I have met and heard the tragic stories of many parents. PA is a function, by and large, of a custodial ex-partner, although some alienation can start while the couple is still together.

This blog is a story of experiences and observations of dysfunctional Family Law (FLAW), an arena pitting parent against parent, with children as the prize. Due to the gender bias in Family Law, that I have observed, this Blog has evolved from a focus solely on PA to one of the broader Family/Children's Rights area and the impact of Feminist mythology on Canadian Jurisprudence and the Divorce Industry.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The winner of the 2008 Award for Political Incorrectness is...

December 30, 2008
Drum roll! The winner of the 2008 Award for Political Incorrectness is...
By Carey Roberts It's that time of the year — Christmas carols, shiny-wrapped presents, surprise visits by long-lost in-laws. And of course, our announcement of the annual Award for Political Incorrectness. Previous winners of this highly-sought after prize include California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger who took up the dicey issue of paternity fraud; columnist Phyllis Schlafly ("Shame on members of Congress who lack the courage to stand up to feminist outrages."); and Mark Inglis, the double-amputee who conquered Mt. Everest. Last year's unanimous winners were Dave Evans, Reade Seligmann, and Collin Finnerty, the former Duke lacrosse players who bravely overcame a firestorm of rape hysteria unconscionably fanned by the media and university activists. Let's open the envelope for 2008. This year's award goes to an unassuming university professor who has devoted his career to the understanding and remedy of family violence. He has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and was elected president of the National Council on Family Relations and the Eastern Sociological Society. Needless to say, his resumé is lengthy and impressive. When he began his research in the 1970s, the public was well-acquainted with the stereotype of beer-swilling men who bullied their wives. That was the good professor's assumption, as well. But when he published his research findings in 1975, everyone was amazed — women were just as likely as men to engage in partner violence. When he did follow-up surveys over the following 20 years, the gender-equal results confirmed his original research. More surprising, when other researchers studied homosexual relationships, they found lesbians had the highest rates of partner aggression. There was a problem, but not with the research itself. The burgeoning feminist movement had staked out the domestic violence issue as its cri de coeur. The feminists had ginned up their own theory: Domestic violence is a hate crime perpetrated against women. Gloria Steinem said it best: "The patriarchy requires violence or the subliminal threat of violence in order to maintain itself." But what if all the research paints a completely different picture, showing heterosexual women are equally likely to aggress, and the highest rates of battering are found among lesbians? Obviously the hate crime theory goes out the window, and Steinem's breathless claim seems pretty far-fetched, as well. So what's a good feminist to do about the good professor's research? Well, why not start a whispering campaign? Anything for the cause of female empowerment, right? So feminists at his university organized telephone ring accusing him of being a misogynist. He was picketed repeatedly. At the University of Massachusetts, a group of shouting and stomping women prevented him from delivering a guest lecture. (Yes, these are the same women who claim to be working for a more peaceful and tolerant society.) In Canada, Pat Marshall, chairwoman of the Commission on Violence Against Women, made this charge to a reporter about her meeting with the professor's wife: "I have never met a woman who looked so victimized." But when the writer called the woman, she said she had never been struck. Marshall was later forced to apologize. When the professor was elected president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems, a group of feminists stood up and walked out as he began his presidential address. And the threats continue to this day — recently one of his PhD students was told she would never find a job if she did her doctoral research with him. In the face of such opposition, many academics would go into another line of research, or begin to skew their data to be politically acceptable. But he would have none of that. Rather than being cowed by the threats, he opted to expose the motivations behind the attacks. In one interview, he charged the criticisms of his work are "justifications of violence by women in the guise of feminism. This is a betrayal of the feminist ideal of a nonviolent world." Then we went on to shed the light of truth their tactics. Writing last year in the European Journal of Criminal Policy and Research, he cast the spotlight on how feminist academics conceal, deny, and distort the evidence. Then he detailed the ways in which feminists have corrupted the research on female-perpetrated abuse, even scheming to obstruct research funds that might identify female offenders. Finally he took aim at researchers who have "let their ideological commitments overrule their scientific commitments." Interested persons can read this no-holds-barred paper here: http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/V74-gender-symmetry-with-gramham-Kevan-Method%208-.pdf . Congratulations, Dr. Murray Straus, director of the Family Research Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire. You are the winner of the 2008 Award for Political Incorrectness. © Carey Roberts

Global Search for Missing 4 Year Old Australian Child - Andrew John THOMPSON

Dear Mike
Many thanks for joining the global search for Andrew.
Although Melinda and Andrew flew to Frankfurt, investigations conducted
by the German authorities have so far failed to find any trace of them
and they could now have left that country.
This is why I'm now asking people to send the following email to as many
people as possible in as many countries as possible (including Germany if (possible)along with a request that those people send it to as manypeople as possible, etc.
It doesn't matter if people send many emails or one email, the importantthing is that they all send it to someone else. One person in Sydney sent only one email but it went to a person in the US whose company then sent it to 10,000 people around the world.
I've also attached some material that has been translated into German andSpanish as well as a photo of a bus-shelter poster that is part of a UK campaign. Andrew is in the bottom left corner.
I'm expecting several more translations to arrive in the next few days and I will let you know when they arrive.
This is the email.....
Join the Global Search for Missing Australian Child - Andrew John
Four-year-old Andrew John THOMPSON was illegally abducted from Australia on 24th April 2008 and has since disappeared without trace. Andrew is at grave risk of emotional and physical harm. In addition to an extensive search that has been underway by international authorites for several months, an international multi-media campaign has now been launched to help the authorities find him as quickly as possible.
The following link takes you to a poster that contains links to a flyer that can be downloaded and printed. It also includes suggestions for displaying the flyer in public places. Please print this poster and display it wherever possible no matter what country you are in.
This next link will take you to a missing person website containing more information and photos of Andrew and his mother Melinda Margaret THOMPSON (who could also be using the name Melinda Margaret STRATTON).
A Facebook site has been established for Andrew and can be accessed at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=39465030948
The next link will take you to an article published in the Daily Telegraph in Sydney (Australia) on 13th December 2008. A video interview with Andrew's father is also contained within the article.
Please forward this email to as many people as possible and ask them to pass it on to as many people as possible as well. Ask them to use the flyers to raise awareness about Andrew in their local areas in as many countries as possible.
Many thanks from Andrew's Dad, and Andrew.
ken thompson
kenthompson@(nospam)fastmail.fm ---> Remove (nospam) to contact Ken directly if you have information on Andrew's whereabouts) Email to Fathers 4 Justice Canada, Jeremy Swanson, F4J Global Would you pass the above information along to your contacts across the globe to draw awareness to the kidnapping of Mr. Thompson's son. I will post the updated information in my blogs. The video link to the Australian program "A Current affair" is best viewed via the facebook link following: http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=45877605980&h=FQU_i&u=IwjiM This is a pass through link to MSN video and the Ozzy TV network. If you aren't on facebook try the direct link below. http://video.msn.com/video.aspx?mkt=en-AU&brand=ninemsn&vid=527ff575-94d4-439f-957a-f70a7c10d5e6 Another important element to this tragic occurrence and Mr. Thompson's attempts to find his son is the strategic campaign to find him. It can be used as a template for any of us if our children are taken. I know how he feels as do many of you and I once lost my two youngest for 7 months. It is the most excruciating agony a parent could suffer. If you are not familiar with the story viewing the video will give you a quick overview. Mke Murphy F4J Sault Ste. Marie My own experience shows the parent who does the kidnapping will also be alienating the child. Standard things the kidnapper will cite is "Daddy doesn't care about you", "Mommy is afraid of daddy hurting them both" and the list goes on. It is despicable and narcissistic behaviour and can have life long damage to the psyche of this child. The sooner he is found the better his chances of renewing his relationship, in a positive way, with his dad and hopefully allowing the mother to be involved in some manner, albeit cautiously for a time, because I firmly believe with passion a child needs both parents in their lives, if both are fit. Andrew's mom will have to demonstrate this.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Alienated Father asks judge to deliver christmas presents

