Ignoring mountains of empirical data that shows shared parenting to be in the best interest of families.

Ignoring mountains of empirical data that shows shared parenting to be in the best interest of families.

Broken Family Court System

Broken Fathers - 2015A Broken Family Court System:
‘What are You Prepared to do?’

Ignorance is bliss in some scenarios, and as a father having been involved in a contentious divorce and custody ordeal it was a luxury I found myself longing for at times. Facing a situation where one’s back is against the wall, in a court environment overtly hostile towards those who represent themselves, as a pro se litigant is a place parents should venture with extreme caution. In my situation it came to a point where in keeping up with my own case at times I began to become curious and observe what I knew to be odd behavior and activity within the court and its players.

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Fatherless Father’s Day ~ A fight for equal parental rights

Work shoes and boots placed outside of the Manatee Judicial Center represented fathers who have not been allowed to be present in their children's lives. Inside was placed a letter telling the fathers story, during the Fatherless Father's Day rally on Friday in Bradenton. The event, organized by The Florida Fathers' Rights Movement, was to draw attention to the need of equal sharing of children between the parents when they are no longer together.Fatherless Father’s Day rally in Bradenton fights for Equal Parental Rights | Bradenton Herald

Black leather boots and brown hiking sneakers sit under the gazebo outside of the Manatee County Courthouse, waiting for a new home. Not another person’s feet, but on the steps of the courthouse itself.

Gary, who is with Why Dads Matter, said shoes on the courthouse represent familial alienation caused by the family court system. The group is fighting for mothers and fathers to been seen equally in the courts.

Why Dads Matter partnered with Kids Need Both for a “Fatherless Father’s Day” rally Friday, just in time for Father’s Day. Stephen Miller makes a poster with his son, Jackson, 2, as they attend the Fatherless Father's Day rally outside of the Manatee Judicial Center on Friday in Bradenton. The event, organized by The Florida Fathers' Rights Movement, was to draw attention to the need of equal sharing of children between the parents when they are no longer together.About 14 adults and three children at the event held signs saying “Honk 4 Dads” or “Let Dad’s have their children” and speaking out against Child Protective Services.

A former foster child said he was locked in his room; a mother said her daughter was taken away from her without a criminal charge; Gary, who didn’t give his last name, said he hasn’t seen his son in four years even though they live in the same city.

Danica Joan Fields, executive director of Kids Need Both, said she wants to fight any unkind view of parents in high-conflict families.Shayne Downs's photo.

“Family looks different to everybody,” she said, noting mother-father, grandparents and same-sex couples can be affected, “but the goal is that the child not have an unkind view of one or both of the family.”

She speaks from experience. Having gone through her own custody battle, Fields said she was made to look like an unfit mother. More than five years later, she shares half custody of her five sons and has blended family gatherings in harmony.

“It’s the way it should be,” she said.

Brenda and Daniel Blue Jr. traveled from Lancaster, Texas, to support the cause. The Blues said in their experience, CPS agents lied and put their children in the system for money. When they caught on, they started recording CPS visits.

Shayne Downs's photo.The couple sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Aug. 12, 2011, detailing 23 adjustments they wanted for CPS. Some requests included ending bonuses paid to each CPS worker for a child removed from a home or adopted through the foster care system, no removal of children from the home without hard evidence and eliminating anonymous accusers.

“The pattern is the same: ‘Get the kids,’” said Raquel Okyay, state director of GovAbuse.

Okyay said she was a victim of CPS and has been investigating them ever since.

Gary said that in his eyes, the courts push families until someone — a parent or child — snaps, then the blame is put on the parent.

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Last testament of a loving father abused by the family court system and alienated from his children

The Chris Mackney Storypaao-fam-crt13

What the Post couldn’t print was that Chris committed suicide after being alienated from his children and subjected to years of psychological and financial abuse by the biased, anti-father family court system, his ex-wife and her lawyer. Here is his tragic last testament, which one can only conclude was for the purpose of his not dying in vain.

Last testament of a loving father abused by the family court system

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Women for Men

Chris MackneyThis August our 11-year-old son will begin the sixth grade at Chaminade Preparatory School in St. Louis, MO. It is an all boys Catholic school. Chris Mackney, to your left, graduated from Chaminade in 1986—the same year I graduated from an all girls Catholic school a mile away.

So it hit close to home when I read about Chris’s horrible, horrible story. Chris died tragically this past December in Washington D.C. Here is his death notice in The Washington Post.

