Thursday, June 30, 2005

Army Marriages May Be Casualty Of War

Army Marriages May Be Casualty Of War
Divorce Rate Soars, Especially For Officers


While U.S. casualties steadily mount in Iraq, another toll is rising rapidly on the home front: The Army's divorce rate has soared in the past three years, most notably for officers, as longer and more frequent war zone deployments place extra strain on couples.

Between 2001 and 2004, divorces among active-duty Army officers and enlisted personnel nearly doubled, from 5,658 to 10,477, even though total troop strength remained stable. In 2002, the divorce rate among married officers was 1.9 percent - 1,060 divorces out of 54,542 marriages; by 2004, the rate had tripled to 6 percent, with 3,325 divorces out of 55,550 marriages.

For those troops who do divorced, military breakups can pose unique legal and logistical challenges, especially when one spouse is deployed overseas.

Mark Sullivan, a former Army lawyer who now practices privately in Raleigh, N.C., says soldiers in often-deployed units may have trouble winning child custody and - when posted abroad - arranging visits from their children. In one recent case, Sullivan has represented a Tennessee father whose ex-wife is now seeking custody of their daughter because the man's National Guard unit was sent overseas.

Kidd said the divorce problem could get even worse, as long the campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere require frequent deployments.

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Lost Liberty Hotel

I briefly discussed the Supreme Court eminent domain decision and though admittedly it is not directly related to Father's Rights - I believe, as I mentioned, it is just another gross misuse of government power.

In that vein, and for a bit of levity, I stumbled upon this press release. Basically, a developer has petitioned to build a hotel on the residence of Supreme Court Justice David Souter in Weare, New Hampshire. The hotel will be named "The Lost Liberty Hotel."

The developer claims this is a serious venture and proposes to include within the hotel a "Just Desserts Café" and a "museum featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America."

Also, a pledge was started on Pledge Bank where people are promising to spend 7 days at the hotel were it built. At this writing, 642 people have signed the pledge and it will remain active for the next 60 days. (You can sign by clicking on the Pledge Bank link).

Update: Just stumbled on this related Mens News Daily Article.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Bill puts kids first in divorces -New Hampshire

Portsmouth Herald Local News: Bill puts kids first in divorces


A bill designed to mitigate some of the most unfair aspects of current divorce law was passed in both houses of the Legislature this month.

HB 640 aims to remind the estranged spouses that their children come first. To do that, it requires the parents go through pre-court mediation unless there’s a restraining order in place. The bill also assumes that children need to have both parents active in their lives and asks each parent to create an in-depth parenting plan.

Rep. Chris Serlin, D-Portsmouth, said the current process is destructive to children, and many believe the system favors mothers.

"It’s so hard for the kids to understand why their parents would want to dissolve their bond," said Serlin. "The children will deal with it for the rest of their lives. We have to keep the process from scarring them, if that’s possible."

Serlin agreed that the courts probably favor women.

"A presumption of equality is a good place to start," Serlin said. "Anything that levels the playing field is good."

"Not many people win a divorce," he said. "But the research shows it doesn’t have to derail the kids if the kinds of things in this bill are actually done. Mediation is especially useful when the two people sincerely want to work things out for the kids. But there’s so much hurt to set aside. Nobody goes into a marriage thinking it will fall apart."

Powers said the children want to know they’ll still have a mother and father in the end.

Sen. Martha Fuller Clark, D-Portsmouth, said the bill sets up some clear criteria for making decisions about support and custody. That, along with mediation, should make the legal battle less costly and more amicable, she said.

"It will make sure the parties talk about the needs of their children early on," said Fuller Clark. "That’s a step in the right direction."

Rep. David Bickford, R-New Durham, the bill’s prime sponsor, said he drafted the legislation to require mediation in every divorce case, but an amendment passed by the Senate exempted cases involving domestic violence.

In an exhaustive report issued in 2004, New Hampshire’s Family Law Task Force, chaired by Nina Gardner, recommended the passage of legislation like HB 640 along with a broad expansion of the family court system. Gardner said the bill helps parents keep their children out of the fire of the divorce.