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Donald Tenn of Sacramento, California is taking creative measures to ensure his Christmas gifts are delivered to his daughter in Moultrie County, Illinois. He is asking Illinois Judge Flannell, who refuses to enforce his California visitation orders, to make the delivery for him. Donald's partner, Shannon Phillips took their daughter 2,089 miles away to visit family in Illinois. She never returned. Using his daughter as collateral, Phillips asked Tenn to move their small family to Illinois. His insistence that the family home was in Sacramento, where the pair has agreed to conceive and raise their child, was met with allegations of domestic violence, and the resulting restraining order. Despite Tenn's unrelenting efforts, and new legal orders from California that demand he have visitation with his daughter, Phillips has only permitted one time in two years. Illinois states attorney, Marvin Hanson, refuses to intervene on Tenn's behalf. Meanwhile, Phillips actions are endorsed by her patron, Dove Inc., a religious organization that generates revenue from the Violence Against Women Act. Federal taxpayer dollars have funded the alienation of Madison from her father based on nothing but arbitrary emotions and opinions. The judiciary of Illinois has done nothing to protect Tenn's rights as a parent. Dove is a coalition of religious organizations, volunteers, and advocates that seeks to coordinate efforts to address unmet human needs and social injustices. "Dove, Inc. changes the lives of approximately 5,000 people a year."
Posted by F4J Blog Reports at 1:29 PM

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Discovery Health ~ Debunking Divorce Myths

Discovery Health nav bar

The following is based on USA data but a great deal of it can be applied to Canada and some other countries. Canada's Divorce rate is slightly lower (see below). Pay special note to the area where some jurisdictions have invoked shared parenting with a notable drop in the divorce rate. Incentives for divorce by the female have been reduced. Interesting what incentives do to a circumstance isn't it.
Debunking Divorce Myths

Fact: Divorce rates are rising.

Fact: Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce.

Fact: There are ten myths of divorce.

Divorce Myth 1: Because people learn from their bad experiences, second marriages tend to be more successful than first marriages.

Fact: Although many people who divorce have successful subsequent marriages, the divorce rate of remarriages is in fact higher than that of first marriages.

Divorce Myth 2: Living together before marriage is a good way to reduce the chances of eventually divorcing.

Fact: Many studies have found that those who live together before marriage have a considerably higher chance of eventually divorcing. The reasons for this are not well understood. In part, the type of people who are willing to cohabit may also be those who are more willing to divorce. There is some evidence that the act of cohabitation itself generates attitudes in people that are more conducive to divorce, for example the attitude that relationships are temporary and easily can be ended.

Divorce Myth 3: Divorce may cause problems for many of the children who are affected by it, but by and large these problems are not long lasting and the children recover relatively quickly.

Fact: Divorce increases the risk of interpersonal problems in children. There is evidence, both from small qualitative studies and from large-scale, long-term empirical studies, that many of these problems are long lasting. In fact, they may even become worse in adulthood.

Divorce Myth 4: Having a child together will help a couple to improve their marital satisfaction and prevent a divorce.

Fact: Many studies have shown that the most stressful time in a marriage is after the first child is born. Couples who have a child together have a slightly decreased risk of divorce compared to couples without children, but the decreased risk is far less than it used to be when parents with marital problems were more likely to stay together "for the sake of the children."

Divorce Myth 5: Following divorce, the woman's standard of living plummets by 73 percent while that of the man's improves by 42 percent.

Fact: This dramatic inequity, one of the most widely publicized statistics from the social sciences, was later found to be based on a faulty calculation. A reanalysis of the data determined that the woman's loss was 27 percent while the man's gain was 10 percent. Irrespective of the magnitude of the differences, the gender gap is real and seems not to have narrowed much in recent decades.

Divorce Myth 6: When parents don't get along, children are better off if their parents divorce than if they stay together.

Fact: A recent large-scale, long-term study suggests otherwise. While it found that parents' marital unhappiness and discord have a broad negative impact on virtually every dimension of their children's well-being, so does the fact of going through a divorce. In examining the negative impacts on children more closely, the study discovered that it was only the children in very high-conflict homes who benefited from the conflict removal that divorce may bring. In lower-conflict marriages that end in divorce — and the study found that perhaps as many as two thirds of the divorces were of this type — the situation of the children was made much worse following a divorce. Based on the findings of this study, therefore, except in the minority of high-conflict marriages it is better for the children if their parents stay together and work out their problems than if they divorce.

Divorce Myth 7: Because they are more cautious in entering marital relationships and also have a strong determination to avoid the possibility of divorce, children who grow up in a home broken by divorce tend to have as much success in their own marriages as those from intact homes.

Fact: Marriages of the children of divorce actually have a much higher rate of divorce than the marriages of children from intact families. A major reason for this, according to a recent study, is that children learn about marital commitment or permanence by observing their parents. In the children of divorce, the sense of commitment to a lifelong marriage has been undermined.

Divorce Myth 8: Following divorce, the children involved are better off in stepfamilies than in single-parent families.

Fact: The evidence suggests that stepfamilies are no improvement over single-parent families, even though typically income levels are higher and there is a father figure in the home. Stepfamilies tend to have their own set of problems, including interpersonal conflicts with new parent figures and a very high risk of family breakup.

Divorce Myth 9: Being very unhappy at certain points in a marriage is a good sign that the marriage will eventually end in divorce.

Fact: All marriages have their ups and downs. Recent research using a large national sample found that 86 percent of people who were unhappily married in the late 1980s, and stayed with the marriage, indicated when interviewed five years later that they were happier. Indeed, three fifths of the formerly unhappily married couples rated their marriages as either "very happy" or "quite happy."

Divorce Myth 10: It is usually men who initiate divorce proceedings.

Fact: Two-thirds of all divorces are initiated by women. One recent study found that many of the reasons for this have to do with the nature of our divorce laws. For example, in most states women have a good chance of receiving custody of their children. Because women more strongly want to keep their children with them, in states where there is a presumption of shared custody with the husband the percentage of women who initiate divorces is much lower. Also, the higher rate of women initiators is probably due to the fact that men are more likely to be "badly behaved." Husbands, for example, are more likely than wives to have problems with drinking, drug abuse, and infidelity.

Copyright 2002 by David Popenoe, the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J.

David Popenoe is professor of sociology at Rutgers University, where he is also co-director of the National Marriage Project and former social and behavioral sciences dean. He specializes in the study of family and community life in modern societies and is the author or editor of nine books. His most recent books are Life Without Father: Compelling New Evidence That Fatherhood and Marriage Are Indispensable for the Good of Children and Society and Promises to Keep: Decline and Renewal of Marriage in America.

The Following Information is from Divorce Rate.org which tracks the rates in various countries.

Accoring to The Department of Justice, Child Support Initiative, Evaluation Report, August 1997, divorce rate in Canada is about 48%. What it means is, one marriage out of every two marriages end up to divorce. But remember that for many, divorces and marriages are repetitions.

Some facts about the divorce rates in Canada

Almost 75% of Canadian divorces are being initiated by women.

One year after separation or divorce, 50% of children of divorced or separated families never see their fathers again.

First marriages have about a 50% chance of ending in divorce , that risk becomes greater with each successive marriage (about 72% for second, and about 85% for third marriages).

