Friday, April 30, 2004

LaMusga Case- The California Supreme Court Strikes a Blow to Move Away Parents (read: Moms)!!

The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday on the long awaited LaMusga case. From the article:

"The high court ruled that trial courts should have flexibility to consider a variety of factors before allowing a move, including whether it might hurt the relationship between the children and the parent without custody.

Previously, most trial courts allowed custodial parents to move away, unless the move was intended to hurt the other parent. But recently, some trial courts were stopping moves for other reasons, and seeing their rulings overturned on appeal.

With Thursday's ruling, the high court clarified that custodial parents don't have a presumptive right to move, and that court needs to look at the interests of the child. This ruling is in keeping with a recent trend in other states."

The opinion was 6 to 1.

Other Relevant Articles:, Marin Independent Journal,,, ktla5


NOW in New York (Or Now in New York further utilizes unsubstantiated and detrimental opinions proffered as fact)

This article is about accepting press releases and the like from advocacy groups, but it centers on a specific NOW-NY press release. Facts or Propaganda? Deconstructing Advocacy

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Wednesday, April 28, 2004


If you are trying to do research on the effects of sole custody, joint custody, maternal or paternal custody- this is an interesting site. It is not complete, but it lists titles and abstracts for a series of studies addressing these issues. It may help give you some direction. Google Answers


The Sadness of the American Father

This is an older article (June 2000), but it is one of the best that I have seen. It gives a thorough yet succinct overview of the variety of issues faced by fathers trying juggle family, work, divorce and custody. And the best part - it was written by a woman!! American Spectator

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Monday, April 26, 2004

Florida DCF Slammed by Attorney

"State Attorney Bruce H. Colton blasts the agency for causing a father who may be innocent to lose his children, while an alcoholic, drug-addicted and neglectful mother was allowed to raise them."

The accusations levied by this attorney include "coaching" the children to falsely accuse their father of sexual abuse."

During most of the past seven years, DCF caseworkers went to great lengths to leave the two boys with their mother, Colton wrote, despite:

• An internal agency report that concluded ''the mother may not be a stable parent.'' One report concluded the mother's alcohol and drug abuse ``may present a substantial barrier to her achieving effective parenting skills.''

• Reports from officials at a halfway house in which DCF placed the mother and two boys said that they ''suspected that she leaves the premises to drink,'' does not require the boys to attend school, has allowed her car to be repossessed and is not allowed to visit her own mother due to a domestic violence injunction.

• A sworn statement from a doctor who said the mother ``brings [the] children to his office with alcohol on her breath.''

At a January 2001 court hearing, DCF officials blocked the introduction into evidence of a videotaped statement by the mother who said ''that DCF employees asked her to lie in order to obtain an injunction of protection against Gaffney,'' Colton wrote.

''DCF first took the children away from the father based on an inadequate investigation,'' Colton wrote. ``Then, DCF gave custody to the mother who had past criminal convictions, abused alcohol and controlled substances, and committed new crimes while having custody of the children.''

This is freaking disgusting! Sadly, not all that surprising though.

Entire article available at

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Mississippi Legal Aid

Residents of Hinds, Rankin and Madison counties in Mississippi now have free legal aid to help with divorce and custody proceedings.

Legal Assistance Clinic: 206-9339

Article available via

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Australia's Newest Effort

Australia will be using a "family tribunal" on a trial period (2 years) to help alleviate some of the stress both on the family court.

From the article: "The inquiry was established to consider a legal presumption of 50-50 shared custody after divorce, but opted instead to recommend "shared parental responsibility".

Read the article here:


Friday, April 23, 2004

Father, Daughter Reunited At Trial

This is truly a heartbreaking story about a father who searched for his children for years, only to find that they had been living in a polygamous household in which his three daughters had become wives to their step-father.

Independent Record

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Grandparent Visitation

Sorry I have been so lax posting this week, I have been extremely busy and continue to be so probably the next couple posts will just be news.

