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.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Court Delivers Devastating Blow to Major Opponent of Fathers' Movement

Goldstein is one of the slimy lawyers who will do almost anything to preen in front of women. These guys are sometimes referred to as a would be Alpha Males who would not be able to obtain the affections of females in the normal course of day to day interaction but by telling them what they want to hear and appearing to be be a mechanism to highlight their underclass status as perpetual victims he gets attention. Thus he becomes the Alpha Male he always wanted to be in high school but no girl would pay attention. Well now it appears justice has caught up to him but if you go to the lawyer's website below you can see some of his colleagues defending his right to free speech. Give me a break. Free speech doesn't include lying, cheating making false allegations against innocent people while practicing his profession. What kind of ethics are those - oh I forgot they are lawyers - aren't they! :)MJM January 5th, 2009 by Glenn Sacks

Few family law cases are as heartbreaking as those involving Parental Alienation, where one parent has turned his or her children against the other parent, destroying the loving bonds the children and the target parent once enjoyed. Many of my readers have experienced it in various forms and to varying degrees.

Feminist groups, including the National Organization for Women, contend that Parental Alienation is a myth and a ruse used by abusive fathers to win control of their children in custody cases. To pick one example of many, Helen Grieco, until recently the Executive Director of California NOW, calls Parental Alienation Syndrome a "scam."

(I have never denied that there are fathers who have alienated their own children through their abuse or personality defects, and who attempt to shift the blame to their children’s mothers by falsely claiming PAS. Yet parental alienation is a common, well-documented phenomenon. For example, a longitudinal study published by the American Bar Association in 2003 followed 700 "high conflict" divorce cases over a 12 year period and found that elements of PAS were present in the vast majority of the cases studied.)

Feminist attorney Barry Goldstein, Esq. of New York has been one of the leading advocates for this position, and was the primary attorney in the highly-publicized Genia Shockome case in New York. Shockome, lost custody of her two children, now ages 13 and 11, to her ex-husband, Tim Shockome after a contentious custody battle in which Genia accused Tim of abuse. The Shockome case was widely reported, including this sympathetic article in Newsweek magazine, and Shockome was a popular feminist cause celebre a few years ago.

Goldstein (pictured in a suit & tie alongside Shockome) has worked with or been a member of many if not most of the organizations seeking to discredit Parental Alienation and the fatherhood movement. He has practiced law in New York for almost three decades, has authored a book on custody cases involving allegations of domestic violence, and is scheduled to speak at the annual Battered Mothers Custody Conference next week.

Last week Barry Goldstein, Esq. had his head handed to him.

The New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department imposed a staggering five-year suspension of Goldstein for his conduct in the Shockome case. The Court called numerous statements Goldstein made concerning the Shockome case "dishonest, false, or misleading." The Court also criticized Goldstein for misuse of funds in another case he handled.

Regarding the Shockome case, the Court criticized what it called the "pervasive nature of [Goldstein's] deceptive conduct"--conduct which it said included "false accusations" about the case and "noncompliance with multiple court orders." The Court wrote:

On behalf of his client [Genia Shockome], he prepared and filed with this Court a petition for writ of habeas corpus and a petition in a proceeding pursuant to CPLR article 78. These materials contained sworn statements which were dishonest, false, or misleading.

To learn more, see Georgetown Law Center Ethics Counsel Michael S. Frisch's write-up here. To read the Court's decision itself, click here.

Goldstein's fall is a tremendous embarrassment to many of our opponents in the battle to achieve shared parenting, reform family law, and protect children's right to a relationship with both parents after divorce. These include: the New York state chapter of the National Organization for Women; Justice for Children; The Battered Mothers Custody Conference; Stop Family Violence; The Leadership Council; and others.

Of far less significance but still worth noting, the Court's ruling further vindicates my position on the Shockome case--a position for which I was publicly crucified by our feminist opponents. This vindication is nice but not necessary--while Genia's publicly-stated version of the case seemed superficially compelling, anybody taking a good look at the court records in the case as I did would come to similar conclusions.

One of Goldstein's statements that the New York Court cited in disciplining him is his public contention that in the Shockome case "Without an evidentiary hearing or any written explanation, Judge Amodeo took the children from the mother who has raised them and sent them to the abuser." This is false--Judge Amodeo actually bent over backwards to be fair to Shockome, who lost her children to her ex-husband only after repeatedly violating court orders. Moreover, there was no evidence that the ex-husband was an "abuser," and the Court specifically repudiated this accusation.

I discussed the details of the Shockome case at length in my co-authored Shockome Syndrome. As I've noted on several occasions, the major feminist cause celebre custody cases of the past few years have been scams--Genia Shockome, Sadia Loeliger, Bridget Marks, and others.

The latest feminist cause celebre is the Holly Collins parental abduction case. The mother's version of events in this case is also problematic but I won't conclude anything about the case without knowing more about it.

