Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Counselor overstated qualifications, charges say - KY

Counselor overstated qualifications, charges say

If your custody evaluation was administered by G. Steven Alexander you should look into whether his opinions will now be reconsidered.


Officials are looking into whether the charges against G. Steven Alexander could force them to reopen cases in which he testified, including child custody, domestic violence and guardianship cases.

"I intend to fight the charges, and I will not roll over and play dead," said Alexander, who is licensed as a clinical professional counselor in Kentucky.

Alexander acknowledged that he is not licensed by the state as a psychologist. He admits he has testified in court that he holds a doctorate in psychology. He said the degree came from Madison University in Gulfport, Miss., an online correspondence school, and that he wrote a dissertation for the degree but did not take courses.

Madison University is not recognized by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in Decatur, Ga., one of six regional academic accrediting organizations, said Belle Wheelan, president of the association.

Foust said the charges against Alexander raise questions about every case in which he testified and presented his resume. But Foust said it will be up to lawyers in those cases to ask to reopen them or have the verdicts or judgments set aside.

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Monday, November 21, 2005


The Divorce and Custody blog will be taking the remainder of this week off for a much needed vacation. I have re-posted below some thoughts about the holidays that I wrote last December. In my experience this time of year can be one of the most difficult times for divorced parents and children. My parents are divorced and my husbands parents are divorced so fitting everyone in while we have my stepson (who splits the holidays between our home and his mother's home) is ridiculously hard every year. We always have to step back and think about the easiest way to accommodate our families while keeping my stepson as the main focus of the day.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Happy Or Not- The Holidays Are Here

Just wanted to take the time to say Happy Holidays to everyone! This can be a very difficult time of year for divorced parents. So here are my things to remember:

1. Generally, the states provide non custodial parents half of their child's time off for Winter Break. If you are like my parents who live in different states - one year my father has the first week of vacation (including Christmas Day) and then the kids fly out on the 26th to spend a week with my mother. The following year the reverse - my mother has the first week with Christmas Day and the kids fly home on the 26th. To that end, whichever parent does not have the children over Christmas Day gets to have them over Thanksgiving. So for example, this past Thanksgiving my mother flew my younger siblings to her home, next year they will stay home with my dad but fly out the first (or second) day of winter break.

If you are like my husband and your ex lives in the same town (or general area) regardless of what custody arrangement you have (unless restricted to supervised or something of that ilk) the law generally provides you split all holidays. This can mean a literal split - 12 hours with each on each holiday or it can be split each year. My husband and his ex wife are on a one week/one week schedule. Halloween almost always falls into his week while New Years Eve almost always falls into her week. Instead of switching half way through the day (especially since the "fun" parts of Halloween and New Years are at specific times) or trading off each year - they have just declared Halloween his and New Years Eve hers. This prevents a lot of scheduling conflicts, questions, etc as everyone is fully aware of the schedule. This would also be an example of "splitting" the holidays. However, this is possible because they agreed - if the court had been forced to decide a half day split would have likely been ordered on both days.

For Christmas, one year one parent has the child Christmas Eve and overnight until midday Christmas Day - the next year they switch. Again, it is easy and something they agreed to without court assistance.

I am just providing all of this so you realize splitting the holidays does not have to mean at 12:00 pm one party turns the children over to the other party. Try to work with each other and around the traditions of the other.

But most important - WORK IT OUT FAR IN ADVANCE OF THE HOLIDAYS! Something about the holidays seems to bring out raw emotions in everyone, particularly if this is your first after the divorce. Come to an agreement, put it in writing and have it filed - and then adhere to it! It will make it a lot easier on everyone - particularly your kids.

2. Your children did not want you to divorce. They ALSO do not want to see you continue to fight or degrade the other. It doesn't matter whose fault anything is - they love you both - RESPECT THAT. Children see themselves as half mom - half dad. If you make negative comments about mom or dad in front of them - they see themselves negatively. The holidays are for them - this is harder for them to understand and get over than it is for you - make every effort to make this a painless and enjoyable holiday for them no matter how lousy or angry you are feeling.

3. Someday this will end. I know it is hard to imagine a life in which your everyday is not colored by a "custody arrangement" - wondering if you got all the school paperwork, find homework, trying to balance who will purchase clothes (will you share a winter coat or each have your own?), who will schedule (and remember) dentist, doctor, tryouts... Is your support paid- why is the support late.... Whatever your daily issues may be - they will end.