"We know the children absolutely, positively benefit from having two parents in their lives," said Gardner. "That’s a profound change the report and the bill address. There’s no gender bias in our report. That doesn’t mean a 50-50, cookie-cutter arrangement is best in every case. It means the kids are not property."

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Thursday, June 23, 2005

Short Break

If you haven't noticed already this blog is on a short "work is insane, baseball, soccer, family in town, funeral, laundry taking over my basement, A/C crapped out, you mean in order to get my Masters I actually have to do the work, oh I forgot I volunteered for that" break.

Estimated return: your guess is as good as mine.... Soon, I hope, things have to settle down soon... right?

I will say though that I took a second to look over the Supreme Court ruling on that eminent domain case and all I can say is SICK, SICK, SICK. This is the case where the town of New London (I think) wants to level peoples homes to build a lakefront hotel, gym and offices - and the SC voted 5-4 in favor. Look, this may not seem related to father's rights to you but it is just another example of our government FAR overstepping its bounds. Similar to government overstepping in turning fathers into visitors in the lives of their children.

The following quote are from this article:

Homes may be 'taken' for private projects
Justices: Local governments can give OK if it's for public good

The 5-4 ruling, assailed by dissenting Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as handing disproportionate influence and power to the well-heeled represented a defeat for some Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex.

Any property may now be taken for the benefit of another private party, but the fallout from this decision will not be random, O'Connor wrote. The beneficiaries are likely to be those citizens with disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms.

She was joined in her opinion by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, as well as Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

Thomas filed a separate opinion to argue that seizing homes for private development, even with just compensation, is unconstitutional.

Monday, June 20, 2005

On Father's Day, children and dads rally for custody rights

On Father's Day, children and dads rally for custody rights


The children were among the 44 people who marched from Freedom Corner in the Hill District to the steps of the City County Building, Downtown, on Father's Day in support of divorced dads and their rights.

It was the 11th year that dads have made that march in Pittsburgh.

For many, it was a protest of the notion of partial custody.

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Fathers deserve more than a day

Kathleen Parker: Fathers deserve more than a day


But none of our personal anecdotes changes the fact that fathers are critical to children's lives, just as mothers are, and that the diminution of Father in our culture may be the single stupidest turn in human history yet. The proof of our folly is all around us as measured in the pathologies afflicting our young, yet we persist in denial lest truth inconvenience our next act of self-affirmation.

That a father revolt is inevitable seems a matter of cultural physics and human nature. Human beings can withstand only so much contravening pressure against what is in their interest or necessary to their survival. Men do not do well without families, as George Gilder wrote as long ago as 1973 in his landmark book, "Sexual Suicide," subsequently expanded to "Men and Marriage."

Gilder argued that men need marriage and the social unit of the traditional family as a means of channeling their inherent aggressiveness toward providing for family. Without it, they are vulnerable to mental and social problems and tend to be less successful. When men through divorce are deprived of their children, they become what in healthier circumstances we would wish them to be: ferocious in trying to gain access and protect them.

A time of reckoning can't be far off given that family courts have made divorced fathers visitors to their children's lives - 40 percent of children live in homes without their fathers - as society has embraced the "deadbeat dad" as a prototype rather than a deviation from the norm. Studies show that women file the majority of divorces, and that fathers (almost 80 percent) who have regular contact with their children pay their child support in full and on time.

To be blunt, raising boys and girls without their fathers is simply another, if mysteriously accepted, form of child neglect. Obviously some parents don't deserve their children; and some children, like me, lose a parent to death. We can't make the world perfect for everyone.

But purposely creating ways to keep fathers from their children - either because personal bitterness makes it preferable or because moving far away makes his participation impossible - is not forgivable. When hurt fathers contact me for advice, knowing my concern about the long-term effects of father absence on children and ultimately society, I urge them to keep to the high road.

To be patient and understanding, to be strong and reliable, to be fatherly - in other words - in the old ways. That so many try in spite of the forces arrayed against them is reason enough to celebrate this day. Even to give ol' dad a call.