Are divorce rates in Canada going up or down? Statistics Canada presents us with the following rates of divorce throughout the years:

Years No. of divorces Rates per 100,000 population. Rates per 100,000 Married Couples
1921 558 6.4 N/A
1941 2,462 21.4 N/A
1961 6,563 36.0 N/A
1968* 11,343 54.8 N/A
1969 26,093 124.2 N/A
1981 67,671 271.8 1,174.4
1985** 61,980 253.6 1,103.3
1986 78,304 298.8 1,301.6
1987*** 96,200 362.3 1,585.5
1990 80,998 295.8 1,311.5
1994 78,880 269.7 1,246.3
1995 77,636 262.2 1,221.9
* Reform of Divorce Laws ** Divorce Act ("no fault") *** Peak year

How common is remarriage in Canada? About 75 and 65%, respectively, of divorced men and women remarry. The probability of remarriage between the years of 35-50 for women is 48% compared to 61% for men. For younger women between 25 and 35, the probability is 66% and closer to 80% among men. Therefore, it is obvious that age discriminates against women: the older they are, the lower their chances of remarrying. But this is not the case for men. Such is the double standard. One has to consider that an unknown proportion of this 25 to 35% of men and women who do not remarry do cohabit. But this is more likely to happen for younger divorced persons than older ones, and more likely for men than women. Nevertheless, older cohabitants after a divorce are also becoming more numerous.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Man kills 8 in LA Christmas Carnage in a family law dispute

Some comments left on the CBC site with respect to the killing of "8 die after 'Santa' opens fire at L.A. Christmas party". At least eight people are dead after a man dressed as Santa fired shots and ignited a blaze at a Christmas Eve party held at his former wife's house, then took his own life, Los Angeles police said... http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2008/12/25/santa-shooting.html?Authorized=1&AuthenticationKey=2_59_c37f851c-cd0c-4da0-8ef2-1d5e417981d8.pakceecoehmmkm
Mike Murphy wrote:Posted 2008/12/26 at 1:29 PM ET This is a very tragic story at any time of the year especially Christmas. I'd like to see a post mortem done on the actual crime and the antecedents of these kinds of tragedies. Most men who have some involvement or have a friend or relative involved in family court know the usual outcome where men are concerned. I'd recommend a line of accountability be looked at including both parties to the divorce, the presiding judge, the two lawyers, some mention of lawmakers who pass the laws, the settlement reached (or not) as their certainly was no final settlement of this matter mutually agreeable to both parties. The purpose of the post mortem would be to deal with the systemic factors evident in what would cause a person to take such a final and drastic approach to ending the lives of people who would not be a party to the original dispute and then their own life. Forget the psychobabble he was a control freak or any other speculative details. Out of the over 3,000 male suicides it is estimated over 2,000 men in Canada take their own lives annually from family law decisions. Why did they not take others with them? There appears to be a great deal wrong with family law on both sides of the border and elsewhere. Perhaps a post mortem, naming all the above names would increase accountability, arrive at causes, and help create a better system to deal with the tragedy of family breakdown let alone some of its worst outcomes such as this very sad story. Footnote: I've always believed if people who are involved in the tragedy of family breakdown had public accountability for many of the tragic results of their decisions and manipulations they would want to ensure everything they did was fair and would pass scrutiny in the court of public opinion, not just the law courts, or as some say, the law courts of family injustice - mostly against men. There are a lot of slimy characters involved in the divorce industry and if word of their tactics were publicized they would not be able to hold their head up very high when passing their neighbours. The same would apply to pyscho ex's, male or female, who use their children as weapons. Some of my colleagues in the father's rights movement end up as victims of suicide and if a trace back to the judges and lawyers were made and it was publicized I believe sober second thought would go into decision making. In the case of Gregory Eisenhauer, of Georgia in the U.S.A, that connection was made and more of this needs to occur. Judge Lane gave him a death sentence and I hope she has nightmares for the rest of her days as well as the slimy legal people and so called counsellors involved.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


FATHERLESS CHRISTMAS Published in the Sun, 19 Dec 2003 By Sir BOB GELDOF NOW again it's Christmas. We're all busy spending on our loved ones, our families and, most especially, our children. In particular this is the children's festival. The time when a kind old man will slip down a chimney or slide down a roof and bring joy to your child - FATHER Christmas. It is the special child's time because 2,000 years ago, the story tells us, a woman and a man had a baby together and though the man knew perfectly well he was not the child's father he nonetheless loved him and his wife and raised him to be strong, independent, brave and loving. Lucky kid, to have Joseph for a dad. Indeed, were Jesus alive today, to have any dad at all to raise him to be a good man. For those divorced men with children, Christmas is a travesty, a repulsive contradiction of a family holiday, of a loving celebration, of a special children's time. These are the men who will be forced to be alone without their babies, who will commit suicide most frequently at this time of year in an age when male suicides are already 300 per cent greater than women's. These are men who, in the eyes of what is sickeningly called Family Law, committed the greatest crime - of being divorced. Men who are guilty of the worst sin - of being fathers - because dads, to the great dismay of the secret elite who sit in secret judgment in these secret courts are, shockingly, ALL men! And men, as everyone knows, are monsters, feckless, abusive, aggressive, thuggish, incapable of such a hugely complex task of giving love and patience, cooking baked beans or giving a bath, doing homework or combing hair and reading stories. It's a miracle any of us got here at all, us all having had dads and everything. This Christmas Eve we will say goodnight in our homes to our over-excited children, tell them to go to sleep quickly or HE won't come, prepare for the morning and have a quiet drink of pleasure before bed. Yet there will be many fathers forbidden by the savagery of our laws to be with their children, standing broken, as I have, outside their old homes, the keys still in their pockets, weeping and whispering goodnight as they watch each child's bedroom light switch off before turning away, maddened with grief, to the pointlessness of a lonely Christmas Day. What have we become? In whose name is this brutality done? Who are they who do this and why do they not account to us, the people? What unthinking fools perpetrated these unlawful laws? How is it in a child's interest to remove him from his dad and why? Two people fall from love and one, though having done no wrong, is semi-criminalised and punished by having his children removed from him for ever (for childhood is never recoverable). The extremity of Family Law is bewildering, for having your children taken away from you is only one slight degree better than them taking away your freedom. And yet you are not a criminal, nor have you done any wrong. These same people assume that women make better parents - that a mother's love is better, more important than a father's. That somehow it's bearable for a man to be parted from his children but not a woman. Why? These assumptions and prejudices are not simply outdated but plain wrong, dangerous and damaging. You only have to listen to the language that the law uses when it gets involved in our private lives. It's meant to be neutral but it is cold, deadening and hopeless. In fact it becomes heartbreaking, hurtful, rage-inducing. I cannot even say the words. A huge emptiness would well in my stomach, a deep loathing for those who would deign to tell me they would ALLOW me ACCESS to my children - those I loved above all, those I created, those who gave meaning to everything I did, those who were the very best of us two and the absolute physical manifestation of our once blinding love. Who the fuck are they that they should use the language of the prison visit to ALLOW anything between me and that which is mine? REASONABLE CONTACT when the situation under this law is, by definition, UNreasonable!!! CONTACT? Is this what we had before in our home or am I now some visiting alien? An ABSENT parent - labelled by those who have forced me to be absent. A RESIDENT/NON-RESIDENT parent - words that reduce the meaning of that which was once Mum, Dad and home to the sterile language of the state institution. I cannot begin to describe the pain of being handed a note, sanctioned by your (still) wife with whom you had made these little things, with whom you had been present at their birth and previously had felt grow and kick and tumble and turn and watched the scans and felt intense manly pride. Wrestled and played with them, walked them to school, picked them up, made tea with, bathed and dressed, put them to bed, cuddled and lay with in your arms and sang to sleep. Felt them and smelt them around you at all times, alert even in sleep to the slightest shift in their breathing ... a note that will ALLOW you ACCESS to these things who are the best of you. What have you done? Why are you being punished (for that is what it seems)? How can she be allowed to dictate what I can or can't do with regard to MY children? What we must have is a new law. Not one remnant of this, quite literally, hopeless Children Act should remain. It is barbaric and will be looked upon with dismay and laughter by lawyers of future generations as we do now on old, outdated, medieval laws. We need a human law. A law that fits the way we live now. A way that reflects the differing versions of family that we have but that still generates love and kindness and compassion. A law that does not take away the happiness of the remaining years of our grandparents' lives and allows them to continue to contribute to our society by helping to raise our children. A law that lets mums be mothers and dads be fathers. Both nurturing, both loving their children, perhaps outwardly differently but inside with the same intensity and passion. Different but the same - an equality of difference. This new law must reflect exactly that. I am asking that this new law will say at sentence one, paragraph one: "In the interests of children, upon separation they WILL be with both parents an equal amount of the time." They will be with their father 50 per cent of the time and their mother 50 per cent of the time." This is already being implemented in some countries and states and there doesn't seem to be any extraordinary or unusual problems with it. Of course, this arrangement will not suit some people but it does mean that the already overheated emotions of divorce are cooled slightly and, through discussion, a mutually acceptable arrangement can be arrived at without anger, bitterness or hatred. It may also help to stem our uniquely epidemic divorce rates. If both parents going into divorce know that they will only see their children half the time, that financial and housing arrangements are now less cut and dried, then maybe it will give them pause for thought. That such a powerful newspaper as The Sun, motivated by its millions of readers and their letters of outrage (which I have seen) is now supporting this call for a new law for their readers' children and grandparents means that the country, its mothers, fathers, grandparents and most importantly its children, are ready. Before more men are driven to suicide or desperate brave acts to draw attention to their plight, before more children are taken from their dads, before another empty Christmas passes, let the Government stop their endless tinkering and discussions and begin its reform. On this, the most perfect of family holidays, let us hold in our hearts those small boys and girls who have wished and wished to Santa for only one thing this Christmas ... their dad.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Santa is a Canadian Citizen ~ Official statement by Canadian Government