In Pennsylvania a set of maternal grandparents have sued the father (and custodial parent) of their three grandchildren. Apparently the mother is living out of state and has or is having issues with drug addiction. The grandparents are suing to either have access to the children from 10a to 8p on Sat or 11a to 8p on Sunday - EVERY WEEKEND!! The father maintains that the weekend is his primary time to share with his children as he works during the week.

In my opinion, an entire day every weekend is asking quite a bit. Not just because the father will lose out on this time, it will surely put a lot of stain on the children's extracurricular activities, athletics and play time with friends if they are court ordered to spend an entire weekend day with their Grandparents each weekend.

However, it does seem as though a compromise could be made. If I was the father I would propose 4 hours or so every other Sunday, or something like that. Maybe time after school a day a week... I don't know but it seems like there is room for some type of happy medium here.

Read the article at the Times Leader.

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Thursday, April 15, 2004

Enter the Custody Evaluator

For those of you going through a divorce, it is likely that you have seen a custody evaluator in one form or another. They might be titled as a G.A.L, Children's Advocate, (more directly) Custody Evaluator or any other conglomeration of words made to sound impartial and inherently good.

In my personal experience I have been "lucky" enough to be involved with two custody evaluators. Luckily for us, the results from both were positive for our side. However, that in no way eliminates the emotional and mental stress (i.e. - anguish, dread, debilitating fear) that came while the evaluations were being rendered. Further, both of the evaluators that I had experience with truly did seem to place great importance on their position, attempt in every way to be as thorough and impartial as possible, and be smart enough to see through some of the bull-shit that inevitably comes with this process.

All of this aside, many people do not feel as though they had a positive experience with their evaluator - even those who were on the favorable end of the recommendation. There is no universal standard for custody evaluators. Varying from county to county they can have vastly different backgrounds and levels of education. In my county, not all of the evaluators have children, not all have college degrees, not all are married (or have even been married)... And all are women. This is not to point fingers at any of them in particular; I believe they all do the best they can. But the question remains - how does one render an opinion when there are so many differences within the decision maker population. How does a never married woman with no children effectively assess the breakdown of a marriage - particularly in terms of child placement?

As problematic as those questions are to me they do not even begin to touch the real problem that I have with these evaluators. I suppose it could be summed up this way - Is there really a need for this position?

Granted, in cases where both parents have been accused of physical, mental, or emotional abuse, substance abuse, abandonment or something of that ilk - an impartial third party is probably absolutely necessary. The judge obviously cannot dedicate the investigative time needed to slog through these types of accusations. In this respect, a custody evaluator is an invaluable resource and may be able to recommend help for the parents as well as best case scenarios for the children. (Here then we come back to the question of qualifications - For some reference here is a study printed in Professional Psychology - Custody Evaluation Practices:
A Survey of Experienced Professionals (Revisited)
. Caveat, this study only includes licensed psychologists - meaning more often than not, it would not include branches of the court dedicated to custody evaluations.) In terms of how often this would be necessary I found this article from the Daily Herald, but I'll summarize some of the points here:
"The one research project on the issue that experts cite most often was conducted 13 years ago by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts in Denver.

After studying 9,000 contested custody cases, the organization flagged 169 - about 2 percent - in which one parent levied sexual abuse allegations during the proceedings. Of those, the study found, about half were substantiated. The rest were classified as either false or unsubstantiated."

Now this quote only deals with sexual abuse - but what it effectively (if the numbers hold up) says, it that in roughly 2% of cases a custody evaluator would be needed. For arguments sake let?s add another 13% to account for physical, emotional or substance abuse claims as well. Also, this article says that half of that 2% turn out to be either false or at least improvable. To me this means that these evaluators needed to be highly trained in tactics that allow them to identify false accusations as well as identifying when a child has been prompted to make untrue claims. So using very rough numbers, I would from here see a need for an evaluator in 15-20% of custody cases. (If you would like more information on abuse charges and the problems faced by children who have been involved in false allegations try SPARC) Admittedly, this is all very rudimentary math and based on statistics that I have not seen follow-up support for... but even bumping the numbers up substantially to 50% is still only half of the contested cases.