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Friday, June 17, 2005

Happy Father's Day!

Just wanted to take the time to say Happy Father's Day! I hope you all have a wonderful day with your children...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

New Blog Addition

I opened my home page (MSN) and saw this:

Diary of a divorced dad: One man's blog

Wow, MSN giving coverage to a divorced father who has a category on his blog named: Ex Wife Hell

Shocked (truly) would be the only way to describe how I'm feeling. Is there light at the end of the tunnel after all?

This time, mothers score court victory - Colorado

This time, mothers score court victory

By Al Knight

The Colorado Supreme Court has chosen sides in the gender wars.

In two decisions last week, the court handed the prize to divorced or divorcing mothers who had lost at the trial court level and in the Colorado Court of Appeals.

In those two cases, the lower courts had found - wonder of wonders - that it was in the best interests of the affected children to maintain close contact with their fathers. The trial judges in those cases ruled that the mothers of the children could not in one instance continue to reside in Arizona and in the other couldn't relocate with her child to that state.

Before dealing with the court's reasoning, a little history is in order. In 1963, and again in 1980, the Colorado Supreme Court found that it was against state policy to remove a child from the state's jurisdiction without a showing that the move was in the child's best interest.

That standard was tossed with a Supreme Court decision in 1996 in which the court discovered a presumption that it is in a child's best interest to remain with the custodial parent should that parent relocate to another state.

The state legislature, for obvious reasons, didn't much like that decision and so the law was changed in 2001 to provide that a court, presented with a request of a parent to move out of state, must take into account a long list of relevant factors, including the impact the move would have on the non-custodial parent's relationship with the child.

The new law clearly had two purposes: to rebuke the court for its decision creating a presumption in favor of the custodial parent (almost always the mother); and to level the playing field to benefit the father.

So it came to pass that a trial judge had to interpret the new law. In doing so, he appointed a special advocate to look into all of the relevant relationships affecting the child. The special advocate (a woman) found that that the child would be adversely affected by the separation from its father. Before reaching a decision, the judge also asked the parties to comment on an article in a respected family journal that discussed the adverse affects on children when the parents lived in widely separated locations.

Ultimately, the judge noted that the mother, who had not yet found employment in another state, was willing to stay in Colorado and so he ruled that she could not relocate to Arizona.

The Court of Appeals, in affirming this decision, specifically noted that the special advocate had found that the significant reduction in visitation by the father would have caused "irreparable harm" to the bond between the father and the child. (emphasis mine)

The three-judge panel found no abuse of discretion by the trial judge. On appeal, the Supreme Court held that the trial judge had abused his discretion by "prematurely" concluding there is a value to giving both parents ample access to their child. (Again the emphasis is mine - but truly, how sick is this? It needed to be in bold)

Justice Nancy Rice, who wrote the related opinions, said that the trial court should have given more consideration to the advantages the child would receive by staying with the "primary caregiver."

She went on to address whether the mother has a constitutional right to travel. She found that there is such a right, but it must be balanced against the right of the biological father to help raise his child. Then, after a wholly unimpressive balancing act, Rice and the court concluded the father's rights had to give way.

In reaching this conclusion, the court ignored the law and policy in some other states, including Texas, where the courts have said that the right of the mother to travel is not restricted in these situations. What is limited, and properly so, is the right of the mother to take the child, against the wishes of the father, to another state.

Colorado has obviously strayed from the notion that a mother wishing to move to another state has to demonstrate the move is in the best interests of the child.

Under the cases announced last week, the new standard is the best interests of the mother.

Still, as Father's Day approaches, it might be useful to note that 40 percent of America's children now live in homes without their real fathers. It should also be plain that last week's decisions will only make matters worse.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

A Government Program is No Substitute for a Bear-Hug

A Government Program is No Substitute for a Bear-Hug
By: Carey Roberts

In this Father's Day essay, Carey Roberts analyzes how well-intentioned government programs have contributed to the rise of fatherlessness.

