THE BIAS A bias, against mothers who claim abuse, exists in Family Courts in several particular countries around the world; countries where parental alienation has become a ‘thing’. The Mother can only see the children one hour a week with a monitored visit. Years ago, mothers were expected to do one thing: be mothers. In traditional family units it is, whether you like it or not, often the mother who spends more time with the child and who does more of the parenting. http://divorcedfromjustice.com/home.html, California Protective Parents Association: http://www.smalljustice.com/. Nor am I surprised when I read that a family court judge has awarded custody of a 3-year-old girl to the father who has violently beaten her mother. Since that notion is wholly subjective, an undefinable rule with no standards or accountability, in practice it rests on the personal whim or bias of the family court. If you do, I’ll beat you.". The payoffs with litigations that can go on for years as the protective mother fights for her right to protect her children from the batterer/abuser, there is a secure income for all involved in the family court system. Mick Clarke certainly thinks so. “An advocate, in the discharge of his duty, knows but one person in all the world and that person is his client. Whether or not a state law mandates equal rights to both parents, family courts appear instead to rely on a concept called "the best interest of the child." Privacy Policy. Why do you suppose fathers are so quick to give most of the custody to mothers? Since that notion is wholly subjective, an undefinable rule with no standards or accountability, in practice it rests on the personal whim or bias of the family court. She had taught herself the law so that she could work with her attorney husband, Charlie Hofheimer, in their Virginia law practice. “The Family Law System Discriminates Against Fathers” These are the words of Mick Clarke, whose son was killed by his own mother. (In 2015, 80% of the custodial parents in the United States were mothers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau ). Who has rights and who doesnt have rights at this point I would have to say women have more rights then men. It’s worth noting, however, that any potential bias toward the mother is in many cases perfectly justified. Some judges tend to favour women during divorce and child custody disputes. That’s on tape and I have a signed release. They merely discount all such allegations as examples of parental alienation syndrome, or some variation of it under a different name such as SAID (Sexual Allegations in Divorce) Syndrome, Malicious Mother Syndrome or some other fabricated condition. The problem with family court. Another theory behind some of the gender bias we’re seeing in the court system relates to a mother’s expectations. Divorce & Gender Bias: Fighting Presumptions Against Fathers And Mothers Myths and stereotypes about men and women are engrained in our society. We must either not allow lawyers in family court or change the ethics they use. The damage to these boys is immeasurable. I think family courts are a bit patriarchal. http://www.stopfamilyviolence.org/, "Domestic Violence and the Courtroom: Understanding the Problem … Knowing the Victim," American Judges Association and American Judges Foundation: Open the courtrooms to the public and make judges accountable for their rulings. See this article. She escaped to a women’s shelter. I thought it was a fluke, but I agreed to look at some of the legal documents. When an individual is deployed overseas a custody hearing will not take place until that individual returns home from duty.My point is men have tryed to change the custody laws for over 40 years and could not change them, one military mom lost custody and the laws where changed. This will be a particular norm among older members of the judiciary, of course. We have to get our politicians to STOP allowing our innocent children to be treated like rapists and murderers. 7. And when a mother is thrown into jail, denied the right to ever see her children again, because she brought up the issue of child abuse in a family court, I’m sickened, but not shocked. Research shows a high correlation between domestic violence and child sexual abuse. American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force On Violence, The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Gender Bias Task Force, Parental Alienation Syndrome: 30 Years On and Still Junk Science. Both the family report, as well as a court experts report, left the court in little doubt about the appropriateness of the father's stance. Richard, Are Fathers seeing children as Tropies to hurt the mothers? The mother, along with many other witnesses, told the court … The shelter was very disfunctional and of little help. "Yes there is bias, prejudice and discrimination in family court towards men. But as gender roles have evolved in society, more and more mothers are working instead of staying home. By ... was that the court would rule that the child should live with mom and dad would get "some" time. MEDIATORS: Many California family courts assign Family Court Services mediators, employed as part of the court system, to help people in custody disputes talk through and solve problems (Family Code 3160 et seq). http://www.virginiadivorceattorney.com/, Divorced From Justice: I used to think that the family court system was basically fair. Our lawyers explain that just because women are considered culturally better at parenting than men does not give the court a legal right to award more child custody rights to the mother unless there are facts proving that the child’s best interests would be met if he or she remains to live with the mother. When she went to file a police report for abuse to her and the kids is when the problems began. It places the focus on the kids, not the parents. There is no Family Court bias in favor of mothers for the majority of fathers who divorce. My Daughter is having this very problem right now. More on that later. We as a society should do everything in our power to encourage responsible parenting by … Many fathers we have represented can personally attest to experiencing a negative outcome in a custody dispute because of gender bias in the court system. Many of the grounds for removal are paternalistic and arbitrary, as well as racially biased, in nature. A subsequent 8 hour interrogation took place with my Daughter and her 16 month old baby and 8 and 11 year old. I do not even lift an eyebrow when a 2-year-old boy, who comes home from unsupervised visitation with his dad, has a diaper filled with his own rectal blood and that same child is later turned over to his father on a full-time basis. These injustices are commonplace today in the closed-door family court system. It’s nothing more than the obvious. Judges with more expertise in family law tended to engage