I was posting a comment to the National Post story on Santa being a Canadian Citizen and hadn't realized I was limited to 500 characters., A minuscule amount for such a profound topic being scribbled about by an Irish-Canadian imbued with copious quantities of written verbiage. So here is the rest. The column giving Santa Canadian citizenship is here. http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=1108114 I've always believed Santa was Canadian but of very special status. He is also warmly welcomed as a temporary citizen of beneficence and goodwill around the world. After all he can be viewed as the main representative flowing out of Christs birth some 2008 years past but transcends one specific type of religion and has no problem in spreading his cheer and good will through out the whole world, not just one particular religion. In other words Santa is not beset with the baggage of being "the one true representative of the one true religion" yet shows through his corporate mission statement that he believes in the golden rule which transcends everything. He is a person of action and few words. My children now believe he is fictional but it was magic every Christmas morning when I could overhear their excited whispers - before getting me out of bed - about how this magical man got everything in the house so quietly. I also will never forget the profound words of one of my 4 daughters as were driving to a store one December after I told them their older sister and her husband were coming to visit over Christmas. She said dad "we must tell Santa that they are coming to see us so he will know to bring their presents to our house". I almost cried at her concern. Santa is a magical creation and we need to afford him the benefits of Canadian citizenship with extensions to the rest of the world. And he resides in a multicultural nation as well, what better choice for a world representative to live!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Real Fathers For Justice ~ Christmas message

Mothers Have A Great Christmas, Yet Thousands Of Families Lives Are Destroyed, Protect Our Childrens’ Rights

WEBWIRE – Monday, December 22, 2008
Contact Information
Mike Kelly
Press Contact
The Real Fathers For Justice
+44 (0)778 224 007 2
For some families, Christmas will be a devastating time, due toarchaic UK laws, failing judges and because inadequate court systemsfail to uphold the basic human right of children being able to spendadequate time with both their natural parents. Children’s rights, as well as fathers rights are a very importantissue and organisations such as The Real Fathers For Justice areleading the way to try and make a difference for the sake of ourchildren. Despite numerous studies and surveys illustrating the benefits of achild having access to both parents, many men in the UK still have tobattle through courts just to see their sons or daughters. This poses a serious welfare issue for the children concerned. Some men have fought for nine years or more, yet still their courtorders are not upheld, allowing the mother to ruin the lives of theseinnocent children. This is a clear indication that something is wrongwith the UK family court systems. Can you imagine how degrading it must be to have to seek a court’s permission just to see your own children? There is an indication that things may be changing, an example is the recent speech by Jack Straw which is available at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/news/newsrelease161208b.htm but even so, there is a long way to go before fathers are treated as equal parents. When we finally put our children’s rights first, things shouldchange for the better, but until then, thousands of passionate fatherswill have to battle for our children to grow up in a fairer and morehumane society.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Is feminism about equality ~ Not in the 21st century it isn't

A debate is going on over at Antonia Zerbiasis' (AZ) blog at the Toronto "Red" Star http://thestar.blogs.com/broadsides/2008/12/group-gripe.html?cid=143137750#comments I've commented three times shown below. Perspectives on the feminist cause certainly differ and are not likely to change anytime soon. This all got started from a quote attributed to AZ as follows "Feminism is about equality for everyone. There is no such thing as one group getting "more" equality or equal rights than others. It is impossible." That's like waving a red flag in front of those of us sidelined and marginalized by the feminist agenda. First Post:


You are using misleading feminist propaganda when you state things like women make 71% of men. You do yourself a disservice and frankly I liked you up until I read that.

Women who are doing the same job as men make exactly the same amount and will go to the top of their pay scale as do men depending on their length of service. A cop, a teacher, a public servant, an assembly line worker, a reporter - dare I say - or are you accusing your employer of discrimination and sexism, et al.

The difference in overall average pay arises due to factors such as men work longer hours at more demanding and hazardous jobs. How many women tunnelers, miners, explosive experts, riggers, derrick workers are there? How many feminists do you think were in the World Trade Towers rescuing people, how many feminists are on the front lines in Afghanistan. None. Zero. Nada.

Men are more likely to travel, relocate or have long commutes for their jobs.

Men are more likely to have more consecutive years experience, because women are more likely to work part time or take years off of work to care for their children. Many women stay-at-home and are not earning income.

Given these factors, it would be very hard for men to not earn considerably more than women. It is not discrimination. Do you consider facebook posters reliable sources of information?

Mechanisms exist to deal with the other factors you raise such as similar pay for work of equal value. If women still have concerns they are ghettoized compared to parking lot attendants they have legal and personal choices. One of them is to change careers. I have a question. Are feminists by nature also self described victims. It is odd that the verbiage seems to indicate you are a permanent underclass of victims.

Second Post: This post was in response to a feminist who calls those of us who differ with them "Woman Haters" or the favourite which means the same thing Misogynist. This is the most common form of rebuttal on feminist blogs when someones logic seems to be defeating a certain argument thread. I call it the nuclear bomb of the feminist - normal people discourse. It is designed to be the final solution for someone who is losing an argument in order to indicate "my minds made up and facts won't change my view one bit."

Haha Edson. Finally it comes out, as it does when some people discussing feminism have a difference of opinion the nuclear bomb of those who differ is dropped in that we are misogynists AKA "woman-hating." Oh dear now the rhetoric has been ratcheted upward and you wonder why we disagree with feminists who live back in the dark ages.

Feminism is not about equality - its about domination and if you truly believe it is about equality then you aren't reaching out very far to see the real world. Edson is part of that real world with her/his over the top rhetoric. There is an organization called "Real woman of Canada". They know they are equal and don't whine. They "Do."

