Crisis In The Family Courts

Shared Custody Issues in the Context of Domestic Violence

Posted in Uncategorized by abatteredmother on August 25, 2013

Written by Barry Goldstein

Sunday, 25 August 2013 08:52

THIS IS what  MANDATORY SHARED Parenting does. KILLS

source: NOMAS

In a Queens New York custody case, the court appointed a prominent psychologist to evaluate a young couple. The psychologist was frequently used as an expert in the New York courts despite a fathers’ rights bias that included a quotation in a New York Times article supporting shared parenting. Throughout his testimony supporting the abusive father, the evaluator could not respond to any of my questions asking for research to support any of his claims. Finally I asked him if there was any research to support his belief that children benefit from a 50-50 division as compared to 70-30. He cited Judith Wallerstein, but could not cite a particular book or article. A colleague put me in touch with Ms. Wallerstein who sent me an email for my continued cross-examination of the evaluator. She said that earlier research had indicated shared parenting might be beneficial in cases where the parents are able to cooperate, but more recent research has demonstrated that shared parenting is in fact harmful to children. One of the problems in our custody courts is that this psychologist, like most experts relied on by the courts does not have the knowledge of up-to-date research or the ability to apply it to custody cases.

Shared custody, sometimes referred to as joint custody involves joint decision making by the parents and sometimes also requires something close to a 50-50 division of time with each parent. The equal time division is often important to parents wishing to avoid paying child support. Proponents of shared parenting say it is only fair that parents have the same rights to parenting time with their children and courts claim that they must treat each parent that comes to court equally. This seems fair unless we understand the unstated part that parents should be treated the same regardless of the quantity and quality of time each parent spent with the child before the separation. Research about primary attachment is not controversial and demonstrates that a child’s primary attachment figure is more important to the well being of a child than the other parent. Furthermore, although research supports the belief that children benefit from having both parents in their lives, this is not true if one of the parents is abusive. Nevertheless many courts think it is their obligation to treat each parent the same even when one is much more valuable to the child.

Custody When Neither Parent is Abusive

The concept of shared parenting was supported by an initial study that found a favorable response. Courts were delighted to support shared parenting because it served as a way to compromise a difficult issue and could remove many cases from an already crowded calendar. Abusive fathers who had little involvement with the children during the relationship strongly supported shared parenting as a way to avoid child support and maintain access and control over their victims.

The initial study was based on a very limited population and most favorable circumstances that included parents who enthusiastically supported the use of shared parenting, were able to cooperate and lived close together. Later studies that included larger populations and more long term effects of the arrangement demonstrated shared custody to be harmful to children, but these studies failed to dampen the enthusiasm for shared custody in the legal system and by abusers.

The studies found that children with two homes in reality had no homes. Children forced to bounce back and forth between their parents’ homes were denied a sense of security and continuity. They could not spend the time with friends that they wanted and often could not participate in a variety of activities because they had to be with the other parent when some of the events occurred. Children were often embarrassed when articles they needed for school or other activities were left in the wrong home. In other words, even when parents were able to cooperate, the shared custody arrangement placed added pressure on the children and made their lives more difficult. Their success in academic studies and social interaction was negatively impacted by the shared custody arrangement.

Shared Custody in Domestic Violence Cases

Many of the laws and proposed legislation seeking to promote shared custody purport to contain language to create an exception for domestic violence cases and sometimes for other cases in which the parties are unable to cooperate. There is a good reason to treat domestic violence cases differently as shared custody is particularly harmful to children when one of the parents is an abuser. A parent cannot co-parent with an abuser because it is unsafe to challenge him and compromise is impossible when there is unequal power. The fundamental problem, too often missed by courts is that abusers are willing to see their children harmed in order to maintain what they believe is their right to control or punish their partner. Most contested custody cases that courts mistakenly label “high conflict” are in reality domestic violence cases in which fathers use the common abuser tactic of seeking custody to maintain control of their partner or punish her for leaving. Children who witness domestic violence (including non-physical abuse) are more likely to engage in dysfunctional behavior when they are older. Depending on their age when they witness his abuse, their stage of development is disrupted. All batterers have been found to engage in harmful parenting practices including undermining the relationship with the other parent, teaching bad values (sexism) and providing a bad example. In other words, up-to-date research establishes that abusers are not appropriate candidates for custody or shared custody.