What the Post couldn’t print was that Chris committed suicide after being alienated from his children and subjected to years of psychological and financial abuse by the biased, anti-father family court system, his ex-wife and her lawyer. Here is his tragic last testament, which one can only conclude was for the purpose of his not dying in vain. 

The question for those of us still alive is: What are we going to do about…

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Apply The Constitution In Family Law

Vindicate The Violated - 2015FATHERS WHO DO THE RIGHT THING

The Best Parent picWe believe that if we “take the high road” and “do the right thing” by other family members, that the Justice system will recognize that when considering motions and making rulings.  We believe we will be able to get a fair outcome as good parents, and that we will be allowed to provide for and protect our children. 

http://iloveandneedmydaughter.blogspot.com/2015/10/fathers-who-are-good-to-their-children.html

If we are present in our kids’ lives, contributing and working to balance many challenges, we should be recognized for our value, and supported in our roles.

Stand up for Zoraya - GIF - 2015We believe that the professionals will factor in the evidence and truth of our lives, and use everything in their power – within what our laws allow – to help us help our children. 

Large numbers of fathers have found that NOT to be the case.

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Can A Mom And Dad Share The Responsibility Of Parenting? ‘Sharenting’ Or Equal Parenting On The Rise : Parenting : Parent Herald

In recent years, there has been an advent of equal parenting or “sharenting.” Although it would seem as if this concept of shared parenting would decrease the number of problems couples have with their children, there are still a couple of things they should avoid

Most of the time, when a couple has a child one of them would have to be more hands-on with the child compared to their other half. This means there is a big chance that one of them would have to give up their career in favor of parenting.

“Women aged 35-44 are 67 percent more likely to suffer work-related stress than men of the same age group,” according to an article posted on The Telegraph. These statistics come courtesy of psychiatrist, Dr. Judith Mohring.

Mohring states that another unfortunate statistic is the responsibility of parenting still falling mainly in the hands of the woman. There are set-ups wherein the father does most of the parenting work, such as in families where the mother has an on-call job, but these are still rare even to this day.

There is much promise for the new bill granting Shared Parental Leave or SPL. The British government back in April 2015 launched this. What Shared Parental Leave does is it allows the parents of a child to divide paid leave between in the first year of their child.

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Alienation or estrangement?

Assessing high conflict separated families, we distinguish between Alienation (“there’s no good reason”), and justified estrangement (“there is good reason”). Commonly it is a hybrid mixture of both. Estrangement can be looked at in its own right in other adult family situations where it means the same: “distanced relationships with a good reason”. Understanding estrangement illustrates some important points about Alienation.Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 17.18.42

About “good reason” or not: It is important for those experiencing the injustices and false allegations to show they remember that justice is as essential for the many cases where there are significant or awful real abuse and risks to assess. Sorting out justified, unjustified and hybrid – and doing it promptly – is not easy for the professionals who do it. Only by recognising the justified situations can we expect others to recognise the unjustified ones.

Stand Alone estrangement survey

Stand Alone is a new charity offering support to adults estranged from their family or children. We welcome Stand Alone here on the alienation experience blog. They’re now in our useful links and services. They have a ‘meeting people’ page and (so far) offer support services in London, Sheffield, Newcastle and Glasgow. Outside those areas, they have a comprehensive on-line support service. Stand Alone may not mention Alienation specifically, but the estranged and Alienated alike would surely find sympathy there.

Among the innovative things they’ve done is to commission research on levels of estrangement in the population. They got Ipsos MORI to do a preliminary survey. It shows that around 1 in 5 families in the UK will be affected by estrangement, 1 in 4 know somebody who is no longer in contact with a family member, and 1 in 10  said they were personally estranged from a family member.

You can see details and download more and the top line and full data too.  Ipsos MORI do long face to face interviews in people’s homes with specific commissioned questions included. One way to get a better idea of how many people are affected by Alienation would be to craft and commission our own questions for a survey. Stand Alone’s key question was:

Do you know anyone who is estranged from a member of their family? By estranged we mean they are no longer in contact with at least one member of their family due to a breakdown in the relationship.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 17.19.11So this is not asking about estrangement from  thewhole of the rest of a person’s family. Severe Child and Parental Alienation (PA) means that a child is cut off from one parent plus their whole family too. The estrangement need only be with just one member of your family. You wonder how an Alienated person would respond to the estrangement question asked. Other questions emerge too.