My parents oldest and youngest child are 13 years apart. That definitely prolongs the experience - but even for them (I keep telling them) someday it will end.

Where will you be when it does? Do you really want to spend the next 1 -20 years constantly battling with someone else? Do you want to spend those years internalizing your bitterness? Even if that is what your ex chooses to do? Would that be a productive use of your time?

Eventually your child(ren) will reach the age of 21 or graduate college - generally when agreements disappear. At that point you will have an adult child who will still need/want to spend the holidays with someone - but there will be no more description of how they will be spent. A good previous relationship with your ex about the holidays will be conducive to a good subsequent relationship. Now you will just have the added stress of what your child(ren) and potentially their new family will be able to manage.

Make decisions with your children as your first factor to consider - but don't live for your children. In this I mean, (as an example) abstain from remarrying a new spouse until your children are out of the home, but don't abstain from dating or having a life outside of your children. Eventually your children will have their own lives. If you have spent the previous time obsessing over them and every punctuation mark in your custody decree - you will probably be in very bad shape when that decree ceases to exist and your children go off on their own.

If you are paying child support - and you believe it to be an inordinate amount - make sure you place your anger in the right place. Although it is unfortunate that your ex cannot see the benefit to having a financially sound co parent - the courts and the government dictate child support levels. Get mad at them if you need to be mad. Get mad at the broken system we call family law. Get involved in a group attempting to change that system. (But if you do this do not let it overtake you. Everything in moderation - don't forget to enjoy the blessings in your life - your kids). Regardless of your levels of child support, find a way to save. You may have to reduce your standard of living - but eventually you may find yourself needing to pay for college and you WILL want to retire. Don't let the courts prevent you from fulfilling the dreams you have - just change the manner in which you achieve those dreams and be realistic about what is attainable considering the current system you are under. I know this is all easy to say and I know that some of you have horrific stories where you are ordered to pay more than you actually make, plus your ex's attorney fees, etc... If you are in that kind of situation I encourage you to continue to petition the court for relief - try doing it pro se, there is help out there for people who want to represent themselves.

My mother is the type who lives through her children and sticking my father at every opportunity. She has had a series of failed marriages and relationships - something I attribute mainly to the extent of her anger at.... Everything - stemming from the courts mandating her to "share" the custody of her children with their father. She has spent thousands and thousands of dollars (requiring my father to spend the equivalent) battling over the most petty of issues in a courtroom. Now that she is the one paying support she withholds it at regular intervals. At the risk of delving too deep into this - I will say I am certain that when my youngest sister (now 16) is finally free of a court ordered custody arrangement, my mother will surely fall apart. She has no other focus in her life than to control us and her partners - who all quickly leave her after witnessing the depths of her anger - furthering her need to "punish" my father for this life he forced her into by impregnating her.

Ask yourself how you envision your life once your children have graduated college or gone out on their own - and then make the necessary choices to get there. While having children and an ex spouse may encompass your entire life today - you will likely have quite a number of years where this will not be the case. Don't forget to plan for this time too and don't let yourself become so bitter and directed that you don't know how to do anything except stew about how badly you got screwed.

4. I can't remember the exact verbiage - but I was told once by a mediator that in 18 years parents will make close to a half a million decisions about their children. This will be everything from what to eat for breakfast to what time to set curfew. Some decisions are more important than others. Ask yourself what you are arguing about in court? Is the money you are expending on your attorney, evaluator, etc... plus the tension you are breeding with your ex worth the decision of whether your ex feeds your child too many fish sticks? If you consider roughly 70 decisions are made a day, you could be in court for the rest of your life... is it worth it? Add up what you spend on your attorneys in a month and then figure out what that would be invested for the next 15 years - you might find you just wasted a year of college for your child...

To that end, cooperative parents try to identify the positives about the other and let slide some of their more lacking attributes. Come on, you married the person - you know that he/she is not such a great cook, terribly organized, timely, athletic, whatever.... Keep in mind that while at the others house the kids may eat more fish sticks but they will also have the advantage of accessing all of those wonderful things about your ex. And there are wonderful things - remember, you used to think so too! No one ever died from eating fish sticks!

