdown of parenting time for children, mothers and fathers. The numbers are collected case-by-case and county-by-county.

Amazingly, 46 percent of children of divorce, statewide, are ordered to spend a minimum of 35 percent parenting time with their biological fathers. Parenting time is broken down by large percentages, and meaningful shared parenting starts in the range of 30-35 percent. This is about 300 percent better results than anyone could have expected from the time the Parenting Act was first approved. If there ever was any doubt, Washington state is now an official shared-parenting state for families impacted by parental separation.

In 1987, Washington required divorcing parents to detail parenting schedules in Parenting Plan documents that are filed with the court. Over 30 states have adopted this family law reform. Again, in 1991, Washington Department of Social and Health Services first developed and used the Paternity Affidavit for unwed, never-married, fathers. Staffers were pleasantly shocked and surprised with how forthcoming fathers were to provide financial information used to help create child-support orders.

However, the question has always been placed — how much post-divorce parenting time are children of divorce actually spending with their male parents? Now we see some actual results statewide and county-by-county.

The King County and Pierce County numbers are higher than the statewide average at 50 percent with Snohomish close by at 49 percent. The two highest counties are Whatcom at 66 percent and Skagit at 59 percent. Yakima County comes in the lowest at 28 percent.

The summary report and study was advocated for by fathers' organizations and shared-parenting advocates as a way of documenting why an official shared-parenting law is needed in Washington. Sen. Jim Kastama introduced Senate Bill 5342 addressing this issue but it has not moved out of committee.

The 46 percent is a great number. However, there are probably another 30 percent where the fathers and some mothers arbitrarily are restricted to the typical every-other-weekend. In these cases, the fathers and mothers with limited schedules actually feel more like aunts and uncles than meaningfully involved parents. The children are the biggest losers. The new law is needed for these other parents to avoid decisions that are strictly perceived winners and losers.

The report statistic that rings the loudest and truest is that 93 percent of the final decisions are by agreement of the parents. This means that good mothers and fathers are operating with one reality most in mind: These children had two involved parents before separation and this should be the end result as well. These good parents are sending society and our courthouse officials a loud message.

Unfortunately, our elected superior-court judges, appointed court commissioners and family law lawyers seem stuck in 1987. This is the time before the positive and encouraging language of the Parenting Act was approved and the Tender Years Doctrine was still operational.

Children of divorce are our most fragile social statistics: over 70 percent of high-school dropouts and pregnant teen girls come from fatherless homes as well as the 80-85 percent of male teens in juvenile justice centers and more than 90 percent of men in prison, all from fatherless homes. Society has paid a huge price to keep fathers away from their children. Now we see good dads fighting to stay involved and our children are better off for this effort.

The time has come for children of divorce to be guaranteed continuing parental involvement such as the children in the above numbers coming from homes where both parents are legally fit. It is time to stop divorcing children from one of their parents, most often the father. We can do better.

Bill Harrington from Pierce County was a commissioner with the US Commission on Child and Family Welfare.

New law could make fathers' rights come smoother in Minnesota

Kudos to Mr. Mahoney and his battle in MN to get the laws changed. Please note I have deleted some duplicate comments below.MJM

Dad tells of spending $30,000 to win time with his kids

By Erin Carlyle

City Pages

published: February 04, 2009

Joel Lombard carries a stack of photographs, half an inch thick, in his billfold. In one, a ten-year-old boy leans over a hockey stick, grinning proudly in his bright red jersey. In another, a seven-year-old grips her soccer ball. These are Lombard's children, and over the past two years he has spent just under $30,000 in a custody battle to make sure he remained in their lives.

"I'm a great dad," Lombard says emphatically, his hazel eyes bright, as he sits in a booth at a greasy spoon in Inver Grove Heights. "I might be a bad business owner or a bad husband, but I'm a great dad."

When Lombard and the children's mother, Carol, decided to divorce two years ago, he was certain that the negotiations over the kids would go smoothly and result in a 50-50 split. He was shocked when his ex said she wanted sole custody.

Lombard's lawyer advised him not to move out of the house because that might disadvantage him in the fight. So Lombard lived in the basement for 11 months, until a judge awarded both parents equal time with the kids and ordered Lombard to move out.

But the struggle wasn't over. Lombard's ex-wife requested a custody evaluation from Washington County. The result was the same: equal time with the kids for both mom and dad. Next came a divorce trial, where the custody issue was finally settled.

