Hatred. It has to be taught.

I’m not the best Father in the world, but I’m yours.

Google Community FR Pic5 - 2015

Now Available from Cumberland House Publishing

This blog will tell you about the growing family crisis throughout the Western world. It will concentrate on the increasingly dangerous divorce machinery being operated by Western governments, as described in my recent book,

Taken Into Custody: The War Against Fathers, Marriage, and the Family   (Cumberland House, 2007).

I will continue publicizing these abuses in established, mainstream publications (see more than 80 published articles and studies on my internet site). But I also want to highlight here the increasingly totalitarian trajectory of the divorce regime, which I don’t think is being emphasized adequately by others.0e907-afla2bcauses2bto2bblog2b4-2b2015

What Frederick Douglass once observed of the slave power’s menacing expansion throughout the political system can now be seen in the cancerous spread of the divorce machinery: It is “advancing, poisoning, corrupting, and perverting the institutions of the country, growing more and more haughty, imperious, and exacting.

Radio Interviews on Taken Into Custody  ~~  Over the next few weeks I will be doing a series of radio interviews based on my book Taken Into Custody. These are arranged with help from a generous benefactor with the cooperation of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children (ACFC). The firm helping with arrangements, Spence Media, report that “your topic really hit a cord” with producers, and they are eager to have me on. This indicates that we should be much more aggressive in pursuing media for our cause. The media and the public are sympathetic and anxious to hear our message.

10 Custody Myths and How to Counter Them

Any attorney who represents clients in custody matters will recognize at least SOME of the following unfounded clichés about domestic violence and custody.

Here are some resources that the ABA Commission on Domestic Violence provides for practitioners to use when representing victims of domestic violence.

Domestic violence is rare among custody litigants.

IN TRUTH : Studies show that 25-50% of disputed custody cases involve domestic violence.

Ref: S.L. Keilitz, National Center for State Courts, Domestic Violence and Child Custody Disputes: A Resource Handbook for Judges and Court Managers (1997); J.R. Johnston, High-Conflict Divorce , 4 Future of Children 165 (1994).

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Any ill effects of domestic violence on children are minimal and short-term.

IN TRUTH : “Children who are exposed to domestic violence may show comparable levels of emotional and behavioral problems to children who were the direct victims of physical or sexual abuse.”

Ref: Jaffe, Wolfe & Wilson, Children of Battered Women (1990).

IN TRUTH : Adverse effects to children who witness DV are well-documented, including aggressive behavior, depression, and/or cognitive deficiencies.

Ref: Morrill, Dai, Dunn, Sung & Smith, Child Custody and Visitation Decisions When the Father Has Perpetrated Violence Against the Mother , 11(8) Violence Against Women 1076-1107 (2005); Jeffrey L. Edleson, Problems Associated with Children’s Witnessing of Domestic Violence , (1999) Available at http://www.vawnet.org/DomesticViol…/Research/VAWnetDocs/AR_witness.php

IN TRUTH : A continuing study by the CDC has shown a significant relationship between exposure to “adverse childhood experiences” (including witnessing domestic violence) and development of adult health problems, including pulmonary disease, heart disease, hepatitis, fractures, obesity, and diabetes (not to mention IV drug use, alcoholism, sexually transmitted diseases and depression).

Ref: http://www.acestudy.org/http://www.cdc.gov/od/oc/media/pressrel/r980514.htm

False Police reports in Family Court - 2015MYTH 3:
Mothers frequently invent allegations of child sexual abuse to win custody.

IN TRUTH : Child sexual abuse allegations in custody cases are rare (about 6%), and the majority of allegations are substantiated (2/3).

Ref: Thoennes & Tjaden, The Extent, Nature, And Validity Of Sexual Abuse Allegations In Custody And Visitation Disputes , 14(2) Child Sexual Abuse & Neglect 151-63 (1990).

IN TRUTH : False allegations are no more common in divorce or custody disputes than at any other time.

Ref: Brown, Frederico, Hewitt, & Sheehan, Revealing The Existence Of Child Abuse In The Context Of Marital Breakdown And Custody And Access Disputes , 24(6) Child Abuse & Neglect 849-85 (2000).