Truthfully I have never heard of a case with fish sticks but I have heard about a couple who spent around $20,000 arguing about whether one fed the children too much macaroni. Seems pretty ridiculous, right? Ask yourself if any of your issues are equally ridiculous.

5. Finally, whatever scenario you have with your ex, remember this - YOU WILL NEVER GET THIS DAY BACK WITH YOUR CHILDREN. There will never be another Christmas 2005. So whether you see your kids for a day a month or half the month - TAKE ADVANTAGE. There will come a day when your children get to decide for themselves where they go - and they will remember if you spent the past years degrading their other parent, being mad about the arrangement - or if you cherished every second you had with them. And those decision's will come back to you once the court can no longer control your family. Make the right ones!!

Make this holiday as wonderful as you can - don't dwell on what your don't have - focus on what you do...

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PBS's negative picture of fathers

Cathy Young has weighed in on the PBS "documentary" Breaking the Silence.

Cathy also has her own blog, The Y Files, and you can see her post directly related to PBS here.

PBS's negative picture of fathers
By Cathy Young


The film's point is simple: Children in America are routinely ripped from their mothers and given to fathers who are batterers or molesters. The women's claims of abuse are not believed by the courts and are even held against them when mothers are suspected of manufacturing false charges as a divorce strategy.

To fathers' groups, ''Breaking the Silence" is blatant antidad propaganda. In a campaign led by the Boston-based Fathers and Families, PBS has been bombarded with thousands of calls and letters. It is now conducting a 30-day review of the research used in the film.

There is no question that our legal system fails children all too often. But the PBS documentary presents a skewed and sensationalist picture.

The website of the film's producers, Tatge/Lasseur productions, lists two sources for these claims: a study of 39 abused women involved in custody litigation in Massachusetts, and the 1990 report of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Gender Bias Study Committee which states that fathers who actively seek custody obtain primary or joint physical custody over 70 percent of the time.

But the 70 percent figure was not limited to domestic violence cases. It is also highly misleading, since it doesn't separate custody disputes from cases in which the father gets custody by mutual consent. In contested custody cases, mothers are two to four times more likely to prevail.

Lasseur told me that if he had encountered cases in which an abusive mother was awarded custody of the children, he would have reported on them. I asked about the claim on a battered men's advocacy site that a man named Tom Gallen had approached him with exactly such a case. Lasseur conceded that Gallen had a well-documented story but explained that, relying on his ''instinct as a producer," he felt that Gallen wouldn't be the right person to use.

The filmmakers contend that their only concern was the well-being of children. Yet, if the film contributes to a climate in which fathers who seek custody are tagged as suspected abusers, it could endanger children as well. PBS should rectify this bias by presenting programs with a different point of view.

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Pro Se divorce in Texas

News 8 Austin

Pro Se divorce in Texas

There is no law requiring a couple to have a lawyer in order to file for a divorce. Someone can file for divorce pro se, which means “for oneself.”

There are a few steps to completing a divorce, and the
State Bar Association offers a Pro Se Divorce Handbook.

To file for divorce in Texas, you need to have lived in Texas for six months, including three months in the county in which you file. You must first file an original petition for divorce and pay court costs, which are usually around $200.

You then have to notify your spouse that you have filed for divorce. Your spouse then can file an answer to the divorce suit. Finally, you must request the court to schedule a final divorce hearing. This cannot take place until the divorce petition has been pending for 60 days -- Texas' version of a cooling-off period.

When children and property are involved, a divorce gets more complicated. If there are children, the court will want to ensure that the issues of child support, custody, and visitation are addressed.

There are situations when it is almost always best to hire a lawyer to handle your divorce. For example, if one spouse gets an attorney, the other spouse should try to get a lawyer, assuming one can be afforded.

Also, if children are involved in the divorce it is usually best to hire a lawyer. The same is true when the couple getting divorced owns substantial property or substantial assets.

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Breaking the Science

I have added a new site under the Links heading: Breaking the Science.

The site "is about the broken "science" that's being used to create law and drive social policy" and currently includes a large section on domestic violence.

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Glenn Sacks vs PBS

Glenn has posted more updates in regard to his campaign against the PBS program Breaking the Silence. You can link to the campaign page here.

PBS is now sending a letter stating that they "have initiated a review of the research behind and conclusions presented" by the film, and that their review will be completed by early December. You can view the letter here.