Ultimately, Lombard got what he wanted. But he's not happy about how much time—and money—it cost him. "All you're doing is pissing away a college fund," Lombard says of dads who go through protracted legal fights over their children. "If he wants 50-50, he shouldn't have to fight for it. Because that's what's best for the kids."

In Minnesota family courts, judges decide what's best for the kids on a case-by-case basis. But fathers' groups are pushing to change the law so that judges must favor shared parenting time, known as joint physical custody. Minnesota would become one of two states with such a legal preference.

Historically, the state's courts have not favored this arrangement because of concerns that shuttling between parents could be disruptive for a child. Custody often went to mothers, who tended to be the primary caregivers. But now, fathers are more involved. "I think in some ways it's a matter of the judicial system catching up with changes in society," says Melissa Froehle, policy and program director at the Minnesota Fathers & Families Network in St. Paul.

Rep. Tim Mahoney (DFL-St. Paul) has made it his mission to change the law. Divorced twice, Mahoney paid through the nose to get joint physical custody. "But I thought everybody did that," Mahoney says. "It wasn't, 'Oh, I'm a wounded divorced father and I feel slighted.'"

He says conversations with his constituents convinced him that the law should change. Dozens of men have told him they pay child support but find it difficult to visit their children because of poor relations with the mother, he says. "They don't give a damn about the money. Mostly what they want to do is see their kids."

Over the past five years, Mahoney has introduced bills to change the law. His legislation has included an exception for victims of domestic violence, but advocates for battered women remain unconvinced.

Last year, Mahoney proposed a study group to look at the effect of changing the law. Mahoney's bill passed last spring after Rep. Michael Paymar (DFL-St. Paul) tacked it onto another piece of legislation.

In August, the study group met for the first time. Members included advocates for victims of domestic violence, parents, and fathers, as well as family law attorneys, academics, and two judges.

The study group reviewed academic research on divorce and custody and heard from people on both sides of the debate. The Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, several anti-domestic violence groups, and the Minnesota State Bar Association's Family Law Section opposed changing the law, and fathers' advocacy groups favored it.

While there were more than enough people willing to give their opinions on the idea, the study group faced a paucity of information specific to Minnesota. There are no studies that document if fathers are actually being treated unfairly in court. The state's only data shows that joint physical custody decisions increased from 6 percent in 1986 to 23 percent in 1999.

After four months of meetings, the panel could only recommend to the Legislature that more Minnesota data be collected and the issue studied further. Mahoney and co-sponsor Saltzman were sorely disappointed.

"Certainly I think that the deck was set," Mahoney says. "I think there were a number of people that were very uncomfortable with the idea going in." He estimates that about 70 percent of the panel was initially against joint physical custody.

Panelist Molly Olson founded the Center for Parental Responsibility, a group that advocates for joint physical custody. She says study group membership seemed biased from the start. "People are either from organizations that have opposed this, or have opposed this individually," she says, "or they don't work with fit fathers."

But other panelists said the group was open-minded and fair. The problem was not bias, but rather a lack of information, says study group member Jeff Edleson, a professor at the University of Minnesota who researches domestic violence. "There were grievances of both moms and dads who were concerned about their cases," he says. "What I wanted to see, and I didn't see, was any data."

One of the judges on the panel, Heidi Schellhas of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, also found the lack of information frustrating. "Shouldn't we figure out whether there is a problem, and if there is a problem, what is it?"

But Mahoney says the issue needs to be addressed, and soon. "My intent this year," he says, "is to move this bill forward."