Did you know that in family court having a difference of opinion with your female ex can be construed as abuse. That is a feminist construct. For those of us who disagree with you its not about hate its about fairness.

When the Irish settled this country and in the USA we were treated like lepers but we persevered and won equality through hard work, determination, and credible job performance to overcome the myths we we were lazy drunks. We are clearly not lazy :)

That is now ancient history and we don't need a union or a society of Irish to sell anyone on the idea of equality. We are equal and that is that. The female who is making less in a different job should do what a man does - move jobs sideways or apply for the job that pays more and stop whining. I started my first job at 35.00 a week - the lowest of the low - but I didn't whine about it. I kept applying for better jobs. Guess what I eventually persevered again and again. Guess what - if females start moving out of the low paying jobs to others then perhaps supply/demand will indicate to the employer that turnover is too high and look at the pay rate.

Feminism is not about male female...it is about getting more entitlements through whining than anything else. It is a negative word in many quarters - including "real women". You need to examine the movement in the context of the 21st century not keep seeking more money for perceived value. Earn it on merit not in handouts.

And finally Number 3: Some of the posters still actually seem to believe Feminism is about equality. Yes in the 60's and maybe even the 70's but it went way past equality a very long time ago. Now it is about billions of dollars in entitlements. In Ontario alone the budget for women only issues is $208,000,000.00, and not one red cent is allocated for men and no man can access any one of the 577 DV shelters across Canada - yet. That will change as it is truly anti-gender and discriminatory. It was recently declared unconstitutional in California and we all know what happens when a trend starts there. A certain number of feminists will always argue that men dominate in many areas including lawmakers. Then how come men can't get shared and equal custody of their children, why is it that men always seem to have to pay the most emotionally and financially when it comes to marriage breakdown even though divorce is initiated in over 85% of the cases by females. Let me elucidate a little for you. Marketers know that most of the shopping is done by females. The man hands over his share of the money and the female manages it. This is a dumb move by men. Marketing, therefore, to females is more important to all major companies save those whose products are dominated by men, like pick-up trucks and hunting stuff. Now if you are producing a sit-com where the man is a buffoon and the wife sensible you are very likely going to attract the kind of person you want to purchase your product. Can you think of any sitcoms where 2 parents are involved the man isn't a buffoon? After all it reinforces the notion females, therefore feminists, have it all together and then some. By the way there are a lot of females involved in media production but the suits that run the big studios and networks are mostly men. Go figure what a man will do for his shareholders aay. Gee, he will pander to feminists and real women who are the buyers of many of the products advertised. The government law makers in legislatures do have men as a majority but Quebec's cabinet is 50-50. Why, if men so dominate, can feminists command such influence for the billions spent on women alone across this country? Because male lawmakers have been convinced by feminist organizations, largely funded by taxpayers, that their agenda should be followed because women as victims buys votes. Its like motherhood and apple pie and sells well even to many men including those in the judiciary. My reply is turning into a dissertation and I should cut it off soon. Those of us who are victims of the feminist agenda know full well equality does not exist in many areas especially family law. If you tell a divorced or separated man all you want is equality expect to get a difference of opinion. He doesn't hate you but he will be, in all likelihood, passionate in his response. I adore women - I dislike demagoguery and ideologically driven people, some of whom are feminists, who pull cherry picked statistics out of a hat to caterwaul to the world how hard done by they are. It does a disservice because I'm sure some women are put at a disadvantage on occasion because, for some jobs, they may not be physically strong enough. That also applies to some men. I am an amputee and I could not entertain being a cop, firefighter, soldier, or any other job such as brain surgeon requiring greater dexterity than I can muster. Well I don't whine about it. I sucked it up a long time ago and focused on what I could do well. It worked in my working life - not in marriage where my choice was a disaster - and I'm paying for it now. If you truly want to be equal and show men you think they are above buffoonery and can actually parent then join a shared parenting association or write your MP to get it enacted in the next session of parliament. Then you will get a different reaction from scribblers like me. Antonia - you are in a position of influence as both a feminist and writer. Use your position to influence your sisters and politicians to change the law to equal and shared parenting, barring abuse, as a presumption upon divorce or separation. Posted by: Mike Murphy | December 21, 2008 at 10:25 PM

Holidays hard on parents who lose custody disputes

Holidays hard on parents who lose custody disputes

Published December 18, 2008

By Isaac Olson • TLN

Though the holiday season can be a joyous time for many Canadian families, it can also be a time of sadness for those whose children are in the legal custody of the other parent.

Officials with Fathers 4 Justice (F4J) say the country has done little to encourage co-parenting and, as divorce and separation becomes a fact of life in modern times, the government's inaction is creating a detrimental situation that could and should be avoided for the betterment of children, parents and society as a whole.

The spirit of giving

F4J Canada has recently launched "Project Save Christmas" to help impoverished families celebrate the season while reviving the spirit of giving in those who are barred from spending the holidays with their children.

According to a F4J Canada press release, 40 per cent of children in poverty are in single-parent homes. F4J officials are encouraging members who are not allowed to give gifts to their own children to instead give to children in need. Officials are also encouraging members to write or e-mail Santa Claus to let him know that "all we want for Christmas is our children and equal parenting."

"Children are the spirit of Christmas for every parent," stated Kris Titus, the National Coordinator of F4J Canada. "When a parent loses a child, Christmas becomes a nightmare, not a joy. Most feel helpless and politicians aren't listening, so this year we will appeal to Santa himself."

The fight for co-parenting

"Co-parenting can be successful as long as long as both parents' goals are to do what is right for the child," said Titus. "The reason of divorce is to separate from that person, but not to separate children from that person. There are now more than one million children in Canada that were raised by only one parent."

Citing an approximate 125,000 Quebec fathers unable to see their 300,000 children, Daniel Laforest, president of F4J Quebec, agreed with Titus. In a society where divorce has evolved into an everyday occurrence, the custody laws have failed to catch up to skyrocketing separation rates, he said.

"With more women in the work force and divorce so much easier than it was 50 years ago, we have moved to another family concept that is not stabilized right now," said Laforest. "The justice system and laws are not synchronized or adapted to the new society. We are in a transitional period and, for now, the fathers are the biggest losers. The children, unable to live with their fathers and mothers, lose as well. It has dramatic consequences on our society." Currently under court proceedings for a highflying protest in Toronto involving superhero-clad activists unfurling a banner from a crane, Titus, a mother of four boys, said she takes the fight for equal parenting very seriously.

Over the years, F4J has developed a reputation of civil disobedience as organizers work to inform the public of their message. This passion is derived from a desire to see their children as well as an urgent need to change current laws — laws they say have yet to improve. "I certainly wouldn't be getting myself arrested and potentially going to jail if I had seen any improvements," said Titus.

Societal impact

Laforest and Titus both linked the increase in children raised by one parent to the recent spikes in gangs, juvenile delinquency, high school dropouts, depression and other social issues. Children raised solely by one parent are more prone to trouble for a variety of reasons that range from poverty to a lack of proper guidance, explained Titus.

While children watch one parent get stonewalled and the other working long hours to fill the economic hole left by the separation, they often become confused, angry and, at times, delinquent, said Titus. When parents combat each other in court battles that sometimes take years, she said, children are exposed to negative life lessons that often damage social skills.

Laforest, who made an unsuccessful bid for Montreal's Laurier-Sainte-Marie riding in last October's federal election, said he has faith the laws will, with time, change to include more shared custody but, until that happens, it is vital to society that people fight for equal parenting. As it stands, his organization has over 2,000 supporters working to educate the public and change the legal system, he said.

"The best solution is to not have divorce," said Laforest. "But when divorce happens, the best solution is to give both the mother and father access to the children."

