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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Blogger markanthony said...

I live in New Hampshire and am in the middle of this unpleasant experience right now. My wife had told me she wanted a divorce, and I had told her fine, I won't try to stop her. Along the way, I found myself facing a domestic violence petition (police came to the home and escorted me out). I tried to explain that I hadn't done anything wrong, but it didn't matter. The domestic violence petition had a court date 5 weeks from the day I was served. This was ridiculous. The paperwork said because of a new N.H. law, I could request a hearing within 3 days. I absolutely wanted to do this. I have three sons, missed them terribly, and most importantly, hadn't done any of the awful things my wife had accused me of. So I had my day in court, she testified, I testified, and I thought this bullshit will all be undone. Guess what, telling the truth didn't matter, the fact that there was no evidence of the things she had accused me didn't matter. The domestic violence petition became a domestic violence order (for one year). I'm still in shock over this one. I've been told since then, that my mistake was in pushing for the hearing right away instead of letting it be rolled into the preliminary divorce hearing (which is what they typically do). I didn't want to do that, because the accusations were false, and I wanted to see my kids again, right away. Then I asked about an appeal to the state supreme court. I was told that the chances of overturning a district court ruling were very minimal, it would cost a lot of money, and it would probably take a year to process.
This is the most insane thing I have ever experienced. I've never been arrested, the police had never been to my home before, there were not Doctors, hospital records of abuse, because it never happened, and still it didn't matter.
I see my kids every other weekend and one evening a week. I have to pick them up at the police station. I'm so angry at the system. I'm being crippled financially by the child support payments (40% of my net), my wife emptied my joint checking account (to the tune of another $5,000 over four weeks). The home my wife and kids are in is paid for, yet that doesn't affect the child support payments. I now have to pay $1300 a month for an apartment.

2:33 PM  

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