  1. Why does this "article" read more like a press release? Where is the research, or background information. Although the twice-divorced legislator is correct, everyone pays; the new law won't change much because a judge still has to determine the best interests of the child after a question is raised. Please review the number of dead kids listed by state, mostly killed by their fathers, at www.FamilyLawCourts.com/kids.html Sadly, this "article" is missing several key elements.
    Comment by Bonnie from All cities on Feb 4th, 2009, 08:06 am
  2. I feel for Mr. Lombard because I am a mom in the same situation. Unfortunately, I do not have $30,000.00 so I can't afford the luxury of an attorney to keep my rights with the children in tact. I tried to represent myself to obtain joint custody and I lost time. I feel that there should be a better way for the children and parents involved to resolve these issues. I do not think that it is a gender issue as much as a financial whirlwind through the court system. One party could keep you in court until the children are each 18 years of age. I agree with Mr. Lombard again that those funds take away from educational opportunities for the child and the family. It is an unneeded stressor to enter the family structure. I applaud the parents that can make it work for the children's sake.
    Comment by Tiffini Marie Flynn Forslund from Brooklyn Park on Feb 4th, 2009, 12:02 pm
  3. Ummm, that's not a picture of Minnesota State Rep. Tim Mahoney. Looks like you are confusing him with the Florida Congressman.
    Comment by Doctor Gonzo from St. Paul on Feb 4th, 2009, 14:37 pm
  4. There is a website that gives much more information about this biased study group. http://jpc-now.wikispaces.com/NCFM+Says+Study+Group+Biased
    Comment by charlie from mankato on Feb 4th, 2009, 20:53 pm
  5. This is a HUGE victory for all males And This is a wake up call to all males Join us The National Coalition for Men (NCFM) is committed to the eradication of harmful sex-based stereotypes. http://www.ncfm.org/ Ron Belec Seattle
    Comment by Ronj Belec from Seattle on Feb 4th, 2009, 21:11 pm
  6. Looks like the opponents of the presumption of joint physical custody want to study this issue to death some more. There is plenty of evidence of the value of having both parents continue in the lives of children after divorce or separation. Unfortunately, lawyers, judges, psychologists, guardian ad litems, child support collectors, and the state Department of Human Services all live off of the current adversarial, winner-takes-all system. Thank you to a few courageous legislators for trying to end this system.
    Comment by charlie from Mankato on Feb 4th, 2009, 21:25 pm
  7. As a father who has Joint Physical Custody I can tell you that not only does it work, but it is much better for the children. Also, there is less fighting between the parents, because no one parent has more control than the other. It is kind of like a stale mate or checks and balance. I would highly recommend though that the children switch homes every month rather than every week. We tried every week at first and it did not work that well. Once we switched to monthly exchanges it worked perfectly! I am happy, my ex is happy and the kids are happy they can spend quality time with both of us!!
    Comment by Darin on Feb 5th, 2009, 01:10 am
  8. We certainly need something done!! According to records my son's attorney has found, the judge in my son's case has never giving custody to a father and does not believe in joint custody..What is he thinking???
    Comment by joyce from isle on Feb 5th, 2009, 10:10 am
  9. Like Joel, I recognized the financial strain as robbing my daughter's scholastic future. My dissolution is approaching 3yrs. in May, and there is still no Decree. This process has got to change and soon. The delays in legislation will introduce hundreds more parents into the already recognized flawed system. This legislation has been delayed for over 5yrs., while the argument continues to grow and that it's passing is long over due. The effect of this legislation is not just on the Judges that have the ability to decide on the functions of divorced parent's and their children. Evaluators play an intricate role in the current process. They may influence the courts with their reports that are often slighted, in such districts as Anoka Co.. Without going into great details of my encounter, I must note the bias. The Evaluator had suggested that I didn't follow the rules during the home visit. Being, that she showed up 15mn early when she knew I had an extreme time crunch to accommodate the visit(due to my ex suddenly making me drive 1hr 45mn one way to get my daughter from her grandparents) and I only get 3hrs time with my daughter as it is. So when there was a mere 5 mn left of the home visit and we took our usual after dinner walk, it was noted as uncooperative. Yet in the rules of the home visit "no one not living in the home shall be present for the home visit". My ex however decided she would have her son(whom never lived with us in his 17yrs, not even part time) babysit that day and train my daughter on card games an remain there for activities with the evaluator. I had on several occasions expressed my "concerns with my ex's son never living with her "ever"", so the evaluator had ample knowledge that ex's son should not have been there for the visit! But her report never suggested that mom didn't follow the rules of the home visit.
    Comment by Father For Justice from MPLS on Feb 5th, 2009, 11:13 am