IN TRUTH : Among false allegations, fathers are far more likely than mothers to make intentionally false accusations (21% compared to 1.3%)

Ref: Bala & Schuman, Allegations of Sexual Abuse When Parents Have Separated , 17 Canadian Family Law Quarterly 191-241 (2000).

Domestic violence has nothing to do with child abuse.

IN TRUTH : A wide array of studies reveal a significant overlap between domestic violence and child abuse, with most finding that both forms of abuse occur in 30-60% of violent families.

Ref: Appel & Holden, The Co-Occurrence of Spouse and Physical Child Abuse: A Review and Appraisal , 12(4) Journal of Family Psychology 578599 (1998).

IN TRUTH : Other studies have shown intimate partner violence (“IPV”) to be a strong predictor of child abuse, increasing the risk from 5% after one act of IPV to 100% after 50 acts of IPV.

Ref: S.M. Ross, Risk of Physical Abuse to Children of Spouse Abusing Parents , 20(7) Child Abuse & Neglect 589-98 (1996).

Dysfunctional Family Courts 2 - 2015MYTH 5:
Abusive fathers don’t get custody.

IN TRUTH: Abusive parents are more likely to seek sole custody than nonviolent ones…

Ref: American Psychological Association, Violence And The Family: Report Of The American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force On Violence And The Family , (1996), available at http://www.apa.org/pi/viol&fam.html

IN TRUTH : …And they are successful about 70% of the time.

Ref: American Judges Foundation, Domestic Violence and the Court House: Understanding the Problem…Knowing the Victim , available at http://aja.ncsc.dni.us/domviol/page5.html

False DV Allegations - CRIMEIN TRUTH : Allegations of domestic violence have no demonstrated effect on the rate at which fathers are awarded custody of their children, nor do such allegations affect the rate at which fathers are ordered into supervised visitation. (i.e. abusers win unsupervised custody and visitation at the same rate as non abusers)

Ref: Kernic, Monary-Ernsdorff, Koepsell & Holt, Children In The Crossfire: Child Custody Determinations Among Couples With A History Of Intimate Partner Violence 11(8) Violence Against Women, 991-1021 (2005).

Fit mothers don’t lose custody.

IN TRUTH : Mothers who are victims of DV are often depressed and suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder, and as a result, can present poorly in court and to best-interest attorneys and/or custody evaluators.

Ref: J.M. Golding, Intimate Partner Violence As A Risk Factor For Mental Disorders: A Meta-Analysis , 14 Journal of Family Violence 99-132 (1999); Kernic, Monary-Ernsdorff, Koepsell & Holt, Children In The Crossfire: Child Custody Determinations Among Couples With A History Of Intimate Partner Violence 11(8) Violence Against Women 991-1021 (2005).

Child Pic - Alienation - 2015MYTH 7:
Parental Alienation Syndrome (“PAS”) is a scientifically sound phenomenon.

The American Psychological Association has noted the lack of data to support so-called “parental alienation syndrome,” and raised concern about the term’s use.

Ref: American Psychological Association, Violence And The Family: Report Of The American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force On Violence And The Family, (1996), available at http://www.apa.org/releases/passyndrome.html

Children are in less danger from a batterer/parent once the parents separate.

IN TRUTH: Many batterers’ motivation to intimidate and control their victims through the children increases after separation, due to the loss of other methods of exerting control.

Ref: Lundy Bancroft & Jay Silverman, The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics (2002);Langford, Isaac & Kabat, Homicides Related to Intimate Partner Violence in Massachussets 1991-1995 , Peace at Home (1999).

Stop using psychologyMYTH 9:
Parents who batter are mentally ill, OR Parents with no evidence of mental illness cannot be batterers.

IN TRUTH: Mental illness is found only in a minority of batterers.

Ref: Gondolf, MCMI-III Results for Batterer Program Participants in Four Cities: Less “Pathological” Than Expected , 14(1) Journal of Family Violence 1-17 (1999); Gelles R. & Straus M, Intimate Violence (1988) (reporting that mental illness accounts for only 10% of abusive incidents).

IN TRUTH: Psychological testing is not a good predictor of parenting capacity.

