Archive for the ‘Title Iv-D’ Category
The Federal Scheme to Destroy Father-Child Relationships
In Activism, Best Interest of the Child, CPS, Child Custody, Children and Domestic Violence, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Services, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Domestic Violence, False Allegations of Domestic Violence, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Parental Alienation Disorder, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Title Iv-D, cps fraud, family court, Fatherlessness, fathers rights on August 26, 2010 at 2:25 pm
Topic: Divorce & Child Custody Issues
The Federal Scheme to Destroy Father-Child Relationships
Federal entitlement programs are decimating the lives of children and trampling on the rights of fathers to the care and companionship of their kids. We must dismantle the Federal-State entitlement nexus that deprives men of their civil liberties. Here is what every man in America should know.
by Jake Morphonios
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Congress would feign admit its own dubious contribution to the suffering of America’s children. Rather, these politicians promulgate the myth that they are helping children through federal and state welfare entitlement programs. It is, in fact, these very programs which are responsible for the out of control rampage against children. Here is how the scam works.
The federal government levies taxes against citizens to redistribute as welfare entitlements among needy applicants. Congress created the Social Security Act, a section of which is called Title IV. Title IV describes how tax dollars will be distributed among the States to subsidize their individual welfare programs. In order for States to tap into the federal treasure chest, containing billions of dollars, they must demonstrate that they are complying with Title IV mandates to collect child support revenues. In other words, to get money from the federal government, each State must become a child support collection and reporting agency.
Every unwed or single mother seeking welfare assistance must disclose on her application the identities of the fathers of her children and how much child support the fathers have been ordered by a family court to pay. She must also commit to continuously reporting the father’s payments so that the State can count the money as “collected” to the federal government’s Office of Child Support Enforcement. As with all bureaucracies, this process has developed into a monstrosity that chews up and spits out the very people it was designed to help.
States have huge financial incentives to increase the amount of child support it can report to the federal government as “collected”. To increase collection efforts, States engage in the immoral practice of dividing children from their fathers in family courts. Have you ever wondered why family courts award custody to mothers in 80%-90% of all custody cases, even when the father is determined to be just as suitable a parent? It is because the amount of child support ordered by the State is largely determined by how much time the child spends with each parent. This means that the State “collects” less child support if parents share equal custody. By prohibiting fathers from having equal custody and time with their children, the State’s child support coffers are increased and federal dollars are received.
Opponents try to paint loving fathers as “deadbeat dads” for daring to challenge the mother-take-all system of family law. This is nothing more than diversionary propaganda. The concern of fathers is not that they are unwilling to support their children financially. This is not an argument against paying child support. Any father that cares about his child will do everything in his power to provide for the child. The concern is, rather, that children are being separated from their fathers by family courts because the State stands to reap huge financial rewards as a result of the father’s loss of custody. The higher the order of child support, the more money the State can collect – even if the amount ordered by the court far exceeds the reasonable needs of the child or if the father is required to take second and third jobs to keep up with outrageous support orders and escape certain incarceration. The truth is that most fathers don’t care about the financial aspects of these family court verdicts nearly as much as they care about having their time with their children eliminated for nefarious government purposes.
The root of this evil is a State-level addiction to federal tax dollars being doled out as entitlement monies by a monolithic federal government. In the wake of this horror are millions of children drowning for lack of the care, guidance, and companionship of their fathers. Statistics and empirical evidence universally confirm that children forcibly separated from their fathers by family courts are considerably more likely to suffer anxiety and depression, develop drug addiction, engage in risky sexual activity, break the law, and commit suicide. This travesty must end.
Unconstitutional federal bureaucracy creates many of the societal ills it claims to be trying to solve. There are several steps incremental steps that could be taken to restore a child’s right to the companionship of both parents. For example, citizens should insist that States abide by the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. No father should be automatically deprived of his fundamental right to the custody of his children without due process of law. Being a male is not a crime. Absent a finding of true danger from a parent, family courts should order shared parenting rights and equal time sharing for divorcing parents. These rights are fundamental and should not be abridged. The automatic presumption of custody-to-the-mother is unconstitutional.
The history of America is brim with examples of the federal government denying basic rights to its citizens. Women were denied the right to vote until the women’s suffrage movement secured the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Black Americans also were denied the right to vote and suffered myriad other cruel and humiliating indignities under the law until the civil rights movement brought about desegregation, put an end to Jim Crow legislation and compelled the enactment of the 15th and 24th Amendments to the Constitution. In each of these examples, society was slow to recognize that a problem even existed or that some of our laws were unjust. It took considerable time, concerted effort, self-sacrifice and perhaps even divine providence to realign concurrent societal paradigms with the principles of liberty and justice for all.
Our generation is not exempt from similar assaults on liberty. While many just causes may stake claims for redress of grievances, one group, more than any other, pleads for immediate support. The need to defend the rights of this group of American citizens, reeling from the unjust consequences of state-sponsored oppression, is before us. It is time to stand up for the rights of children and demand their equal access to both parents.
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Jake Morphonios is a civil rights advocate and North Carolina State Coordinator for Fathers 4 Justice – US. The political opinions of Mr. Morphonios do not represent those of Fathers 4 Justice. Neither Mr. Morphonios nor F4J-US provide legal advice or assistance with individual cases.
Fathers seeking support or information, or other parties interested in becoming involved in the father’s rights movement may contact Mr. Morphonios at: firstname.lastname@example.org
PLEASE THUMB THIS ARTICLE to help spread the word to others about this important issue.
The Federal Scheme to Destroy Father-Child Relationships.
MICHIGAN: State Supreme Court OKs Removing Child From Native American Mother (2009-07-15)
on July 20, 2009 at 7:41 pm
Idiot state court workers followed the rules, but the rules broke the ICWA which protect Indian Children.
To terminate an Indian child parent relationship takes evidence “beyond a reasonable doubt” not clear and convincing evidence.
The Michican Supreme Court justices apparently cannot read or understand federal law is the supreme law of the land. – Parental Rights
25 U.S.C. § 1912 (d), (e), (f).
Reasonable Doubt Standard for Termination of Parental Rights
Section 1912(f), supra, specifies a beyond a reasonable doubt standard of proof for termination of parental rights proceedings. A number of other jurisdictions use a dual standard of proof in ICWA cases in which a clear and convincing standard is applied to the state law requirements for termination of parental rights and the reasonable doubt standard is applied only to the requirement in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f) that continued custody by the parent is likely to result in serious emotional or physical damage to the child. E.g., In re H.A.M., 961 P.2d 716, 719 (Kan. App. 1998). The prevailing practice in Oklahoma trial courts has been to use the reasonable doubt standard for both the state law requirements for termination of parental rights and the requirements in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f), however. In addition, in In the Matter of T.L., 2003 OK CIV APP 49, ¶ 15, 71 P.3d 43, the Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals applied the reasonable doubt standard to both the requirements in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f) and the Oklahoma state law requirements that the parent failed to correct conditions leading to adjudication and that the child had been in foster care for 15 of the 22 months preceding the filing of the termination proceedings. Using the reasonable doubt standard for both the state law requirements and the requirements in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f) avoids the difficulty of explaining different standards of proof to the jury, and is therefore less confusing to the jury. Applying the higher reasonable doubt standard also gives greatest effect to the ICWA, and it is therefore less likely to result in reversal of a termination of parental rights decision than applying the lower clear and convincing evidence standard. Accordingly, the reasonable doubt standard is used in these instructions for both the state law requirements and the requirements in 25 U.S.C. § 1912(f).
MICHIGAN: State Supreme Court OKs Removing Child From Native American Mother (2009-07-15)
LANSING, MI (MPRN) –
The Michigan Supreme Court says state welfare workers followed the rules when they removed an American Indian child from her mother’s home, and asked a court to terminate her parental rights.
The issue here is whether state Department of Human Services employees complied with a court rule. It says the state has to make a special effort to avoid breaking up American Indian families. The mother is a member of the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
Five justices of the Supreme Court said there was clear and convincing evidence that removing the boy was necessary to rescue from further emotional or physical harm. The mother had already had already lost custody of her other children. And the majority said the fact that she was convicted of drunk driving showed substance abuse counseling was not helping her.
Two justices dissented. Justices Michael Cavanagh and Marilyn Kelly said child welfare workers should have done more to show how the mother’s current circumstances, and not just her history, required authorities to remove the child. © Copyright 2009, MPRN
MICHIGAN: State Supreme Court OKs Removing Child From Native American Mother (2009-07-15).
Kids recant abuse claims after dad jailed 20 years
on July 12, 2009 at 5:22 pm
VANCOUVER, Wash. — Former Vancouver police officer Clyde Ray Spencer spent nearly 20 years in prison after he was convicted of sexually molesting his son and daughter. Now, the children say it never happened.
Matthew Spencer and Kathryn Tetz, who live in Sacramento, Calif., each took the stand Friday in Clark County Superior Court to clear their father’s name, The Columbian newspaper reported.
Matthew, now 33, was 9 years old at the time. He told a judge he made the allegation after months of insistent questioning by now-retired Clark County sheriff’s detective Sharon Krause just so she would leave him alone.
Tetz, 30, said she doesn’t remember what she told Krause back in 1985, but she remembers Krause buying her ice cream. She said that when she finally read the police reports she was “absolutely sure” the abuse never happened.
“I would have remembered something that graphic, that violent,” Tetz said.
Spencer’s sentence was commuted by then-Gov. Gary Locke in 2004 after questions arose about his conviction. Among other problems, prosecutors withheld medical exams that showed no evidence of abuse, even though Krause claimed the abuse was repeated and violent.
Despite the commutation, Spencer remains a convicted sex offender. He is hoping to have the convictions overturned.
Krause declined an interview request from The Columbian in 2005 and could not be reached Friday, the newspaper reported.
Both children said that while growing up in California they were told by their mother, who divorced Spencer before he was charged, that they were blocking out the memory of the abuse.
They said they realized as adults the abuse never happened, and they came forward because it was the right thing to do.
Prosecutors aren’t yet conceding that Spencer was wrongly convicted. Senior deputy prosecutor Kim Farr grilled the children about why they are so certain they weren’t abused, and chief criminal deputy prosecutor Dennis Hunter said that if the convictions are tossed, his office might appeal to the state Supreme Court.
Matthew Spencer said his father had ruined the relationship with his mother and he had faults, “but none of them were molesting children.”
Friday’s hearing paved the way for the state Court of Appeals to allow Spencer to withdraw the no-contest pleas he entered in 1985 and have his convictions vacated. Both children had previously filed statements with the appeals court, but the judges required the hearing to ensure their new testimony held up under cross-examination.
Spencer, 61, hugged his son and daughter afterward while a dozen supporters cheered.
“For so many years, nothing went right,” he said. “When things keep going right, I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop.”
The hardest thing about his ordeal was missing his children, he said.
“They were my life, and they were taken away from me,” he said. “I could serve in prison. …”
His voice trailed off, and his son came up for one more hug.
Kids recant abuse claims after dad jailed 20 years.
Divorce: The Impact on our Children
on July 8, 2009 at 12:30 am
The Impact on our Children
Inter-spousal violence perpetrated by men is only a small aspect of family violence. False abuse allegations are only a small tile in the mosaic of vilifying the men in our society. They serve well in successful attempts to remove fathers from the lives of our children. Here are some statistics resulting from that which show more of the whole picture.
- 79.6% of custodial mothers receive a support award
- 29.9% of custodial fathers receive a support award.
- 46.9% of non-custodial mothers totally default on support.
- 26.9% of non-custodial fathers totally default on support.
- 20.0% of non-custodial mothers pay support at some level
- 61.0% of non-custodial fathers pay support at some level
- 66.2% of single custodial mothers work less than full time.
- 10.2% of single custodial fathers work less than full time.
- 7.0% of single custodial mothers work more than 44 hours weekly.
- 24.5% of single custodial fathers work more that 44 hours weekly.
- 46.2% of single custodial mothers receive public assistance.
- 20.8% of single custodial fathers receive public assistance.
[Technical Analysis Paper No. 42 - U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services - Office of Income Security Policy]
- 40% of mothers reported that they had interfered with the fathers visitation to punish their ex-spouse.