  10. Oh the times they are a changin....and I see that a woman can still excercise her choice, her reproductive choice. It won't be long till most of us choose artificial insemination as a way to offset the chances of custody going to an abusive father. Children have rights too, they are supposed to start once the fetus is viable, their first right is to safety, if that can be accomplished with both parents involvement that is great. I have not seen that in families with joint custody, it either spawns abuse or exaserbates it, at least in the couples I have known.
    Comment by carol on Feb 5th, 2009, 12:55 pm
  11. I'm rather disgusted with the DISCRIMINATION set forth by beliefs and comments made by "some" women. So generally stated, suggesting that any father who gets joint custody will become a raging murderer. So as to say absurdly that I would become a raging murderer if I get JPC! What a disgrace to liberation groups to have come this far only to abuse their influence by taking a worthy cause (womans rights) and using it to attack fathers. The presumption of joint custody would be for the "normal" divorcing parents that are thrust into battle because of the cohesion of payouts and likely just the fear stricken in them when sitting in front of that lawyer telling them all the whose. Just like the "regular" mom doesn't like to hear of that MOM driving her car in to the pond intentionally drowning her 4 children. Or even the mom leaving her toddler in the tub to drown while she surfs the Internet...fathers don't excuse this conduct. There are so many of these cases that are "extreme", should they really be the backbone for normal citizens to be guided by? No, these unforgivable crazies that kill their children should not be the rule that guide the system for the rest of us.
    Comment by Andrew Dupay from MPLS on Feb 5th, 2009, 15:16 pm
  12. At a very young age I was taught a lesson by my Dad (a man who by the way was not my father) - “He always said that when you are pointing a finger at someone and telling a lie, remember you have three fingers pointing back at you” - meaning the lie you are stating is actually the truth about yourself! This is a lesson that rings so true when we are dealing with the people who defend the “Family Law / the Divorce Industry*” system as they voice talking point that bring “Personal Power & Profit” for themselves! Facts they don’t bring up: DHHS Report 03' Child Maltreatment http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/pubs/cm03/index.htm Fatalities by Perpetrator Relationship: “Almost one-third (30.5%) of fatalities were perpetrated by the mother acting alone.” Additionally note that the total for a mother and other (meaning someone she has introduced the child to) equals 38.7% vs. 19.1% of child fatalities were by their fathers acting alone or with others( (Page 78) Perpetrators of Maltreatment: “Approximately two fifths(40.8%) of child victims were maltreated by their mothers acting alone;” (Additionally note that the total for a mother and other (meaning someone she has introduced the child to) equals 47.1% vs. 19.9% of child victims were maltreated by their fathers acting alone or with others) (Page 46) Perpetrators by Relationship to Victims: “Female perpetrators, mostly mothers, were typically younger than male perpetrators, mostly fathers. Women also comprised a larger percentage of all perpetrators than men, 58 percent compared to 42 percent (figure S–7). Nearly 76 percent of all perpetrators of sexual abuse were friends or neighbors and 30 percent were other relatives. In addition, less than 3 percent of all parental perpetrators were associated with sexual abuse.” (Page 20) 04' AZ State University Study http://www.public.asu.edu/~devra1/matt&jenessa.pdf “The most explored and obvious factors by which consequences differ are: (1) the parent with custody vs. the one without custody of the child(ren); (2) the gender of the parent; i.e., the mother vs. the father; or (3) the person who initiated the divorce vs. the one who didn’t (and often didn’t want it); i.e., the “dumper” vs. the “dumpee”. It turns out that there is a great deal of overlap between these three dimensions: mothers generally are the parents that get custody; and mothers generally are the dumper.” (page 2, paragraph 1 & 2) “Legal Consequences of Divorce: Gender Differences As a result of the processes leading them to resolution of the issues they must finalize, mothers and fathers typically experience far different legal consequences of divorce. According to a recent national study (Nord & Zill, 1996), in 75% of divorce cases, mothers become the sole custody parent, and fathers the nonresidential parent; in about 4% of cases it is reversed” (page 5 paragraph 4 and Page 6 paragraph 1). 03' U of M Study for DHS http://www.f4j.us/fileadmin/user_upload/News_Articles/UofM_DHS_CSstudy_1_.pdf According to a report prepared for the Department of Human Services by the University of Minnesota in 2003, sample data showed that mothers were awarded sole physical custody 94% of the time, with fathers receiving sole physical custody 6% of the time. (Page 12, Table 2) (Affirmed again in 07’ by the Child & Families Studies Dept., St. Cloud State University http://www.mnfathers.org/DoWeCountFathers.pdf) 01-06 Newsweek Cover Story “One of the most reliable predictors of whether a boy will succeed or fail in high school rests on a single question: does he have a man in his life to look up to? Too often, the answer is no. High rates of divorce and single motherhood have created a generation of fatherless boys. In every kind of neighborhood, rich or poor, an increasing number of boys - now a startling 40 percent - are being raised without their biological dads.” (Paragraph 20) Jeff Edleson and all the other biased people in this story on the so called study group are looking for data in all the wrong places!!!! “The Removal of a Fit Loving Parent From a Child IS Child Abuse!” Les Jobst Fathers-4-Justice MN Coordinator 763.300.9766 "Anyone who sees a father's positive role in a child's life as a threat, certainly has a agenda and children are not on it! Children deserve having equal access to both parents!" FIGHTING FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE & EQUALITY IN FAMILY LAW