Ref: Brodzinsky, On the Use and Misuse of Psychological Testing in Child Custody Evaluations , 24(2) Professional Psychology: Research and Practice 213-219 (1994).

IN TRUTH : Mental health testing cannot distinguish a batterer from a non-batterer.

Ref: O’Leary, Through a Psychological Lens: Personality Traits, Personality Disorders, and Levels of Violence , in Violence Current Controversies on Family 7-30 (Gelles & Loseke, eds.,1993).

Dads need daughtersMYTH 10:
If a child demonstrates no fear or aversion to a parent, then there is no reason not to award unsupervised contact or custody.

IN TRUTH: Children can experience “traumatic bonding” with a parent who abuses the child or their other parent, forming unusually strong but unhealthy ties to a batterer as a survival technique (often referred to as “Stockholm Syndrome”).

Ref: Lundy Bancroft & Jay Silverman, The Batterer as Parent: Addressing the Impact of Domestic Violence on Family Dynamics , 39-40 (2002); Herman, Trauma and Recovery (1992)


2 thoughts on “Hatred. It has to be taught.

    • Confusion in the Courts about Parental Rights

      The Federal courts are full of confusion when it comes to parental rights, especially after the Supreme Court’s Troxel v. Granville decision in 2000, which left no clear standard for future cases. With six different written opinions, Troxel indicates an uncertain status of parental rights with an all-too-certain conclusion: parental rights are vulnerable and inadequately protected from government intrusion.

      Some Federal and State cases that have since been affected by Troxel’s unclear decision include:

      • Dutkiewicz v. Dutkiewicz (2008): the Supreme Court of Connecticut used Troxel to support the fundamental nature of parental rights, but noted that matters need to be decided on a case-by-case basis based on Justice Kennedy’s dissent.

      • Frazier ex rel. Frazier v. Winn (2008): a court in the 11th Circuit weighed the child’s right to religious freedom against the parent’s right to direct his upbringing and education.

      • Mayberry v. Independent School Dist. No. 1 of Tulsa County, Okla (2008): the District Court in Oklahoma ruled that parents did not have the right to be on public school property while children were in attendance. For many examples of how Troxel has left a confusing precedent in the state and federal courts, read the full article by Dr. Michael Farris here, or read the Troxel decision here.

      The Overapplication of Federal Law

      Federal laws like the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA) or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) were intended for good, to enact privacy regulations preventing third parties from accessing educational or medical records. But they include ambiguities with a lot of room for interpretation. As a result, both of these pieces of legislation have been interpreted in ways that shut parents out of their children’s lives by denying them access to important information about their children. For more about FERPA and HIPAA and some of their interpretations, click here.


      The threat to parental rights does not end with vague federal law or confusing court precedents; there are other problems that lessen the power given to parents in protecting and raising their children. For example, there has been the disturbing trend of federalization in almost every area of government.

      One such example of federalization in education is the Race to the Top Fund, a federal program in which states compete for millions of dollars in education funding. To be considered for the funding, states have to submit applications detailing how they are implementing federal standards of curriculum content, classroom structure, and more. The parents have less input about their child’s education through the local school boards, while the federal government determines what every child needs to learn — all the while dangling the carrot of federal funding over the heads of state and local governments. For more on the Race to the Top Fund and other federalizing trends, click here.

      Increased Privacy at the Local Level

      With the focus on privacy at the federal level, many states are applying a so-called “child’s right to privacy” when it comes to library records. With regulations that prevent parents from viewing the books that their child has checked out, some libraries have even asked a parent to pay a child’s late fee — but refused to specify the book title for the sake of privacy. For more on state library policies, click here.

      The Solution

      As the government gets bigger and handles more concerns of our everyday lives, parents may find themselves and their opinions being squeezed out of their children’s lives. Here in America, the role previously left to parents is being usurped by faceless bureaucrats.

      How do we protect a right fundamental to American society? By placing it into the Constitution, the law of the land, we can help prevent the spread of federal power in the area of the family and ensure that parental rights are protected with the strength and certainty they deserve. The Parental Rights Amendment is written in a way that will address these domestic threats by making this message clear: parents’ fundamental rights will be protected, and no level of government can block parents out of their children’s lives.

      Liked by 1 person

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