Sadia Loeliger, a mother featured in the program, has responded to the charges that she abused children under her care via Trish Wilson's blog. It can be viewed here. Glenn has in turn pointed out some of the discrepancies in Ms. Loeligers account of events. His response can be viewed here.

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New Blog Addition

I have added One Father's Fight to the Other Blogs section. He is a father in Michigan and like Angry Dad he is chronicling the events of his Pro Se case on his blog.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Report: Men need some help - NH

Concord Monitor

Report: Men need some help
Trouble areas: health, schools, legal system


In the group's first report, New Hampshire's Commission on the Status of Men recommends that the state devote more resources to correcting the gender biases men face in divorce and domestic violence cases, as well as promoting the role of fathers in families.

The commission, the first of its kind in the country, was established in 2002 as a counterpart to the state-funded women's commission. Most of its seven members have some background in social welfare, mental health or family law.

Much of the report is concerned with what commission members describe as the biases leveled against men in divorces, child support arrangements and custody disputes. In research and in meetings held over the last year, the commission found that many fathers feel they are treated unfairly in family court disputes. Many complained of judges who automatically side with mothers, child support guidelines that leave the father with little income, and a general lack of understanding of the benefits of a father-child relationship.

Citing numerous studies that show children who spend time with their fathers are better-adjusted, the report recommends that the state provide funding to the men's commission so it can launch a public awareness campaign to support bringing fathers and children together. The commission does not receive any public money.

The report also discusses domestic violence. Men told the commission that some women accuse men of assault so that the judge will award the woman custody of the couple's children. Judges tend to take the woman's side, the report states, which can make it difficult for the man to dispute the charges later.

The commission also studied the traditional assumption that all domestic violence is caused by men, and it found studies suggesting that women assault men just as often. Domestic violence education and advocate training programs tend to compound the bias by referring to perpetrators of violence in male terms.

"Efforts to get relief from the domestic violence problem have been unduly influenced by special interests who have successfully sold the problem as solely a responsibility of males over the years," the report states. "The whole truth on this emotionally charged dichotomy isn't being fully revealed."

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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

For first time, Pa. voters oust a Supreme Court justice


While the decision to oust this judge appears to hinge on salary issues - make no mistake that this is an important example of how the judicial branch (not to mention the legislative) can be taken back through collective action.


In an unprecedented vote, Pennsylvanians denied a Supreme Court justice a second term Tuesday as public anger at state lawmakers over a pay-raise law spread to the state's highest court. A second justice won another term only narrowly.

Justice Russell M. Nigro received only 49 percent of vote _ making him the first statewide judge to be turned out of office in a yes-or-no retention election in the 36 years such elections have been held.

Justice Sandra Schultz Newman won a second term with 54 percent of the vote, a close margin for a retention election, the partial returns showed.

In the last judicial election in 2001, the three jurists on the ballot all were retained by margins of 3-1.

"It's a clear signal that Pennsylvanians have awoke from their long slumber," said Russ Diamond, chairman of
PACleanSweep, a political action committee that aims to challenge every incumbent legislator in next year's elections. "I think that the voters fully understand what's going on here."

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Senators striving to revamp Family Court- South Carolina

Anderson Independent Mail


For three of those senators, top goals for the bill include: • Making mediation mandatory for all family court cases. • Reducing marriage-license fees for couples who complete pre-martial counseling. • Updating the formula used to decide how much a parent should pay in child support. • Giving the Family Court system more power to have contempt-of-court charges issued to someone if they fail to pay child support. • Assigning hearing officers to handle minor family court cases, leaving judges to handle the more serious cases.

After listening to concern after concern, Sen. Bryant said he wants to see an incentive given to couples for enrolling in pre-martial counseling. This idea, he said, would hopefully lighten the caseload that family court judges must handle.

But he also wants to see a statewide requirement for pre-trial mediations in family court cases.

"Right now, the families are going directly into court and there it is a battle," Sen. Bryant said.

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People's Law School To Convene In Albany - NY

North County Gazette


ALBANY--The People's Law School, a new initiative presented by the New York State Bar Association, will operate on consecutive Tuesday afternoons from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. beginning on Nov. 15 and running through Dec. 13 in the Great Hall of the Association's Albany headquarters at One Elk Street.

