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Archive for November, 2009

On  Tuesday November 17. Brian Lehrer’s guest was Susan Riss, the editor

Scene of "L'argent de poche" (Truffaut)

in chief of Working Mother Magazine.  One of the topics of the show was the new trends in child custody discussed in the last issue of Working Mother Magazine, and what I heard caught my attention. Susan Riss pointed out that unemployment hurt men more than women. That’s no news; the scoop was that more dads are seeking custody and are winning 50% of the time. With the worst recession since world war II came grace. Family courts gave up the tender year doctrine that says that mum is more suited than dad to be with the kids at a very young age. Since unemployed men are at home, they can as well as mum raise the children.

From her interview with Brian Lehrer, Susan Riss is not somebody who seems hostile to the fathers’ rights movement. Quite the contrary. She stated that “joint custody is the ideal scenario in a divorce”. Not something that nut cases contesting the existence of parental alienation syndrome would say. Yet I cannot wait to check the source of her data. And I cannot help regret to have started a divorce at the peak of an economic boom and missed family courts ‘s coming to intelligence.  In 1999, my lawyer told me that joint custody was not an even an option in New York. The stupidest move of my life: I did not ask for custody. Three years after, I was deprived of my visitation rights by a phony trial in child abuse.

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It happened in Kentucky. In this state, there is a judicial conduct commission that seems to be working. Judge Tamra Gormleycontempt was sitting on fathers’ rights as if there was no tomorrow: a fellow was held in contempt without a hearing – why bother, men are all terrorists- and another one was deprived of custody without being able to present evidence.

The question that New York non-custodial dads or future non-custodial dads have to ask, is : has there ever been a judicial conduct commission in New York State? Or perhaps it disappeared with recent budget cuts.  If this is the case, what a pity. A little monitoring of the rulings of  family courts’ judges would not hurt there.

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patental alienationJustice is all about getting fast and demonstrable results. Take domestic violence and child abuse: for sure, they  cause severe harm to children that should be taken seriously. But most importantly, these crimes have  seemingly  easily identifiable culprits. With one complaint, the bastard gets an order of protection against him and  as a result, that boosts crime prevention statistics. Sometimes, the crusade itself might create the criminal. I was reading last night the nauseous but brilliant piece of Mark Bowden in the December issue of Vanity Fair. Detective Michelle Deery, posing as the mother of two girls, entrapped a man to write that he wants to have sex with the two girls. Bowden goes through their  emails and shows how the predator -the cop- gets what she wants from her prey, the fellow with the deprived libido. He wants to have sex with her but he is not interested in her girls. Every time he tries to set up a rendez-vous with her only, she pulls out. He gets it.  He indulges into saying what she seems to want : having sex with her and the girls; in any case, having sex with the girls. Nobody knows how the guy would have behaved with the girls had Deery been the nuts she pretended to be, but why care with such hair splitting? Predator caught. Deery should create a own show and compete with voyeur and sick Chris Hansen’s NBC show, “To Catch a Predator.

On the other hand however,  one wonders what it takes to have parental alienation acknowledged by the justice system. It leaves deep and perhaps indelible damage to children, years after the facts. Hence the justice system gets it just right: nothing urgent. To give credence to the charge of parental alienation in court, a group of 50 experts of 10 countries are pushing to have parental alienation registered as a syndrome in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Laudable efforts. The turning point in the recognition of parental alienation syndrome by the justice system might be a Jerry Springer show featuring a dad reunited with his alienated children.

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