["Frequency of Visitation" by Sanford Braver, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry]
- 50% of mothers see no value in the fathers continued contact with his children.
["Surviving the Breakup" by Joan Berlin Kelly]
- 90.2% of fathers with joint custody pay the support due.
- 79.1% of fathers with visitation privileges pay the support due.
- 44.5% of fathers with no visitation pay the support due.
- 37.9% of fathers are denied any visitation.
- 66% of all support not paid by non-custodial fathers is due to the inability to pay.
[1988 Census "Child Support and Alimony: 1989 Series" P-60, No. 173 p.6-7, and "U.S. General Accounting Office Report" GAO/HRD-92-39FS January 1992]
· 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
[U. S. D.H.H.S. Bureau of the Census]
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
- 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
[Center for Disease Control]
- 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes.
[Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 14 p. 403-26]
- 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
[National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools]
- 70% of juveniles in state operated institutions come from fatherless homes
[U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept., 1988]
- 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.
[Fulton County Georgia Jail Populations and Texas Dept. of Corrections, 1992]
- Nearly 2 of every 5 children in America do not live with their fathers.
[US News and World Report, February 27, 1995, p.39]
- 11,268,000 total custodial mothers
- 2,907,000 total custodial fathers
[Current Populations Reports, US Bureau of the Census, Series P-20, No. 458, 1991]
What does this mean? Children from fatherless homes are:
· 4.6 times more likely to commit suicide,
- 6.6 times to become teenaged mothers (if they are girls, of course),
- 24.3 times more likely to run away,
- 15.3 times more likely to have behavioral disorders,
- 6.3 times more likely to be in a state-operated institutions,
- 10.8 times more likely to commit rape,
- 6.6 times more likely to drop out of school,
- 15.3 times more likely to end up in prison while a teenager.
(The calculation of the relative risks shown in the preceding list is based on 27% of children being in the care of single mothers.)
and — compared to children who are in the care of two biological, married parents — children who are in the care of single mothers are:
- 33 times more likely to be seriously abused (so that they will require medical attention), and
· 73 times more likely to be killed.
["Marriage: The Safest Place for Women and Children", by Patrick F. Fagan and Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D. Backgrounder #1535.]
COMMON SENSE & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, #3.
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Parental Alienation Syndrome – Posts from the Canadian Children’s Rights Council
on July 4, 2009 at 12:12 am
Parental Alienation – Brainwashing a child to hate a parent
About Parental Alienation
The parental alienation is a disorder that arises primarily in the context of child-custody disputes. Its primary manifestation is the child’s campaign of denigration against a parent, a campaign that has no justification. It results from the combination of a programming (brainwashing) parents indoctrinations and the child’s own contributions to the vilification of the target parent. The alienation usually extends to the non-custodial parent’s family and friends as well.
Many children involved in divorce and custody litigation undergo thought reform or mild brainwashing by their parents. This disturbing fact is a product of the nature of divorce and the disintegration of the spousal relationship in our culture. Inevitably, children receive subtly transmitted messages that both parents have serious criticisms of each other.
Parental Alienation, however, is much more serious. It involves the systematic vilification by one parent of the other parent and brainwashing of the child, with the intent of alienating the child from the other parent
What happens when children are denied access to a parent and are victims of Parental Alienation?
Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 1988
A child who was separated from his or her father for a period of three months or longer while between the ages of 6 months to 5 years old, suffered a 2.5 to 5 times higher risk of conduct disorder, emotional disorders and hysteria than a child that did not go through the same period of separation.
Bron, Strack & Rudolph, Univ. of Gottingen, Germany, 1991
Drastically increased suicidal tendencies were found in people who had experienced the loss of the father.
American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1990
Children showed the most behaviour problems if their parents were in a legal conflict and the visitation was not frequent or regular with both parents.
Acta Psychiatrica, Scandinavia, 1990, 1993
Scandinavian research found a significantly higher number of attempted adult suicides for people who, in childhood, had lost a parent through parental separation or divorce.
British Journal of Psychiatry, 1989
British researchers found that adults who suffered the loss of a parent because of separation or divorce have a significantly higher risk of developing agoraphobia with panic attacks and panic disorder.
<!–An Irish Equal-Parenting Parenting Equality has collection of , t http://homepages.iol.ie/~pe/ for other interesting information.–>
Canadian Children’s Rights Council – See our whole section regarding fatherlessness and single parent families for increased rates of teen pregnancy, increased suicide rates and more. According to STATSCAN, the Government of Canada statistics agency, single parent families headed by men were 20% of single parent households in October 2007. Our position is that this growing trend will produce similar negative results for motherless children. More..
Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS): Sixteen Years Later
Academy Forum, 2001, 45(1):10-12 ( A Publication of The American Academy of Psychoanalysis ), by RICHARD A. GARDNER, M.D.
In 1985, the Academy Forum published my article, “Recent Trends in Divorce and Custody Litigation.” This was the first article in which I described the parental alienation syndrome (PAS), a disorder that I began seeing in the early 1980s. The Forum article is generally considered to be the seminal publication on the PAS, parent to at least 100 peer-reviewed articles. Although this is certainly a source of gratification for me, the sixteen years that have ensued cannot be viewed as a straight path to glory, especially because of controversies that have swirled around the diagnosis. I address here the reasons for the controversies and provide suggested solutions. More..
Parental alienation cases draining court resources
Study says such cases should be moved out of court system, handled by individual judges
The Globe and Mail, by KIRK MAKIN, JUSTICE REPORTER, May 13, 2009
An escalation in parental alienation allegations is draining valuable courtroom resources, a major study of 145 alienation cases between 1989-2008 concludes.
“Access problems and alienation cases – especially those which are more severe – take up a disproportionate amount of judicial time and energy,” said the study, conducted by Queen’s University law professor Nicholas Bala, a respected family law expert.
“One can ask whether the courts should even be trying to deal with these very challenging cases.” More..
Mother loses kids for anti-dad stance
The Australian, Australia’s national daily newspaper, by Caroline Overington, March 31, 2009
TWO children who have been in the care of their mother since their parents separated in 2005 have been sent from Hobart to live with their father in Melbourne after the Family Court heard the mother encouraged them to have “negative” feelings about their dad.
The two children – a girl, aged nine, and a boy, aged seven – had been struggling with “change overs” between parents, saying things such as “I don’t want to go” and “I don’t have to go” when their father arrived in Tasmania from Melbourne to collect them for access visits.
The court found the mother did not discourage them from saying these things, and did not encourage a positive relationship between the children and their father. More..
Parental Alienation in family law cases – One American high profile case
Read the story in the American magazine Newsweek and then read the information provided by the court office
“It took six years for Genia Shockome to gather the courage to leave her husband, Tim. He pushed her, kicked her and insulted her almost from the moment they married in 1994, she says. She tried to start over with their children when the family moved from Texas to Poughkeepsie, N.Y. It didn’t last long. Tim called her constantly at work and, after they split up, pounded on her door and screamed obscenities, she alleged in a complaint filed in 2001. Tim was charged with harassment. As part of a plea deal, Tim agreed to a stay-away order–but denies ever abusing her or the children. In custody hearings over the past six years, Tim has insisted that he’s been a good father, and argued that Genia’s allegations poisoned their children against him. The judge sided with Tim. This summer he was granted full custody of the kids, now 11 and 9. Genia was barred from contacting them.” More..
Judicial passivism turning fathers into deadbeats
Judges refuse to enforce Divorce Act section that embraces equal access to child
The Edmonton Journal, Grant A. Brown, Freelance, Saturday, June 17, 2006When mothers lose in court, they are not made to pay court costs — again on the premise that this would only take money away from the children. But payment of penalties and costs is merely a transfer between parents, and only prejudice supports the proposition that fathers would be less generous toward their children than mothers, given the time and financial ability to do so.
Contrast the endless lame excuses judges use not to impose remedies for access denial with their attitude toward making and enforcing child-support orders. More ..
Parental alienation gets a day
Tribune, U.S.A., By Kathleen Parker, May 12, 2006
Proclamations generally have the same riveting power as supermarket ribbon-cuttings, but a recent one in Maine is being celebrated as a small victory for children and noncustodial parents wounded by divorce.
The proclamation, signed by Gov. John E. Baldacci, recognized April 25 as “Parental Alienation Awareness Day.”
If you don’t know what “parental alienation” is, you probably haven’t had the pleasure of a divorce with children. Veterans of those wars know without a governor’s seal exactly what it means – agony for a noncustodial parent and emotional problems for children alienated from one parent. More ..
Sexual Abuse Accusations Color Custody Battles
Consider child’s age, physical or mental disabilities, feelings of alienation when evaluating allegations.
Clinical Psychiatry News, U.S.A., June 2005 Volume 33 Number 6, Heidi Splete, Senior Writer
HOUSTON, U.S.A. Sexual abuse allegations in a child custody case are not always true, and even professionals who work with these children can have trouble distinguishing fact from fantasy in the children’s stories, Joseph Kenan,M.D., said at the annual meeting of the American Society for Adolescent Psychiatry.
When a forensic psychiatrist evaluates potential sexual abuse of a child in a custody case, he or she considers a host of factors, including the child’s age, any physical or mental disabilities, and a child’s feelings of alienation toward one parent or history of siding with one parent during arguments, he said at the meeting cosponsored by the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.
Although psychiatrists use careful questioning and information-gathering skills to evaluate children’s allegations, a study of 12 professionals showed that none of them could tell the difference between true and false stories after viewing videotapes of 10 different child testimonies, said Dr. Kenan, chief forensic psychiatrist at the Psychological Trauma Center, a nonprofit organization affiliated with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. More..
Does DSM-IV Have Equivalents for the Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) Diagnosis?
Richard A. Gardner. M.D.
Department of Child Psychiatry, College of Physicians and Surgeons
Columbia University, New York, New York, USA click here
Psychiatric disorder may have led boy to fatally shoot father
Rick James Lohstroh, a doctor at UTMB, was fatally shot this summer, apparently by his 10-year-old son.
ABC13 Eyewitness News, Houston, Texas, U.S.A., Dec. 29, 2004
The 10-year-old Katy boy accused of murdering his father this summer is now the face of an unofficial psychiatric disorder that may have lead to his father’s death. More ..
Billboards remember slain dad
Houston Chronicle, Feb. 13, 2005
Some new billboards in Houston are intended to keep alive the memory of Dr. Rick Lohstroh, the surgeon who police say was shot and killed by his 10-year-old son last year.
Several of Lohstroh’s friends have formed a group called Help Stop Parental Alienation Syndrome, named for the unofficial disorder that they say contributed to the 41-year-old father’s death.
Lohstroh’s family and friends believe his 2003 divorce was so contentious that his ex-wife turned their children against him, setting the stage for the Aug. 27 shooting. More ..
FAMILY WARS: The Alienation of Children
New Hampshire Bar Journal, March 1993
Composite case from actual examples More ..
Remarriage as a Trigger of Parental Alienation Syndrome
The American Journal of Family Therapy, 2000
By Richard A. Warshak of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, Texas, USA More ..
The Emerging Problem of Parental Alienation
by Caroline Willbourne and Lesley-Anne Cull, Barristers, December 1997, Fam Law p. 807-8 More ..
Custody and Visitation Interference: Alternative Remedies
American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers Journal, Winter 1994,
By Joy M. Feinberg and Lori S. Loeb
The potential for psychological and physical damage to children of divorce and the parental relationship looms as a potential harbinger of doom over every divorce case. This specter becomes reality when one parent interferes with the rights of custody or visitation of the other parent by preventing the child from visiting the other parent, or by kidnapping or secreting the child from the parent who has the right to custody or visitation.
This article will discuss the visitation and custody interferences that occur during divorce and alert practitioners and judges to the psychological damage to the children. This article will review the alternative remedies available to circumvent custody and visitation interference and address the problems associated with enforcing these remedies. This examination will reveal that the available remedies lose effectiveness proportionate to the severity of the interference with custody and visitation rights. More ..