Each People's Law School lecture will last approximately two hours and will feature respected legal experts who will use real-life examples and anecdotes to demonstrate how the law really works in easy-to-understand, interesting and informative sessions.

People's Law School attendees will receive an updated version of the bar association's popular handbook, "Understanding the Law - a Practical Guide for New York State Residents." Each presentation also will be recorded and made available on audiotape, videotape, DVD, and online.

The program is free for those who pre-register. A $5 fee will be charged for those who register at the door. No prior legal education or knowledge is required. To register, please contact the New York State Bar Association Department of Continuing Legal Education at 518-463-3200.

TOPIC: Matrimonial Law including grounds for divorce; models for representation; child custody; an overview of financial issues, such as child support, maintenance and equitable distribution DATE: Tuesday, 11/15/05 SPEAKER(S): Florence M. Fass, Esq., Fass & Greenberg, LLP, Garden City; and Charles P. Inclima, Esq., Biernbaum Inclima & Meyer, LLP, Rochester

TOPIC: You and Your Lawyer will address some of the myths and misconceptions about the legal profession; how to find a lawyer; what to expect in terms of financial arrangements with your attorney; the Client's Bill of Rights DATE: Tuesday, 12/6/05 SPEAKER(S):A. Vincent Buzard, Esq., Harris Beach PLLC, Rochester; and Steven C. Krane, Esq., Proskauer Rose LLP, NYC

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The public site FindLaw has dedicated a portion of the site to issues of Family Law.

Link to it here: Family Law Center

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Dads making strides in child custody battles - NH

Portsmouth Herald


PORTSMOUTH - Family law experts say they are seeing a change from the presumption that a children are always better off with their mothers in cases of divorce.

"In 2005, I see the courts looking very carefully at both parents, at their roles in the home, to see who is the parent providing the nurturing," said Pilkington-Casey. "Courts want to know what is the father’s role, and more and more fathers have become noticeably involved with their children, through coaching, attending school events and taking the child to the doctor’s and dentist’s. Those were traditionally considered the mother roles."

"I would say there definitely is a trend toward courts considering the interest of fathers in custody matters," said Nossiff. "That’s particularly true in Maine - less in New Hampshire, and far less in Massachusetts."

Nossiff said the passage of HB640, which involves both parents planning for their children’s future, is designed to further even the field.

But fathers’ rights groups such as, are advocating for passage of HB529. The bill allows the court to begin proceeding under the premise that both parents have equal rights.

HB529 has been deferred until the 2006 session.

Michael Geanoulis is the president of the New Hampshire chapter of the National Congress for Fathers and Children. He said that 35 to 40 percent of children in this country go to bed at night without a father in the home.

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Glenn Sacks PBS Campaign

Glenn Sacks PBS Campaign has entered stage three. You can get more information by clicking here.

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Monday, November 07, 2005

Messy or not, divorce is hard on kids, survey finds

Messy or not, divorce is hard on kids, survey finds


Even in a so-called good divorce, in which parents amicably minimize their conflicts, children inhabit a more difficult emotional landscape than those who grow up with married parents, according to a new survey of 1,500 adults ages 18-35.

"All the happy talk about divorce is designed to reassure parents," said Elizabeth Margaret, author of the study, which is described in her new book, "Between Two Worlds." "But it's not the truth for children. Even a good divorce restructures children's childhoods and leaves them traveling between two distinct worlds. It becomes their job, not their parents', to make sense of those two worlds."

"The key is to separate pain from pathology," said Robert Emery, director of the Center for Children, Families and the Law at the University of Virginia. "While a great many young people from divorced families report painful memories and ongoing troubles regarding family relationships, the majority are psychologically normal," Emery said.

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Friday, November 04, 2005

Breaking the Science: Ostrich Syndrome

More on the travesty that was Breaking the Silence...

Breaking the Science: Ostrich Syndrome
by Mark Rosenthal


The film's inflammatory statement that, "To win custody of the kids over and against the mother's will is the ultimate victory, short of killing the kids," ignores the fact that mothers are perpetrators in 59.1% of child fatalities, whereas the number for fathers is 39.5%. And when you factor out the 20.4% of fatalities involving both parents, twice as many children die at the hands of their mothers as their fathers.