For the Sake of the Children

This year represents another milestone in family law. Dec. 9 marked the 10th Anniversary of the "For the Sake of the Children" report that recommended shared parenting as well as 47 other recommendations to improve family law in Canada. These recommendations, however, have yet to been implemented, states the F4J website.

"We never had a conclusion in respect to these recommendations over the last 10 years," said Laforest. "This has created a dramatic situation across Quebec, the country and the world. As a human a problem, it is probably the worst because of the effect on the children. We can't build a society where the fathers fight against the mothers and the mothers fight against the fathers for the children."

National Child Day

Canada's National Child Day, held on Nov. 20, was enacted in 1993 to pay tribute to the country's children while recognizing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention, which Canada is party to, spells out the basic human rights to which the world's children are entitled.

"I don't think Canada respects the principle of National Child Day nor the resolution," said Laforest.

The day should be used to recognize children, said Titus, but Canada has yet to do anything that officially acknowledges the country's youth. For now, her organization has dubbed it "National Childless Day."

"If Canada is truly committed to helping kids, the country needs to take a hard look at the parenting structure," said Titus, who noted that, besides their hope of 50/50 co-parenting across Canada, her organization would like, at the very least, to see a federal law that stipulates a higher court, not the family court, declare whether a parent is fit for the job.


According to Statistics Canada, custody is granted through court proceedings in three out of every 10 divorces. In the remaining divorces, couples arrived at custody arrangements outside the divorce proceedings or they did not have kids.

In 2002, Canada saw, for the first time, less than 50 per cent of mothers getting total custody. Of the 35,000 dependents for whom custody was determined through divorce proceedings in 2002, the custody of 49.5 per cent was awarded to the wife. The proportion of dependents awarded to mothers has declined steadily since 1988, when women were awarded custody 75.8 per cent of the time. In contrast, 41.8 per cent of 2002 cases resulted in joint custody.

Under a joint custody arrangement, children do not necessarily spend equal amounts of time with each parent, argues Titus. Often one parent, most commonly the father, is squeezed out of the picture by being allotted, for example, only one night a week with his kid(s), she said.

These statistics fail to cover unwed parents, which, Titus observed, is a whole other problem. When unmarried parents separate, she said, fathers are not protected under federal laws. While each province has its own laws in place, separated unwed fathers can potentially face an uphill legal battle when it comes to parenting. Often times they aren't even recognized on the birth certificate, said Titus, and therefore they have no rights to the child.

"We are going in the wrong direction," said Laforest. "We are destroying the image of fathers and creating a situation where there is no place for them in our culture. We have only one way to think in our Quebec society: women are victims and men are guilty people. We need to change that."


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Australia mom kidnaps Son and is in hiding ~ Dad is very concerned

The Daily Telegraph - Home

International hunt after mum snatches Andrew, 4

Article from: The Daily Telegraph

By Michelle Cazzulino

December 13, 2008 12:00am

SITTING in his only child's colourful bedroom, NSW Fire Brigade Deputy Commissioner Ken Thompson yesterday issued an international plea for information leading to his son's safe return.

Australian authorities say Andrew, 4, was abducted by his mother, Mr Thompson's estranged wife Melinda, on April 24 this year.

The pair flew from Sydney to Singapore and then on to the German city of Frankfurt, where they disappeared.

In a rare move, the family court this week issued a publication order after Australian and German police exhausted their efforts to find Mrs Thompson, who may be travelling under her maiden name of Stratton.

The document warns anyone recognising her or her son not to approach them as 46-year-old Mrs Thompson may pose a danger to herself and her young son. They have been asked instead to contact police.

A devastated Mr Thompson yesterday told The Daily Telegraph he had been left reeling by the breakdown of his six-year marriage last Christmas and his wife's subsequent decision to snatch their son.

Before their disappearance, a psychiatric report found she was suffering from a mental condition that affected her judgment and her ability to parent effectively.

But at this point, Mr Thompson said finding Andrew was his only priority.

"He's been ripped away from everything he knows," he said.

"He's probably blissfully unaware of what's going on because he's only four but the emotional damage that's being done to this child is absolutely shocking."

While members of Mrs Thompson's family knew she planned to leave Australia, they don't know where she is now.

Both she and Andrew are Australian citizens, although Mrs Thompson, who holds an MBA, is fluent in French and German.

Mr Thompson said Interpol had issued alerts in 187 countries and a huge international media campaign would be launched, with posters featuring Andrew's image to appear on buses across the UK.

He said he was worried about his wife's mental stability, which could have deteriorated in the period since her disappearance.

Help me find my son
NSW Fire Brigade Deputy Commissioner Ken Thompson has issued an international plea for information leading to his son's safe return. Video: Watch this father's heartfelt plea How you can help Mr Thompson find Andrew l

Parent Alienation - Composite case from actual examples

Parental Alienation Peggy Ward Ph.D , J. Campbell Harvey, J.D.

FAMILY WARS Parent Alienation Syndrome - Composite case from actual examples Peggie Ward, Ph.D. (a member of the Advisory Council of the Professional Academy of Custody Evaluators or PACE) and J. Campbell Harvey, J.D. 

The parents of Amy (age 10) and Kevin (age 7) are divorcing after 13 years of marriage. Their father, by temporary stipulation,has moved from the marital home. He is entitled to visit the children on alternating weekends and one evening during the week. Soon, the children refuse to go with him. At first, they do not want to leave Mom; they say they are afraid to go. When Dad comes to the house, Mom tells him that she will "not force the children to go." "Visitation is up to them," and she will "not interfere in their decision". The children refuse to talk with him on the phone. Mom calls him names when he phones and complains constantly about her financial situation, blaming him, all within hearing of the children. Dad attempts to talk with the children about the situation, then to bribe them with movies, shopping trips, toys. They become sullen with him and resistant to coming. 

Anything, routine doctor visits or invitations from a friend, serve as excuses to avoid visits. When asked, the children say "Dad is mean to us." When asked to give specific examples, their stories are not convincing. "He yells too loud when we make noise." "He made me climb all the way to the top of a mountain." "He gets mad at me about my homework." They say he has never hit them, but are afraid he will. These children are in the process of becoming alienated from their father. 

I. Definitions Parental alienation is the creation of a singular relationship between a child and one parent, to the exclusion of the other parent. The fully alienated child is a child who does not wish to have any contact whatsoever with one parent and who expresses only negative feelings for that parent and only positive feelings for the other parent. This child has lost the range of feelings for both parents that is normal for a child. We will call the parent who acts to create such a singular relationship between the child and himself the "alienating parent."

1 The parent who is excluded from the singular relationship is "the target parent." We note that alienation can occur both ways, each parent attempting to alienate the child from the other. 

II. Harm to the Child [T]he persistent quality of the conflict combined with its enduring nature seriously endangers the mental health of the parents and the psychological development of the children. Under the guise of fighting for the child, the parents may succeed in inflicting severe emotional suffering on the very person whose protection and well-being is the presumed rationale for the battle"(emphasis added).

2,3 It is psychologically harmful to children to be deprived of a healthy relationship with one parent. "Visitation agreements must insure that the emotional bond of the child with both parents is protected. There is substantial research that indicates that children need contact with adults of both sexes for balanced development."

4 With the exception of abuse, there is no good reason why a child should not want to spend some time with each of her parents, and, even with abuse, most children still want to maintain some relationship with the abusive parent. It is the job of the parents,the professionals and the courts to see that such contact is possible under safe circumstances.

5 While alienating messages and behavior affect a child negatively and impact upon the child's growth and development, the impact on the child may not vary with the parent's intentions. The effect will be to place the child in a severe loyalty bind, a position wherein the child believes she must choose which of her two parents she will "love" more. To have to choose between parents is itself damaging to the child, and, if the end result is the exclusion of a parent from the child's life, the injury is irreparable. There is a continuum of alienating parental behaviors which cause harm to children, and all positions on this continuum need be of concern to the professionals and the courts. 