The benefit of an exception for domestic violence is limited because of the widespread failure of courts to recognize domestic violence in custody cases. Thirty plus years ago when domestic violence first became a public issue there was no research available. Courts, like other bodies developed practices and approaches to consider domestic violence without knowing what worked. At the time domestic violence was mostly focused on physical abuse. The assumption was that mental problems and substance abuse caused domestic violence and that women’s behavior contributed to their partner’s abuse. Courts therefore chose to use mental health professionals as experts although they had no training in the dynamics of domestic violence. Courts assumed that children were not harmed by domestic violence unless they were directly assaulted and his abuse would end once the parties separated. Up-to-date research demonstrates that all of this and many other assumptions still relied on by many professionals in the custody court system are wrong.

There is now a specialized body of knowledge about domestic violence, but too often judges and the professionals they rely on are overconfident in their own understanding of domestic violence and fail to consider up-to-date research. Judge Mike Brigner wrote in his chapter for DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, ABUSE and CHILD CUSTODY that when he trains judges they often ask him what to do about women who are lying. When asked what they mean, they cite women who return to their abusers, fail to pursue petitions for protective orders, don’t have police reports or hospital records and the myth that women frequently make false allegations of abuse to gain an advantage in litigation (in reality this occurs only one-two percent of the time). None of these behaviors indicates the women are lying and in fact this is often the safest response they can make particularly when still living with their abuser. Similarly inadequately trained professionals often cite the fact that the children did not seem afraid of the alleged abuser when they observed them as proof the allegations are false. The children understand what the “experts” don’t that the abuser is not going to hurt them in front of others and in fact they could be punished if they demonstrated fear in public. Many professionals in the court system believe they have the ability to determine who is lying just from observation. In fact research shows that aside from a very few elite CIA and FBI agents, no one has been shown to possess this skill. Accordingly these professionals through this belief become more susceptible to abusers who are skilled manipulators. While the unqualified professionals often discredit allegations of abuse for these and other invalid reasons, they fail to look at the pattern of controlling and coercive behaviors that would help them see the pattern of abusive behavior.

The result of this and many other mistakes by professionals in the custody court system is that thousands of children are being forced to live with abusers and many protective mothers, who are wrongly dismissed as disgruntled litigants and denied any meaningful role in their children’s lives. Legislatures and courts should be focusing on using the available up-to-date research to protect the safety and secure the potential of children caught up in domestic violence custody cases. Today, shockingly, courts are getting a majority of domestic violence custody cases wrong. This is one of the reasons we recommend that all professionals receive not just general domestic violence training, but specific training in Recognizing Domestic Violence, Gender Bias and The Effects of Domestic Violence on Children. Until courts have and apply this information, our children will not be safe when courts decide their fate.

In domestic violence custody cases, the use of shared parenting does not save court time and resources, but rather only postpones extensive litigation at great expense to the parties and harm to the children. Abusers eventually contrive incidents as an excuse to seek sole custody or protective mothers are forced to seek custody because the abusers are hurting the children. Abusive parents with limited parenting skills use shared parenting to get their foot in the door while continuing to harass and abuse their former partners. Court professionals often pressure protective mothers to accept shared custody with their abusers and punish them for trying to protect themselves and their children. Over forty states and many other court districts have sponsored gender bias commissions that have found widespread gender bias. Gender bias is particularly hard to overcome because judges and other professionals engage in gender bias without realizing they are doing so. The studies have shown that in custody cases, mothers are given higher standards of proof, less credibility and are blamed for their abuser’s behavior.

When mothers seek to limit contact between their children and their abuser for safety reasons and courts routinely treat this as if she is trying to interfere with the relationship between the children and abusive father, this is an example of blaming mothers for the father’s behavior. Instead of courts pressuring the abuser to stop his controlling and threatening behavior, protective mothers often face retaliation and punishment for trying to protect their children. This is particularly common when courts fail to recognize domestic violence and then punish mothers who continue to believe their abuse allegations. Provisions in shared custody laws that purport to make an exception for domestic violence will continue to be ineffective as long as there is widespread failure to recognize domestic violence and to take it seriously. Accordingly shared custody laws are not beneficial in cases where the parties can voluntarily cooperate and create serious danger to children in domestic violence cases

 

See more at: http://americanmotherspoliticalparty.org/ampp-article-library-family-court-custody-abuse-dv/5-family-criminal-law-and-research-abuse-dv-child-custody/94-batterers-revenge-punishment-and-continued-abuse-via-court#sthash.OhT2CBag.dpuf

Mothers Loosing Custody: Kelly Rutherford on Her Ongoing Custody Battle, the Battered Mothers Custody Conference

Posted in Uncategorized by abatteredmother on April 23, 2013

Kelly Rutherford on Her Ongoing Custody Battle

Kelly Rutherford Children Photo
Kelly has been locked in a bitter custody battle with her ex-husband since their divorce in 2010 and last
September a judge ordered the children to live with their father in France.
 