    Comment by Les from Andover on Feb 5th, 2009, 22:49 pm
  13. My ex-wife and I divorced in 1998, though the process began in 1996. When we were going through the process, I had the hopes that I would be able to continue seeing my kids at the level I was used to. I spent my nights, weekends - I even re-negotiated my employment contract to allow for Fridays with them. I was in for a huge, nightmarish awakening. I ended up being served with an order for protection. Never in a million years could I have imagined that occurring. While it was dropped before the hearing, I asked my ex- why she would do that. She responded that Carlton County officials told her that if she filed that order, she would be bumped to the top of the list for free or low income housing, be given full medical benefits and assistance with schooling if she wanted to go back to school. While she dropped it right away after I asked her if she knew that was the kind of thing that destroyed reputations and would make it impossible for me to ever adopt a child, or potentially even work with children - she said her Legal Aide attorney had told her none of that but later confirmed it when she confronted her. I went to three separate law firms in the Duluth area asking about joint custody. Each literally laughed. Two were honest enough and up front and told me I was welcome to spend the minimum of $5000 to $6000 for the retainer - and that the process would cost much more - and that I was virtually guaranteed to lose. One told me candidly - "You're a white male, you have a job, and you love your children - you're screwed." My children are in their teens now. Access to them has been spotty at best, even when my youngest begged to come live with me. I've watched them grow up as a series of snapshots, not the running movie that my ex- and her family have had the blessing of seeing. When they were younger my visits were when it was convenient to my ex-, as they got older she would tell me to work through them, she's not getting involved. Thus when they choose not to return my cell texts, emails or calls - the only recourse is to attempt to go back and get the court's to enforce something that isn't worth the paper it was written on. The custodial parents has complete and total power - power over visitation, power over child support in a system that gives the non-custodial parent not only less rights, in many ways it strips our constitutional rights out from under us. The biases and incorrect beliefs in the State of Minnesota - and this country - need to stop. Leave it to the parents to devise a schedule that's not disruptive to the child's life yet gives both time with the child and do that by not immediately removing one person's 'power' by giving the other complete custody. As a side note - I'll bet if those that want to study this to death created a test group - and tied cooperation and visitation time to child support payments using an intermediary to ensure fairness -- I guarantee there would be a quick change of attitude among the custodial control group in their willingness to allow us access to our children.
    Comment by Jeff Tucker from Duluth, MN on Feb 6th, 2009, 13:39 pm
  14. I dont think custody battles should be handled in court, and I dont think a judge has Jurisdiction, if so does that mean all children are a ward of the state and the state has a senion interest in everyone's family. Divorces should be resolved in mediation. The courts favor many women, however Ive seen some women get hammered too. I think both parents and the children have a right from a creator, unaleinable, to be involved in our childrens lives and government should not interfere with that right. Now that so many people have been divorced and been through the courts, its taking a huge affect on our society, people dont want to commit, dont want to get married, dont want kids...why?? Because of all the horror stories. Marriage is a contract and should be upheld as such.
    Comment by troy from lakeville on Feb 6th, 2009, 20:19 pm
  15. Thank you so much for writing this article. More and More people need to read and hear what is happening in Mn Family Courts. People automatically assume that "Family Court" means that the Judges and Lawyers are looking out for the best interest of our children, but I tell you from having sat in these court rooms that this is not true. They are only interested in the money. As a grandmother denied access to my grandchild I tell you that our laws need to be changed. The courts should not be deciding to place children in sole custody of one parent when neither has been proven unfit. Children need both of their natural parents, especially if both want to be involved in their lives. This extortion of money for Fathers to see and spend time with their children is just that "Extortion". If a father has been taking care of his family until the divorce why would he not continue without a court order if he is still a parent and taking care of his children. Both parents need to assume responsibility and share their children just as they did before they violated their contract with each other. As an adult of divorce and parental fighting, I tell you that I loved both my parents and wanted them both in my life. I did not care that they hated each other and did not want to hear about that, but I wanted to spend time with them when I needed or wanted them to be with me. Please continue letting people know what is happening in this venue and thank you again for this report. I am in favor of Joint Physical Custody!!!!
