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Archive for the ‘Parental Alienation Syndrome’ Category

Amine Baba-Ali (Photo B. Norman for the New YorkTimes)

Amine Baba-Ali (Photo B. Norman for the New York Times)

As a foreigner, there is something I always find troubling in this country, where I have lived for 23 years: Its prodigious ability to ignore horrors committed here, and move on.  It’ s not like there is a deficit of compassion; it’s just that compassion does not seem to translate into acting on the very reasons that caused the horrors in the first place. It may be the omnipresence of the flag, the daily shots of sport news of any kind, and the annoying belief that the future will be better (I have nothing  per se against optimism, except that I want it to be awake, that is to be grounded into a reasonable assessment of things as they are).

Speaking of nightmares, check this one: Amine Baba- Ali was wrongfully convicted of raping his four-year old daughter in 1989 and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Where did the accusation come from? His ex-wife.  Then the diligence of New York State Justice system did the rest: a phony physician found evidence of rape that was contested by several experts, to no avail. Amine Baba-Ali’s conviction was overturned after three years spent in jail. Since public officials were unapologetic about the ordeal he had endured, Baba-Ali sued, and the State attorney general agreed to pay $1.25 million.

Yet Amine Baba-Ali has not seen his daughter for 20 years.  I challenge any accountant to put a price tag on that. Amine Baba-Ali hopes his daughter will see Michael Powell’s NYT article and contact him.

One of the many problems with current New York State Family laws is that lethal ex-wife accusations do not bear any consequences…for ex-wife. Ex-wife can send a man to death and kill his relations to his children in all impunity. The promoters of bill A6457 are kidding themselves and their constituents if they think that the fear of punishment for “malicious” accusations would deter ex-wife from making those.

But hey! I don’t need much to be convinced: I sign on the bill if just one “maliciously” intended ex-wife spends three years of her life, like Amine Ali-Baba, in Eastern New York maximum correction facility, in Napanoch, New York. It’s not the worst, according to a well-informed source.

Hat Tip: Mariana Carreño King

 

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Readers of this blog are right. There is some good stuff in bill A 6457, sponsored by Assemblyman Brian M Kolb. The bill was introduced on

Louise

Louise

April 1 to the New York State Assembly. I am not exactly done reading the some thirty pages of the bill, but there are things I can live with, especially as far as parenting is concerned.

The bill is an amendment to the infamous-to-fathers New York State domestic relation laws. It aims at establishing the presumption of shared parenting.  I could not help but smile at the carefully crafted reasons for such a presumption one reads in the legislative findings and intents (Section 1 of the bill) : “Shared parenting, where both parents share as equally as possible in the legal responsibility, living experience, and physical care of the child has been found to be in the child’s best interest in [...] certain circumstances.” It seems the sponsors have some (not bullet proof tough) evidence of the obvious. Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of the sponsors of the bill: they are asking their colleagues to reform female-biased New York State family laws without stating these laws are a dismal failure, for they would vex the susceptibilities of those who supported and keep support them. Tough job.

How is shared parenting to be established upon divorce in the bill? Parents are to agree on a “parenting plan” during mediation (p.3) which would resolve contentious issues such as transportation from one parent to the other. Both parents are to have “parenting time,” and not only mommy (who usually gets sole custody), with dad (the non-custodial parent) doomed to get “visitations.”

For these changes not to be only semantic, and fathers’ right to be a parent of their children  to be guaranteed by law, shared parenting has to be the rule, not an option hanging on the good will of the other party. That’s where there is a puzzling glitch: the amendment 240e to the domestic relation act states that if one party is seeking shared parenting and the other sole custody, “both parties shall bear the burden of the proof that their requested arrangement is in the best interest of the child.” That’s a weak side in the bill: for shared parenting to ever happen, it should be the only responsibility of the party who does not want it to contest it, and with serious reasons for doing so.  The bill might well talk about “immediate sanctions” for interfering and withholding “parenting time” (p.24), it should better prevent one parent from tampering with the other’s party’s “parenting time” right from the start.

I know what I am talking about: “my parenting time” is long gone, and ex is now tampering with any communication from me and my family with my girls. The law is always going to be several steps behind the malicious creativity of alienating parents.