For the better part of the last 40 years, policy experts and childrearing gurus relegated fathers to the parental minor leagues. Dads were seen as well-intentioned but inept Homer Simpsons who might be able to teach junior how to swing a baseball bat, but little else.

But kids see it differently. Mary Kay Shanley's book, When I Think About My Father, recites these love-words from Amanda, age 6: "At the end of the day when I go to bed, Daddy tucks me in. We talk together about our day. He reads me a story to help me sleep. We pray together. That is my favorite part."

Research confirms with Amanda's endorsement of fatherhood. It turns out that kids with hands-on dads have greater levels of self-esteem and social competence, get higher grades in school, and do better on a broad range of social and psychological indicators. Even in high-crime, inner-city neighborhoods, over 90% of children who grow up in two-parent families avoid becoming delinquents.

Sadly, government social welfare programs have a dismal track record in this area. It's not that they have just ignored the essential role of fathers. The problem is, they have offered inducements to actually remove dads from the lives of their kids.

This pattern can be traced back to the 1960s. Under Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, welfare benefits came with a catch: first, kick dad out of the house. As a result of this exclusionary "man-in-the-house" rule, the number of children growing up in fatherless homes rose dramatically.

Before long, people began to notice that poor fathers were "abandoning" their children. So beginning in 1975, the Congress passed a series of child support laws that targeted so-called "deadbeat" dads.

The reforms may have been well-intentioned, but they missed the mark on one key point: many low-income dads couldn't pay their child support because they were on Skid Row. But that fact didn't stop the federal Office for Child Support Enforcement, with a budget of $4 billion, from hounding indigent fathers and sending thousands to debtor's jail each year.

But the government was not done with its task of dismembering the traditional family.
In 1994 the Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act, a $1 billion-a-year feminist windfall that claims to combat domestic violence. One of VAWA's tools is the issuance of restraining orders.

The dirty little secret that feminists never like to admit is that they have stealthily broadened the scope of violence. For example, the National Victim Assistance Academy came up with this all-encompassing definition: "Domestic violence is a pattern of coercive behavior designed to exert power and control over a person in an intimate relationship through the use of intimidating, threatening, harmful, or harassin behavior."

As a result of this definitional sleight-of-hand, "domestic violence becomes whatever the woman says it is," according to columnist Phyllis Schlafly.

So when these "battered" mothers seek a restraining order, they also petition for divorce and custody of the children. Once again, the kids are left without a father.

The effects of these federal programs are predictable -- and tragic. In 1960, five million American children lived in fatherless homes. By 1980, that number more than doubled to 11 million. And now, 16 million children live only with their mothers.

The National Fatherhood Initiative issued this sobering warning: "Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional, and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior."

So consider the 16 million boys and girls who go to bed each night without getting a bear-hug from daddy, and it's easy to see why a 1999 Gallup poll found that 72% of Americans believe that "the physical absence of the father from the home is the most significant problem facing America."

On Father's Day, it's traditional to honor our fathers - those home-grown heroes who sacrifice their moments of quiet reflection, their comfort, and even their health to support and protect their families. This coming Sunday I will remember my own dad, thankful for all the good times we spent together.

Perhaps this Father's Day should also be a day of reckoning. It's time to ask, Why does the US taxpayer continue to subsidize government programs, to the tune of billions of dollars a year, that end up separating fathers from their families?

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It's hard to honor dad when he's missing

DAVID YOUNT: It's hard to honor dad when he's missing Tacoma, WA

Okay, okay - so the title is crappy and the article is just fluff - but I'm putting it in anyway!


Of course, not all the absentee fathers are runaway Joes and deadbeat dads. Plenty of them would love to be with their kids, but the courts determine otherwise in their divorce decrees. So on this Father's Day let's consider the case for the fathers who pay child support but are allowed to see their kids only rarely.

Robert Chase enjoys custody of his two sons every other weekend, but complains, "When you're spending only two or four days a month with your kids, you can't really teach them values, the difference between right and wrong. All you can do is love them, provide a positive example, and hope they're getting what they need when they're outside your influence."