Interference with Parental Rights of Noncustodial Parent as Grounds for Modification of Child Custody
Divorce Litigation, by Edward B. Borris, Assistant Editor, January, 1997, p. 1
Interference by one parent in the relationship of a child and the other parent is almost never in the child’s best interests. In fact, in extreme cases, actions by one parent to alienate the affections of the child from the other parent, to interfere win the other parent’s visitation rights, or to remove the child to a distant state or country can often lead to liability in tort. See generally E. Borris, “Torts Arising Out of Interference with Custody and Visitation,” 7 Divorce Litigation 192 (1995). Tort liability is not always an option, however, as many courts refuse to award damages based upon interference with visitation rights. E.g., Cosner v. Ridinger, 882 P.2d 1243 (Wyo.1994). More ..
Parental Alienation Syndrome, PAS, parental alienation in Divorce, children’s rights, Canada.
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What we need is a fatherhood revolution: Parental Alienation (Canada)
on July 2, 2009 at 2:32 am
Monday, June 29, 2009
What we need is a fatherhood revolution
It is nice to see more positive discussions on fatherhood. The Victim Feminist mantra that we are all bad and abusers is slowly being suffused with the benefits of paternity for children and that patriarchy is not completely without merit. I don’t mean the kind of patriarchy that suppresses anyone rather the kind that offers protection to those in need like our children. There is room for the equality women seek and the strengths dads have to offer in a family of parental equals. Have you ever noticed there is only a one non-vowel letter difference in the words matriarchy and patriarchy. Perhaps we can call a family of parental equals a natriarchy – the “n” standing for neutral. All 3 words start with a consonant.MJM
Warwick Marsh | Saturday, 20 June 2009
The times they are a-changing. Being a dad is becoming cool.
Father’s Day 2009 is being celebrated with a renewed sense of vigour and excitement. Fathers and children are appearing in more advertisements. The media are running father-friendly stories. Restaurants are booked out for Father’s Day as well as Mother’s Day.
When the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation was formed in 2002 to help and encourage Australian dads, our television community service advertisements were initially threatened with a black ban by the Advertising Standards Board. Political correctness ruled the day and fathers were incorrect. This would not happen today. Fatherhood has become sexy, a newspaper here said recently. A quick squiz at pop culture supports this optimistic statement.
Take the 2003 film Finding Nemo. That was a story about a father fish looking for his son. Amazingly, it is well inside the top 20 grossing movies of all time. Just a bit further down that list are other popular movies with positive fatherhood themes: I am Sam, Dear Frankie, The Incredibles, Night at the Museum, Pursuit of Happyness, and the brilliant Australian movie with Eric Bana, Romulus My Father. Even Snoop Dogg is cashing in on the fatherhood revival with his Father Hood TV show.
Last night, with my wife, I watched Swing Vote, Kevin Costner’s popular film about a no-hoper dad whose vote determines an entire presidential election. Interestingly, the plot revolves around a single father and his daughter and treats him with a great deal of respect. This story could never have screened 20 years ago. Fatherhood is coming in from the cold — and not before time.
Here in Australia, songwriter Colin George put together a compilation CD called Fatherhood which features some of our best artists such as Paul Kelly, Shane Howard, Neil Murray and John Butler. They sing about their children, fatherhood and families. This album has morphed into an annual Fatherhood Festival in the surfing town of Byron Bay, which is better known for hardcore punk, drugs and yoga festivals. The home of Australian counterculture has become the home of fatherhood. The idea of a Fatherhood Festival has spread to several other cities in Australia. Similar events are happening in the US. “Family First” is the name of a minor political party in Australia, but the idea putting your family first is catching on. Just like the 60s counterculture, it could be the beginning of a revolution.
The renovation of fatherhood and the renewal of masculinity have been heralded by writers like Ed Cole, author of Maximised Manhood; Gordon Dalby, Healing the Masculine Soul; Robert Bly, Iron John; and Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion and even by feminist authors such as Adrienne Burgess, Fatherhood Reclaimed and Susan Falundi, Stiffed. Australian author Steve Biddulph has been a trailblazer for the Australian fatherhood and men’s movement for many years. His books sell very smartly overseas as well.
The Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation believes that fatherlessness is a major contributor to the problems our children face. A leading expert, Dr Bruce Robinson, says that fatherlessness costs Australia A$13 billion a year. Similar estimates on the cost of fatherlessness in America by the National Fatherhood Initiative are well over US$100 billion per year. Fatherlessness increases the likelihood that children will grow up in poverty, increased crime, drug abuse, youth suicide, child sexual abuse, mental health problems, high levels of child obesity, poor health, poor nutrition and lower levels of educational performance for children. In spite of what radical feminists may say about the ills of patriarchy, involved and loving fathers are essential for the development of healthy children and strong families.
Last year Matthew Hayden, one of Australia’s most famous cricketers, was pleased to go in to bat for Aussie dads and their children. He starred in our community service advertisements around Australia as the epitome of the renewal of Australian fatherhood. I asked Matthew how he felt when he had his first child and how he now feels as a father of three children.
There’s nothing that replaces the moment of joy in your life when you have children. As a male I think you actually go through a bit of a chest beating stage. It’s like, “Gees, I’ve produced this beautiful baby, I’m a man.” It actually physically does change you as well because suddenly it’s not just your wife and you. It’s a very unselfish thing, you’ve now got this beautiful little individual and life, that you have to care and nurture and you become very selfless and that’s a difficult time in your life, but look, whatever you put into life, you get back ten-fold. With our three beautiful children, it’s just amazing how they give back to you in such simple but such rewarding ways. I wouldn’t change one damn thing.
Hayden’s passion for his family is inspirational and it is men like him, all across Australia, America and around the world, who are arresting the harmful effects of fatherlessness by their love and commitment to their families. We need a fatherhood revolution which will create involved, committed and responsible fathers. Everyone benefits. A fatherhood revolution will bring support and joy to hardworking mothers and will help children lead exceptional lives.
Warwick Marsh and his wife Alison are the founders of Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation. They have five children and have been married for 33 years.
Michael J. Murphy
Parental Alienation (Canada): What we need is a fatherhood revolution.
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Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families | Family Law and Fathers
on July 1, 2009 at 8:32 pm
Attorney Andrew J. Thompson has written an excellent article in support of Sen. Evan Bayh new try at passing the Reponsible Fatherhood Act. This bill was defeated in 2006, when it was co-sponsored by Senator Barack Obama… hopefully we can make some in roads into keeping fatherhood and parenting issues after divorce as a national isssue, and perhaps even get some Senate sponsors for HJ Resolution 42, the Parental Rights Amendment sponsored by Congressman Pete Hoekstra.
- Parental Rights
By Andrew J Thompson
Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh joins Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Illinois Sen. Roland Burris in sponsoring the Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2009. A similar bill is being introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Danny Davis – IL.
On the one hand, Sen. Bayh deserves commendation for his leadership on the issue, helping to bring national attention and focusing on the importance of children knowing and spending time with their fathers. As a successor to his own father as a US Senator from Indiana, Sen. Bayh is well aware of the value and importance of a father’s involvement in his children’s lives.
By consistently elevating this message into the public forum, Sen. Bayh does a great service to American families. He has followed the lead of an earlier Indiana Sen., former Vice President Dan Quayle, in keeping the discussion alive concerning the importance of fathers’ roles in their children’s upbringing.
The bill also has some provisions that will be very helpful in reducing some of the inefficiencies incurred by the government’s intervention with poor families, and helping to put more money directly into the pockets of needy families, particularly those in two parent households – a model we should encourage and foster.
Unfortunately, however, if the goal is to help increase the involvement of fathers in their children’s lives, it badly misses the mark in most of its provisions, and may in fact help extend the continuing assault on fathers’ ability to act as parents in their children’s lives.
While both federal and state legislation are badly needed, key provisions of any legislation should address the following:
Equality in Parenting: while parents’ roles will always differ, both parents matter deeply to every child, and on the whole, their roles should be valued equally and with an equality of balance. When parents separate, divorce, and act as single parents, each parent should be responsible for roughly equal shares of financial and parenting time responsibilities. This equality should be recognized under the law. The father who is willing to bear his share of each of these responsibilities should be honored and acknowledged, and his role and time with the children should not be inhibited by the family courts.
Support Enforcement: while covering a relatively equal share of his children’s financial support is part and parcel to fatherhood and will always be expected of fathers, current child support standards are far too onerous and unfairly burdensome to fathers. The federal government plays a role in support regulation today and productive reforms can be made in the law as follows:
- Repeal the Bradley Amendment: Fathers who have been alienated from their children, perhaps have not seen them for 5,10 or 20 years, should not be forced to pay support to the mother. The Bradley Amendment has created a situation where we have billions of dollars of uncollectible child support over the past 20 years, and it is time for its repeal.
- Title IV-D Funding: Under current law, states are rewarded with federal funds based on the amount of support they collect. This creates an incentive in the system to create unreasonably high support guidelines and calculations, set inappropriately high support awards, and deploy draconian enforcement methods that force many, good fathers to live in poverty or near poverty conditions. States should receive federal funding focusing directly and solely on those cases where collection is achievable (actual resources are shown to be available), and there is a history of continuing dereliction and lack of cooperation on the part of the parent obligated for support.
- Imputation of Income: Not even the IRS can arbitrarily impute an income against which it may levy charges, yet nearly every state permits this practice in determining the amount of support a father will have to pay. This practice defies the principles underlying many of our Constitutional rights. No state should be allowed to receive any federal funding as long as it allows for this practice.
- Sanctions/Imprisonment: There are many jurisdictions nationally where more than 10% of the prison/jail population is made up of fathers who are unable to pay support. This runs contrary to the purpose of the laws themselves, as it prevents from earning the income necessary to do what the law is expecting of him. The law should prohibit any parent who is willing to work and pay support from being jailed for non-payment of support, and parents responsible for support should be given a preference in professional and other licensing that may be necessary in order to earn the income to pay support.
- Garnishments: While other creditors are limited to garnishing 25% of an individual’s income, child support agencies can collect up to 65% – 65% of a low or mid-income wage, leaves the person completely unable to meet any other obligations, even the most basic. Garnishments for support should be limited to 25%, consistent with otehr creditors.
Domestic Violence Issues: domestic violence is a very serious crime and should always be treated as such. Allegations of domestic violence should result in appropriate protection for the victim with appropriate sanctions. Children should not suffer alienation from a parent, they should not be punished for the actions of the parent.
Often the consequence of charges of domestic violence are the complete alienation of parent and child, financial costs that cannot or will not be paid nor recovered, and this often results from minimal, sometimes even ex parte hearings, with no jury and a standard of proof that requires nothing more, in most cases, than the suggestion of fear on the part of the accuser.
Even where a Temporary Restraining Order is an appropriate remedy, it should not be allowed to be used as a tool for the future alienation of fathers and children. The point of the law is to help preserve the bond between children and their fathers and the law should be designed to promote these relationships.
If there is any temporary period of separation between a child and parent, the law should require both parents to participate in a process of restoration and reconciliation of the parental relationship. A father cannot be responsible if he is to be excluded from the family mix.
These changes will make the law better, stronger and more effective in accomplishing the goal of healthy families with responsible fathers.
Andrew J Thompson is an attorney practicing in Indiana. Please visit Thompson Legal Services today for any assistance you need with family law related matters.
Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families | Family Law and Fathers.
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Bayh, Davis Introduce Legislation to Promote Healthy Families, Active Fatherhood
In Best Interest of the Child, CPS, Child Custody, Child Support, Childrens Rights, Civil Rights, Department of Social Servies, Divorce, Domestic Relations, Family Court Reform, Family Rights, Freedom, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress, Marriage, National Parents Day, Non-custodial fathers, Non-custodial mothers, Parental Alienation Syndrome, Parental Kidnapping, Parental Relocation, Parental Rights Amendment, Parentectomy, Parents rights, Restraining Orders, Rooker-Feldman Doctrine, Title Iv-D, children legal status, children's behaviour, family court, fatherlessness, fathers rights, motherlessness, mothers rights, parental alienation, state crimes on June 29, 2009 at 9:41 pm
June 19, 2009
Bayh, Davis Introduce Legislation to Promote Healthy Families, Active Fatherhood
Washington—With one in three children in the United States living apart from their biological fathers, Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) are renewing their efforts to promote healthy families and support American fathers who are trying to earn a livable wage and take a more active role in the lives of their children.