It is great to have some new facts on the overall picture:

Over a quarter (27%) of the GB public know somebody who is no longer in contact with a family member. 8% of those surveyed said they were personally estranged from a family member. The figures show little variation in terms of gender … The figures stay consistent across class and earnings, yet the regional breakdown showed a lower incidence of estrangement in London versus the rest of the country. This preliminary research points to the fact that family estrangement permeates all types of families, including those who consider themselves highly educated and earning well above the national average wage.   … among a sample of 2,082 adults aged 15+ in September 2014. Data were weighted to known population figures for age, region, social grade and working status within gender and non-interlocking targets for household tenure and ethnicity.

Estrangement will be of harder on young adults because, having distanced from their family of origin, they are less likely to have established other families and support in their lives. Why is there less estrangement in London? Seems surprising. Maybe the larger ethnic population in London means communities of people who stay closer to their families:

What would alienated people have said?

What a single question like theirs cannot control or get at is what people took as their definition of ‘family’. Older people are likely to be in one or more extra families of marriage or cohabiting. So older people have a wider selection of families and family members to belong to, and be estranged or Alienated from. To be estranged from all members of all your families would perhaps not be so much rare bad luck, as to raise a question about what that individual may do to fall out so much. But it is common for an Alienated person to be completely cut off from a whole family network having done nothing to deserve that fate.

People who said “yes” to being or knowing someone who was estranged would mostly be talking about people who continue to have good relationships with the other members of their family/ies. Have a look at the full data that explores multiple yes-es more. More detailed answers to these questions would require some extra different questions asked.

For Alienated families, if you are a grown-up alienated child, you may well still have a strong link to one parent and siblings and that side of your family of origin. You wouldn’t say that you were estranged from that your (perceived main) family. And you might or might not say you know someone who is estranged – even though you do very well know of one: the parent you rejected along the way. But the rejected parent would say they were estranged (if not Alienated) to this general survey question, and so would those who know them. For Alienation you could expect the answers to give you figures that don’t match. And if your questions were carefully defined – estrangement = “good reason”; Alienation = “no good reason” – then you would get diametrically opposing views of the same relationship depending on whose side you were asking. Perhaps the value of a non-technical use of  ‘estrangement’ is that it invites fresher responses, and gives you richer answers and interesting questions. For many people, the word ‘Alienation’ already brings in too much baggage.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 19.07.26

Young people’s views from SCCR survey 2013

So it would be great to build on this preliminary research to explore some more underlying details.

Estrangement and Alienation

He was interviewed for Women’s Hour on BBC Radio 4 recently (listen from 1 min 20 secs).  Here’s an academic presentation of his research on negotiating adult family estrangement.  Shaheen Hashmat also talked on the programme about her choice to distance from her family – because of their cultural requirements that she couldn’t accept or find a compromise with.Stand Alone was mentioned by Dr Jason Robinson,psychologist who has studied estrangement.

The picture from this is that estrangement is significantly different from Alienation though it still leaves the estranged person bereaved and unsupported compared with those who have family around.

Screen Shot 2015-08-03 at 19.08.00

Parents’ and carers’ views from SCCR survey 2013

The key difference between Alienation and estrangement is this: Where Alienation entails three parties, estrangement in the BBC discussion is more of a two-party pattern. Alienation is when one person turns another against a third (see more on this broad definition here). In Child and Parental Alienation this is specifically a parent turning a child against the other parent. The broad meaning of estrangement (that Stand Alone used) means that, faced with unresolvable differences with their family, a person chooses by their own (reluctant maybe but) free individual choice to create a big distance. They find it a relief to make the break. This may be with just one family member, some of them, or all of them. For Shaheen Hashmat it was with all her family except for one sibling.

But both three-party Alienation and two-party estrangement involve seriously difficult family relationship conflict, and both are miserable predicaments all round. With the high prevalence shown in the surveys, it is right to look for other ways to help.

Another organisation that has grown into this field is the Edinburgh-based Cyrenians and the umbrella organisation, the Scottish Centre for Conflict Resolution that grew from realising how homelessness was mostly the result of family fall-out.

The SCCR diagrams here give some of the statistics from their own 2013 survey. 41% of parents or carers and 61% of young people report having weekly arguments in their family. 25% of youngsters each month think of leaving home and 50% would like to talk to someone who could help. 70% of parents would think of talking to someone to help sort things out.

In conclusion

It’s good to have some real facts to work from. It would be good to use this survey approach to find out more about Alienation in the UK – as well as more about estrangement too. Looking at estrangement in its own right is relevant for this blog given the estrangement Alienation is contrasted with, and given our interest in broad thinking about the hard end of broken family relationships. We can see more clearly some similarities and differences between estrangement and Alienation.