If I may dare the comparison, bill  A 6457 sounds like Obamacare, (which fortunately so is now the law of the land ): it ain’t no public option, but is much better than what was before. Bill A 6457 is worth supporting and be made better.

To be continued…

 

 

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Back when I was still seeing my girls, who were very little at the time, one of my aspirations as a father was to be an understanding one later

Vanity Fair, January 2014

Vanity Fair, January 2014

on, as they would grow up and become teens; by understanding, I mean understanding with boyfriends or else. I did not exactly see myself as their confidant, but as somebody they would trust in case of storms on the love front of their lives. My mom had been quite a patient ear to me on those matters, and my dad was exemplary, at least with my little sister, when she was a teen; the type that would pick up  her contraceptive devices at the pharmacy, no questions asked. It showed quite a remarkable ability to adjust to new mores and times, given the way he had been brought up.

Anyway, as much as I would love to, I have a sense I won’t hear about my girls’ love life anytime soon. There is at least one thing I can do: use this blog to warn them and others about a deadly contraceptive device, NuvaRing, sold by Merck and Co.  I just read  Marie Brenner’s article in the January 2014 issue of Vanity Fair, “Danger in the Ring,” and I was horrified.

Merck’s NuvaRing victims have been adding up like flies.  Brenner’s piece – a must-read- investigates why in the world this product is still on the market. Among the reasons:  Merck’s greed and the way the pharmaceutical industry does business, where deaths and the lawsuits of victims are part of the CDB (Cost of Doing Business); a faulty regulatory  system, where regulators move in and out of the industry they are supposed to regulate.  And let say that if the FDA were not so dramatically understaffed, NuvaRing might not still be killing women.

One thing is clear: Stay away from NuvaRing and third- and -fourth- generation hormonal contraceptives.

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Ms Tambor (Photo New York Times)

Ms Tambor (Photo New York Times)

Two weeks ago, I sent ex an email asking her to inform me where my oldest one was going to college. I was told that my “request” will be passed on to my daughter – who is now an adult- and who will reply “if she wishes.” I insisted:” Please give me her email address,” I wrote, I will ask her myself.  I did not receive any reply.

This last episode pulled me back some thirty years ago, when one of my best friends and myself were seeking news from a common friend who had been, little by little, pulled into a sect, and who had disappeared from our radar. We dragged ourselves to some pointless conferences organized by the sect to catch new followers in Paris, to no avail: We had to be introduced by a member of the sect to see our friend.

That’s what I have to go through with my daughters; even as they become adults, I have to be introduced to them. That’s what alienating parents do: Stand between you and your children and bare you from having a relationship with them.

And you may even die in the process: That’s exactly what happened to Deb Tamber, a Skver Hasidic jew from Rockland county (NY) who happened to leave her sect. After her divorce, Tamber was granted a once-a-month supervised visitation with her children whom she became always more estranged from, until she could not stand it any more and committed suicide.

I am, however, the type whose pain is clamoring; so I picked up the phone and called the Head of The Brearley Upper School, Evelyn Segal.  A day later, she called me back.  I asked her where my oldest one had gone to school. I was told that Brearley cannot give information about students who have left the school. Brearley abides by the privacy laws, blah, blah, blah,… that protect Brearley alums who, by the reason of the alienating parent, need to be protected from their fathers.

I have to be honest: I was not expecting much from Brearley anyway. I was however not expecting the line Mrs. Segal chose to end our cold but courteous phone conversation: “That’s the way things are done in this country,” which translates to: ” If you are not happy with the way things are done here, go back to your country.”   That’s the line of a foreman to illegal foreign workers.  More sectarian (and  inexcusable whatever the situation) it cannot be.

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An eighth September 10 has passed this year since I saw my  girls for the last time. I have already told the story of my last

Le grand phare, Ile de Sein.

Le grand phare, Ile de Sein.

supervised visitation on this blog. I have just this piece of news after eight years without seeing my girls: You don’t get used to it, ever. The pain grows with the moments that you don’t share with them.

At the time of this sad anniversary this year,  I was lucky to get distracted  by a story about what ex-partners or spouses can do to interfere with the custody of their ex. The story takes place in France, and it has a funny twist. No WMD (None of the tricks of parental alienation involved);  just creative “custodial interference.”