The film also states that Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) "has been thoroughly debunked by the American Psychological Assn." The APA, however, begs to differ. Rhea K. Farberman, APA Communications Director states, "The American Psychological Association does not have an official position on parental alienation syndrome -- pro or con. The Connecticut Public Television press release is incorrect."

But the real bombshell happened Wednesday, when Glenn Sacks' website published a report stating that one of the mothers in the film had been found by a court to have committed eight counts of child abuse, and that the filmmakers were informed of that fact, yet chose to portray her as the victim anyway.

If it's true that "women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner," then men constitute around 13.9% of all victims (halfway between the one man for every five to eight women that they claim). If they had featured the stories of one man and five women, they'd give the impression that 16.7% of victims are men. Overstating the number by 2.8% is what they call "grossly overstating" the problems of men? Apparently even they figured out how nonsensical their claim is, because when they posted the statement on their website, they removed the word "grossly."

But even the claim that "women are five to eight times more likely than men to be victimized by an intimate partner" is highly questionable. This number comes from analysis of reported crimes, and for a whole constellation of reasons, men are far more reluctant to report being victimized by their spouses than women are. The National Violence Against Women Survey documents that victimized women (26.7%) were twice as likely as victimized men (13.5%) to report their victimization to the police. Surveying representative population samples is a far more reliable way to estimate who's doing what to whom than trying to draw conclusions from the non-representative subgroup that files police reports. Those who want to minimize the significance of female perpetrated abuse prefer the distorted picture reflected by crime statistics.

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Thursday, November 03, 2005

Need Another Example Of How Screwed Up Our Court System Has Become - Here You Go


Court: It does take a village when it comes to sexuality. Parents 'have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools'


The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled yesterday against parents who sued their local school district after their elementary-age children were given a sexually charged survey, saying there is "no fundamental right of parents to be the exclusive provider of information regarding sexual matters to their children."

The three-judge panel of the full court further ruled that parents "have no due process or privacy right to override the determinations of public schools as to the information to which their children will be exposed while enrolled as students."

The controversy began in 2001 when a volunteer "mental health counselor" at Mesquite Elementary School set out to conduct a psychological assessment test of students in the first, third and fifth grades. (To first graders!) (emphasis mine)

A letter to parents asked for their consent to conduct the study but did not indicate that questions of a sexual nature would be asked. The survey included 79 questions divided into four parts. Ten of those questions were of a sexual nature.

"Anyone who wonders why pro-family organizations like ours have been so concerned about activist courts only has to look at this case," Earll said in a statement. "The 9th Circuit did more than rule against parents who were upset that their elementary-school-aged children were being asked explicit questions about sex in class. They told all parents they have no right to protest what public schools tell their children."

Continued Earll: "What the court did here is declare parenthood unconstitutional. It's long been the liberal view that it takes a village to raise a child – but never before have the 'villagers' been elevated, as a matter of law, above mothers and fathers."

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Jim Crow Days For Men

Jim Crow Days For Men
by Carey Roberts


Abuse of these orders is not an isolated problem. In Massachusetts, about 30,000 domestic orders are issued every year. One analysis by the Massachusetts Trial Court found that fewer than half of these restraining orders involved even an allegation of physical abuse.

Another troubling piece of this law -- clearly unconstitutional -- is its “mandatory-arrest” provisions. Let’s say you get into a marital tiff, your wife or girlfriend calls 911, and the cops come running. But in the meantime, things cool down and she asks police to leave. Fine, but don’t forget your toothbrush, because you will be going out in handcuffs.

It’s no surprise that this $1 billion-a-year anti-father juggernaut eventually takes its toll on families. Highlighting the fact that almost 40% of our nation’s children now live in a home without their own father, Schlafly urges Congress to “conduct an investigation to find out how much of this fatherlessness is the result of bad government in the hands of a small radical group that is biased against marriage and fathers.”

Related article: Time to Defund Feminist Pork — the Hate-Men Law by Phyllis Schlafly

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Campaign Update: PBS BOMBSHELL - Glenn Sacks

This is directly from an email:

PBS Portrays Known Child Abuser as Hero:Juvenile Court, CPS, Family Court Records Detail Mother's Physical Abuse

Sadia Loeliger, one of the central characters in Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories, is portrayed by the filmmakers as a heroic mom. The filmmakers spotlight and applaud her fight to gain custody of her daughter Fatima, who is also featured.