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Events in Michigan

Dads of Michigan have the following events coming up:

Healing Our Families, A Time For Change - June 16-18 Family Rights Coalition and DADS of Michigan Conference 05

The Family Rights Coalition and DADS of Michigan are hosting an international conference on family issues June 16-18, 2005 at the Metro Detroit Airport Marriott Hotel. Many internationally known speakers will be presenting. The purpose of this conference is to present and discuss international issues on family issues and parenting. Stay tuned to this link for future updates.

DADS of Michigan Family Court Basics Workshop, June 25

MOMS and DADS University is featuring a Family Court Basics program at the Birmingham Community House on June 25. This program will provide instruction on how to navigate family court and obtain the results to ensure that you are involved in your children's life. You will learn basic tools for custody guidelines, child support calculation, visitation enforcement, selecting a lawyer, protecting yourself from false allegations, and much more. Many leading authorities on Family Court will be speaking. This program is designed to help you avoid costly legal fees and help you understand how to navigate the courts and the FOC.

For more details click here: EDUCATION - Mom's and Dad's University

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The Violence Against Women Act is certainly the theme for the week - and for good reason, the 2005 version was just introduced in the Senate and will be in the House in the coming days.

The MND Blog has a good post here: VAWA 2005: Time of Decision

RADAR - Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting also has info at their site including Make the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Gender Inclusive, or Dump It!,
The Institutionalization of Misinformation: VAWA II and Domestic Violence Law Fuels Big Government

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New Template

Thought it was time for a new look (again)!

Monday, June 13, 2005


Link to Silly Seattle for more information on VAWA in these posts Patriarchy Fighting Superheroes, VAWA Con Dios, Biden and Make Hillary Rodham Fight for VAWA - along with lots of other good info....


Legal Help Line - Indianapolis


Free monthly legal hotline to be available Tuesday

A monthly service offering free legal advice will be available again Tuesday.

Legal Line, sponsored by the Indianapolis Bar Association, will be offered from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. By calling (317) 269-2000, anyone can speak with a qualified attorney, who will help answer questions and give advice.

Volunteer attorneys will be there to help answer questions on many topics, including bankruptcy, child custody and support, divorce, employment law and personal injury.

The bar association created the hotline as a community service. It is available the second Tuesday of every month.

Those needing help with more complex legal issues can call the bar association's referral service at (317) 269-2222. That service is offered from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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How To End Father-Absence When Divorce is Necessary

How To End Father-Absence When Divorce is Necessary

This article introduces a new concept for me: Time-Shift Shared Parenting. Because the article is rather lengthy, I am only going to publish info relative to Time-Shift Shared Parenting - please link to read the article entirely.


TSSP ends nearly all the problems listed above. It creates a presumed custody order affirming the parental rights of both parents and creates a landscape not fertile for predatory chessboard litigation. It meets the needs of children as closely as is possible in divorce, and removes perverse incentives so evident in existing policy, while allowing for proper handling of situations involving real child abuse or neglect.

TSSP involves relatively straightforward concepts, as follows:

When a divorce decree is issued, a primary custodian is named, with the traditional Siegenthaler ( or other reasonable parenting time plan) given to the other parent, with as many decision-making authorities granted to the other parent as possible.

An automatic custody reversal is built into the original order, naming a date certain on which the custody order will be reversed to the other parent. The date is calculated by finding the half-way point in time between the date of the hearing and the date of emancipation of the children. For most children, the custody reversal will take place in their early teen years.

Where children are close siblings, with age differential of four years difference or less, the dates of emancipation will be averaged such that the custody reversal for both children takes place simultaneously.

Divorcing couples may agree to more than one custody reversal, such as every four years, so long as it is by a consent decree, and equal custody time is ordered for both parents. In cases where parents cannot agree, or a case is litigated or heard, the default order will be for one custody reversal.

