We use cookies to collect information from your browser to personalize content and perform site analytics. I used to think that the family court system was basically fair. Firstly, the Family Law Courts aren’t pro or anti mum or dad. I think family courts are a bit patriarchal. Visit our Privacy Policy for more info. First she denies that family court outcomes disproportionately treat fathers worse than mothers. He’s a professor at Columbia Medical School and has been publishing papers for two decades. Some judges tend to favour women during divorce and child custody disputes. That’s on tape and I have a signed release. "Yes there is bias, prejudice and discrimination in family court towards men. We have to get our politicians to STOP allowing our innocent children to be treated like rapists and murderers. And so began my journey into the dark world of family courts. Instead, he believes that family court is actually biased against fathers, pointing out the fact that more mothers in the United States are custodial parents than fathers. For example, 83% of mothers receive custody of their children in divorces. She had taught herself the law so that she could work with her attorney husband, Charlie Hofheimer, in their Virginia law practice. In both directions. That means that the judge should try to approximate the same setup for the children that existed before the divorce. What I learned was that thousands of women are losing custody of their children to men with histories of violence and sexual abuse. (In 2015, 80% of the custodial parents in the United States were mothers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau ). After a 10 year career as a divorce coach/consultant and doing extensive research on the subject, I've come to the conclusion that the courts are not the reason mothers retain custody in the majority of divorces. Richard, Are Fathers seeing children as Tropies to hurt the mothers? 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. 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’. Most stunningly of all, in only one out of the 51 cases in which a mother reported child sexual abuse while the father cross-claimed alienation did the court credit the mother’s claim of … 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. In researching my documentary, I have met many honest, caring and courageous mothers who, for speaking the truth, have been publicly called crazy, hysterical and delusional, and labeled with all kinds of pseudo-disorders for being strong and for fighting for the safety of their children. (WOMENSENEWS)–Studies show that in approximately 70 percent of challenged cases, battering parents have been able to convince authorities during custody battles that their victim is unfit or undeserving of sole custody, according to a recent report published by … How do you know if you or someone you love is a victim of IPV and reproductive coercion? The 11 year old has some brain damage and the 8 year old is autistic. Yes the family court system is broken and needs reform. Many of the grounds for removal are paternalistic and arbitrary, as well as racially biased, in nature. 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. It’s worth noting, however, that any potential bias toward the mother is in many cases perfectly justified. By ... was that the court would rule that the child should live with mom and dad would get "some" time. Many fathers we have represented can personally attest to experiencing a negative outcome in a custody dispute because of gender bias in the court … The lack of education and knowledge of DV abuser tactics among family court professionals - judges, lawyers, GALs, forensic evaluators - during divorce and family court proceedings often put moms and children at further risk of abuse and danger. 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. 25:891 today.11 In no greater sphere do these outdated gender roles persist than in our nation’s family court system.12 There, the state frequently not only denies the capability and desire of many men to participate actively and meaningfully in the care of their children,13 but also perpetuates the subjugation of women as mothers by deeming them "What would a good mother do," I asked Dr. Gardner two years ago when interviewing him for the documentary, "if her child told her of sexual abuse by his or her father. Research shows a high correlation between domestic violence and child sexual abuse. It’s time we wiped away the myth that our corrupt system is ignorant and or innocent of knowing the truth of what harmful and or fatal outcome Dr. Richard Gardner’s PAS junk science risk for abused children. 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. She has produced more than 10 award-winning documentaries. Most significantly, the allegation of child abuse in a custody battle must be considered a rebuttable presumption, that is, that the sworn testimony of a parent or child claiming abuse is presumed to be true unless and until the accused sufficiently challenges its veracity. We as a society should do everything in our power to encourage responsible parenting by … To put it in perspective they use the same ethics for children in family court as they use for rapists and murderers in criminal court. "We have created a system that purports to be a gatekeeper–keeping victims from victimizers–but the system is really the welcome mat for victimizers to have access to the victims," says Richard Ducote, a nationally recognized child advocate and attorney. Another theory behind some of the gender bias we’re seeing in the court system relates to a mother’s expectations. It places the focus on the kids, not the parents. These experts are certainly free to believe whatever they wish to, but much to the harm of thousands of children and their caring, protective parents, these ideas have been accepted by personnel in most of the family courts in the country: the judges, court-appointed lawyers charged with protecting the child’s interests, and custody evaluators such as psychologists and social workers. The Mother overdosed with prescription drugs so social services took the boys and gave them all to the abuser. http://www.virginiadivorceattorney.com/, Divorced From Justice: From our experience working with families, we have realized family court can be biased towards mothers and against fathers in custody disputes. Take a father out of a child’s life and the child is damaged, all but invariably. 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. 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. When she went to file a police report for abuse to her and the kids is when the problems began. 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. (https://womensenews.org/2001/09/biased-family-court-system-hurts-mothers/). 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. The fine article confines itself to revealing the frank bias of family court judges, but I’d like to add a bit of content: judicial bias against fathers is also judicial bias against mothers and children. In fact, perceived bias against men in family courts has, in large part, provided the so-called “Men’s Rights Movement” with momentum. A subsequent 8 hour interrogation took place with my Daughter and her 16 month old baby and 8 and 11 year old. To save that client by all means and expedients, and at all hazards and costs to other persons, and, among them, to himself, is his first and only duty; and in performing that duty he must not regard the alarm, the torments, the destruction which he may bring upon others (children).”. 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. 