In this story told by Justine Salvestroni for Le Monde, the father threw a curveball. His ex wanted to relocate, with the three children, to Sein Island, off the coast of Brittany, far from Montpellier where the father lived. In family court, the father’s lawyer made a description of the Island as a secluded and backward place, inhospitable to kids. That worked: the family court judge denied the request of the mother to relocate to Sein Island.

The mayor of Sein ( also the  name of the only town of the Island) , Jean-Pierre Kerloc’h, happened to learn about the story, and he was pissed. He wrote a letter to  Montpellier family court’s president, asking if all the children had to be removed from all the islands of Brittany…

I have been to other islands in Brittany and never to Sein Island,  but I am sure the mayor of Sein is right. This Island must be on of these breathtaking places that evoke the Opposing Shore (Julien Gracq). And let’s bet that crime must be consistently zero. One could find worst for children.

Hat Tip: Véronique Rouquier

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Since 1994 when Congress passed it, the “Violence Against Women Act” has been the weapon against domestic violence.  The act was to be reauthorized in 2012 to include gays, undocumented immigrants, American Indians and students.  Republicans in the Senate joined Democrats to approve the reauthorization, Republicans in the House did not.  Then the Republicans took a beating in the 2012 Presidential elections, and the reauthorization of the bill is back on the floor of the senate in February, with Republicans now more accommodating to compromises, as they hope to lure women and latinos back  (or finally) into their ranks.

One may think that at least, this  hard-learned lesson in political realism is for the greater good – the end of domestic violence. Wrong: the tackling of this problem has been nothing but petty, parochial politics (PPP) and PPP it remains.

Why? We now know  that domestic violence is not only the deed of men against women, but also that of women Universalitéagainst men and children: physical violence along with a less apparent but as pernicious a form of violence, parental alienation, which is given a free ride in family courts, which are women-biased courts. The very fact that domestic violence is defined as domestic violence against women gives women leeway to overuse of the accusation of domestic violence, to get the divorce they want and expel their ex from the life of their children.

Want to solve domestic violence? Change course and instead of adding categories of victims, throw universality into the law already. Just pass a Domestic Violence Act, that will aim at protecting women, gays, immigrants, American Indians and… men, too.

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H. Collins and children

Do you know who is Holly Collins? Well, me neither, until recently. Holly Collins took her children with her to Holland because her ex-husband was given custody of the kids by Minnesota family courts, while they were allegedly abused. Collins became an international fugitive for fourteen years. I could not help but feel immediate sympathy for her.

A documentary ,”No Way Out but One,” was made about the Collins’ Case.  In a Huffington Post article, Nancy Doyle Palmer interviewed the director of this documentary, Garland Waller. That’s what spoiled my sympathy for Collin.  What is there in this interview? In a nutshell, that kind of non-sense: The justice system grants custody cases to abusers -fathers- like banks mortgages to people before the 2008 financial crisis. Why? Judges believe in the parental alienation syndrome against the whole profession of psychologists. It just takes fathers to accuse “ex” of being an alienating parent, and that’s it: custody wrapped. Hello, have you been to court lately?  Waller does not flesh out the reforms -as she does not give any data backing up her points- but there are not difficult to surmise: “lock’em all (divorced fathers) up.”

Ms Waller appears to be one of these crusaders of the consensus. She pretends 1/ that the consensus (courts favor women) is not the consensus 2/ her alleged consensus (courts favor men) is supposed to put women’s rights under imminent threat. Fortunately, the crusader is on the watch;  she will call for the reforms that will correct this sad state of affairs. Since there are plenty of folks that support the true consensus, they will applaud the crusader, who has set herself up for an easy victory.  If anything, courts are indeed likely to be even more biased for women, whether Holly Collin’s children were abused or not.

I then googled Holly Collins. I found this Glenn Sacks’ article about the case: unlike Palmer’s, there are plenty of facts showing little robustness in Collin’s accusation against her former husband.

I am not done researching the case. Yet, I am in no rush to see “No Way Out but One.” I don’t know yet if Holly Collin abducted her children for the right reasons. I know however that family justice in the US need not reforms grounded in cheap bashing of male abusers.

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