My findings on Shockome can be found here.

Attorney Sanctioned For Web Site Post

The New York Appellate Division for the Second Judicial Department imposed a five year suspension of an attorney found to have committed a laundry list of ethics violations in two matters. One involved misuse of funds entrusted to the attorney in connection with his representation of a not-for-profit tenants housing resource center; the other involved representations to and about a court in a domestic relations case where custody had been transferred from his client to her ex-husband:

The respondent represented Yevgenia Shockome, the mother in the child custody matter, and in a divorce action in the Supreme Court. The respondent wrote an article entitled, "A Call for Genia's Law by Barry L. Goldstein, Stop Family Violence," which was posted on a web site for the Battered Mothers' Custody Conference as part of a campaign to free the respondent's client, who had been imprisoned after being held in contempt by Judge Amodeo. One or more of the following excerpts from that article were dishonest, false, or misleading:

i. "Without an evidentiary hearing or any written explanation, Judge Amodeo took the children from the mother who has raised them and sent them to the abuser."

ii. "Judge Amodeo got around this in his decision by constructing a bizarre conclusion that he, the Judge, had caused the mother's PTSD."

iii. "At one point it was discovered that the court had erased two of the transcripts[,] further delaying the appeal."

iv. "The decision demanded that the mother stop therapy with her present therapist and instead use someone selected by the court."

v. "I had to make a motion to withdraw from the case in front of Judge Amodeo for medical reasons... The law requires that when a party loses an attorney for medical reasons, that she is entitled to at least a 30-day stay to obtain another attorney. Instead, Amodeo continued to make her come to court unrepresented, to face more abuse. After the 30 days has passed (with no stay) he decided that she had enough time to find an attorney."

vi. "The police were called and they found that the supervisor had attacked the mother and child."

viii. "Judge Amodeo called numerous conferences to attack and berate the mother for interfering with the phone calls and the father's relationship with the children."

The court rejected the following contentions:

In determining the appropriate measure of discipline to impose, the respondent asks the Court to consider, with respect to the escrow violations, that they were "technical errors," that "he was just an honest attorney attempting to help others," and that he has since corrected his ways. The respondent's witnesses testified to his reputation for cooperation, honesty, and sincerity.

While the respondent contends, with regard to the charges relating to the Shockome matter, that these disciplinary proceedings were brought by the Grievance Committee in retaliation and as a penalty for his criticism of Judge Amodeo and the courts, we find no basis for such a contention. To the contrary, we find the respondent's utter failure to appreciate the fact that his conduct exceeded the bounds of propriety as a courtroom advocate, his complete lack of remorse, and the pervasive nature of his deceptive conduct to be aggravating factors. Irrespective of the respondent's sincerity in his beliefs, his overzealous behavior which took the form of disparaging remarks on the court, false accusations about Judge Amodeo disseminated in a public forum as part of a campaign to pressure the court into changing its rulings, and noncompliance with multiple court orders, truly constituted conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.

The attorney had no record of prior discipline.(Mike Frisch)

Minnesota reviewing child custody laws to see if a presumption of shared parenting should be implemented

Larger view
A "Fathers 4 Justice" member in the U.K. wearing a Superman outfit sits next to a banner reading "A father is for life, not just conception," on top of Deputy Labor Leader Harriet Harman's home on June 8, 2008 in south London. 'Fathers 4 justice' is a group with chapters throughout the world, including Minnesota, that says it fights for fathers' equal access to see their kids following a divorce. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)

Child custody law up for review

by Elizabeth Stawicki, Minnesota Public Radio
January 5, 2009

Within the next two weeks, a state court official must report a study group's findings to the Legislature on whether Minnesota should change its child custody laws. At issue is whether judges should automatically presume that children split their time living with each of their divorced parents.

St. Paul, Minn. — When a couple with a child divorces, a judge is supposed to start with a clean slate before deciding whether the child will live solely with mom, dad, or split living with each of them.

But under a legislative proposal, judges would presume the child would live with both parents unless there's a good reason not to -- such as child abuse.

While adding the word "presumption" to a statute may seem trivial, it would level the legal playing field that fathers' rights groups say is currently tilted against them.

That's the way Les Jobst of Andover sees it. He drives a semi with a picture of his smiling 9-year-old daughter on the dash. He's also a member of the fathers' rights group called, Fathers-4-Justice, which contends that the court system tends to favor mothers in divorce cases.

"Joint custody can be the worst for kids if it's used to divide the child between two very contentious parents. It can leave children in essentially a war zone."
- Robert Emery, scholar on children and divorce

Jobst says once a judge decides that a child will live solely with one parent, society views the other parent as having no rights.

"I'm a concerned father. I'm here, I'm trying to work and find out what's going on with my child," said Jobst. "It happens in the doctor's office, it happens in the dentist's office, wherever you go. All you have to have is one parent say, 'I've got sole physical custody,' all bets are off."