Kelly Rutherford writes from her heart on why her ongoing child custody battle represents a greater legal issue. We asked Kelly’s ex-husband, Daniel Giersch, for a statement on the show and his attorney, Fahi Takesh Hallin, responded, “Daniel Giersch continues not to comment publicly about the parties’ custody case, in order to protect the children’s privacy.”

I am sharing my story with the world so that no other mother has to experience the pain and suffering that I am going through. We have a flawed legal system and there needs to be a change.

Although I did everything within my power to facilitate a positive relationship between my ex-husband and our children, and although I traveled far and wide to facilitate a shared custodial arrangement with my ex-husband, a judge effectively deported my two (2) minor children to accommodate a man who had his VISA revoked, for reasons unknown.

Without any inquiry as to why my ex-husband’s VISA was revoked, the Judge forced my young children, both of whom are US Citizens to reside in France, even though the children have no relationship to France, nor is their father a French citizen. Although, NY was the only home my children have ever known and the children’s own counsel recommended that the children be allowed to stay in the United States with me, the Judge made a decision in direct contravention of expert opinion.

Although my children are US citizens, the fact that they reside in France places them in legal peril. The longer they remain in France, the greater the chance becomes that they are afforded the status of French residents. This is particularly dangerous because France is in no way obligated to respect and/or enforce judicial determinations made in US Courts. In essence, French officials could modify a custody and visitation decision at any time, without any legal recourse for me or my children. Change needs to happen now.

www.BatteredMothersCustodyConference.org

 

Video one here: http://www.katiecouric.com/videos/kelly-rutherford-custody/

Video two here: http://www.katiecouric.com/on-the-show/2013/04/19/kelly-rutherford/

 

Kelly Rutherford Photo
“Gossip Girl” star Kelly Rutherford sits down with Katie to speak out about her custody battle that’s making headlines.

Kelly Rutherford’s lawyer, Amanda Shaked, explains the steps she’s taking to get Kelly’s kids back.

SEX AND ENTITLEMENT

Posted in Uncategorized by abatteredmother on June 15, 2010

RightsForMothersFILED IN: PATRIARCHY, SARAH STEFANSON, SEXUAL RELATIONS, ENTITLEMENT

Someone had brought a post to my attention, and it struck a chord with me.  Thinking back, I think my ex-partner’s presumption of “entitlement” to it started the increase of his hostility and this is what started the physical abuse.  I found this segment on a men’s message board (Men Going Their Own Way) a while back sharing some of those manly feelings:

“I was driving back from a meeting this morning, thinking about my wife, and I really wanted to go home, and simply beat the living shit out of her. I have been supporting everyone for years, working my ass off, and my wife has not done one single fucking thing to make my life easier, to encourage me, or to help me with anything that’s bugging me. She’s on the PTA, the board of her preschool, she teaches art at the elementary school, is involved in a book club, and on and on and on. Her calendar is ridiculous. But I am some kind of fucking afterthought. I’m the engine that powers this entire thing, and I haven’t gotten laid in months.

I know I was awful tired taking care of a baby by myself all the time at night.  He would not help….ever.  He said his job was more important so he needed more sleep, yet we worked the same jobs (even had the same degrees, although mine more advanced).  Would it help to try and get joint counseling in this before you get the crap beat out of you?  I don’t know…I tried that and he wasn’t a willing participant.

Now try and look at it from the other point of view…can a guy turn this around and truly blame a woman?  (**Shakes head and rolls eyes**).  No.  Nobody deserved to be abused if they don’t give it up.  Back to the post that caught my attention…the writer (a woman!) on the Fox News story tries to come up with reasons why that woman just won’t put out, and fails miserably.  What follows here is some really good commentary on the Men’s Health post on Fox News:

“Women withhold sex because men let them get away with it”

Published by Jill

Feel like puking? Check out this crusty scab of human hatred from the Fox News website, a men’s advice column entitled “Reasons Women Withhold Sex.”