TSSP must be a mandatory policy and characterized in statute as a constitutionally-protected parental right, with only three exceptions: 1) Where a parent is found to be an unfit parent; 2) where a parent voluntarily (and without duress) requests to be a non-custodial parent. In this case, a sole custody order with maximum child support and alimony should be ordered; and 3) where both parties file for divorce with a consent decree disposing of all matters contained in the initial filing for dissolution.

Congress must require states to enact TSSP legislation, or face stiff penalties in funding for social services and child support collections entitlements. This is a wise and deeply profound shift in federal policy. The vast majority of child psychological and educational problems, child abuse, and child support collections problems exist because we have actually preferred aborting fathers and collecting child support. States that wish to continue irresponsible creation of father-absence must be held accountable for their actions and bear the costs for their actions.

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Fathers Rally for Equal Parenting Rights- Wisconsin

NBC15 Fathers Rally for Equal Parenting Rights


Madison: David Lewis enjoys every minute he gets to spend with his 3 year old daughter Juliana. Of course, he doesn't get all that many minutes each week.

He went to court after he was originally awarded only 7 hours of visitation each week. "The court ended up giving me 34 hours a week to see my daughter. But yet I'm a licensed foster father and I can care for other people's children, 2-4 year old girls on a full time basis."

"If we're going to expect fathers to be good role models and to be a positive influence on their children they have to have access to their children. To be there every other weekend just isn't sufficient," says WFCF Chair Brian King.

"All we're asking for is equal time with our kids," agrees David.

While changing the court's age old view of women as better parents may take time, some changes are moving faster.

Juliana's mom used to live 10 miles away from David. "Then she moved with her boyfriend approximately 80 miles so now I drive about 300 miles a week on average to see my daughter."

State law allows a parent with primary custody to move up to 150 miles away without even informing the other parent.

Assembly bill 400 would change that. "The assumption has been made that whatever's good for the primary parent is good for the child. What we're with this bill is questioning that," says bill author Rep. Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake).

Representative Kestell's bill would change the boundary limit to just 20 miles or inside a school district. If a parent wants to move farther, they either need the permission of the other parent, or the approval of a judge.

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More on Domestic Violence

In response to a reader who seemed to be so interested in statistics regarding women and domestic violence, I provide this link:


this one

TGB's Links Pages - Domestic Abuse & False Accusations Links

and this one

Disabusing the Definition of Domestic Abuse

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Friday, June 10, 2005

What Have Feminists Done to America's Fathers?

What Have Feminists Done to America's Fathers?

by Phyllis Schlafly
Jun 10, 2005

On Father's Day, Americans should ponder the appalling fact that an estimated 40 percent of our nation's children are living in homes without their own father. Most of our social problems are caused by kids who grow up in homes without their own fathers: drug abuse, illicit sexual activity, unwed pregnancies, youth suicide, high school dropouts, runaways, and crime.

Where have all the fathers gone? Some men are irresponsible slobs, but no evidence exists that nearly half of American children were voluntarily abandoned by their own fathers; there must be other explanations.

For 30 years, feminist organizations and writers have propagated the myth that women are victims of an oppressive patriarchal society and that marriage is an inherently abusive institution that makes wives second-class citizens. Feminists made divorce a major component of women's liberation and their political freedom.

For three decades, feminists have toyed with the question that Maureen Dowd chose as the title of her forthcoming book, Are Men Necessary? That's just the latest version of Gloria Steinem's famous line, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."

College textbooks portray marriage as especially bleak and dreary for women. Assigned readings are preoccupied with domestic violence, battering, abuse, marital rape, and divorce.
During the Clinton Administration, the feminists parlayed their hysteria that domestic violence is a national epidemic into the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This created a gigantic gravy train of taxpayers' money, known as feminist pork, that empowers pro-divorce, anti-male activism.

Not satisfied with several billions from the U.S. Treasury, 67 feminist and liberal organizations supported a lawsuit to try to get private allegations of domestic abuse heard in federal courts so they could collect civil damages against men and institutions with deep pockets. Fortunately, the Supreme Court, in Brzonkala v. Morrison (2000), declared unconstitutional VAWA's section that might have permitted that additional mischief.