III. The Family Systems Approach All families are made up of individuals who live together in relatively stable intimate groups with the ostensible purpose of supporting and caring for each other. Family members develop their own rules and boundaries, spoken and unspoken, about the ways that they will behave with each other, support and care for each other. Each family's rules and boundaries change over time to reflect modifications in membership, the evolving needs of its members and the realities of the outer world. Most changes in the family system are gradual, but some events force cataclysmic upheaval. 

Divorce is usually such an event. Unless a separating family can change its own rules and boundaries without outside intervention, the divorce process itself may reach an impasse, the term applied when the divorce process itself becomes "stuck" and the family system fails to appropriately restructure itself. When there is an impasse, any move by anyone, family member, attorney, spouse, is met with a counter move resulting in no forward progress. The impasse creates a system of its own, with its own membership, rules and boundaries. Although little recognized by professionals, membership in the divorce impasse system will include all members of the family living together and all professionals involved in "helping" the family get a divorce, i.e. the lawyers, mediators, therapists and even the judge. A divorce impasse can occur at three levels: an internal level (inside an individual); an interactional level (between two individuals); and/or an external level (within the larger social and familial system).

6 An impasse at any one of the levels will affect the entire system, and how each individual member responds will affect all members, especially the child. The children themselves are members in both the changing family system and in the developing broader divorce impasse system. As a member of the family system, a child is attached legally, emotionally and psychologically to each of his parents. As a member of a divorce impasse system, a child is often asked to ally himself with one parent or the other, a request which clearly places the child in a loyalty bind. Sometimes the request, either overtly or covertly, is that the child make the alliance exclusive. All members of the divorce impasse system, including the professionals, are affected by the loyalty struggles and may become polarized. 

IV. Motivation for Alienation An alienating parent most likely has strong underlying feelings and emotions left over from earlier unresolved emotional issues which have been resuscitated and compounded by the pain of the divorce. The individual, in attempting to ward off these powerful and intensely uncomfortable feelings, develops behavioral strategies that involve the children. One solution to the pain and anger is to sue for custody of the child and to endeavor to punish the other parent by seeking his or her exclusion. The internal world of an alienating parent can have complex origins which are beyond the scope of this article. If the motivating factors are unconscious, the alienating parent may not feel and/or may not be aware of the feelings and motions described above. Unaware parents may deny alienating behavior convincingly, but nonetheless, be involved in it. Parents may also be aware of their angry or hopeless feelings but may consciously desire to protect the child. They tell their attorneys and the court of their conscious plans; however, despite the conscious desires, they may, unintentionally and unwittingly, engage in alienating behavior, driven by less conscious needs. 

Frequently, the unconscious or unintentional alienating behavior results in the milder form of alienation of the child from the target parent. Nonetheless, it is important to recognize the concrete signs of alienating behavior in order to thwart its development. Courts should not tolerate alienating behavior simply because the intention to alienate is denied. Neither should the courts predicate a custody award on the hopes that the behavior witnessed and cited in court is merely a product of the acrimony generated by the litigation. Parties engaged in a high conflict divorce may show their worst behavior to all, but it is impossible to predict, as the courts so often wish they could do, whether this behavior is merely a product of the acrimony generated by the litigation. 

"The (Father) has also demonstrated some behaviors which have been troublesome to the Master as well as the Guardian ad Litem. The (Father) has been manipulative in the presentation of this case, the Master concludes that he has inappropriately attempted to influence and pressure the children into giving negative information about their mother and he has demonstrated a lack of cooperation and flexibility in respecting the (Mother's) parental rights. It is the hope of the Master that these factors have been the result of this litigation and the hostility between the parties will resolve themselves and not be a factor following this decree." S.L. v. S.L., Superior Court, 1989. Here, the master has been witness to a divorce impasse which may not resolve itself without intervention, and the parties' statements of good intentions should not be relied upon to bring about a reversal of a behavioral trend already witnessed. 

V. Recognition of Alienating Behaviors 

A. The Continuum: Distinguishing between "Typical" Divorce and Alienation In a "cooperative" divorce, both parents work together to restructure their own relationship and their family to allow the children as normal a relationship with each of them as is possible. This means cooperating as to finances, logistics and schedules as well as actively supporting the children's emotional relationships with the other parent and the extended families. All parties to divorce experience a wide range of intense emotions, including rage, disappointment, hurt and fear. 

In "cooperative" divorces the parties consciously try not to engage in behavior they understand to be inflammatory to the other side. However, an angry divorce is not necessarily an alienating one. Alienation occurs when the parties to divorce or custody litigation use their children to meet their own emotional needs, as vehicles to express or carry their intense emotions or as pawns to manipulate as a way of inflicting retribution on the other side. The focus in determining whether or not there is alienation in an angry divorce must be not on the degree of rage or loss expressed, but on behavioral willingness to involve the children. 

Parental alienation occurs along a broad continuum, based on the level of internal distress of the alienating parent, the vulnerability of the child and the responses of the target parent as well as on the responses of the external system (family, attorneys, mental health professionals, the legal system). The range may be from children who experience significant discomfort at transition times (mild), through children who feel compelled to keep separate worlds and identities when with each parent (moderate), to children who refuse to have anything to do with the target parent and become obsessed with their hatred (severe). There are alienating parents who are completely unaware of either their emotional state, the motivation to alienate, or the effects of their behavior (unconscious), while at the other end of the continuum, there are parents who absolutely intend to bind the child to themselves in an exclusive relationship and are explicit in their statements and behavior (overt). 

B. MILD Recognizing the mild form of alienating behavior is tricky: the alienating behavior is subtle, and the alienating parent prone to deny motivation and acts, and driven to verbally assert the opposite of what is true. Although such statements are sincerely meant, the alienating parent's view of the other parent is compromised at this stage, as indicated by behavior. Not aware of the feelings that motivate the unintentional alienating behavior, the evaluator must look at the underlying messages that are given directly to the child. In this milder form there is less polarization of the external sources of the divorce impasse system (at-torneys, courts). The communications to the child of the regard with which the other parent is held is the key to detecting alienating behavior. Examples of mild forms of alienating behavior include: 

1. Little regard for the importance of visitation/contact with the other parent: "You're welcome to visit with Mom; you make the choice; I won't force you." - No encouragement of visits; - No concern over missed visits; - No interest in the child's activities or experiences during visitation (in a positive manner); 

2. Lack of value regarding communication between visits: - No encouragement of communication between visits; - Little awareness of the distress a child may feel if a visit or phone call is missed. 

3. Inability to tolerate the presence of the other parent even at events important to the child: "I won't go to any soccer games if your mother is there." 

4. Disregard for the importance of the relationship to the child: - Displaying a willingness to apply for and accept a new job away from the other parent, without regard to the child's relationship with that parent. At this stage alienation is most likely to become obvious during family system transition times, such as when children leave one home and go to another, when one parent remarries or has another child. The knowledge that a child needs the other parent may be present, but this rational belief may become overwhelmed by internal and interactional problems at this phase. 

C. MODERATE The alienating parent has some awareness of her emotional motivations (fear of loss, rage) and little sense of the value of the target parent. Sometimes, an alienating parent will understand the theoretical importance of the other parent in the life of her child, but believes that in her case, the other parent, due to character deficiencies, cannot be important to the child. Their statements and behaviors are subtle but damaging to the child. 

1. Communications of dislike of visitation: "You can visit with your Dad, but you know how I feel about it." "How can you go to see your father when you know...I've been sick; Aunt B is here..." "Visitation with your Dad is really up to you." 