Bayh today introduced his Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2009, a bill cosponsored by then-Senator Barack Obama in the last Congress. Bayh’s bill is co-sponsored by Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AK) and Roland Burris (D-IL).
Davis today introduced companion legislation in the House called the Julia Carson Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families Act of 2009, in honor of Representative Julia Carson, the late Indianapolis congresswoman who championed fatherhood reform throughout her long career.
“It is a sad and sobering fact that one out of every three kids in America will wake up this Father’s Day without their father present,” Bayh said. “Conceiving a child doesn’t make you a man, but raising one responsibly does. Unfortunately, absentee fathers have become a national epidemic. The result is that millions of American children are more likely to struggle in school and have emotional and behavioral problems.”
“The absence of fathers or a father figure often contributes to negative behavior in children and disrupts the normal pattern of social and emotional development,” Davis said. “In many instances it also limits the child’s ability to have necessary economic resources with which to feel secure.”
In the last 40 years, the number of children without fathers in America has more than quadrupled, from five million in 1960 to more than 24 million today. Nearly 30 percent of children in fatherless households have not seen their fathers in the past year, and only 40 percent have had contact with their father once or more in the last month.
Studies show that children without fathers in their lives are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They also are more likely to have behavioral problems, to run away from home, and to become teenage parents themselves. The bills offered by Bayh and Davis seek to support fathers trying to do the right thing and take steps to collect child support from non-custodial parents shirking their parental responsibilities.
Bayh added, “Our government spends $100 billion a year to deal with the fallout of absent fathers. The government can’t pass a law to make men good dads, but we can support local programs that specialize in job training, career counseling and financial literacy to help those men who embrace their parental responsibility and are trying to earn a livable wage to do right by their kids. I am glad President Obama is starting a national conversation to draw public attention to the critical role that fathers play in raising responsible, healthy adults.”
The legislation offered by Bayh and Davis will:
- Fund job training programs and community partnerships to help parents find employment;
- Fund financial literacy programs and budgeting education, employment services, and mediation and conflict resolution for low-income parents;
- Ensure that child support payments to families do not count as income and result in loss of food stamps;
- Restore cuts in federal child support enforcement funding to help state and local governments collect $13 billion in additional payments for single parents;
- Require states to send 100 percent of all child support payments to the single parent within five years, rather than letting states take a portion of money for administrative costs;
- Prohibit unfair and unequal treatment of two-parent families receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), ensuring the state work participation standard is the same for all families;
- Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to increase the incentive for full-time work and fulfillment of child support obligations; and,
- Fund programs designed to protect the families who have been affected by domestic violence.
Senator Bayh and Congressman Davis will attend a White House event today with President Obama to honor America’s fathers and urge men to play more active and constructive roles in their children’s lives.
Senator Evan Bayh — Senator for Indiana: News – Press Release.
Where is Michael Phelp’s father?
Is this a case of Parental Alienation Syndrome?
on June 14, 2009 at 12:30 am
I found this interesting note on Washington Stepmothers & 2nd Wives website: http://washingtonsharedparenting.com/wssw/. The stoy is about the Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and what can happen to children after divorce and the alienation of one parent from their own children. Life is really not so good for Michael Phelps after all.
I’ve been watching Phelps for years. His mom is NOT athletic looking AT ALL. I’ve been pondering how he became an uber-athlete from a mother like her. (If you study the athletes many of them have one or two very athletic parents, college athletes, former Olympians, etc.) She’s not tall, or svelte like he is. If she swims, its not apparent, she’s more like a pumpkin or an apple. Not willowy. (No offense, just a fact.)
So I started searching for Phelp’s father. There has been literally NO mention of him in Beijing.
Then a few mornings ago I heard Meredith on the Today show say, “Debbie Phelps (mom) did it ALL BY HERSELF.” And that just rubbed me the wrong way. We all know that hardly any of these women are “doing it by themselves….” (they receive huge sums of child support and dad visits EOWE at the minimum.) But they sure do love to take the CREDIT for having been the “poor single muuuuuther”.
I found my answer, and I am extrapolating from it (this article was written prior to Athens Olympics I think)
Apparently I am correct. Its not MOM who is the “athlete” its DAD.
“Fred was a 165-pound defensive back in high school, but went 190 as a college freshman. He said he didn’t need the extra weight to leave an impression.”
“At Fairmont State College in West Virginia, Fred studied physical education and set school records for interceptions in a season and, after he was steered to track and field by a football assistant, the triple jump.”
Michael Fred Phelps II (yes named after DAD) has two older sisters, Whitney and Hilary who were both swimmers first. Michael grew up at the pool watching the sisters.
According to sister Hilary:
“When we started, my dad would be up at 4 a.m. on the mornings I had 5:30 practice,” Hilary said.
“Whitney, 23, accepted a scholarship to the University of Nevada Las Vegas, competed sparingly there as a freshman and sophomore, then ended her career. She returned to the area in late summer, lives with her father and stepmother, Jackie.”
“Father and son, both proud men, one 53 and the other 18, have not spoken since Michael’s high school graduation party. Whether real or perceived, slights had been simmering.
Fred remarried one week before the 2000 Olympic final in the 200 butterfly. He and Jackie went to Sydney, where Fred had a pep talk with Michael after the semifinals. They went to the Duel in the Pool, but not to Barcelona for this summer’s world championships, where Michael’s status covered some of the travel expenses for Debbie and Hilary.
Overseas trips are costly, but Fred also did not go to the U.S. Summer Nationals in College Park last August.
Both say calls to the other have not been returned.
“There are reasons, and I really don’t want to get into that,” Michael said, when asked about being estranged from his father. Pressed, Michael said: “He didn’t call me after I set my first world record [in 2001]. He didn’t call me after Barcelona.”
“Two days after he graduated,” Fred said, “he said he didn’t want me to go to Barcelona because I hadn’t been around. This is his world, and I’m just watching him travel through it. People ask me how he’s doing, where he’s swimming next, and it’s hard to say that I don’t know.”
This all comes from the article above.
Here’s my theory on this, knowing what I know as a second wife and dealing with severely PASed children. Debbie spent the years post divorce PASing this kid. Once he turned 18 he shut dad out and it was encouraged. It didn’t help that dad finally remarried and Mom hadn’t. So her son, her baby boy sided with her and turned on his dad.
I read somewhere else that Fred Phelps was there at practice when Michael’s his coach said, “if Michael will focus he can go on to the Olympics” (this happened after he won a race at 11…the divorce was at 8 yrs. so dad was THERE, involved STILL at 11 yrs.)
Dad wasn’t a deadbeat or absentee, there’s a campaign going on against him to erase his MAJOR contribution. Without DAD, I don’t think there would be a Michael Fred Phelps II. KWIM? And yet he gets NO credit. None.
I’m not debating that Phelps had to practice and work hard to get where he is, and without a doubt he’s a super athlete, but there is certainly a genetic component as well as the support of family too.
What’s your take on this? Where’s Phelp’s dad? Even if he stopped visiting, was it because he WANTED to or because mom made him so miserable all the time that he couldn’t/didn’t want to deal with the stress? It appears that he tried to be involved with the kids. I’d sure like to know more about this story. How about you?
Fred Phelps, what’s your story? I sure would like to hear DAD’s side of things…..
The Spectrum of Parental Alienation Syndrome – Part 1
on June 11, 2009 at 12:00 pm
by Forensic Psychologist, Deirdre Conway Rand, PhD
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGY, VOLUME 15, NUMBER 3, 1997
The Parental Alienation Syndrome, so named by Dr. Richard Gardner, is a distinctive family response to divorce in which the child becomes aligned with one parent and preoccupied with unjustified and/or exaggerated denigration of the other target parent. In severe cases, the child’s once love-bonded relationship with relected/target parent is destroyed. Testimony on Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in legal proceedings has sparked debate. This two-part article seeks to shed light on the debate by reviewing Gardner’s work and that of others on PAS, integrating the concept of PAS with research on high conflict divorce and other related literature. The material is organized under topic headings such as parents who induce alienation, the child in PAS, the target/alienated parent. attorneys on PAS, and evaluation and intervention. Part II begins with the child in PAS. Case vignettes of moderate to severe PAS are presented in both parts, some of which illustrate the consequences for children and families when the system is successfully manipulated by the alienating parent, as well as some difficult but effective interventions implemented by the author, her husband Randy Rand, Ed.D., and other colleagues.
Dr. Richard Gardner was an experienced child and forensic psychiatrist conducting evaluations when, in 1985, he introduced the concept of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) in an article entitled “Recent Trends in Divorce and Custody Litigation” (1). His work with children and families during the 1970s led him to write such books as Boys and Girls Book of Divorce, The Parents Book About Divorce and Psychotherapy with Children of Divorce. He knew from experience that the norm for children of divorce was to continue to love and long for both parents, in spite of the divorce and the passage of years, a finding replicated by one of the first large scale studies of divorce (2). With this background, Gardner became concerned in the early 1980s about the increasing number of divorce children he was seeing who, especially in the course of custody evaluations, presented as preoccupied with denigrating one parent, sometimes to the point of expressing hatred toward a once loved parent. He used the term Parental Alienation Syndrome to refer to the child’s symptoms of denigrating and rejecting a previously loved parent in the context of divorce.
Gardner’s focus on PAS as a disturbance of children in divorce is unique, although from the mid-1980s on there has been a proliferation of professional literature on disturbing trends in divorce/custody disputes, including false allegations of abuse to influence the outcome. At least three other divorce syndromes have been identified. In 1986, two psychologists in Michigan, who were as yet unaware of Gardner’s work, published the first of several papers on the SAID syndrome, Blush and Ross’s acronym for sex abuse allegations in divorce (3). Drawing on their experience doing evaluations for the family court, and the experience of their colleagues at the clinic there, these authors delineated typologies for the falsely accusing parent, the child involved and the accused parent. Two of the divorce syndromes named in the literature focus on the rage and pathology of the alienating or falsely accusing parent. Jacobs in New York and Wallerstein in California published case reports of what they called Medea Syndrome (4, 5). Jacobs discussed Gardner’s work on PAS in his 1988 study of a Medea Syndrome mother, as did Turkat when he described Divorce Related Malicious Mother Syndrome in 1994 (6). Fathers, too, can be found with this disorder, as one of the case vignettes below indicates, but for some reason Turkat has not encountered any.
In addition to articles specifically on PAS and literature which refers to it, there is a body of divorce research and clinical writings which, without a name, describe the phenomenon. The literature reviewed here comes from a number of sources including: practitioners who like Gardner are seeking to improve the diagnostic skills and intervention strategies of the courts and other professionals who deal with high conflict divorce; attorneys and judges who come in contact with PAS cases; researchers like Clawar and Rivlin who reference Gardner’s work on PAS in their large scale study of parental programming in divorce (7) and Johnston whose work on high conflict divorce (8) led her to study the problem of children who refuse visitation, including a discussion of PAS (9). When PAS is viewed from the standpoint of parts and subprocesses which create the whole, the literature which pertains increases exponentially, for example: psychological characteristics of parents who falsely accuse in divorce/custody disputes; cults who help divorcing parents alienate their children from the other parent; and psychological abuse of children in severe PAS including Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy type abuse.
The trends identified by Gardner and others are the result of important social changes which began to take root and flower around the mid 1970s. The legal treatment of divorce and child custody shifted from the preference for mothers to have sole custody and the “tender years presumption” to the preference for joint custody and “best interests of the child.” This gave divorce fathers more legal options for parenting their children and increased the quantity and intensity of divorce disputes as parents vehemently disagreed over the numerous custodial arrangements now possible. By the late 1970s, rising concern about parental programming of children to influence the outcome of disputes led the American Bar Association Section of Family Law to commission a large scale study of the problem. The results of this 12 year study were published in 1991 in a book called Children Held Hostage (7). Clawar and Rivlin found that parental programming was practiced to varying degrees by 80 percent of divorcing parents, with 20 percent of engaging in such behaviors with their children at least once a day. Further discussion of this book appears below.
