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Posts Tagged ‘Le Monde’

Over, let say, the last decade, fathers rights organizations all over the world agreed on this point: joint- custody – equal parenting rights for the father and the mother- had to be the default option after a divorce, that is, the law had to acknowledge fathers’ role as equal to mothers’ in raising and educating their children. Several countries inserted joint-custody into their family laws, but the outcome, from a  fathers rights perspective, remained below expectations,  partly because of the justice systems’ prejudice against men  (in the U.S. for instance), and the inertia of legal practices; You may very well grant (legal) joint-custody of the children to both parents, but if mom has the de-facto custody of the children, dad’s relationship with his children is toasted in the long-run. The poor fellow has very little chance to have any relationship with his children when they reach adult age.

That is the background for a bill about shared residence which is to be discussed today, Thursday November 30 2017. This bill is about making shared residence of children of divorced parents the default option. That is, children of divorced parents are to share residence with mom or dad equally over the years, depending on the constraints of each parents. This is no miracle solution by any means. France is not as large a country as the U.S., but if Dad and Mom lives far apart (Dad in Paris and Mom in Marseille for instance), shared residence is not going to work, because the child is to attend the same school over the year. Also, family counselors stressed the need for less than three-year old children’ s psychological stability not to be moved around from one place to the other. Hence, the parent who is granted custody (residency) of a child below three has to find ways to make exist his (her) ex in the daily life of the child, warned family counselors.

Would this bill help divorced fathers to be real and effective parents? Let see. What I like in this bill is that it gives, for once, incentives for all players – the justice system, moms and dads- to be smart. What does smart mean exactly for these folks ? The justice system would not be held accountable for (implicit) cultural norms dictating which parent a child ought to be with; hence the ground would be clearer for mom and dad to pursue, conjointly, the best interest for their child, given their own diverging interests as separated individuals.

I think that if some twenty years ago, a bill like this had been discussed- and passed- in New York State, I would have been given a chance to keep my relationship with my children, which I lost long ago. Perhaps I am just not the pessimist I think I am.

 

 

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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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There is not much exhilarating going on in France these days, on the political and social fronts, to talk about.

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (Photo Nouvel Observateur)

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem (Photo Nouvel Observateur)

There is however more than what Maureen Dowd wrote about yesterday in the New York Times, as to whether or not “Valérie (President François Hollande’s girlfriend) can seduce the French:” a bill on equality between men and women, proposed by the French Minister of Women’s Rights, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem.

Inequalities, among others in the work place, are real: a 33% difference in pensions, a 19% wage gap in the private sector in favor of men. The law has the ambition to approach the problem of gender inequalities in a comprehensive way: in the political sphere, in the work place, and at home. For instance, the law will mandate a quota of 20% -to be brought to 40% in the board of corporations of more than 250 employees, to help break the glass ceiling. The allowance for parental leave – 572.81 Euros per month- has been extended to six months for families with one child, to the third birthday of the youngest child for a family with two or more children. Vallaud-Belkacem kind of agrees, in an interview she gave to Sylvain Courage and Elsa Vigoureux from the Nouvel Observateur, that this allowance is a pittance by European standards. She counts on the increase in the number of employees in day nurseries “to change mentalities,” and to give men incentives to take parental leaves.

That’s in  gauging the change in mentalities that Vallaud-Belkacem and the French government flatly fail. There have been divorced fathers on cranes in France, asking for the rights to live with their children as much as their ex do. Evidently, Vallaud-Belkacem has not noticed them.  The law does not  touch on gender inequality in parental rights after divorce. That’s, sadly, a missed opportunity.

Hat Tip: Véronique Rouquier

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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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Let's Get Honest! Absolutely Uncommon Analysis of Family & Conciliation Courts' Operations, Practices, & History

'A Different Kind of Attention Develops Sound Judgment' | 'Suppose I'm Right Here?' (See March 23 & 5, 2014). More Than 745 posts and 45 pages of Public-Interest Investigative Blogging On These Matters Since 2009.