in more biased decision-making than those with less experience in family court, said University of … That means that the judge should try to approximate the same setup for the children that existed before the divorce. If necessary, file a formal complaint against the mother for any and all failings. Representing only women in divorce and custody cases, Diane and Charlie began my education with one grisly case. These judges decide, time and time again, when a woman raises the allegation of sexual abuse in a custody dispute, that it is she who will lose her children forever. But I still feel that the title is appropriate, as it reflects the ambiguous nature of the debate as to whether or not the family courts show bias towards mothers or fathers. National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, National District Attorneys Association (NDAA). Studies by Joan Meier, Daniel Saunders and the American Psychological Association Presidential Task Force On Violence shows that gender bias in the courts often works against, not in favor of, mothers in custody cases. It takes fewer than 10 minutes (Click Below): It is being hailed as the most progressive state policy so far, going further than New Jersey, California and Rhode Island in various respects. Although often helpful, mediation can be a real problem in family violence cases, as indicated by the factors below. Don’t you say that about your father. The existence of a bias toward mothers does not only exist in the United States’ family court system. In essentially every case in which courts place children with abusers, despite substantial evidence of sexual abuse or domestic violence and no evidence of fabrication on the protecting parent’s part, it is the parental alienation syndrome that is used by the judge, the evaluator or the child’s lawyer to ignore and discount the abuse evidence and to wrongfully construe all of the child’s symptoms as evidence of alienation. Not addressed by Dr. Gardner and his adherents are what a mother should say to a child raped by her father. Built with the Largo WordPress Theme from the Institute for Nonprofit News. If mom was with the kids 70 percent of the time before the divorce, she would be with them 70 percent of the time after the divorce. Are Custody Decisions Biased in Favor of Mothers? Not based on the statistics above, anyway! By definition (see following) a Lawyer has no regard for children. That was before my childhood friend, Diane Hofheimer, asked me to consider doing a documentary on the family courts. Get rid of the "best interests of the child" as the standard for custody and replace it with a new concept called the "approximation standard." I fully understand and appreciate the value of fathers in the lives of their children. Family court bias against Fathers Australia. It’s worth noting, however, that any potential bias toward the mother is in many cases perfectly justified. http://www.protectiveparents.com/, Family Law Courts.com: Additionally, men are awarded less support on average than mothers who are awarded support. 8. For example, 83% of mothers receive custody of their children in divorces. The Mother overdosed with prescription drugs so social services took the boys and gave them all to the abuser. In fact, perceived bias against men in family courts has, in large part, provided the so-called “Men’s Rights Movement” with momentum. Could it be societal bias they buy into instead of court bias? Gardner’s books on the subject are self-published, something that should give judges and experts pause, even though he does look good on paper. Some judges tend to favour women during divorce and child custody disputes. And, not the reason many fathers aren't involved in their children's lives post … That statement would have once shocked me, but no more. From our experience working with families, we have realized family court can be biased towards mothers and against fathers in custody disputes. Visit our Privacy Policy for more info. The argument that Men's Rights activists make doesn't hold water. As the Family Court was not prepared to remove the father from the children’s lives, under the 2006 Shared Parental Responsibility Amendments of the Family Law Act, Judge Riethmuller changed the children’s residence from their mother’s to their father’s. She has produced more than 10 award-winning documentaries. The police said there were some inconsistancies in their stories so they released the father who they had put in custody for the alleged abuses. Remember, family court is not a playground, it’s a battlefield and, in most cases, mothers do not waste any time before filing complaints against fathers. In spite of years of abuse and having the estranged husband try and smother the 11 year old, causing her to leave, she needs help getting her boys back. Fathers’ rights groups love him. Many men, quite a lot of the time, appear to see looking after young children as boring, unrewarding, low status and they don’t want to do it. He’s a professor at Columbia Medical School and has been publishing papers for two decades. Many fathers we have represented can personally attest to experiencing a negative outcome in a custody dispute because of gender bias in the court … Statistically, it appears that the family courts in the United States are biased against fathers. This is the name given for the practice of one parent saying disparaging things about the other parent in an attempt to alienate the child from the ex-spouse. There is no Family Court bias in favor of mothers because very few fathers seek custody during divorce. What I find ironic is military fathers have been trying to change custody laws since the vietnam era. We hear a lot about how the courts are biased in favor of mothers when deciding child custody. They seem to rule based a lot on tradition, rather than reality. Bias against men in family courts could be gender discrimination. Men in the military who where deployed overseas would lose custody of there children when a wife or soon to be ex-wife would have a custody hearing while dad was away at war or overseas. The Family Law Act 1975 is the legislation the Family Law Courts must apply in working out parenting arrangements. http://aja.ncsc.dni.us/domviol/booklet.html, "Small Justice: Little Justice in America’s Family Courts," award-winning documentary by Garland Waller: Firstly, the Family Law Courts aren’t pro or anti mum or dad. In non-contested custody cases, the mother and father generally agree to this on their own. The study exposed the effects of pervasive stereotypes regarding mothers and fathers on real child custody cases. (https://womensenews.org/2001/09/biased-family-court-system-hurts-mothers/). Whether or not a state law mandates equal rights to both parents, family courts appear instead to rely on a concept called "the best interest of the child." 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