At the same time as new divorce trends have been emerging, sweeping social changes have been occurring in society’s treatment of child abuse. Mandated reporting became the law of the land in the 1970s and the procedures for making reports were simplified such that anonymous reports are now accepted and acted upon in some states. As the number of suspected abuse reports practically doubled, so did the number of false and unsubstantiated reports, according to statistics compiled by the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect in 1988 which showed that non-valid reports outnumbered cases of bona fide abuse by a ratio of two to one ( 10).
According to some observers, false allegations of abuse in contested divorce/custody cases have become the ultimate weapon. Judge Stewart wrote that “Family Courts nationwide are feeling the effects of a new fad being used by parties to a custody dispute-the charge that the other parent is molesting the child…The impact of such an allegation on the custody litigation is swift and major…The Family Court judge is apt to cut off the accused’s access to the child pending completion of the investigation” (11, p. 329). In response to concerns such as these, the Research Unit of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts obtained funding for a study on sex abuse accusations in divorce/custody disputes (12). Data for 1985-1986 were gathered from family court sites across the country. At that time, the incidence of sex abuse allegations in divorce was found to average two percent, but varied from one percent to eight percent depending on the court site. Results of this study suggest that sex abuse allegations in divorce may be valid only about 50 percent of the time. Many of the court counselors and administrators interviewed believed they were seeing a greater proportion of such cases than in previous decades.
Ten years later in 1996, Congress amended the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act to eliminate blanket immunity for persons who knowingly make false reports, based on information that 2,000,000 children were involved that year in non-valid reports, as opposed to 1,000,000 children who were genuinely abused (13). In addition, many states have already enacted laws against willfully making a false child abuse report. In California where the author and her husband practice, the Office of Child Abuse Prevention revised their manual for mandated reporters several years ago to include a section on false allegations in which the coaching of children during custody disputes is described as a major problem and Gardner’s work on PAS is referenced (14).
In the meantime, the 1980s saw a massive campaign to train social workers, police, judges and mental health professionals in such concepts as “children don’t lie about abuse.” To make up for society’s blind eye to child abuse in the past, professionals are encouraged to unquestioningly ” believe the child ” and to reflexively accept all allegations of child abuse as true. Widespread media attention and a proliferation of popular books and movies on child abuse continues to suggest that the problem is widespread and insidious. Parents and professionals alike are enjoined to be vigilant for what are touted as “behavioral indicators” of sex abuse. These include the common but vague symptom of poor self esteem, conflicting “indicators” such as aggressive behavior and social withdrawal, and child behaviors which may be developmentally normal such as sexual curiosity and nightmares. Little attention is paid to the fact that children may develop the same symptoms in response to other stressors, including divorce and father absence.
Children, too, are being sensitized to abuse, taught about “good touch/bad touch.” At the end of such a lesson in school, they may be asked to report anyone who they think may have touched them in a bad way. Although some instances of legitimate abuse are detected in this manner, children sometimes misunderstand the lesson such that a kindly grandfather going to scoop up his young grandson in his arms, as he had done many times before, may find the child pulling back from him in horror and accusing him of “bad touch.” Adults conducting these classes are sometimes so eager to find abuse that in one Southern state, the parents of over half the class were arrested.
The foregoing outline of recent social changes is not meant to imply that Parental Alienation Syndrome and false allegations of sex abuse in divorce are synonymous. PAS can occur with or without such abuse accusations. Although false allegations of sex abuse are a common spin-off of severe PAS, other derivative false allegations may include physical abuse, neglect, emotional abuse, or a fabricated history of spousal abuse. In addition, there seems to be an increase in PAS type cases of accusations by the alienating parent that it is the alienated parent who is practicing PAS, a tactic which tends to confuse and neutralize interveners.
PARENTAL ALIENATION SYNDROME
According to Gardner, PAS is a disturbance in the child who, in the context of divorce, becomes preoccupied with deprecation and criticism of one parent, which denigration is either unjustified and/or exaggerated. Gardner sees PAS as arising primarily from a combination of parental influence and the child’s active contributions to the campaign of denigration, factors which may mutually reinforce one another. Gardner distinguishes between Parental Alienation Syndrome and the term “parental alienation.” There are a wide variety of causes for parental alienation, including bonafide parental abuse and/or neglect, as well as significant deficits in a rejected parent’s functioning which may not rise to the level of abuse. From Gardner’s perspective, a diagnosis of PAS only applies where abuse, neglect and other conduct by the alienated parent which would reasonably justify the alienation are relatively minimal. Thus Gardner conceives of PAS as a specialized subcategory of generic parental alienation. Since introducing the concept of PAS in 1985, Gardner has written two books on the subject (15, 16), and included a chapter on it in his book entitled Family Evaluation, in Child Custody Mediation, Arbitration and Litigation(17).
Depending on the severity of the PAS, a child may exhibit all or only some of the following behaviors. It is the cluster of these symptoms which prompted Gardner to consider them as a syndrome.
1. The child is aligned with the alienating parent in a campaign of denigration against the target parent, with the child making active contributions;
2. Rationalizations for deprecating the target parent are often weak, frivolous or absurd;
3. Animosity toward the rejected parent lacks the ambivalence normal to human relationships;
4. The child asserts that the decision to reject the target parent is his or her own, what Gardner calls the “independent thinker” phenomenon;
5. The child reflexively supports the parent with whom he or she is aligned;
6.The child expresses guiltless disregard for the feelings of the target or hated parent;
7. Borrowed scenarios are present, i.e., the child’s statements reflect themes and terminology of the alienating parent;
8. Animosity is spread to the extended family and others associated with the hated parent.
In Gardner’s experience, born out by the clinical and research literature reviewed below, mothers are more frequently found to engage in PAS, which is likened by Clawar and Rivlin to psychological kidnapping (7). Where PAS with physical child abduction occurs, however, Huntington reports that fathers are in the majority (18). Gardner recognizes that fathers, too, may engage in PAS and gives examples in his books. For consistency and simplicity, though, he refers to the alienating parent as “mother” and target parent as “father.”
According to Gardner, the brainwashing component in PAS can be more or less conscious on the part of the programming parent and may be systematic or subtle. The child’s active contributions to the campaign of denigration may help to create and maintain a mutually reinforcing feedback loop between the child and the programming parent. The child’s contributions notwithstanding, Gardner views the alienating parent as the responsible adult who elicits or transmits a negative set of beliefs about the target parent. The child’s loving experiences with the target parent in the past are replaced with a new reality, the negative scenario shared by the programming parent and child which justifies their rejection of the alienated parent. In light of these observations, Gardner warned that children’s statements in divorce/custody about rejecting one parent should not be taken at face value and should be evaluated for PAS dynamics. According to psychologist Mary Lund, this insight is one of Gardner’s most important contributions because it alerted the legal system, parents and mental health professionals dealing with divorce to an important possibility which can have disastrous effects if unrecognized (19).
Gardner emphasizes the importance of differentiating between mild, moderate and severe PAS in determining what court orders and therapeutic interventions to apply. In mild cases, there is some parental programming but visitation is not seriously effected and the child manages to negotiate the transitions without too much difficulty. The child has a reasonably healthy relationship with the programming parent and is usually participating in the campaign of denigration to maintain the primary emotional bond with the preferred parent, usually the mother. PAS in this category can usually be alleviated by the court’s affirming that the preferred or primary parent will retain primary custody.
In moderate PAS, there is a significant degree of parental programming, along with significant struggles around visitation. The child often displays difficulties around the transition between homes but is eventually able to settle down and become benevolently involved with the parent he or she is visiting. The bond between the aligned parent and child is still reasonably healthy, despite their shared conviction that the target parent is somehow despicable. At this level, stronger legal interventions are required and a court ordered PAS therapist is recommended who can monitor visits, make their office available as a visit exchange site, and report to the court regarding failures to implement visitation. The threat of sanctions against the alienating parent may be needed to gain compliance. Failure of the system to apply the appropriate level of court orders and therapeutic interventions in moderate PAS may put the child at risk for developing severe PAS. In some moderate cases, after court-ordered special therapy and sanctions have failed, Gardner states that it may be necessary to seriously consider transferring custody to the allegedly hated parent, assuming that parent is fit. In some situations, this is the only hope of protecting the child from progression to the severe category.
The child in severe PAS is fanatic in his or her hatred of the target parent. The child may refuse to visit, personally make false allegations of abuse, and threaten to run away, commit suicide or homicide if forced to see the father. Mother and child have a pathological bond, often based on shared paranoid fantasies about the father, sometimes to the point of folie a deux. In severe PAS, Gardner has found that if the child is allowed to stay with the mother the relationship with the father is doomed and the child develops long-standing psychopathology and even paranoia. Assuming the target parent is fit, Gardner believes that the only effective remedy in severe PAS is to give custody to the alienated parent. In 1992 he suggested that courts might be more receptive to the change of custody option if the child was provided with a therapeutic transitional placement such as hospitalization, an intervention employed with success by the author and her husband (see case vignette in Part II).
Gardner’s original conception of PAS was based on the child’s preoccupation with denigration of the target parent. It was not until two years later when he published his first book on PAS that he addressed the problem of PAS with false allegations of abuse. Gardner prefers to view such allegations as derivative of the PAS, observing that they often emerge after other efforts to exclude the target parent have failed. Some of the literature reviewed below, however, indicates that false allegations of abuse may also surface prior to the marital separation, symptomatic of a pre-existing psychiatric disorder of the alienating parent which may not be diagnosed until there is further mental deterioration after the divorce. Gardner was among the first to recognize that involving a child in false allegations of abuse is a form of abuse in itself and indicative of serious problems somewhere in the divorce family system. Insofar as PAS with false allegations of abuse can result in permanent destruction of the child’s relationship with the alienated parent, it can be more harmful to the child than if the alleged abuse had actually occurred.
Gardner supports joint custody for those parents who can sincerely agree on it and have the ability to fulfill this ideal. Research by Maccoby and Mnookin suggests that about 29 percent of divorced parents are successfully co-parenting three to four years after filing (20). Gardner opposes imposing joint custody on parents in dispute and between whom there is significant animosity. For these families, Gardner recommends that a thorough evaluation be conducted to develop a case specific plan with the right combination of court orders, mediation, therapeutic interventions, and arbitration.
HIGH CONFLICT DIVORCE AND PAS
High conflict divorce is characterized by intense and/or protracted post separation conflict and hostility between the parents which may be expressed overtly or covertly through ongoing litigation, verbal and physical aggression, and tactics of sabotage and deception. Clinical and research literature suggest that Parental Alienation Syndrome is a distinctive type of high conflict divorce which may require PAS specific interventions, just as the problems of divorced families have been found to respond to divorce specific interventions rather than to traditional therapies. In their book on children caught in the middle of high conflict divorce, Garrity and Baris treat PAS as a distinctive divorce family dynamic, devoting two chapters to PAS, one on understanding it and the other on a comprehensive intervention model (#21).
In high conflict divorce without significant PAS, the parents do most of the fighting while the children manage to go back and forth between homes, maintain their own views and preserve their affection for both parents. They cope by developing active skills for maneuvering the situation or by adopting a survival strategy of treating both parents with equal fairness and distance (8). Periodically, children may exacerbate parental conflicts by embellishing age appropriate separation anxieties, telling each parent things the parent wants to hear and shifting their allegiance back and forth between the parents. Nevertheless, they avoid consistent alignment with one parent against the other and are able to enjoy their time with each parent once the often difficult transition between homes has been accomplished.
In high conflict divorce with significant PAS, the children are personally involved in the parental conflict. Unable to manage the situation so as to preserve an affectionate relationship with both parents, the child takes the side of one parent against the other and participates in the battle as an ally of the alienating parent who is defined as good against the other parent who is viewed as despicable. In a study of 175 children from high conflict families, Johnston found that chronic hostility and protracted litigation between the parents contributed to the development of PAS among older children (9). In other words, where the system is unable to settle and contain parental divorce conflicts, the children may be at increasing risk for developing PAS as they get older. Johnston acknowledges that her findings support Gardner’s contention that as many as 90 percent of children involved in protracted custody show symptoms of PAS.