After the film's debut I was contacted by Dr. Scott Loeliger, Sadia's ex-husband, and we are now revealing, for the first time publicly, Sadia's long, documented history of child abuse--a history which the film's producers chose to ignore despite repeated warnings.

We are launching Round 2 of our campaign against Breaking the Silence today--read the shocking Loeliger revelations here and then return to this E-newsletter for instructions on how you can participate.

Round 2 of the Campaign Begins

To date, we have generated over 4,000 calls and letters to PBS protesting Breaking the Silence. Round 2 begins now--I want all of you to join our campaign by clicking here.

There have been many indications, some of which I am not at liberty to discuss, that our protests have concerned PBS. The film, which aired on some PBS affiliates on October 20 and will air on many others in the coming weeks, is a direct assault on fatherhood. The film portrays fathers as batterers and child molesters who steal children from their mothers. We want PBS to allow both sides of this issue to be heard.

Again, I want all of you to join our campaign by clicking here.

Our Side Gets Chance to Speak on Houston PBS

To its credit, Houston PBS followed through on its commitment to allow our side to air its view of Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories and Parental Alienation Syndrome on its round-table discussion show The Connection on Friday, October 28 at 8 PM CST and again on Sunday, October 30 at 5 PM CST.

The show featured Dr. Reena Sommer, an expert on Parental Alienation Syndrome, as well as Andy Sperling, director of Fathers for Equal Rights in Houston. The opposition was represented by Thomas H. Burton III, General Counsel for the nonprofit organization Justice for Children.

Burton labeled Parental Alienation Syndrome "junk science" and his group's website calls claims of PAS an "unethical, immoral" tactic.

According to Barbara Sweet of Help Stop PAS Inc, our side's points came across loud and clear.

Thanks to Sweet, who has done a lot of good work on this issue, as well as to Sommer and Sperling.

Also, I suggest you commend Ken Lawrence, the Director of Programming for PBS of Houston, for his evenhandedness--to write him, click here.

To read a more detailed description of the Houston broadcast, click here.

I'm disappointed and a little surprised at the position Justice for Children is taking on PAS. I had one of their leaders, Donnalee Sarda, on His Side with Glenn Sacks earlier this year, and while Donna and I certainly don't see eye to eye on everything, she seems much more reasonable than what is posted on their website.

I receive a steady stream of letters from target parents of PAS, and I told some of the stories I was able to investigate in the first part of my co-authored column PBS Declares War on Dads (World Net Daily, 10/20/05). To deny that alienation exists, or that children can buy into the alienation and align themselves with the alienating parent against the target parent, seems to me to be an intellectually untenable position.

However, this is certainly not to say that claims of PAS are not misused--in my co-authored column PBS' Breaking the Silence: Family Law in the Funhouse Mirror (Albany Times Union, 10/20/05, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 10/24/05) I noted:

"To be fair, it is true that there are fathers who have alienated their own children through their abuse or personality defects, and who unfairly blame their children's mothers by claiming PAS. Yet parental alienation is a common, well-documented phenomenon. For example, a longitudinal study published by the American Bar Association in 2003 followed 700 'high conflict' divorce cases over a 12 year period, and found that elements of PAS were present in the vast majority of them."

To hear Sommer and Judy Jones of Help Stop PAS Inc on His Side, see The Lohstroh Case: Alienating Mother Pushes 10 Year-Old Boy to Kill Father (10/31/04).

Mental Health Professionals Condemn PBS's Breaking the Silence, Endorse Campaign

Last E-newsletter we announced that the American Psychological Association Says Breaking the Silence Misrepresents Its Position on PAS. Over two dozen mental health professionals have now endorsed our campaign. To read their statement, click here.

Breaking the Silence: More Credibility Problems
American Psychological Association Says Breaking the Silence Misrepresents Its Position on PAS

A spokeswoman for the American Psychological Association says that PBS's new documentary Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories distorts the APA's position on Parental Alienation Syndrome. The film criticizes PAS, which arises when one parent tries to turn his or her children against the other parent during a divorce or separation.

In the documentary Joan Meier, a professor of clinical law at George Washington University and one of the film's chief spokespersons, states that PAS "has been thoroughly debunked by the American Psychological Association." Connecticut Public Television, one of the film's producers, put out a press release promoting the film which stated that PAS had been "discredited by the American Psychological Association."