Jobst says changing the laws so that judges presume divorced parents share physical custody would allow children to spend more time with both parents.

The state already presumes that both parents will share legal custody of children, which is different from physical custody.

Legal custody gives parents the right to make important decisions for their children such as what religion to follow, what medical procedures are necessary or what school to attend. Physical custody determines with whom the child lives.

One divorced mother believes changing the law on physical custody would simplify the divorce process. Ann Fleischauer says divorcing parents now can use the issue of who the child lives with as a bargaining chip in negotiations.

Fleischauer says the presumption of joint physical custody would take one of the most contentious divorce issues off the table. She says society has changed, and the law needs updating.

"With families where you have both parents who've got busy careers, both parents who are used to dealing with a lot of the same challenges around kids and activities, balancing financial situations -- it just seems as though it's a better starting point," said Fleischauer.

But another divorced mother isn't quite sure the law change would make any real difference. Martha West says the label of joint physical custody is a bit misleading, because it leaves the impression that children would split their time 50/50 with both parents, when in reality one parent could end up living with the child most of the time.

West says the presumption may save one step in the process, but the couple still has to hash out a schedule and child support for two individual households.

"You're creating a binuclear family, and so how is that going to work?" West asked. "To say that the parents will have joint physical custody is great. It might make everybody feel better, and it may take some of the emotion out of the mediation process at the outset. But unless there's going to be some connection made with the visitation schedule, I'm not sure it really has a lot of impact."

One father has deeper concerns. George Slade of St. Paul is a divorced father of two girls. He says his divorce was amicable, and both he and his ex-wife wanted to share physical custody of their daughters.

But Slade questions the law's impact on families where one parent may know he or she can't be a good parent on their own.

"When you get divorced, in some context you have to stand up in front of a judge and say, 'I no longer want to be married, I want a divorce, I want to separate from you.' You have to say this to someone to their face," Slade said. "But to say this about your children, even if it's just to a judge, in effect you're speaking to the kids through the court record. What a guilt-ridden thing that would be to force someone to say, 'I don't want my kids.'"

One national scholar on children of divorce says a number of states have considered using the presumption, but only Iowa has actually done it for the past several years. Robert Emery says Australia has also enacted it with varied results.

Emery says ordering judges to start with the idea that joint physical custody is the way to go in divorce cases can be the best and the worst of worlds for children. He says it's the best arrangement for children when parents can set aside their conflict.

"Because kids can learn, even despite their parents' divorce, that they still have two parents. And we have good research that shows kids thrive in that situation," said Emery. "But unfortunately, joint custody can be the worst for kids if it's used to divide the child between two very contentious parents. In that case, it can leave children in essentially a war zone."

Emery favors an idea that mirrors the amount of time parents spend with their children during the marriage. So if a mother spent 40 percent of the time with a child during the marriage, the child would live 40 percent of the time with her after the marriage is over. This would all be open to negotiation.

The group looking at the custody issue must submit a report to the state court administrator. That administrator is supposed to report the group's recommendations to the Legislature no later than Jan. 15.

Fathers 4 Justice Canada ~ Let the Revolution begin

1-888-F4J Canada

Press release

Contact: Kris Titus Phone: 1-888-345-2262 ext. 704


For Immediate Release January 5, 2008

Let the Revolution begin
F4J Fathers 4 Justice Canada is making a New Year's "Revolution" to find a "Resolution" to family law in Canada.
Part 1 of our Revolution for a Resolution is to LOL.
The popular acronym, which usually stands for laugh out loud, has been adopted by F4J Fathers 4 Justice Canada to Love Out Loud!
"Love Out Loud" is a means for parents, children and extended family members who have been separated by the family courts to show they are still loved. We often tell people never give up and hear stories of reunions 15 and sometimes 35 years later. All everyone wants is to know they are loved," says Kris Titus, National Coordinator who recently reunited with a little sister she did not know she had.
At F4J Canada we're driven first of all by the love of our kids, by a sense of duty and responsibility to our children. We're motivated by the need to create change and bring about justice on behalf of the thousands of children and parents whose bond has been broken by family court.
The organization believes that many parents and children are either afraid to make contact with their children because of the threat of police involvement or are unable to send a letter, presents or call because their children have been taken and they no longer know where they are.
F4J Fathers 4 Justice Canada is providing their website through the remainder of January and February for people to Love Out Loud.
They can send in their Letters Of Love to F4JLoveOutLoud@gmail.com or mail them to our office address provided on our Love Out Loud link:
Love Out Loud Letters of Love can be sent by text, audio or video. The group is encouraging people to get creative with their love proclamations.
"What could be a more revolutionary approach to family law than love?" says Titus.
CONTACT: Nationally, Kris Titus 1-888-F4J Canada
( 1-888-345-2262 ) ext. 704

National Website for more information about Fathers 4 Justice Canada: www.f4jcanada.ca

National Action website: www.f4jcanada.com