A large scale study of patterns of legal conflict between divorce parents three to four years after filing contained them significant finding that the most hostile divorce couples were not necessarily those engaged in the most contentious legal battles (20). This suggests that PAS may occur not only in the context of litigation but may develop after litigation has ceased, or proceed a new round of litigation after many years, supporting what Dunne and Hedrick found in their clinical study of severe PAS families (22).
According to Johnston, high conflict divorce is the product of a multilayered divorce impasse between the parents (8). Often, the impasse has its roots in one or both parents’ extreme vulnerability to issues of narcissistic injury, loss, anger and control. These vulnerabilities prevent a satisfactory divorce adjustment and feed an endless, sometimes escalating cycle of action and reaction which promotes and maintains parental conflict. The parents are frozen in transition, psychologically neither married, separated or divorced, a pattern which may pertain even when only one parent is significantly disturbed. Using Johnston’s model, PAS can be viewed as an effort by one parent, with the help of the children, to “resolve” the divorce impasse with a clear-cut understanding of who is good, who is to blame and how the parent to blame should be punished. The following vignette illustrates this. Like the other case examples interspersed throughout this article, it is a composite scenario synthesized from real cases encountered by the author and her colleagues.
Mr. L had adopted his wife’s child from her previous marriage and he and Mrs. L. had a child of their own, a girl who was six years old when Mr. L. moved out of the family home. During the six months leading up to this precipitous event, Mrs. L. was living in one part of the house with the older child while Mr. L. and his daughter had rooms together in a separate part of the house. The parents hardly spoke to one another but the children visited back and forth freely with each other and with both parents. Under the circumstances, Mr. L. did not think his wife would object to his leaving, but just in case there was a scene he decided to move out first and then work out the practical issues with Mrs. L. He left a letter for her and another one for the children, explaining his decision and affirming his desire to make arrangements for visitation and child support. Mrs. L. was furious. She immediately had the locks changed and successfully blocked her husband’s efforts to contact the children by phone or to see them. Both children probably felt betrayed by father and Mrs. L. amplified such feelings by telling the children their father had abandoned them and did not- care about them at all. She also alleged that he had had numerous affairs during the marriage although Mr. L. always denied that. These allegations may have sprung from the fact that Mrs. L. found out six weeks after her husband left that he was dating someone. Outraged, she told Mr. L. that he would never see the children again. She and the children began calling Mr. L. and his girl- friend at all hours, screaming accusations and obscenities over the phone until a restraining order was obtained. When efforts by father’s attorney to arrange for mediation between Mr. and Mrs. L. were stonewalled, Mr. L. got a court order for visitation. Three months had passed when his first opportunity to see his children since moving out was scheduled. On the eve of this visit, Mrs. L. called child protective services and accused Mr. L. of sexually molesting their daughter. According to the social worker’s notes which were obtained during subsequent litigation, Mrs. L. told the social worker that she “knew” while she and her husband were still living together that he was molesting their daughter.
The family law judge ordered a custody evaluation which was very thorough and took months to complete. The evaluator documented a number of instances in which the girl’s statements about abuse and hat mg. her father seemed to be strongly influenced by mother’s overwhelming anger and that of the older half sibling, who was strongly aligned with the mother. Mrs. L. was diagnosed with a severe narcissistic personality disorder with antisocial features, while Mr. L. was seen by the evaluator as rather passive by comparison and as ambivalent and conflict avoidant. The evaluator was able to hold one meeting with father and daughter together, during which their loving attachment to one another was apparent. This was the little girl’s first opportunity to talk to her father about the feelings engendered by his leaving. As it turned out, it was also her last opportunity. The PAS intensified such that efforts to convene further father/daughter sessions failed when the child threw tantrums in the waiting room and ran screaming into the parking lot where her mother was waiting.
Seven months after the marital separation, the custody evaluator’s report was released. It stated that the alleged abuse had in all probability not occurred but failed to diagnose severe PAS with false allegations of abuse. The evaluator recommended that the mother retain primary custody and that the girl and her parents each become involved in individual therapy to facilitate father/daughter reunification. Not surprisingly, Mrs. L. arranged for the child to see a therapist/intern who never saw the custody evaluator’s report. Based on input from the mother alone, the therapist treated the girl for abuse by her father instead of providing divorce specific therapy aimed at helping the little girl to adjust to her parent’s divorce and to establish a post divorce relationship with her father. The girl’s anger at her father became more extreme with each passing month and defeated the visitations planned by the family mediation center. Finally, a year after the separation, the custody evaluator was prepared to testify as to the PAS and to make the strong recommendations needed to remedy the situation. By that time, the father was convinced that nobody could do anything about his daughter’s continued expressions of hatred toward him. He also felt daunted by the prospect of further litigation and an even greater financial drain. He decided to let go, hoping that one day when his daughter was older she would understand and seek him out.
CHILDREN HELD HOSTAGE: DEALING WITH PROGRAMMED AND BRAINWASHED CHILDREN
By the late 1970s, judges, parents, and mental health professionals involved with divorce were so concerned about parental programming that the American Bar Association Section on Family Law commissioned this 12 year study of 700 divorce families (7). Clawar and Rivlin found that the problem of parental programming was indeed widespread and that even at low levels it had significant impact on children. Data from multiple sources was analyzed including: written records such as court transcripts, forensic reports, therapy notes and children’s diaries; audio and video tapes of interactions between children, their parents and others related to the case; direct observations, such as children with parents and clients with attorneys; and interviews with children, relatives, family friends, mental health professionals, school personnel, judges and conciliators.
Gardner’s work on PAS is referenced at the beginning of Clawar and Rivlin’s book (7), but the authors take issue with what they represent as his position, that less severe cases need not be a cause of great concern. They found that PAS can result from a variety of complex processes, whether or not one parent engages in a systematic programming campaign and whether or not alienation is the programming parent’s goal. Parental alienation is only one of a number of detrimental effects. According to this study, even well meaning parents often at tempt to influence what their children say in the custody and visitation proceedings.
Mild levels of parental programming and brainwashing seem to have significant effects.
Clawar and Rivlin anchor their work in 30 years of literature on social psychology and the processes of social influence, variously referred to in the literature as thought reform, brainwashing, indoctrination, modeling, mimicking, mind control, re-education, and coercive persuasion. These terms describe a variety of psychological methods for ridding people of ideas which authorities do not want them to have and for replacing old ways of thinking and behavior with new ones. For the purposes of research, Clawar and Rivlin ascertained the need for more precisely defined terminology. They selected the words “programming” and “brainwashing.” They defined “program” as the content, themes, and beliefs transmitted by the programming parent to the child regarding the other parent.
“Brainwashing” was defined as the interactional process by which the child was persuaded to accept and elaborate on the program. Brainwashing occurs over time and involves repetition of the program, or code words referring to the program, until the subject responds with attitudinal and behavioral compliance.
According to Clawar and Rivlin, the influence of a programming parent can be conscious and willful or unconscious and unintentional. It can be obvious or subtle, with rewards for compliance that were material, social or psychological. Noncompliance may be met with subtle psychological punishment such as withdrawal of love or direct corporal punishment, as illustrated in the case vignette of S in Part II. The author encountered another case in which the alienating mother handcuffed her son to the bedpost when he was 12 years old and the boy asserted he was not willing to continue saying his father had physically abused him. The Clawar and Rivlin study found that children may be active or passive participants in the alienation process. As the case of the 12- year-old boy suggests, the nature and degree of the child’s involvement in the PAS may change over time.
This study identifies the influential role of other people in the child’s life, such as relatives and professionals aligned with the alienating parent, whose endorsement of the program advances the brainwashing process. In a general way, these findings appear to replicate Johnston’s research on high conflict divorce which identified the importance of third party participants in parental conflicts (8). Rand noted the influence of so-called “professional participants in Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy type abuse which in divorce can overlap with PAS “(23).
Clawar and Rivlin identify eight stages of the programming/brainwashing process which culminates in severe Parental Alienation Syndrome (7). Recognizing the power imbalance between parent and child, they view the process as driven by the alienating parent who induces the child’s compliance on step by step basis:
1. A thematic focus to be shared by the programming parent and child emerges or is chosen. This may be tied to a more or less formal ideology relating to the family, religion, or ethnicity;
2. A sense of support and connection to the programming parent is created;
3. Feeling of sympathy for the programming parent is induced;
4. The child begins to show signs of compliance, such as expressing fear of visiting the target parent or refusing to talk to that parent on the phone;
5. The programming parent tests the child’s compliance, for example, asking the child questions after a visit and rewarding the child for ” correct ” answers;
6. The programming parent tests the child’s loyalty by having the child express views and attitudes which suggest a preference for one parent over the other;
7. Escalation/intensification/generalization occurs, for example, broadening the program with embellished or new allegations; the child rejects the target parent in a global, unambivalent fashion;
8. The program is maintained along with the child’s compliance, which may range from minor reminders and suggestions to intense pressure, depending on court activity and the child’s frame of mind.
CLINICAL STUDIES OF PAS
According to Gardner and seconded by Cartwright, Parental Alienation Syndrome is a developing concept which clinical and forensic practitioners will refine and redefine as new cases with different features become better understood (24). This section reviews the work of practitioners who, like Cartwright, seek to elaborate on Gardner’s work by contributing their own knowledge and experience from work with moderate to severe PAS cases.
Dunne and Hedrick
Practicing in Seattle, Washington, Dunne and Hedrick analyzed sixteen families who met Gardner’s criteria for severe PAS (22). Although the cases show a wide diversity of characteristics, the authors found Gardner’s criteria useful in differentiating these cases from other post-divorce difficulties, lending support for the idea that PAS has distinctive features which differentiate it from other forms of high conflict divorce. Among the severe PAS cases examined, some involved false allegations of abuse and some did not. Children in the same family sometimes responded to the divorce with opposing adjustments. For example, the oldest child in one family, a 16-year-old girl, aligned with her alienating mother while her 12-year-old brother’s desire for a relationship with his father led to the mother finally rejecting the boy.
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US Constitutional, State, and Federal Rights to Parent Your Children
on June 9, 2009 at 11:34 pm
Below are excerpts of case law from state, appellate, and federal district courts and up to the U.S. Supreme Court, all of which affirm, from one perspective or another, the absolute Constitutional right of parents to actually parent their children.
“The rights of parents to the care, custody and nurture of their children is of such character that it cannot be denied without violating those fundamental principles of liberty and justice which lie at the base of all our civil and political institutions, and such right is a fundamental right protected by this amendment (First) and Amendments 5, 9, and 14.” – Doe v. Irwin, 441 F Supp 1247; U.S. D.C. of Michigan, (1985)
Doe v. Irwin, 441 F Supp 1247; U.S. D.C. of Michigan, (1985).
Wallace v. Jaffree, 105 S Ct 2479; 472 US 38, (1985).
Elrod v. Burns, 96 S Ct 2673; 427 US 347, (1976).
Yick Wo v. Hopkins, 118 US 356, (1886).
Santosky v. Kramer, 102 S Ct 1388; 455 US 745, (1982).
Matter of Delaney, 617 P 2d 886, Oklahoma (1980).
Langton v. Maloney, 527 F Supp 538, D.C. Conn. (1981).
Regenold v. Baby Fold, Inc., 369 NE 2d 858; 68 Ill 2d 419, appeal dismissed 98 S Ct 1598, 435 US 963, IL, (1977).
In the Interest of Cooper, 621 P 2d 437; 5 Kansas App Div 2d 584, (1980).
Bell v. City of Milwaukee, 746 F 2d 1205; US Ct App 7th Cir WI, (1984).
Mabra v. Schmidt, 356 F Supp 620; DC, WI (1973).
May v. Anderson, 345 US 528, 533; 73 S Ct 840, 843, (1952).
In re: J.S. and C., 324 A 2d 90; supra 129 NJ Super, at 489.
Stanley v. Illinois, 405 US 645, 651; 92 S Ct 1208, (1972).
Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 US 390; 43 S Ct 625, (1923).
Quilloin v. Walcott, 98 S Ct 549; 434 US 246, 255^Q56, (1978).
Kelson v. Springfield, 767 F 2d 651; US Ct App 9th Cir, (1985).
Bell v. City of Milwaukee, 746 f 2d 1205, 1242^Q45; US Ct App 7th Cir WI, (1985).