Custody evaluators can take several forms. There may be a branch of government that handles evaluations- and these will be the most lacking in professional qualification but most often will be free or substantially cheaper than an independent alternative. There are licensed psychologists or psychiatrists who can be obtained either through an order of the court or as an "expert" by one of the parents. More recently, some attorneys seem to be turning to this field and advertising themselves as custody evaluators. Generally, while they have legal experience, their experience with custody evaluations will be strictly practical and not based in any type of schooling or preparatory methods. (One such attorney is the catalyst for this post and I will link to her article later on...)

Effectively - two of the three groups mentioned above will make money on your case. The branch of the court evaluators will be paid by the government and their payment will not be dependent on how much time, resources, etc... they devote to your case. The other two will receive payment directly contingent upon the time they dedicate to your case. You will have to decide for yourself if that presents a conflict. It seems to me these two groups have a vested interest in performing these evaluations and would likely see no reason to limit the cases in which they are used. From the study I cited above: "The average fee for a custody evaluation is $2,646; almost triple what it was 10 years ago." (Keep in mind that study was published in 1997 so I feel it is a safe assumption to say they cost even more today, 7 years later)

The most inherent question here (to me anyway) is if you have two parents who are both willing and able to take care of their children - why do we send them to a custody evaluator instead of simply giving them joint custody. If I were such an evaluator the first question I would ask both parties would be why on earth do you not want joint custody? Or more succinctly, what do expect to gain by having primary custody? And in what way will that be beneficial to your child?

This argument simply goes back to my bigger thoughts on presumptive joint custody. If we had presumptive joint custody, evaluators would only be needed in the most extreme cases. Granted, presumptive joint may lead to more abuse allegations initially as one parent hopes to trump the system. Yet, by effectively training evaluators to identify false allegations and having some form of punishment (be it monetary, community service, parenting classes or all of the above) for parents who levy false claims I would think these claims would subside to virtually just those that are warranted.

The public can no longer deny that the government (all while it promotes the Healthy Marriage Initiative, the Fatherhood Initiative, ...) has a vested financial interest in the destruction of marriage, particularly those where children are involved. The Federal Government provides the states extra funding in correlation with the amount of child support each state collects. This is why in many states you now see even when there is agreement on support, the state will still mandate the checks first go through their system. For more info try: Limit Federal Child Support Enforcement to Welfare Cases. Or the White House: Enhance Child Support Enforcement. Finally, this article is lengthy but the most thorough: Child Support Enforcement Program.

The government is now in the business of creating and staffing "visitation centers" for those parents ordered to have supervised visitation. Two articles: Mothers, Interrupted and A State Agency With the Power to 'Kidnap With Impunity'. Now, I am not going to say these have no benefit. But again I go back to the relatively low percentage of abuse claims and even lower rate of those substantiated and I wonder - how many of these centers do we actually need?

Family court caseloads are constantly growing. For example: Fight over last name helps jam isle courts, Fathers push for equal custody and Children, Courts and Custody - the last article is a PDF so you will need Adobe Reader. There are plenty more where these came from... While it does seem obvious from many of these articles that many of the people staffing these courtrooms would like to see their workload reduced to a manageable level, one could hardly presume they would like to see divorce/custody cases cease all together. The destruction of marriage and the subsequent allocation of children is their very livelihood.

Here we come back to the idea of presumptive joint custody. Do our current custody laws and practices encourage contentious divorce and custody proceedings? There is evidence that in states that have a presumption of joint custody both divorce rates and custody proceedings go down in number. Relevant studies (courtesy of
Kuhn and Guidubaldi (1997) showed a significant correlation between joint physical custody awards and reduced divorce. They conjectured that a parent who expects to receive sole custody is more likely to file for divorce than one who may be awarded shared custody. Sole custody allows one parent to hurt the other by taking away the children, and usually involves higher child support transfers than shared physical custody. Sanford Braver discusses the implications of their findings in his book Divorced Dads.