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. Another theory behind some of the gender bias we’re seeing in the court system relates to a mother’s expectations. Don’t you say that about your father. Although often helpful, mediation can be a real problem in family violence cases, as indicated by the factors below. It … The existence of a bias toward mothers does not only exist in the United States’ family court system. ). The shelter was very disfunctional and of little help. The mother, along with many other witnesses, told the court … (In 2015, 80% of the custodial parents in the United States were mothers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau ). Fathers’ rights groups love him. ", His answer: "What would she say? Gardner’s brainchild is Parental Alienation Syndrome. But as gender roles have evolved in society, more and more mothers are working instead of staying home. http://www.protectiveparents.com/, Family Law Courts.com: More on that later. Parenting choices, such as whether to co-sleep with an infant or whether to leave an older child unattended at home, are routinely questioned and held against Black mothers in family court. The Family Law Act 1975 is the legislation the Family Law Courts must apply in working out parenting arrangements. Women's legal groups and family violence advocacy groups have rejected Senator Hanson's characterisation of the Family Court as discriminating against fathers and rewarding mothers for lying about sexual and physical abuse. The Mother is doing everything the court has ordered. Mick Clarke certainly thinks so. This will be a particular norm among older members of the judiciary, of course. Why do you suppose fathers are so quick to give most of the custody to mothers? Read the piece for yourself. On occasion, we also use cookies to collect information from our toddlers, but that’s a totally different thing. Divorce & Gender Bias: Fighting Presumptions Against Fathers And Mothers Myths and stereotypes about men and women are engrained in our society. They seem to rule based a lot on tradition, rather than reality. The damage to these boys is immeasurable. http://trophychild.blogspot.com/, The best interest of Children is what it is all about. National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, National District Attorneys Association (NDAA). Do not hesitate to contact the Court and complain about the mother. 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. These injustices are commonplace today in the closed-door family court system. In non-contested custody cases, the mother and father generally agree to this on their own. Recently there was a military mom who lost custody when her ex-husband filed for custody when she was deployed overseas, well long story short there is now new laws put in place. What can be done to help her. I lived in a cycle of emotional abuse for nearly ten years. 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. Some judges tend to favour women during divorce and child custody disputes. It’s nothing more than the obvious. However, despite these problems most of you have failed because you didn't take the time to learn how the system works." 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. All Judges used to be lawyers. And, not the reason many fathers aren't involved in their children's lives post … By definition (see following) a Lawyer has no regard for children. Is there a family court bias against Fathers in Australia? 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. She escaped to a women’s shelter. http://aja.ncsc.dni.us/domviol/booklet.html, "Small Justice: Little Justice in America’s Family Courts," award-winning documentary by Garland Waller: Not addressed by Dr. Gardner and his adherents are what a mother should say to a child raped by her father. We must act now to begin reforming our family courts. “The Family Law System Discriminates Against Fathers” These are the words of Mick Clarke, whose son was killed by his own mother. Diane Hofheimer and Charlie Hofheimer: “Garland Waller Says: We need a real overhaul, but let’s start with some basics: * Open the courtrooms to the public and make judges accountable for their rulings.”. Mothers and children get approached with unfounded suspicion, and … 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. This case is being handled in a court system that has been admonished for poor and biased decisions in the past. The Mother can only see the children one hour a week with a monitored visit. My colleague Hofheimer is convinced that the so-called syndrome is to psychology what voodoo is to surgery. From our experience working with families, we have realized family court can be biased towards mothers and against fathers in custody disputes. 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." 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. Are Custody Decisions Biased in Favor of Mothers? That statement would have once shocked me, but no more. This will be a particular norm among older members of the judiciary, of course. Sure, these cases are complicated, but it doesn’t take a legal genius to figure out that it’s not good for kids to watch daddy break mommy’s jaw. I thought it was a fluke, but I agreed to look at some of the legal documents. 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. Just 3 per cent of fathers who go before the Family Court are refused access to their children, casting doubt on One Nation senator Pauline Hanson's claims that mothers are using the court … In short, the Court couldn’t give stuff about the parents (and I have heard a senior Justice of the Family Court of Australia forthrightly telling this to waring parents! If necessary, file a formal complaint against the mother for any and all failings. Next she claims (of course she does) that, when mothers allege domestic violence by fathers, the fathers are given custody. I fully understand and appreciate the value of fathers in the lives of their children. (WOMENSENEWS)–Studies show that in approximately 70 percent of challenged cases, battering parents have been able to convince authorities during custody battles that their victim is unfit or undeserving of sole custody, according to a recent report published by the American Judges Foundation. 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." Built with the Largo WordPress Theme from the Institute for Nonprofit News. There is no Family Court bias in favor of mothers for the majority of fathers who divorce. Additionally, men are awarded less support on average than mothers who are awarded support. Privacy Policy. Garland Waller is an assistant professor in the Television Department at Boston University’s College of Communication. In the reverse case in which the dad was described as spending more time in caregiving prior to the divorce, again only 27% expected the courts to award equal time to both parents. Representing only women in divorce and custody cases, Diane and Charlie began my education with one grisly case. There is no Family Court bias in favor of mothers because very few fathers seek custody during divorce. It’s worth noting, however, that any potential bias toward the mother is in many cases perfectly justified. Often helpful, mediation can be biased towards mothers and fathers on real child custody disputes definition ( following! In 2018 at Columbia Medical School and has been admonished for family court bias against mothers and biased decisions in United... His answer: `` what would she say a whole wipes away this myth, then true of! 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