Carson v. Elrod, 411 F Supp 645, 649; DC E.D. VA (1976).
Franz v. U.S., 707 F 2d 582, 595^Q599; US Ct App (1983).
Matter of Gentry, 369 NW 2d 889, MI App Div (1983).
Palmore v. Sidoti, 104 S Ct 1879; 466 US 429.
Orr v. Orr, 99 S Ct 1102; 440 US 268, (1979).
Stanton v. Stanton, 421 US 7, 10; 95 S Ct 1373, 1376, (1975).
28 USCA § 2411; Pfizer v. Lord, 456 F.2d 532; cert denied 92 S Ct 2411; US Ct App MN, (1972).
Gross v. State of Illinois, 312 F 2d 257; (1963).
Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 US 479, (1965).
In re U.P., 648 P 2d 1364; Utah, (1982).
Fantony v. Fantony, 122 A 2d 593, (1956); Brennan v. Brennan, 454 A 2d 901, (1982).
Wise v. Bravo, 666 F.2d 1328, (1981).
From Welfare State to Police State
on June 9, 2009 at 7:14 pm
May 4, 2008
by Stephen Baskerville
Family fragmentation costs taxpayers at least $112 billion annually in antipoverty programs, justice and education systems, and lost revenue, according to a report released last week. Astonishingly, the report’s publisher, Institute for American Values, is using these findings to advocate even higher costs, through more federal programs.
As welfare and child support enforcement programs show, there is zero proof that further government intervention into families would be a good investment for taxpayers.
After more than a decade of welfare reform, out-of-wedlock births remain at record highs, and married couples now comprise less than half the nation’s households. “The impact of welfare reform is now virtually zero,” says Robert Rector of Heritage Foundation.
Welfare reform, as currently conceived, cannot possibly make a difference. Out-of-wedlock births no longer proceed only from low-income teenagers. Increasingly, middle-class, middle-aged women are bearing the fatherless children. This excludes children of divorce, which almost doubles the 1.5 million out-of-wedlock births.
The problem is driven not only by culture, but by federal programs not addressed by welfare reform—such as child support enforcement, domestic violence, and child abuse prevention—which subsidize single-parent homes through their quasi-welfare entitlements for the affluent.
It’s not called the welfare “state” for nothing. Even more serious than the economic effects has been the quiet metamorphosis of welfare from a system of public assistance into a miniature penal apparatus, replete with its own tribunals, prosecutors, police, and jails.
The subsidy on single-mother homes was never really curtailed. Reformers largely replaced welfare with child support. The consequences were profound: this change transformed welfare from public assistance into law enforcement, creating yet another federal plainclothes police force without constitutional justification.
Like any bureaucracy, this one found rationalizations to expand. During the 1980s and 1990s—without explanation or public debate—enforcement machinery created for children in poverty was dramatically expanded to cover all child-support cases, including those not receiving welfare.
This vastly expanded the program by bringing in millions of middle-class divorce cases. The system was intended for welfare—but other cases now account for 83% of its cases and 92% of the money collected.
Contrary to what was promised, the cost to taxpayers increased sharply. By padding their rolls with millions of middle-class parents, state governments could collect a windfall of federal incentive payments. State officials may spend this revenue however they wish. Federal taxpayers subsidize state government operations through child support. They also subsidize family dissolution, for every fatherless child is another source of revenue for states.
To collect, states must channel not just delinquent but current payments through their criminal enforcement machinery, subjecting law-abiding parents to criminal measures. While officials claim their crackdowns on “deadbeat dads” increase collections, the “increase” is achieved not by collecting arrearages of low-income fathers already in the system, but simply by pulling in more middle-class fathers—and creating more fatherless children.
These fathers haven’t abandoned their children. Most were actively involved, and, following what is usually involuntary divorce, desire more time with them. Yet for the state to collect funding, fathers willing to care for them must be designated as “absent.” Divorce courts are pressured to cut children off from their fathers to conform to the welfare model of “custodial” and “noncustodial.” These perverse incentives further criminalize fathers, by impelling states to make child-support levels as onerous as possible and to squeeze every dollar from every parent available.
Beyond the subsidy expense are costs of diverting the criminal justice system from protecting society to criminalizing parents and keeping them from their children. The entitlement state must then devise additional programs—far more expensive—to deal with the social costs of fatherless children. Former Assistant Health and Human Services Secretary Wade Horn contends that most of the $47 billion spent by his department is necessitated by broken homes and fatherless children. One might extend his point to most of the half-trillion dollar HHS budget. Given the social ills attributed to fatherless homes—crime, truancy, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, suicide—it is reasonable to see a huge proportion of domestic spending among the costs.
These developments offer a preview of where our entire system of welfare taxation is headed: expropriating citizens to pay for destructive programs that create the need for more spending and taxation. It cannot end anywhere but in the criminalization of more and more of the population.
Stephen Baskerville is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, Associate Professor of Government at Patrick Henry College, and author of Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family (Cumberland House, 2007).
The original article can be found here: http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2184
Does Family Preservation Work? – Parental Rights
on June 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm
From the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform / 53 Skyhill Road (Suite 202) / Alexandria, Va., 22314 / email@example.com / www.nccpr.org
Family preservation is one of the most intensively-scrutinized programs in all of child welfare. Several studies — and real world experience — show that family preservation programs that follow the Homebuilders model safely prevent placement in foster care.
Michigan’s Families First program sticks rigorously to the Homebuilders model. The Michigan program was evaluated by comparing children who received family preservation services to a “control group” that did not. After one year, among children who were referred because of abuse or neglect, the control group children were nearly twice as likely to be placed in foster care, as the Families First children. Thirty-six percent of children in the control group were placed, compared to only 19.4 percent of the Families First children. 
Another Michigan study went further. In this study, judges actually gave permission to researchers to “take back” some children they had just ordered into foster care and place them in Families First instead. One year later, 93 percent of these children still were in their own homes.  And Michigan’s State Auditor concluded that the Families First program “has generally been effective in providing a safe alternative to the out-of-home placement of children who are at imminent risk of being removed from the home The program places a high priority on the safety of children.” 
An experiment in Utah and Washington State also used a comparison group. After one year, 85.2 percent of the children in the comparison group were placed in foster care, compared to only 44.4 percent of the children who received intensive family preservation services.
A study in California found that 55 percent of the control group children were placed, compared to only 26 percent of the children who received intensive family preservation services. 
A North Carolina study comparing 1,254 families receiving Intensive Family Preservation Services to more than 100,000 families who didn’t found that “IFPS consistently resulted in fewer placements…”
And still another study, in Minnesota, found that, in dealing with troubled adolescents, fully 90 percent of the control group children were placed, compared to only 56 percent of those who received intensive family preservation services.
Some agencies are now using IFPS to help make sure children are safe when they are returned home after foster care. Here again, researchers are beginning to see impressive results. In a Utah study, 77.2 percent of children whose families received IFPS help after reunification were still safely with their birth parents after one year, compared with 49.1 percent in a control group.
Critics ignore all of this evidence, preferring to cite a study done for the federal government which purports to find that IFPS is no better than conventional services. But though critics of family preservation claim that this study evaluated programs that followed the Homebuilders model, that’s not true. In a rigorous critique of the study, Prof. Ray Kirk of the University of North Carolina School of Social Work notes that the so-called IFPS programs in this study actually diluted the Homebuilders model, providing service that was less intensive and less timely. At the same time, the “conventional” services sometimes were better than average. In at least one case, they may well have been just as intensive as the IFPS program – so it’s hardly surprising that the researchers would find little difference between the two.
Furthermore, efforts to truly assign families at random to experimental and control groups sometimes were thwarted by workers in the field who felt this was unethical. Workers resisted assigning what they considered to be “high risk” families to control groups that would not receive help from IFPS programs. In addition, the study failed to target children who actually were at imminent risk of placement.
Given all these problems, writes Prof. Kirk, “a finding of ‘no difference between treatment and experimental groups’ is simply a non-finding from a failed study.”
Prof. Kirk’s findings mirror those of an evaluation of earlier studies purporting to show that IFPS was ineffective. The evaluation found that these studies “did not adhere to rigorous methodological criteria.”
In contrast, according to Prof. Kirk, “there is a growing body of evidence that IFPS works, in that it is more effective than traditional services in preventing out-of-home placements of children in high-risk families.”
Prof. Kirk’s assessment was confirmed by a detailed review of IFPS studies conducted by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy. According to this review:
“IFPS programs that adhere closely to the Homebuilders model significantly reduce out-of-home placements and subsequent abuse and neglect. We estimate that such programs produce $2.54 of benefits for each dollar of cost. Non-Homebuilders programs produce no significant effect on either outcome.”
Some critics argue that evaluations of family preservation programs are inherently flawed because they allegedly focus on placement prevention instead of child safety. But a placement can only be prevented if a child is believed to be safe. Placement prevention is a measure of safety.
Of course, the key words here are “believed to be.” Children who have been through intensive family preservation programs are generally among the most closely monitored. But there are cases in which children are reabused and nobody finds out. And there are cases — like Joseph Wallace — in which the warnings of family preservation workers are ignored. No one can be absolutely certain that the child left at home is safe — but no one can be absolutely certain that the child placed in foster care is safe either — and family preservation has the better track record.
And, as discussed in Issue Paper 1, with safe, proven strategies to keep families together now widely used in Alabama, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere, the result is fewer foster care placements and safer children.
Indeed, the whole idea that family preservation — and only family preservation — should be required to prove itself over and over again reflects a double standard. After more than a century of experience, isn’t it time that the advocates of foster care be held to account for the failure of their program?
Updated, April 24, 2006
1. Carol Berquist, et. al., Evaluation of Michigan’s Families First Program (Lansing Mich: University Associates, March, 1993). Back to Text.
2. Betty J. Blythe, Ph.D., Srinika Jayaratne, Ph.D, Michigan Families First Effectiveness Study: A Summary of Findings, Sept. 28, 1999, p.18. Back to Text.
3. State of Michigan, Office of the Auditor General, Performance Audit of the Families First of Michigan Program, July, 1998, pp. 2-4. Back to Text.
4. Mark W. Fraser, et. al., Families in Crisis: The Impact of Intensive Family Preservation Services (New York: Aldine De Gruyter, 1991), p.168. Back to Text.
5. S. Wood, S., K. Barton, C. Schroeder, “In-Home Treatment of Abusive Families: Cost and Placement at One Year.” Psychotherapy Vol. 25 (1988) pp. 409-14, cited in Howard Bath and David Haapala, “Family Preservation Services: What Does the Outcome Research Really Tell Us,” Social Services Review, September, 1994, Table A1, p.400. Back to Text.
6. R.S. Kirk, Tailoring Intensive Family Preservation Services for Family Reunification Cases: Research, Evaluation and Assessment, (www.nfpn.org/resourcess/articles/tailoring.html). Back to Text.
7. I.M. Schwartz, et. al., “Family Preservation Services as an Alternative to Out-of-Home Placement of Adolescents,” in K. Wells and D.E. Biegel, eds., Family Preservation Services: Research and Evaluation (Newbury Park, CA: Sage, 1991) pp.33-46, cited in Bath and Happala, note 3, supra.Back to Text.
8. R.E. Lewis, et. al., “Examining family reunification services: A process analysis of a successful experiment,” Research on Social Work Practice, 5, (3), 259-282, cited in Kirk, note 6, supra.Back to Text.
9. R.S. Kirk, A Critique of the “Evaluation of Family Preservation and Reunification Programs: Interim Report,” May, 2001. Back to Text.
10. A. Heneghan, et. al., Evaluating intensive family preservation services: A methodological review. Pediatrics, 97(4), 535-542, cited in Kirk, note 6, supra.Back to Text.