Brinig and Buckley (1998) independently found the same correlation between joint physical custody awards and reduced divorce. They conjectured that fathers are more likely to form strong bonds with children if they know that their relationship would be protected through joint physical custody in the even of a divorce. This would reduce the likelihood that fathers would initiate divorce.

Brinig and Allen (1998) showed that the parent who receives custody is more likely to be the one who files for divorce. That is, among cases where the mother received custody, the mother usually filed for divorce, and where the father received custody, the father was more likely to be the one who filed. They concluded that filing behavior is largely driven by attempts to "exploit the other partner through divorce." Significantly, they found that custody had a stronger relationship with filing than financial factors, although these factors are of course comingled through child support.

Also Child Custody Policies and Divorce Rates in the United States, The Determination of Child Custody in the USA and Benefits of Joint Custody.

A quote from the Washington Post Article Joint Custody Discourages Divorce (1/25/98): Divorce rates have dropped dramatically in the states that promote joint custody, says the January 25th issue of the Washington Post. Richard Morin's article cites research in nineteen states, by Richard Kuhn of the Childrens' Rights Council and John Guidubaldi of Kent State University.

Overall, divorce rates declined nearly four times faster in high-joint custody states, compared with states where joint custody is relatively rare. One big reason is that joint custody "removes the capacity for one spouse to hurt the other by denying participation in raising the children."

Okay, so let's get back to what started this in the first place. I ran across this article: Lawyer works for children in tough spots. I'll copy my favorite parts for you: No more adversarial family law practice for Bader. No longer will the attorney represent one parent or the other in a child custody dispute.

Instead, she will perform, on behalf of Manitowoc County, home studies and present her findings to the court about the condition of a child's home, the parenting abilities of the parties involved and any other relevant factors.

This allows me to still work with the families and be in a neutral position. There is a lengthy questionnaire that is filled out, (which) asks the parents how they have been involved in different areas of the child's life, Bader said.

What are the child's favorite activities? What do they do together as parent and child? What do they believe is their greatest strength as a parent the other parent's strengths?

Bader said it makes the warring parents stop and recognize there are positives about their ex.

I?ll meet with the kids, observe interaction at home. I'll see how they are doing in school, get copies of report cards to look for trends, Bader said.

Grades clue to stress

She noted one of the quickest ways to see if a child is affected negatively by parental squabbling is a sudden drop in grades.

Bader tends to see neat houses, neat bedrooms, no dirty dishes and polite children, with everyone on their best behavior so she might make a favorable report to the judge.

She said it can be a challenge to get past the coaching of mother or father telling little Susie or Johnnie to only say nice things about them to the legal system visitor.

You learn to read between the lines, detect influences that maybe shouldn't be there, Bader said.

You really encounter a whole spectrum of different types of individuals and environments and children. Some of it is truly heartbreaking, said Bader, who has been involved in domestic violence issues and causes.

There are those parents who may seek additional custody or overnights because of financial reimbursement linked to time spent with the child.

What I am getting at is this - if you have two parents who are splitting up for no other reason except that THEY no longer get along what right does the state have to not promote joint custody and to send this type of evaluator into their respective homes!? What on earth gives this woman the qualifications, but more importantly the right, to determine and dictate the future of a child based upon her "feelings" of a mandated parenting survey! This woman has virtually unchecked powers - she can summons school records, medical records and decide if she feels if one parent is lying or encouraging the children to lie. Her experience for this insurmountably important job: She came from a divorced family, is divorced herself and is a lawyer. Yippee! She has spent the past several years helping the courts destroy families and now she is going into private practice (read: this is how she will support herself) to make judgments about other parents. Most telling, no where in the interview did this woman ever discuss how important it is to encourage both parents to be involved and cooperative. Oops, if parents did that, she might be out of a job.