2. Refusal to hear anything about the other parent (especially if it is good): "That's between you and your father... (regarding reports of visitation; plans for visitation);" I don't want to hear about... (what you did with your father) (especially if it was fun); 

3. Delights in hearing negative news about the other parent; 

4. Refusal to speak directly with the other parent: - When the target parent calls, gives the phone to the child, "It's him," in a disgusted tone of voice. - Hangs up phone on the target parent; - Silently hands the phone to the child when its the target parent calling. 

5. Refusal to allow the target parent physically near: - Target parent not allowed out of the car or even on the property, in the driveway, for pick-up and drop-off visitations; 

6. Doing and undoing statements: Negative comments about the other parent made and then denied: "There are things I could tell you about your Dad, but I'm not that kind of person." "Your Dad is an alcoholic; oh, I shouldn't have said that." 

7. Subtle accusations: "Your Dad wasn't around a lot when you were little." "Your Dad abandoned me." 

8. Destruction of memorabilia of the target person. At this stage alienation continues to occur more frequently during transitional times, but is present in other circumstances. With moderate forms of alienation, all three divorce impasse systems are involved. The alienating parent is facing an internal conflict; the alienating parent is interacting with the spouse in a manner designed to produce conflict; and the external forces, such as therapists, attorneys and the court, are involved in the polarization, at least to some degree. 

D. OVERT When the alienation is overt, the motivation to alienate (the intense hatred of the other) is blatant. The alienating parent is obsessed and sees the target as noxious to himself or herself, the children, and even the world. A history of the marriage is related which reflects nothing but the bad times. The target parent was never worthwhile as a spouse or a parent and is not worthwhile today. Such a parent shows little response to logic, and little ability to confront reality. Many alienating parents at this stage entertain the overt belief that the target parent presents an actual danger of harm to the children. They present this belief as concrete knowledge that if the children spend time with the target parent they will be irreparably harmed in some manner or that they will be brainwashed by the target parent not to value/love the alienating parent. 

1. Statements about the target parent are delusional or false: "Your Mom doesn't pay support" when there is evidence to show payment. "Your father doesn't love us" (or "you") when there is no evidence to that effect. "Your mother drinks too much," "uses drugs," "smokes," etc. when there is no evidence to support these statements., "Your father went out and got the meanest lawyer in town;" 

2. Inclusion of the children as victims of the target parent's bad behavior: "Your Mom abandoned us"; "Your Dad doesn't love us (or you) anymore;" 

3. Overt criticism of the target parent: "Your Mom is a drug addict/alcoholic/violent person..." "What's wrong with your Dad; he never/ always does..." "Your mother endangers your health," "Your father doesn't take good care of you/ doesn't feed you/ take you to the doctor/ understand you during visits." 

4. The children are required to keep secrets from the target parent: "Don't tell your Mom where you've been/ who you've seen/ where you are going/ etc." 

5. Threat of withdrawal of love: "I won't love you if you... (see your Dad, etc.)" "I'm the only one who really loves you." 

6. Extreme lack of courtesy to the target parent. At this stage of alienation, conscious motivation is always present, and the internal, interactional and external systems are fully engaged in supporting the alienation process. 

E. SEVERE By the severe stage, the alienating parent no longer needs to be active. In terms of the motivation, the alienating parent holds no value at all for the other parent (whether motivated by fears, emptiness, helplessness) and the hatred and disdain are completely overt. The alienating parent will do anything to keep the children away from the target parent. At this stage the child is so enmeshed with the alienating parent that he or she agrees totally that the target parent is a villain and the scum of the earth. The child takes on the alienating parent's desires, emotions and hatreds and verbalizes them to all as his own. The child too sees the history of the target parent and family as all negative and is able to neither remember nor express any positive feeling for the target parent. These, and overt cases of the previous paragraph, are the ones that as an attorney invade your private life and lead to emotional over-involvement, although any high conflict alienation case beginning in the moderate category can do so. 

VI. Intervention in Alienation Systems  1. Prevention A. Education In the ideal cooperative divorce, there is little or no alienation occurring. Parents recognize the difference between their own needs and the needs of their children. They fully believe that their children have needed both parents throughout the marriage and will continue to need them after the divorce. Each parent values the role that the other parent can play in the lives of the children and the different interests and talents the other has to offer the children. There is no motivation for alienation because of the value attributed to the other parent. This ideal is infrequently realized in real life because divorce is such an intense change of role, life stage and life style for almost all who go through it. Participants need as much education, support and information as possible to help mitigate the harms that result from high conflict divorce. Certain counties, court systems and other governmental entities are requiring all parents of children involved in a divorce to attend an educational program designed to help them understand the impact of the divorce process on themselves and their children and to recognize the value to children of having both parents involved. 

The parents are educated as to the typical stages in divorce and child development and the impact they can anticipate their divorce having on their children. The studies of the long term effects of divorce and the usual problems that occur are discussed. These programs are designed to be preventative of the kinds of problems that commonly arise when parents do not understand the psychological and emotional consequences their divorce has upon themselves and their children.

7 Other states require mandatory mediation prior to a court trial as a way of avoiding litigation. Mediation advocates believe that mediation is more successful than the courts at avoiding future litigation.

8 While there have been no studies as to the effectiveness of these programs in preventing or ameliorating alienation, in one such program the participants themselves have reported great satisfaction with the program and have recommended that it be expanded.

9 B. Attorneys Attorneys and therapists are the front line professionals in most custody battles. They, too, have an obligation to educate their clients that divorce involves anger, rage, upset, distress, loyalty binds, and kids and parents who manipulate each other in crisis. The clients must be helped to understand the normality of these themes and to learn the strategies for controlling them and outgrowing them. Alternatives to intense battles must be explored. It is the duty of the attorney to advocate for her client. Good representation will include assessing the family system clearly from the client's point of view, and to advocate for that client's interests zealously. However, we believe that such zealous advocacy must occur in the context of the client's long term interests as a member of a restructuring family system. 

Whatever the outcome of the immediate litigation, the client will remain in the family system with contact and relationship with all other members of the family system for the rest of his or her life. Long after the lawyers are gone, the client will live with the effects of the positions taken and the statements made in litigation. The client may later regret the vitriol and the permanency of the damage done by a high conflict divorce. It is the attorney's job to help the client through the immediacy of the pain and the rage and to help the client see the long term view of involved family relations. 

Attorneys must also be acutely cognizant of the divorce impasse system itself and the important part they play in it. Maligning the other spouse, requiring the client to have no further contact with the spouse, prohibiting any temporary agreements or a temporary separation can interfere with a real resolution of the conflict. Zealous advocacy is a poor excuse for actually damaging a client's long term familial relations. Alienation cases present the greatest difficulty for attorneys. In the advocacy role, an attorney is bound to allow the client to define the goal of the representation and to advance that position zealously.

10 An attorney is also bound not to bring or defend frivolous actions.

11 We believe that actions harmful to children could fall under that prohibition.

12 If alienation is in progress, accepting at face value all derogatory comments about the opposing party will ill serve both the client and the attorney, as the client's judgment is emotionally tainted. It is incumbent on the attorney to sufficiently explore with the client his motivation and the reality basis of his beliefs before litigation is undertaken. Careful and thoughtful exploration with the client about the good times in the marriage and the positive parenting traits of the other side will give the attorney much information. 

We believe that under no circumstances should an attorney encourage a client to gain information about the opposing party from a child. Nor should an attorney interview a child even if the child is unrepresented.

13 The willingness of a client to directly involve a child in the litigation should be a red flag that the parent may well be using a child to further her own agenda, even if the child is apparently acquiescent. It is crucial to note, however, that we are describing cases where alienation exists, and other forms of abuse, such as physical or sexual abuse, do not. If abuse is honestly suspected, safety of the spouse or children becomes paramount and full evaluation by a competent professional is a necessity.