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NOW's not so great excuses for sole custody. Enjoy.

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The Biscuit Queen:
http://www.now.org/nnt/03-97/father.html

"Father's Rights" Groups: Beware Their Real Agenda

by Gloria Woods, President, Michigan NOW

"Shared Parental Responsibility." In our work as women's advocates, how often have we
heard custodial moms wish that their children's father would share the parental
responsibility? Unfortunately, "shared parental responsibility" is the new doublespeak for
joint physical custody by so-called "father's rights" groups.

For example, in Michigan proposed legislation supported by these groups would impose joint
custody on parents who are in conflict over custody. Most studies report that joint
custody works best when both parents want it and agree to work together.

The Michigan legislation states that in a custody dispute the judge must presume that
joint custody is in the "best interests of the child" and "should be ordered." To make any
other decision, a judge must make findings why joint custody is not in the children's
"best interest." This is a high legal standard that makes it very difficult for judges to
award any other custody arrangement. It is also a departure from the generally accepted
standards determining what's in the best interest of the child.

Michigan NOW opposes forced joint custody for many reasons: it is unworkable for
uncooperative parents; it is dangerous for women and their children who are trying to
leave or have left violent husbands/fathers; it ignores the diverse, complicated needs of
divorced families; and it is likely to have serious, unintended consequences on child
support.

Forced joint custody is also a top legislative priority of fringe fathers' rights groups
nationwide. These groups argue that courts are biased and sole custody awards to mothers
deny fathers their right to parent. They allege that, in most cases, mothers are awarded
sole custody, with fathers granted visitation rights. The men cite this as proof of bias
against fathers.

The truth is that in 90 percent of custody decisions it is mutually agreed that the mother
would be sole custodian. According to several studies, when there is a custody dispute,
fathers win custody in the majority of disputed cases.

The legislature's determination to impose joint custody on parents in conflict is a
frightening proposition for many women and places them and their children in harm's way.

There is documented proof that forced joint custody hurts children. "In the majority of
cases in which there's no desire to cooperate, joint custody creates a battleground on
which to carry on the fight," one researcher reported in the legal magazine, The Los
Angeles Daily Journal (December 1988).

In "Ongoing Postdivorce Conflict: Effects on Children of Joint Custody and Frequent
Access," Janet Johnson and her colleagues compared children in court-ordered joint custody
with children in sole-custody homes. In both situations, the parents were in "entrenched
conflict."  This study showed that under these circumstances frequent shuttling between
both parents in joint custody "is linked to more troubled emotional problems" in children
than the sole-custody arrangement.

Imposed joint custody is particularly dangerous to battered women and their children. As
the director of the Michigan Domestic Violence and Treatment Board said in her testimony
opposing this bill, "...the exchange of children during visitation can be the most
dangerous time for the [domestic violence survivor] and her children."

"My experience with presumptive joint custody as a domestic relations lawyer in Louisiana
was almost uniformly negative," said NOW Executive Vice President Kim Gandy. "It creates
an unparalleled opportunity for belligerent former spouses to carry on their personal
agendas or vendettas through the children -- and with the blessing of the courts.

"Attorneys often referred to it jokingly as the `lawyer protection act' because repeated
trips to court over minor issues kept the fees rolling in, and the mothers were more
likely to suffer," Gandy said.

Joining Michigan NOW in opposing this legislation are: antiviolence/ women's shelter
groups, the bar association, child psychologists, social workers, family law experts,
judges, lawyers, and even the Family Forum (a right-wing, "traditional family values"
group).

You can check out the supporters of this bill and become familiar with the groups' real
agenda by logging on to the Internet using any search engine such as Yahoo to search for
"fathers' rights," or connect to: http://www.speakeasy.org/fathersrights/ or
http://web2.airmail.net/fathers4 to learn more about their activities.

Further information on forced joint custody, including a list of studies and reports on
its dangers, is available from the NOW Foundation at 202-331-0066.

Buddy-Rey:
Oi vey...You know, I really need to stop reading these NOW articles.  They're not at all good for my blood pressure.  :evil:

fezzik:
Unfortunately, "shared parental responsibility" is the new doublespeak for joint physical custody by so-called "father's rights" groups.

As if 'joint physical custody' weren't already doublespeak for sharing the kids.

Most studies report that joint custody works best when both parents want it and agree to work together.

This is a completely meaningless statement. All custody arrangements work best when both parents agree to it and work together.

To make any other decision, a judge must make findings why joint custody is not in the children's "best interest." ... It is also a departure from the generally accepted standards determining what's in the best interest of the child.

Yes, it's a departure from the Victorian principle that small children shouldn't be separated from their mothers during their 'tender years'. It replaced the earlier generally accepted standard that the children were the property of the father. Does NOW really want to use what's 'generally accepted as standard' as equivalent for fair?

The truth is that in 90 percent of custody decisions it is mutually agreed that the mother would be sole custodian. According to several studies, when there is a custody dispute, fathers win custody in the majority of disputed cases.

The truth is that in the vast majority of court cases, the defendant takes a plea bargain instead of going to trial, as the financial and personal costs of going to trial and losing are very high. Only those sure of their innocence and who have the money to pay for it go to trial. What's wrong with the law as it is currently practiced in Family Court is that fathers are put in an equivalent position to a criminal defendant.

Michigan NOW opposes forced joint custody for many reasons: it is unworkable for uncooperative parents; it is dangerous for women and their children who are trying to leave or have left violent husbands/fathers; it ignores the diverse, complicated needs of divorced families; and it is likely to have serious, unintended consequences on child support.

Michigan NOW would prefer that when parents are uncooperative, the mother gets everything. Michigan NOW would like to pretend that only men are violent, and that child abuse by women should remain swept under the rug. Michigan NOW would like to ignore the diverse complicated needs of divorced families, in favor of the simpler needs of divorced women.

-- Everything not in italics is my opinion.

richard ford:
I love the use of language in this sort of article. Alowing a child to see their father becomes 'forced joint custody' which assumes that the child really really wants to grow up in a broken home but the law will not let them.....

Also notice the deliberate stupidity and misunderstanding. Domestic violence cannot be a valid reason to oppose joint custody because no judge would order it if there were proof of this.

Above all note the meaningless 'in the best interest of the child'. Have NOW asked children if they want to take sides in a war between their parents? When the denial of custody is used as a weapon in divorce this is sure to happen.

Equal parenting will come. I am more sure of this with each passing day.

LSBeene:
These hags really love to speak in half-truths, they PRETEND to care about children (but not aborted ones or "safe-haven" abandoned ones), and want "traditional" until it impedes in what a woman wants.

I can't describe my palpable dislike for these skanks.

Steven

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