I shouldn't be so hard on this woman, I am sure her intentions are good. And just like every other mother on the verge of a divorce, we cannot fault them for taking advantage of a government that works in their favor. For women divorcing, they know (generally) they have an advantage in family court. You can't expect them to go in front of the judge and request the bias for mothers be thrown out in their particular case. Women have largely inoculated the idea that they are owed the children, the assets and financial support. We are not going to change these assumptions by discussing their fallacies with the women; we will have to change the system that perpetuates these assumptions. The government is ultimately the decision maker and if your ex-wife exercises every available option she has to screw you - you can call her evil but you also have to call her smart enough to capitalize on all the available avenues at her disposal. The government is truly the one who should answer for this lack of justice.

And just like divorcing mothers, this attorney turned custody evaluator is likewise capitalizing on a government system that advocates completely unqualified people to render some of the most important decisions in the lives of the children affected by divorce. The saddest part is that children of divorce are already at a disadvantage regarding emotional, educational and physical well being - then we turn their fate to the arbitrary decision making process of an "evaluator." While the article would like you to believe that there is no money in this line of work, I would refer you to the statistic above concerning the cost of these evaluations. They do not come cheap from a private party. Let's just say she won't be hitting the welfare doles any time in the foreseeable future.

There are very big problems in our system and they are extremely detrimental to the well being of all children. With 50-60% of marriages resulting in divorce these days it seems a safe assumption that if you didn't come from one, you will have one or someone very close to you will. Only through watching this completely horrendous process and the aftermath for the children can you ever get a formidable idea of how bad this really is. But I assure you, once it becomes personal - it is something you will never understand fully and something you will never forget.


Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Pledge v. Fathers

This article is from Wendy McElroy and found on the site. It looks at the case of Elk Grove Unified School District v. Newdow, which is currently before the Supreme Court. (This is the Pledge of Allegiance case where the father objects to his daughter using the terms "Under God")

One of the issues of this case is whether the father actually has standing to petition the court because apparently when he filed, the mother of the child had sole legal custody. (The article claims that apparently there is now a joint legal arrangement, but no timeline for when and how that occurred). After the father filed, the mother filed a motion claiming the father had no legal standing... (I would have thought that if the father currently had joint legal custody, the standing issue would effectively be moot - unless it was just some bureaucratic nonsense about having to re-file after the custody change)

The article draws interesting parallels, particularly in the respect that this decision may force opposition between religious advocates and fathers rights advocates - as well as the unintended consequences on the fathers rights cause this verdict might bring.

Read the article here: Parental Rights and the Pledge


Gay Marriage More Relevant Than Traditional Divorce?!

In the past several months I have been just astounded at the amount of press gay and marriage (and subsequent divorce) has received in the media without any discussion of the inherent problems in traditional divorce. Apparently Dr. Stephen Baskerville has felt the same as his latest article is about the implications of Massachusetts gay marriage rulings on traditional divorce and what this means for the fathers movement. Read the article here: Massachusetts' Family 'Justice'


Tuesday, April 13, 2004

When Do Reporters Do More Harm Than Good?

I stumbled upon this article from 3/14/02, published in the Boston Globe. I try to read everything I can about Father's Rights, regardless of the print date.

First, I want to say that any reporter who writes a story about the plight fathers face in family courts should be duly commended. This is not a particularly popular topic for several reasons - I don't believe men truly realize how bad it can be until they find themselves immersed and completely unprepared - While women may have an inkling as to how the system will work, more often than not it works in their favor so if it isn't broken... Besides, more often, it now seems that instead of mothers realizing the system is biased in their favor, mothers feel as though they are entitled to the children, the home, the checks... - And unfortunately, it seems as though there is so much other stuff going on in the country, the population at large either chooses not to or cannot devote much attention to this issue.

So for this topic, any reporter who treats the issues "somewhat" fairly is okay by me. The more coverage this issue gets, the more pressure will be felt by the judicial and legislative branches of government.

However, the treatment of men in this article is problematic for me. The "example" man at the beginning of the article is painted as a victim of his wife and the system. While more often than not men find themselves victimized by both, the depiction of a man living in a marriage in which his wife has divorce papers on hand in the event her wishes are not met, does not portray the type of father that I feel the public should have in mind when considering this issue. The article does well enough to portray his wife as a "hateful tyrant" over her marriage, husband and children - but effectively then the husband becomes a spineless observer of his own family.