Nick Child, Edinburgh

Source: Getting familiar with estrangement

Does Parental Alienation Cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

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Communicating In Family Courts

However impartial that Judge may want to be, they are still a stranger to you and your children, usually having little or no advance in-depth awareness of the particular nuances of your case being presented in Court. Moreover, and despite some opinions to the contrary, a Judge is still subject to the same human faults as you or any other person. They can be having a “bad day” and prone to mood swings, illogical conclusions, distractions in their personal life, previous poor experience with your attorney, or a host of other things to affect the way things transpire in the courtroom.
Do not expect the Judge to make the “right” decision. There are three perspectives the Judge can consider when making a decision: your way, your spouse’s way, or the Judge’s way. Already, that’s a 2 out of 3 chance things will not go in your favor. But since you’ve decided that the Court is the best option to settle your dispute, here are some important tips to help you get through the process, and potentially influence a better decision – or at least not make things worse.

Project Fatherhood FL 11- 2015What is done in the dark will be brought to light - 2016Closed Court precludes any balance analysis of proceedings and when Jack Straw as our one time Justice Minister attempted to ‘Open’ the Court, he was met by derision by the very Judges who should have been called to account.  Camilla Cavendish, who won an award for her Family Law column in The Times, was one of the first Journalists to be invited into Family Court in Ipswich and it was clear to me that at that time the same safeguards put in place for sensitive criminal cases could apply to Civil Laws, i.e. Child A, Family XYZ or even a serial number Journalists could refer to a case when given out to news of Parliament.Courtroom Camaras ABA Article 2007 - Florida Judge - 2015
 
Judges either willingly or otherwise collude with Barristers and Solicitors in perpetuating this corruption where financial gain can be achieved by their Court, rarely do they benefit either party, least of all the children involved and due to the closed nature of these Courts there is no accountability (if you appeal is it likely one Judge will contradict another).
 
Money is the fuel to injustice and closed courts hide this fact from public scrutiny! 
Closed Court precludes any balance analysis of proceedings and when Jack Straw as our one time Justice Minister attempted to ‘Open’ the Court, he was met by derision by the very Judges who should have been called to account. Camilla Cavendish, who won an award for her Family Law column in The Times, was one of the first Journalists to be invited into Family Court in Ipswich and it was clear to me that at that time the same safeguards put in place for sensitive criminal cases could apply to Civil Laws, i.e. Child A, Family XYZ or even a serial number Journalists could refer to a case when given out to news of Parliament. Judges either willingly or otherwise collude with Barristers and Solicitors in perpetuating this corruption where financial gain can be achieved by their Court, rarely do they benefit either party, least of all the children involved and due to the closed nature of these Courts there is no accountability (if you appeal is it likely one Judge will contradict another). Money is the fuel to injustice and closed courts hide this fact from public scrutiny!

Closed Court precludes any balance analysis of proceedings and when Jack Straw as our one time Justice Minister attempted to ‘Open’ the Court, he was met by derision by the very Judges who should have been called to account. Camilla Cavendish, who won an award for her Family Law column in The Times, was one of the first Journalists to be invited into Family Court in Ipswich and it was clear to me that at that time the same safeguards put in place for sensitive criminal cases could apply to Civil Laws, i.e. Child A, Family XYZ or even a serial number Journalists could refer to a case when given out to news of Parliament.
Judges either willingly or otherwise collude with Barristers and Solicitors in perpetuating this corruption where financial gain can be achieved by their Court, rarely do they benefit either party, least of all the children involved and due to the closed nature of these Courts there is no accountability (if you appeal is it likely one Judge will contradict another). Money is the fuel to injustice and closed courts hide this fact from public scrutiny!

We need a winner - 2015

justice-denied-no-jury-in-family-courts-2016

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About The Children, LLC's Blog

What Are You Really Trying To Say

communication-983x1024

            Most of the time, parents don’t know what questions to ask or where to start in a family court case. It’s quite common for parents to be somewhat clueless about the whole process of getting custody or visitation of their kids or going through a straight divorce, and that’s okay. One of the biggest problems with situations like this is communication. If you don’t know what to say or how to say it, the chances are pretty good that your attorney or the person presiding over your mediation session or even the judge, will get confused about who’s talking about who, what the issue really is and what you or your ex wants out of this. Any amount of confusion is not good in these kinds of situations. In family law, the judge is going to make a decision based on what…

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