11. Kirk, note 6, supra.Back to Text.
12. Washington State Institute for Public Policy, Intensive Family Preservation Programs: Program Fidelity Influences Effectiveness. February, 2006, available online at http://www.wsipp.wa.gov/rptfiles/06-02-3901.pdf
The original article can be found here: http://www.nccpr.org/newissues/11.html
Parental Mediation Does Not Work, Wake Up U.S. Courts
on June 8, 2009 at 11:16 pm
One of the government’s most exhaustive research reports ever commissioned called ‘Monitoring Publicly Funded Family Mediation’ found that ‘mediation‘ in this country did not ‘meet the objectives of saving marriages or helping divorcing couples to resolve problems with a minimum of acrimony’ and as a result was forced to scrap the idea of making mediation compulsory – see the statement from the former Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine, 16th.January 2000. However it is is still used as a method for deflecting fathers from receiving reasonable contact with their child or children. This section is intended to help fathers by highlighting some of the pitfalls of mediation with reference to the government’s own research report. If you have a query regarding any aspect of the mediation process, for example, Section 10, ‘The Parties Attitudes to Negotiation’, you can consult the government’s own research by clicking alongside!
“The government is committed to supporting marriage and to supporting families when relationships fail, especially when there are children involved. But this very comprehensive research, together with other recent valuable research in the field, has shown that Part II of the Family Law Act (i.e. Mediation) is not the best way of achieving those aims. The government is not therefore satisfied that it would be right to proceed with the implementation of Part II and proposes to ask Parliament to repeal it once suitable legislative opportunity occurs.”
Former Lord Chancellor Lord Irvine, 16th.January 2000
NB For all legal aid certificates ‘mediation’ has to take place before the certificate (or funding) can be issued. However it can be deemed unnecessary if the mother makes an allegation of domestic abuse.
The original article can be found here: http://www.eventoddlersneedfathers.com/
How To Kidnap A Child
on June 8, 2009 at 3:53 pm
by Stephen Baskerville, PhD
Congratulations! You have embarked on a great adventure. Kidnapping a child is probably unlike anything you have done before. If you are a first-time kidnapper you may be hesitant; perhaps you have lingering scruples. It is true you will probably do irreparable harm to your own child. Children of divorce more often become involved in drugs, alcohol, and crime, become pregnant as teenagers, perform poorly in school, join gangs, and commit suicide.
But look at the advantages! You can be rid of that swine you live with, with all his tedious opinions about child-rearing. YOU call the shots! What could be more rewarding? And a little extra cash each month never hurts, eh?
Few people realize how easy abduction is. It happens 1,000 times a day, mostly by parents! So if you’re thinking, “I could never get away with it,” wake up! Millions do. In fact many only realize the possibility when they become victims. Then they invariably say, “If only I had known how easy it is I would have done it myself!” So don’t be caught off guard. Read on, and discover the exciting world of child kidnapping and extortion.
If you are mother the best time to snatch is soon after you have a new child or pregnancy. Once you have what you want, you will realize that the father is no longer necessary (except for child support).
A father should consider snatching as soon as he suspects the mother might. Once she has the child, you have pretty much lost the game. You will always be at a disadvantage, but it is in your interest (as it is in hers) to snatch first. Preventive snatching may not look good (and unlike her, it can be used against you). But hey, you have the kid. If you hit the road, it could take years to track you down.
Surprise is crucial for an elegant abduction. Wait until the other parent is away, and clean the place out thoroughly. Take all the child’s effects, because if you don’t grab it now you will never get it, and you will never be forced to return any of it. The more you have, the better “home” you can claim to provide. You also want to achieve the maximum emotional devastation to your spouse. Like the terrorist, you want to impress with how swift, sudden, and unpredictable your strike can be.
Concealing the child is illegal, but it will also buy you time. The police will make the case a low priority, and if you are a mother you will never be prosecuted. In the meantime claim to have established a “stable routine” and that returning the child (or even visits) would be “disruptive.” Anything that keeps the child in your possession and away from their father works to your advantage.
Find superficial ways to appear cooperative. Inform the father of your decisions (after you have made them). At the same time avoid real cooperation. The judge will conclude that the parents “can’t agree” and leave you in charge. Since it is standard piety that joint custody requires “cooperation,” the easiest way to sabotage joint custody is to be as uncooperative as possible.
Go to court right away. The more aggressive you are with litigation the more it will appear you have some valid grievance. The judge and lawyers (including your spouse’s) will be grateful for the business you create. Despite professions of heavy caseloads, courts are under pressure to channel money to lawyers, whose bar associations appoint and promote judges. File a motion for sole custody, and get a restraining order to keep the father from seeing his children. (A nice touch is to say he is planning to “kidnap” them.) Or have him restricted to supervised visitation.
Going to court is also a great opportunity to curtail anything you dislike about your spouse’s child-rearing. If you don’t like his religion, get an injunction against him discussing it. Is he fussy about table manners or proper behavior? Getting a court order is easier than you think. You may even get the child’s entire upbringing micro-managed by judicial directives.
Charges of physical and sexual abuse are also helpful. Accusing a father of sexually abusing his own children is very easy and can be satisfying for its own sake.
Don’t worry about proving the charges. An experienced judge will recognize trumped-up allegations. This is not important, since no one will ever blame the judge for being “better safe than sorry,” and accusations create business for his cronies. You yourself will never have to answer for false charges. The investigation also buys time during which you can further claim to be establishing a routine while keeping Dad at a distance and programming the children against him.
Abuse accusations are also marvelously self-fulfilling. What more logical way to provoke a parent to lash out than to take away his children? Men naturally become violent when someone interferes with their children. This is what fathers are for. The more you can torment him with the ruin of his family, home, livelihood, savings, and sanity, the more likely that he will self-destruct, thus demonstrating his unfitness.
Get the children themselves involved. Children are easily convinced they have been molested. Once the suggestion is planted, any affection from their father will elicit a negative reaction, making your suggestion self-fulfilling in the child’s mind. And if one of your new lovers actually has molested the child, you can divert the accusation to Dad.
Dripping poison into the hearts of your children can be gratifying, and it is a joy to watch the darlings absorb your hostility. Young children can be filled with venom fairly easily just by telling them what a rat their father is as frequently as possible.
Older children present more of a challenge. They may have fond memories of the love and fun they once experienced with him. These need to be expunged or at least tainted. Try little tricks like saying, “Today you will be seeing your father, but don’t worry, it won’t last long.” Worry aloud about the other parent’s competence to care for the child or what unpleasant or dangerous experience may be in store during the child’s visit. Sign the child up for organized activities that conflict with Dad’s visits. Or promise fun things, like a trip to Disneyland, which then must be “cancelled” to visit Dad.
You will soon discover how neatly your techniques reinforce one another. For example, marginalizing the father and alienating the child become perfect complements merely by suggesting that Daddy is absent because he does not love you. What could be more logical in their sweet little minds!
And what works with children is also effective with judges. The more you can make the children hate their father the easier you make it to leave custody with you.
Remember too, this guide is no substitute for a good lawyer, since nothing is more satisfying than watching a hired goon beat up on your child’s father in a courtroom.
And now you can do what you like! You can warehouse the kids in daycare while you work (or whatever). You don’t have to worry about brushing hair or teeth. You can slap them when they’re being brats. You can feed them fast food every night (or just give them Cheez Whiz). If they become a real annoyance you can turn them over to the state social services agency. You are free!
November 19, 2001
The original article can be found here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig2/baskerville1.html
Why Kids Usually Side with the Custodial Parent Especially If They’re Emotionally Abusive
on June 7, 2009 at 8:00 pm
Do your children refuse to see you since you and your ex separated? When you actually get to see your kid(s), do they lash out at you? Do they know things about your break up or divorce that they shouldn’t know? Do they “diagnose” or berate you by using adult terms and expressions that are beyond their years?
If so, you’re probably experiencing the effects of parental alienation or hostile aggressive parenting. It’s normal to have hard feelings at the end of a significant relationship, however, you have a choice about how you handle it.
Most cases of parental alienation occur in dissolved marriages/relationships, break ups, and divorces in which there’s a high degree of conflict, emotional abuse, and/or mental illness or personality disorders.
If you were emotionally abused by your ex while you were still together, then your kid(s) learned some powerful lessons about relationships, especially if you had a “no talk” policy about the rages, yelling, and verbal attacks. Children are adversely affected by witnessing constant conflict and emotional abuse, no matter their age.
Emotionally abusive women and men are scary when on the attack, which probably makes it all the more confusing to see your ex turn your child(ren) against you. Don’t your kids see how out of whack their mom or dad is being? Don’t they know that you love them and how much you want to be in their lives? Don’t they realize they need you now more than ever? Yes and no.
On some level, they do know this. Nonetheless, they’re lashing out at you like mini-versions of your ex. Why?
It’s not that confusing if you think about it from a child’s perspective. Children depend utterly upon their custodial parent. Seeing mom or dad lose it and out of control is anxiety provoking, if not downright terrifying. The following are possible reasons why your ex’s campaign of parental alienation may be successful.
1.) You left them alone with the crazy person. You got out and they didn’t. They’re mad that you’re not there anymore to intervene, buffer, protect, or take the brunt of it.
2.) Self-preservation. They see how your ex is treating you because she or he is angry with you. Your kid(s) don’t want your ex’s wrath directed at them. It’s like siding with the bully at school so they don’t beat the crap out of you.
3.) Fear of loss. If they make your ex mad they worry that they’ll be emotionally and/or physically banished, too. This is especially true if your ex used to shut you out, give you the cold shoulder, and/or ignore you when she or he was upset with you. Your kids probably fear your ex will do this to them if they don’t go along with him or her.
4.) They’re mad at you. You’re no longer physically present at home, which they experience as psychological loss. Many kids experience this as betrayal and/or abandonment. Even if they can recognize that you didn’t have a happy marriage, they still want mom and dad to be together.
Loss, whether it’s physical (death) or psychological (divorce), requires a mourning period. Children aren’t psychologically equipped to handle grief and mourning. Pending other developmental milestones, kids don’t have the psychological capacity to successfully navigate loss until mid-adolescence. If you’d died, they could idealize your memory. However, you’re alive and chose to leave (or your ex chose for you). How do you mourn the loss of someone who’s not dead? It takes a level of intellectual sophistication children don’t possess not to vilify the physically absent parent—especially when your ex isn’t capable of it as an adult.
5.) Rewards and punishment. Your ex “rewards” the kids (material goods, praise, trips and fun activities—probably with your support money—oh the irony) for siding with her or him, being cruel to you, or cutting you off. If your kid(s) stand up for you or challenge your ex’s smear campaign, they’re chastised, lose privileges, or have affection withheld from them. Remember how your ex used to treat you when she or he was displeased? It’s way scarier when you’re a kid. You have options as an adult that your children don’t.
6.) The good son or daughter. They see how upset and out of control your ex is and want to take care of and make her or him “better.” They try to do this by doing what your ex wants, which is being hostile toward you and/or excluding you from their lives. This creates what psychologists refer to as the parentified child. Parentification forces a child to shoulder emotions and responsibilities for which she or he isn’t developmentally prepared.
Emotional parentification is particularly destructive for children and frequently occurs in parental alienation cases. The custodial parent implicitly or explicitly dumps their emotional needs on the child. The child becomes the parent’s confidante, champion/hero and surrogate for an adult partner. This is extremely unhealthy as it robs these kids of their childhood and leads to difficulty in having normal adult relationships later in life.
7..) Power and control. They see the power your ex wields by behaving in an abusive and hurtful way toward you. They can wield the same power by acting out and hurting you, too. A child or teenager’s first taste of power can be thrilling for them. Of course, what they’re learning from you ex is how to gain control by being an emotionally abusive bully.
8.) It’s good to be the victim. The more your ex plays the professional victim to friends, family and the legal system, the more benefits she or he gains—deferential treatment, sympathy, power, and money. The kids pick up on this victim mentality and behaviors and use it to net their own gains.
A combination of the above reasons probably applies to your child(ren) siding with your ex, particularly when you’ve been a good and loving parent. It’s demoralizing to have your kid(s) slap or push you away each time you reach out to them. It’s maddening that family court, in many cases, is blind to the abuses of parental alienation. Try to keep in mind that most children aren’t consciously aware that the above phenomena are occurring. Of course, that doesn’t make it any easier to be the emotional and financial punching bag for your ex and children.
The original article can be found here: http://washingtonsharedparenting.com/?p=411
Note:This Page goes on for 40-50 more pages. The whole article is at: http://mkg4583.wordpress.com/category/title-iv-d/