    Comment by Brenda Pence from Maple Grove on Feb 7th, 2009, 12:16 pm
  16. I see that Fox9 has changed their site that contained my blog that speaks of the nature for which this article was published. Funny how that happend just days after I built the blog. Well here is what I wanted to put on it! This is are outrageous examples for those men bashing feminists that assume Father is always the raging murdrer! NY mom who drowned kids apparently reaches insanity plea; Father of 2 victims `shocked' http://www.startribune.com/nation/39239437.html?elr=KArks:DCiUMEaPc:UiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU Upstate NY woman found guilty of poisoning husband with antifreeze, trying to kill daughter http://www.startribune.com/nation/39148312.html?elr=KArks:DCiUMEaPc:UiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU Fla. woman accused of abusing adopted children, taking $1M in subsidies, sentenced to 20 years http://www.startribune.com/nation/39142957.html?elr=KArks:DCiUMEaPc:UiD3aPc:_Yyc:aUU Hamtramck woman calls police herself, is charged with torturing kids, 4 and 5 years old. Police said Valentino's husband, Randy, wasn't home and there's no evidence that he abused their children. The license plate in the window of the family Cadillac reads "Best Dad." But a 4-year-old girl told police Mom wasn't nearly so kind. The couple has three other children, two boys believed to be 7 and 8 years old and an infant who is about 8 months, Bielecki said. All five children are in foster care and doing well, he said. Martin said police removed them from the house about a week ago. http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090206/METRO/902060381/&imw=Y What I entirely don't understand is why aren't the kids with DAD instead of fostercare? If anybody remembers the lady this past summer who negglected her children and in turn resulted in her infant child drowning in the tub. The Judge actually susspended her prison time so she could go back home to be with her remaining child for the rest of the summer.
    Comment by Andrew from MPLS on Feb 7th, 2009, 16:14 pm
  17. I want to thank City Pages for covering an issue of such great importance that presents unending obstacles, and affects tons of fathers and thier childrens relationships and lives. The majority of people do not have the time or really care about the issue until they are put in the situation and see how unfair the family court system really is towards fathers. With Minnesota's no fault divorce process the finger cannot be pointed at the mother or the father. Joint custody is the only option unless there is some substantiated cause proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law which would protect the children from either the convicted mother or convicted father. I think about the how African Americans were totally discriminated against such as not being allowed to vote, drink out of the same water fountain or ride in the same area of the bus as white people. Females were also extensively discriminated against and treated similar fashion including not being allowed to vote. These were clear and common sense violations of their constitutional rights. I, and the majority of society, wonder what the heck people were thinking back then. When the members of this panel come up with a front/stalling tactics saying more studies, data, and proof that joint physical custody is appropriate they are 100% wrong. Did we need studies, data, or proof that black people should be able to drink out of the same water fountain as whites, or women could vote. Absolutely not--because it was just common sense and a total violation of their constitutional rights. In my case my ex-wife deprives me of my parenting time, leaves profanity filled scream fests on my voicemail, and blatently admits she is violating our divorce decree. If I did any one of these things the police would be knocking on my door, she would be granted an OFP, and the judge would fine and possibly jail me. As a father you are expected to blow these types of violations off and toughen up. There is most often no recourse for her and no free legal help for a father with limited parenting time and no money. People and mothers who don't support joint physical custody in the majority of family break-ups are promoting violating the children's and father's constitutional rights to be together on an equal basis as the mothers. The current system is based on greed for time, showing power and control to not let the other parent have time, and a sytem that is nothing but a great money machine for the state. With perseverance by people who care, Joint Physical Custody will soon be established. Then when the children of future generations look back on the treatment of African Americans, women, and fathers---they will ask "What the heck were they thinking?"
    Comment by Dan from St. Paul on Feb 8th, 2009, 13:39 pm