However, VAWA's billions of dollars continue to finance the domestic-violence lobby, and there is a deafening silence from conservatives who pretend to be guardians against federal takeovers of problems that are none of the federal government's business. Local crimes and marital disputes should not be subjects of federal law or spending.

Billions of dollars have flowed from VAWA to the states to finance private victim-advocacy organizations, private domestic-violence coalitions, and the training of judges, prosecutors and police. This tax-funded network is, of course, staffed by radical feminists who teach the presumption of father guilt.

Legislating a special category of domestic violence is very much like legislating a special category of hate crimes. Both create a new level of crimes for which punishment is based on who you are rather than what acts you commit, and the "who" in the view of VAWA and the domestic-violence lobby is the husband and father.

A Justice Department-funded document published by the National Victim Assistance Academy established a widely accepted definition of "violence" that includes such non-criminal acts as "degradation and humiliation" and "name-calling and constant criticizing." The acts need not be illegal, physical, violent, or threatening; "domestic violence" becomes whatever the woman says it is.

The Final Report of the Child Custody and Visitation Focus Group of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges admitted that "usually judges are not required to make a finding of domestic violence in civil protection order cases." In other words, judges saddle fathers with restraining orders on the wife's say-so without any investigation as to whether it is true or false.

The late Senator Paul Wellstone (D-MN), a big advocate of VAWA, admitted that "up to 75 percent of all domestic assaults reported to law enforcement agencies were inflicted after the separation of the couple." Most allegations of domestic violence are made for the purpose of taking the custody of children away from their fathers.

The June issue of the Illinois Bar Journal explains how women use court-issued restraining orders (which Illinois calls Orders of Protection) as a tool for the mother to get sole child custody and even bar the father from visitation. In big type, the magazine proclaims: "Orders of protection are designed to prevent domestic violence, but they can also become part of the gamesmanship of divorce."

The "game" is that mothers can assert falsehoods or trivial marital complaints and thereby get sole custody orders that deprive children of their fathers. This "game" is based on the presumption (popularized by VAWA and the domestic-violence lobby) that fathers are inherently guilty and dangerous.

Congress should not be spending taxpayers' money to deal with marital disputes, and courts should not deprive children of their fathers on a presumption that fathers are dangerous. Congress can help us celebrate Father's Day this year by refusing to reauthorize the costly VAWA boondoggle.

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Colorado's top court makes it easier for parents to leave state

This is the entire article so you can all feel as I sick as I do.... How on earth can a parent's constitutional right to move be equivalent to their child's constitutional right to two INVOLVED parents - not to mention the other parent's constitutional right to PARENT THEIR CHILD.

"Huge" rulings on divorce
Colorado's top court makes it easier for parents to leave state

By Mike McPhee Denver Post Staff Writer

In two related rulings this week, the Colorado Supreme Court significantly changed family law by making it easier for divorcing or already-divorced parents to move to another state.

Helen Shreves, a family-law attorney and mediator for 25 years, called the rulings "groundbreaking." One case deals with parents in the process of divorcing, the other with parents already divorced. Shreves said they could affect 15 percent to 20 percent of all Colorado divorce cases.

"This is a very significant change in the law," she said. "Until now, you literally couldn't leave the state while your divorce was in process. Or your spouse could get a restraining order and bring you back. Now you can leave.

"The second case protects the parent's constitutional right to travel after the divorce, saying it is just as important as the child's best interests."

Suzanne Griffiths, a family-law attorney for 25 years, called the ruling "huge."
"It not only will cause the filing of a large number of requests to relocate by parents who were told they couldn't leave, but it will also have an enormous effect on couples contemplating divorce," she said.

"This will cause many couples to think twice about getting a divorce, if they know one of them can take the child to another state for good reason such as a job or family."

In the first case, Jennifer Spahmer and Todd Gullete had a child in September 2001. The relationship ended, and during the divorce process Spahmer wanted to move to Arizona with the child to be near her family and to take a new job.