The "example" father at the end of the article is also problematic. While I am thrilled that this extremely young father has found parental responsibility and is taking fathering classes, his case should not be presented as the norm. Teenage fathers need extensive support and should be applauded when they act mature beyond their years in regard to children.

However, the average divorced is neither of these two cases. Most fathers will not be forced to endure a loveless, hateful marriage simply because their wife throws around divorce papers. A mother who will act as such should likely have more limited contact with their child as they obviously are unable to consider the child's welfare. A man who walked out on this type of marriage should not be considered ambivalent to his child's needs, likely he may be the only parent considering those needs. (Not to mention, that as we have discussed previously, women initiate somewhere around 65% of divorces). Further, the majority of fathers who take issue with the legal system are not teenage parents. They are men from "traditional" marriages that find out during divorce proceedings that the family court considers them secondary citizens in regard to the care of their children, through financial contributions will not only be accepted, they will be expected.

In my opinion, this author could have done much better by the countless non-custodial or divorcing fathers around the country. If he had accurately portrayed the plight of the majority of these fathers instead of trying to illicit sympathy by providing the most extreme examples, people nationwide would have a much better idea of what happens to children when their parents divorce.

Read the article here:

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Monday, April 12, 2004

Feminist Agenda

This is an article that was adapted from a book published in 1994. That is my caveat - this is an old article. Nonetheless, it is an interesting look at some of the ways feminist organizations and causes have used "statistics." The New Mythology - Figuring Out Feminism

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California Senate Bill 1367

While the LaMusga move away case continues to be debated in the California Supreme Court, California Senate President Pro Tem John Burton is attempting to push a bill through the legislature that will make it easier for custodial parents to move. The bill states that a parents petition to move "cannot be frustrated by undue delay," effectively eliminating the courts ability to do an thorough and in-depth evaluation as to the needs of the child. Read the entire Glenn Sacks article here:

Contact John Burton from his website.

Senator Burton is a democrat, as is the majority of the California Senate. The most recent bill that Senator Burton passed through the legislature was in Oct 2003 and reads as follows:


INTRODUCED BY Senator Burton

FEBRUARY 11, 2003

An act to amend Section 7501 of the Family Code, relating to child


SB 156, Burton. Custody: residence of the child.
Existing law provides that a parent entitled to the custody of a
child has a right to change the residence of the child, subject to
the power of the court to restrain a removal that would prejudice the
rights or welfare of the child. Existing law, as established in In
re Marriage of Burgess (1996) 13 Cal.4th 25, provides that when a
judicial custody order is in place, a custodial parent seeking to
relocate bears no burden of establishing that it is necessary to do
This bill would state the intent of the Legislature to affirm the
decision in the case described above and to declare that ruling to be
the public policy and law of this state.


SECTION 1. Section 7501 of the Family Code is amended to read:
7501. (a) A parent entitled to the custody of a child has a right
to change the residence of the child, subject to the power of the
court to restrain a removal that would prejudice the rights or
welfare of the child.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to affirm the decision in
In re Marriage of Burgess (1996) 13 Cal.4th 25, and to declare that
ruling to be the public policy and law of this state.

Obviously it is his intent to slowly erode any claim that a non-custodial parent has to their child.

You can contact all members of the California Senate on the Senate website. The following are Republican Senators: Brulte, Poochigian, Aanestad, Ackerman, Ashburn, Battin, Denham, Hollingsworth, Johnson, Knight, Margett, McClintock, McPherson, Morrow and Oller.

This is not to say that we have a preference for Republicans, only that considering a Democrat is pushing through this horrific legislation, we should expect the most support from a Republican counterpart.

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Tennessee Legal Aid

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee is providing a class for parents who are representing themselves in custody or visitation issues.

