Posts Tagged ‘fathers rights’

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



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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What do we want? My ranking goes this way: 1/ joint-custody of children (and the relegation of sole custodial parent status to an


exception); 2/ a fair division of the costs of raising a child that would take into account both parents incomes 3/ the disappearance of family courts- these unreformable, secretive gender-biased institutions- and the transfer of their functions to Supreme Courts.

Unfortunately, recent events lead me think that these most welcome reforms are not about to see the light soon, and the price might be many more Balls victims of the US family justice system. We live in times of fiscal imbecility: thanks to the deal just concocted by the President and Congress, the poor are going to pay for the costs of two senseless wars aggravated by the Bush tax cuts. In such a context, the US family laws have a crucial advantage: they are fiscally innocuous, hence the bastards -fathers mostly- pick up the tab for everything – education, health care –  that the scrawny U.S. social system lacks of. And there are no incentives for politicians to shake the stalemate: republicans, that wound up debt-aware when Obama became President-  care as much for fathers rights as they care for women or gay rights; invertebrate democrats won’t take the risk to alienate their female constituency, even if it would not be that hard to explain that fathers rights are not against mothers rights, except for some outdated feminists.

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Patricia Joly’s article in the January 8 2010 issue of the French newspaper “Le Monde” is not primarily about parental alienation.

(Copyright Didier Erwoine)

It is about a woman in her fifties, Chantal Clos, and her eighteen-year old daughter Anouk, being suspected of having abducted, while pretending to be two Belgian journalists,  the lawyer Pascaline Saint Arroman Petroff. Saint Arroman Petroff was tied to a tree in the forest of the Parisian suburb. The kidnappers were hoping that the cold would kill their victim, who succeeded after a few hours to free herself. During her ordeal, the lawyer identified her two executioners as being the wife and daughter of one of her client, Yves Phélut.  In the 1990’s, Clos asked for divorce on the ground that Yves Phélut had incestuous relationship with his daughter. Three times she pressed charges against Phélut at no avail. Saint Arroman Petroff was Phélut’s lawyer.

The article stresses Clos neighbors’ relief after her arrest. Clos was certainly a disturbing element of the 13th arrondissement of Paris. Yet what is of interest to me in Joly’s article, is parental alienation. Clos is of Natalia Borukhova‘s type. She led her daughter Anouk to embrace her plan to destroy her father, harassed the French justice system, kidnapped one of its representative – the lawyer of her former husband. Clos also threatened a physician who did not want to sign a medical certificate testifying that  Anouk had been sexually abused. Among Clos’ achievements, her role in the creation of an obscure committee of mothers (comité des mères). Every time she pressed charge against her ex-husband, Clos benefited from legal aid.

Her husband, Yves Phélut, is part of the vast international club of fathers accused of child abuse, cleared of this accusation and who does not see their children (he has not seen Anouk in thirteen years). I do not see much hope on the front of fathers’ rights on the other side of the Atlantic.

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David Goldman seemed very close to see the end of his ordeal. In 2004, his son Sean, then four, was abducted by his late ex-wife,

Photo BringSeanHome.Org

Photo BringSeanHome.Org

Bruna, a Brazilian citizen. Everything started with a simple, innocuous family trip to  Brazil. Then, while in Brazil, Bruna, David Goldman’s wife,  showed no intention to come back to New Jersey, where the couple lived. If David wants to see his kid, he will have to a grant Bruna sole custody of Sean. Bruna would then get a divorce in Brazil from David Goldman, remarry  with a prominent lawyer and work the Brazilian family court system to remove Goldman’s name from Sean’s birth record.  She died in childbirth last month. In the meantime, David Goldman went to court in New Jersey, got a court order for a custody hearing. The kid should be returned to his father during the custody hearing. But the Brazilian court waited a year to respond to New Jersey court and finally decided that Sean could stay in Brazil.  End of the story? Nope. Brazil is a signatary of the Hague abduction convention, the Obama administration brings the case to the attention of the Brazilian authorities. A Brazilian federal judge ordered the boy to be turned to his father. Last wednesday, the boy had to be turn to the American Consulate in Rio but  on Tuesday, the Brazilian Supreme court suspended the order at the request of the Progressive Party, which argued that the Sean return to the US was unconstitutional.  The Brazilian Supreme Court is now to take up the case.

David Goldman’s ordeal is heartbreaking and one can only hope that he will soon be reunited with his son. What spoils it though is the clamor of the new knight of the fight against child  abduction,  Chris Smith, Republican Representative of New Jersey, who bashes at the Brazilian government for not respecting an international convention.  Chris Smith clearly needs to be introduced to the club of fathers who have been deprived from the right to see their kids, here, in New Jersey or in the U.S.  More often, family courts granted sole custody to the mother and the non-custodial fathers saw their rights to see their kids curtailed or annihilated. Unlike David Goldman, the rights of these fathers are not protected by an international convention against child abduction, and the media splendidly ignore them. When have we heard Chris Smith talking about father rights in the  State of New Jersey?


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