However, according to Rhea K. Farberman, Executive Director of Public and Member Communications of the American Psychological Association, these claims are "incorrect" and "inaccurate." Farberman says that the APA "does not have an official position on parental alienation syndrome--pro or con." She adds:

"The Connecticut Public Television press release is incorrect. I have notified both Connecticut Public Television and their PR firm of the inaccuracy in their press release."

To learn more, click here.

Leader of Domestic Violence Shelter Which Helped Fund Breaking the Silence Criticizes Film

Calling Breaking the Silence imbalanced and focused on extreme cases, Pam Kallsen, executive director of the Marjaree Mason Center, a domestic violence shelter in Fresno, California, contacted her local PBS affiliate and told them she was distressed that her shelter's name and logo were associated with the program.

Kallsen had been a staunch supporter of the film project, even helping to secure funding for it, but says she changed her mind after seeing the film.

To learn more, click here.

PBS Internal Memo Tells Affiliates to Stonewall Protesters

A source at PBS sent us this confidential internal memo on Friday. The memo is an instruction sheet that PBS's national office has dispensed to their affiliates to instruct them as to how to deal with the thousands of people who have called or written them to protest Breaking the Silence. As you'll notice, the common theme of this memo is to stonewall protesters.

Manipulating Children into Making or Corroborating False Charges

An important element of Parental Alienation Syndrome is the way children can be manipulated into making or corroborating false charges. Ironically, the Los Angeles Times just published this article--McMartin Pre-Schooler: 'I Lied': A long-delayed apology from one of the accusers in the notorious McMartin Pre-School molestation case--which could serve as a textbook for the method. Kyle Zirpolo, now 30 years-old, writes:

"[As a child] I remember them asking extremely uncomfortable questions about whether Ray touched me and about all the teachers and what they did--and I remember telling them nothing happened to me. I remember them almost giggling and laughing, saying, 'Oh, we know these things happened to you. Why don't you just go ahead and tell us? Use these dolls if you're scared.'

Male Domestic Violence Victim Sues over Being Denied Access to Services

My friend Marc Angelucci, Esq. is at it again, bringing a California lawsuit on behalf of a gentleman who was badly abused by his wife and repeatedly refused services by domestic violence treatment providers. The case has several interesting twists--see Men's Rights Group: Victim Support Only For Women or watch the video here. To write to CBS13 and commend them for their coverage of this important issue, click here.

Similar suits have been brought against California shelters in the past--to learn more, see my column Plaintiff in Suit Against LA DV Shelters is Right to Demand Services for Abused Men (Los Angeles Daily News, 6/12/03).

Have You Been the Victim of a Child Support Error?

If you feel you have been billed for child support payments that you believe you do not owe, or if you believe you have experienced a questionable practice by a child support agency, Jane Spies and the National Family Justice Association are conducting a study on this issue and want to hear from you. Click here for more information.

Best Wishes,

Glenn Sacks

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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Men of character, boys of fortune

Men of character, boys of fortune
by Rebecca Hagelin


I'm the mother of two teenage boys, and believe me, I am well acquainted with the behaviors that have led to the popular phrase "boys will be boys." But I am also blessed to know what it means to my sons' development and character for them to have a father who holds them accountable, is engaged in their lives, and is intimately familiar with their strengths, weaknesses, personalities and individual needs.

Social science research, statistics and real life unequivocally tell us that the safest, healthiest, most nurturing place for children is in a home with a mother and father who are married to each other. Yet, according to the National Fatherhood Initiative, some 24 million children live in homes where fathers are absent, meaning one in three children "go to sleep in a home in which their father doesn't live." Fatherlessness is the great American tragedy of modern times.

Flip on the television and watch for just one evening. You'll find that virtually every commercial and sitcom portrays fathers as either wimpy or ignorant. The message to our kids is pretty clear: Dads are losers.

What does that say to our children about the value of their own fathers? To young boys about their own possible futures as fathers? To young girls about what to look for in a future husband? To the men who are already dads?

The media must be crazy. But I ain't crazy – either as a columnist or a wife. So as just one small voice in today's mass media, I'm going to do my part to say to all the great dads out there, "Thank you. We need you."

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