  18. Why does this "article" read more like a press release? Where is the research, or background information. Although the twice-divorced legislator is correct, everyone pays; the new law won't change much because a judge still has to determine the best interests of the child after a question is raised. Please review the number of dead kids listed by state, mostly killed by their fathers, at www.FamilyLawCourts.com/kids.html Sadly, this "article" is missing several key elements.Comment by Bonnie from All cities on Feb 4th, 2009, 08:06 am HERE 'Bonnie' the lawyer: MOST CHILD ABUSE AND PARENTAL MURDER OF CHILDREN IS COMMITTED BY MOTHERS, NOT FATHERS. Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Children, Youth, and Families, Child Maltreatment 1997: Reports from the States to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (Washington DC, :GPO, 1999). See: http://www.acf.dhhs.gov/programs/cb/publications/ncands97/s7.htm. Child abuse perpetrators are 62.3% female. Child fatality perpetrators are 62.8% female. The mother/father ratio is actually greater than this, because many of the male abusers counted are not the biological fathers but instead step‑fathers, boyfriends, etc. Source on murders of children by single parents: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, Third National Incidence Study Of Child Abuse and Neglect: Final Report Appendices (Washington D.C., U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center on Child Abuse and Neglect, 1997, pp. A‑63‑A‑64. The estimated total is 264 parental murders of children committed by single custodial mothers and 11 by single custodial fathers. There are roughly five times as many single custodial mothers as single custodial fathers. Source: Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion: How to Bring the Dads We Need to the Children We Love, Penguin Putnam Inc, 2001, pp 75-77.ACCORDING TO THE US.S DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES' NEW REPORT 'CHILD MALTREATMENT 2004, WHEN ONE PARENT IS ACTING WITHOUT THE INVOLVEMENT OF THE OTHER PARENT, MOTHERS ARE ALMOST THREE TIMES AS LIKELY TO KILL THEIR CHILDREN AS FATHERS ARE, AND ARE MORE THAN TWICE AS LIKELY TO ABUSE THEM. Source: Child Maltreatment 2004, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. According to Figure 4-2 “Perpetrator Relationships of Fatalities, 2004 Child Maltreatment 2004” here, child fatalities perpetrated by mothers or by “mother and other [not father]” comprise 40.6% of all child fatalities. Figure 4-2 also shows that fatalities perpetrated by fathers or by “father and other [not mother]” comprise 15.6% of all child fatalities. According to Figure 3-6 “Victims by Perpetrator Relationship, 2004 Child Maltreatment 2004,” here child abuse perpetrated by mothers or by “mother and other [not father]” comprise 45.6% of all child abuse. Figure 3-6 also shows that abuse perpetrated by fathers or by “father and other [not mother]” comprise 19.5% of all child abuse. IF YOU HAVE ANY OTHER 'QUESTIONS' THAT REQUIRE A RESPONSE PLEASE POST.
    Comment by PJ Lem from Kalamazoo on Feb 9th, 2009, 14:39 pm
  19. "It won't be long till most of us choose artificial insemination as a way to offset the chances of custody going to an abusive father." "Children have rights too, they are supposed to start once the fetus is viable, their first right is to safety", if that can be accomplished with both parents involvement that is great. I have not seen that in families with joint custody, "it either spawns abuse or exaserbates it", That sounds like a good idea Carol. Those who don't want to do whats best for the children in divorces don't have to worry about men. Divorce spawns abuse, Joint custody would be no more a catalyst then that. Where abuse is proven it's not going to happen anyway. 1 major issue i see with this is that there are already an insane amount of people crying wolf when it comes to abuse anyway. Look no further then that nutter Holly Collins. Isn't most abuse against children by mothers, especially single mothers in exactly these cases? I know my mother was and she did what I see allot of mothers doing. Turned me against my father while abusing the crap out of me.
    Comment by John from Saint John on Feb 9th, 2009, 14:37 pm
  20. Comment by carol on Feb 5th, 2009, 12:55 pm : Oh the times they are a changin....and I see that a woman can still excercise her choice, her reproductive choice. It won't be long till most of us choose artificial insemination as a way to offset the chances of custody going to an abusive father. Children have rights too, they are supposed to start once the fetus is viable, their first right is to safety, if that can be accomplished with both parents involvement that is great. I have not seen that in families with joint custody, it either spawns abuse or exaserbates it, at least in the couples I have known. PJ : CAROL, CLEARLY YOU ARE OF THE OPINION THAT YOUR 'RIGHTS' AS A WOMAN TRUMP THOSE OF INNOCENT CHILDREN AND IT FOLLOWS INNOCENT FATHERS TOO. PJ : CAROL, YOU ARE COMMENTING IN TERMS OF NARCISSISTIC ENTITLEMENT AND THEREFORE IT FOLLOWS THAT YOU ARE INCAPABLE OF CARING ABOUT WHAT IS BEST FOR CHILDREN .... According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' new report Child Maltreatment 2004, when one parent is acting without the involvement of the other parent, mothers are almost three times as likely to kill their children as fathers are, and are more than twice as likely to abuse them." Source: Child Maltreatment 2004, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. According to Figure 4-2 “Perpetrator Relationships of Fatalities, 2004 Child Maltreatment 2004” here, child fatalities perpetrated by mothers or by “mother and other [not father]” comprise 40.6% of all child fatalities. Figure 4-2 also shows that fatalities perpetrated by fathers or by “father and other [not mother]” comprise 15.6% of all child fatalities. According to Figure 3-6 “Victims by Perpetrator Relationship, 2004 Child Maltreatment 2004,” here child abuse perpetrated by mothers or by “mother and other [not father]” comprise 45.6% of all child abuse. Figure 3-6 also shows that abuse perpetrated by fathers or by “father and other [not mother]” comprise 19.5% of all child abuse.