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Friday, April 09, 2004

Wisconsin Paternity Suit

This is an extremely interesting and unbelievably convoluted case out of Wisconsin. I will attempt to provide a synopsis:

A married woman had an affair and shortly thereafter became pregnant. While she made the man she was having the affair with aware that the child might be his, she never told her husband of the affair. A few years later the woman and her husband are divorcing and the husband is seeking custody, visitation, etc... The woman then tells her husband that the child is likely not his. After a paternity test this is found to be true and the biological father attempts to assert his rights to the child. The court rules in favor of the non-biological father and is reaffirmed (kind-of at least, they rule in favor of the non-biological father but for different reasons) by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The biological father is ordered to have no-contact with the child. The kicker here is that the mother has since married the biological father and shares custody with the non-biological father, but her husband (the biological father) is currently not allowed to see the child. Apparently the biological father could be awarded some sort of visitation if a "child psychologist decides it is appropriate in the future."

Personally, I think this mother is crazy and obviously doing large amounts of harm to her child. Other than that, I'm not sure how I feel about the ruling. It is not the non-biological fathers fault this occurred and he has acted as father since the child was born (I believe the child is roughly 6 now). However, giving the biological father no access does not seem correct either. Read the article for yourself at gmtoday.

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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Where Men Hit a Glass Ceiling

This is an interesting article, written by a female law student (as far as I can tell), about the problems men face with child custody and support. Child Custody: Where Men Hit a Glass Ceiling

Not much in terms of new information, but it is always refreshing to see there are other women out there who are able to recognize the inequities of this system.

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Iowa Joint Custody Legislation

Iowa is in the process of passing new joint custody legislation. Iowa Bill HF22 "would amend the Iowa Code by saying that if parents are awarded joint legal custody, the court shall (changed from may) award joint physical care to both parents, unless one parent objects and can provide clear and convincing evidence that the arrangement is unreasonable." It has now passed both the Iowa House and Senate.

This is a watershed event as even though there are states with presumptive joint custody laws, rarely is the language so strict. For example, here is Indiana's joint custody statute: "The court may award legal custody of a child jointly if the court finds an award of joint legal custody would be in the best interests of the child. An award of joint legal custody under section 13 of this chapter does not require an equal division of physical custody of the child." - You can see this nothing about this is presumptive, including joint legal custody.

The Iowa law still has to be signed by Governor Tom Vilsack. I strongly encourage you, regardless of where you live, to contact the Governor in support of this bill. You can contact him through his website or:
Office of the Governor
State Capitol
Des Moines, Iowa 50319
Fax 515-281-6611

For more information on this bill you can visit which is a political action committee in Iowa.

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Thursday, April 01, 2004

Father Custody Gaining

The following is from, unfortunately it is not dated so I am not sure how current these statistics are:

Father Custody Gaining in Popularity
Seventeen Percent of Children Living with Only One Parent Now Live with the Father
Latest US Census Bureau figures show the number of single father homes continuing to rise rapidly. The number of single father homes rose by 25 percent in just three years, accounting for all of the increase in single parent families, while the number of single mother households remained almost constant.

For every five mothers raising children alone, there is now one father raising his children without their mother present.

The number of children living only with the mother declined in 1997, while the number of children living only with the father increased by ten percent in that year.

Link to the excerpt here -

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Single & Custodial Fathers Network

This is a support group of sorts for fathers who do have custody of their children. Includes statistics, meeting info, etc... Single & Custodial Fathers Network

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Fathers 4 Justice Plan Protest

Fathers 4 Justice will have a nationwide protest "over child custody laws they say are biased in favour of mothers in divorce proceedings." Reuters UK


Fatherhood Crisis in America

This is the latest article from Dr. Stephen Baskerville - Is There Really A Fatherhood Crisis? Dr. Baskerville calls into question the idea of the "deadbeat father" being responsible for the fatherhood crisis in America and presents evidence to instead point a finger at the government which creates layers upon layers of bureaucracy to deal with these fathers; thereby effectively creating an economic investment for the continued removal of fathers from the care of their children. (This article is a PDF so you will need Adobe reader)

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