But a trial court denied her request, stating it was in the child's best interests for both parents to live in Colorado. Spahmer appealed.

The Supreme Court overturned the lower court, stating that parenting time must be arranged in the best interest of the child. But "nothing (in the statutes) authorizes a trial court to allocate parenting time by ordering a parent to live in a specific locale."

Hence, "the (trial) court must accept the location in which each party intends to live (then) allocate parental responsibilities accordingly in the best interest of the child."

In the second case, Michelle and Christopher Ciesluk divorced amicably in 2002 after seven years of marriage and one child. Five months later, the mother found a job in Arizona near her family. So she asked the court for permission to move with the child to Arizona and offered a modified plan allowing the father to have the child four times a year.

The trial court rejected her proposal on the grounds it would adversely affect the father's relationship with the child. It ordered the parents to remain in close proximity.

But the Supreme Court ruled that the trial court hadn't protected the mother's constitutional right to travel - "the right to migrate, resettle, find a new job and start a new life."

Hence, the parents right to travel (according the Colorado Supreme Court) is more important the child's relationship with their parent. Regardless of what side of the fence you are on in reference to custody - you have to see how sick this is.

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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Custody rule changes upheld- Colorado

Rocky Mountain News: State


Colorado law used to favor him moving with mom, unless dad could prove it was better for the boy to stay. Legislators changed the law in 2001, and the Colorado Supreme Court said Monday the new rules put both parents on equal footing when arguing what's best for the child.

The ruling, in In re Marriage of Ciesluk, said courts must decide such custody cases based on a set of criteria set by the legislature, including the impact of the move on the child and the "history and quality" of each parent's relationship with him.

It reversed lower court decisions that sided with Christopher Ciesluk, who argued against his ex-wife Michelle Ciesluk's plan to move to Arizona for a job and take their son with her.

The Supreme Court said the earlier rulings unfairly favored the father, essentially tipping the scales against a parent who wants to move and retain custody. The mother argued such bias violates her constitutional right to travel.

The court sent the case back to trial and instructed the lower court to consider both parents - and the child's best interests - equally.

"Though the best interests of the child are of primary importance in making this determination," Justice Nancy E. Rice wrote for the court, "they do not automatically overcome the constitutional interests of the parents."

Rich Harris, a Denver family law attorney, said the ruling makes it harder to fight parents' requests to move with a child.

"For those of us who really care about kids and how much divorce already affects kids," he said, "this is going to be a step backwards."

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Fathers' Rights Victory In Massachusetts - Views - ifeminists - Fathers' Rights Victory In Massachusetts


Dr. Henry M. Fassler has successfully contested a 1998 Massachusetts law that requires a non-custodial parent to have court certification as a non-batterer on a yearly basis before he (or she) is allowed access to their children's school records. The school system currently views all
non-custodial parents as guilty of battery until proven innocent. But all that is going to change.

The specifics of Fassler's case: he wanted to see the academic class list for his 17-year-old daughter Lindsay, who had asked him for help. No charge or complaint had ever been filed against Fassler; he is on good terms with his ex-wife and children.

When the school refused the class list, Fassler not only got angry, he also got active. Last October, he complained to the Family Policy Compliance Office at the U.S. Department of Education, challenging the statute as discriminatory. On May 6, the DOE sent a letter to
Massachusetts' Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll, which warned that "the commonwealth and every school district in Massachusetts is in violation of federal law, and has been for years."

The letter explained, "non-custodial parents cannot be denied access to school records unless there is evidence those 'rights have been specifically revoked'." The government cannot stand between parent and child when no evidence of abuse is present.

Father's rights advocates had fought against the law since its passage. (Indeed, Fassler belongs to Fathers and Families, a leading voice in that battle.) Suddenly, however, with millions in federal funding at stake, Driscoll has indicated that a "new policy" will treat divorced parents more fairly.

This is another lesson from the Massachusetts struggle. Grassroots organizations and actions can prevail over generously tax-funded agencies, but it is crucial to "follow the money." The crusade against the 1998 statute won out only when Fassler called federal funding into question.

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