    Comment by PJ Lem from Kalamazoo on Feb 9th, 2009, 14:46 pm
  21. The average taxpayer wonders what is happening with their tax money. All of the groups opposing shared custody in Minnesota are at the tax trough, and it is quite the feed for them, a veritable free-for-all. What is being proposed would save government a huge amount of wasted tax money - being paid to these groups to politicize the family law system, to present society with a false picture on how their social engineering is coming along ( kids are better than ever; according to their good work ) but most importantly to protect their Golden Eggs paid for by taxpayers.
    Comment by PJ Lem from Kalamazoo on Feb 9th, 2009, 15:03 pm
  22. For thousands of years, nature has clearly shown us that human children do best with the love and support of TWO parents who are actively involved in their lives. Modern research has only proven what nature and common sense should have already told us by providing a whole laundry list of statistics illustrating the problems that children from single parent households face. If you truly love children, shouldn't you want what is best for THEM? As for all of the chicken littles screaming that joint custody will cause more children to be abused, you really should get your facts straight. As others posting here have already pointed out, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' report Child Maltreatment 2004 clearly indicates that when one parent is acting without the involvement of the other parent, mothers are almost three times as likely to kill their children as fathers are, and are more than twice as likely to abuse them. The government's own research proves that the idiotic assumption that "mommy always knows best" when it comes to child care simply leads to more child abuse. With regards to the legions of judges, lawyers, politicians, and government employees involved in the divorce industry who loudly moan about the absence of fathers on one hand while actively seeking to prevent loving fathers from having an active, meaningful role in their children's lives: shame on you! Obviously you do not value a father's involvement with his children beyond his ability to provide $$$ for their mother and you apparently care more about keeping the $$$ from fathers flowing into the pockets of the divorce industry than you do about the welfare of our children.
    Comment by NikkisDad on Feb 10th, 2009, 08:08 am
  23. Thank you for publishing the article "New law could make fathers' rights come smoother" I actually know Joel Lombard because he and I attended Early Childhood Family Education classes with our children. Joel is a great dad. We were the only dads in the class and were praised by staff and moms for taking the time to be there for our kids. Being a great Dad like Joel is strangely a detriment it seems in Washington County family court. They system is motivated to discount and discriminate against one parent so that is can maximize its child support collections, enabling the county to apply for funds through the Federal Child support enforcement act. Then double dip by putting mom and the kids on welfare and applying for even more federal money. Family law in Minnesota is very simply corrupt government and lawyers helping themselves to the spoils of the fractured family. It will only stop when great parents, Dads like Joel Lombard, and countless Moms who agree to joint physical custody stand up to the politicians, lawyers and the courts and say "STAY OUT OF MY FAMILY" and refuse to squander life savings and college funds on the broken process that is Family law.
    Comment by Michael Fry from Stillwater on Feb 10th, 2009, 14:22 pm
  24. Thank You for printing this article this problem needs more attention and definately needs to be addressed with a presumption of joint custody. I am a great father who is being denied a frequent relationship with our children. I just want to be the loving and involved father my children need and deserve. This injustice is hurting our childrens well being.How can any body not want to stop hurting our children when the courts take away either parent. This problem effects millions of people and families and hurts our great nation. Please help stop this injustice. Thank you sincerely a concerned Father
    Comment by Roger Thompson from Eagar on Feb 12th, 2009, 19:42 pm
  25. Shared custody doesn't seem to work at all. See www.FamilyLawCourts.com and in particular, the number of men who kill their kids, at www.FamilyLawCourts.com/kids.html
    Comment by WriteNow from All Cities on Feb 17th, 2009, 17:59 pm
  26. I note some references here to a web site called Family Law Courts. This is not a judicial site but a propaganda site used by feminists and the DV industry to support their entitlements to "ownership" of children and fattening their money supply at the expense of dads. The stats which have been provided on mother abuse and mother killings far in excess of dads are consistent over many years. 2006 is the most recent year. Follow the links given by previous posters. All studies of repute show children do better in a two parent relationship and in shared and equal custody. It is a myth their lives are in turmoil by changing residences. Two parents whose agenda is to help their children can manage this well. What I find to be unequivocally corrupt is the notion by these posters with personal agendas that offer opinions and information that are complete unadulterated lies. It is beyond contempt they would abuse children and an innocent spouse for no other reason than selfish, narcissistic purposes. If they are currently parents - pity the children.
    Comment by Mike Murphy from Sault Ste. Marie, ON on Feb 26th, 2009, 11:32 am