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “why would I feel like puking?” Or possibly, “why would anyone bother writing a men’s advice column entitled ‘Reasons Women Withhold Sex’ when the answer, so obvious to anyone with half a grip, is ‘because sex with you sucks’?”

But apparently men need to hear something other than the truth. Enter men’s advice-ist Sarah Stefanson. Rarely has so puke-a-riffic an example of the acculturation of sexist male entitlement been seen in this, or any other, galaxy.

I would call Sarah Stefanson a lousy turncoat collaborating suck-up shitbag, but I don’t want to jump to conclusions. There’s always the possibility that she was forced against her will to scrawl this feces-stain on the knickers of human achievement. Forced, perhaps, by some asshole who literally held a gun to her head, threatening to kneecap her 80-year-old grandma and foreclose on her 9-acre dirt farm, send a shipment of tainted vaccines to blind orphans in Bangladesh, and drown a sackful of kittens in a pond of toxic run-off. That has to be the scenario, because otherwise I’d be forced to contemplate that there actually exists a woman so degraded, so corrupt, so sociopathic, or so desperate that she would willingly turn out this kind of unremitting, lobe-scorching dudebro misogyny for the pitiful sum of 10 cents a word.

But I digress.

Sarah Stefanson’s hate speech addresses a dudely audience, and begins, I am sorry to say, like this:

One of the benefits of being in a long-term relationship is that you have someone that you can readily depend on for regular sex.

But uh-oh. Dude’s dependable meatsock may not be feelin’ it. She may even be “withholding” it. This suggests that the benefits of which Sarah Stefanson speaks so glowingly might be experienced by the party of the second part as unpleasantness. Hence her tips on how to manipulate your sex-woman and “get the carnal door open again” (Jaysus, 10 cents a word for that? Kill me now).

Observes Stefanson, “if there’s one area of a relationship women think they have control over, it’s sex.” But don’t buy it, men!

In the wild world of men’s advice columny, “purposefully withholding” sex is universally understood as a wholly nefarious, cruel, and mystifying method of female retribution. That’s because sex is a commodity to which men are entitled by the Global Accords Governing Fair Use of Women. Women are the sex class. If the flow of access is interrupted, the natural order is out of whack, and your sex-woman needs to be reset. But hey, chillax, bra! Stefanson’s column addresses the painful question “what can a suffering dude do when his receptacle is ‘purposefully withholding’ sex?”

In answering the question, Sarah Stefanson, with whom I begin to grow increasingly annoyed, leaves no tired old war-between-the-sexes cliché unturned. Women who “close up shop” (yes, really) are manipulative, out to prove who’s boss, cheating, or “playing games.” If they’re too tired to fuck, men are urged to poke them with sticks. If none of the tactics listed sufficiently cajoles them, “you might have to wait it out and service yourself until she comes to her senses.” But ultimately, Sarah Stefanson opines, women withhold sex “because men let them get away with it.” So man up, you spineless fairy, and take what’s yours.

Stefanson’s article is a stupid lowbrow clump of oppression-culture condensation, and doesn’t really merit a full-on paragraph-by-paragraph analysis, but it’s worth pointing out that it was filed on a major news website under “Men’s Health,” where it is accepted, uncritically and without analysis, that women are an underclass with so little agency that sexual manipulation is their only recourse.

Puke.

[Thanks, PhioGistic]

Please go to her website and comment on this great piece.

WordPress Tags: ENTITLEMENT,RightsForMothers,PATRIARCHY,SARAH,STEFANSON,SEXUAL,RELATIONS,attention,chord,presumption,segment,message,feelings,wife,life,preschool,calendar,afterthought,engine,haven,participant,woman,Nobody,Back,writer,News,commentary,Health,Women,Jill,Feel,Check,scab,human,advice,column,Withhold,truth,Enter,example,sexist,male,turncoat,scrawl,achievement,dirt,shipment,Bangladesh,pond,scenario,word,speech,audience,benefits,relationship,Dude,tips,door,Jaysus,Kill,area,world,method,retribution,Global,Fair,needs,receptacle,cliché,shop,sticks,senses,fairy,article,oppression,culture,condensation,paragraph,analysis,worth,agency,manipulation,recourse,Puke,Thanks,PhioGistic,piece,degrees,conclusions,Accords,website,cents