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Father ’s Rights Groups Usa

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Father ’s Rights Groups Threaten Women’s Gains—And Their

Safety

Pam Cham berlain

About Pam Chamberlain

Pam Chamberlain was s enio r res earcher at Po lit ical Res earch As s o ciat es , wit h an expert is e in gender jus t ice, educat io n, and campus is s ues .
Read mo re by Pam Chamberlain →

In June 2010, Ned Ho ls t ein, t he pres ident o f t he nat io nal gro up Fat hers and Families , appeared o n a Bo s t o n call- in radio s ho w t o pro mo t e a child- cus t o dy bill bef o re t he Mas s achus et t s legis lat ure. “T he mes s age is s o s imple, he s aid.

We’re fit parents, most of us. We just want to be involved in helping to raise our children…. [Divorced] children have a hole in their heart. The average child would crawl over broken glass to see their absent parent.…. [This bill] is a very mild nudge in the direction of getting both parents to be involved.[i]

T his mild- mannered appro ach t o child cus t o dy, a majo r is s ue in co nt es t ed divo rces , hides t he real agenda o f Fat hers and Families . What appears at f irs t glance t o be an ho nes t plea f o r f airnes s is in f act a backlas h mo vement agains t changing gender- ro le no rms and f amily s t ruct ures —cult ural s hif t s t hat have been inf luenced by
f eminis t t ho ught and act io n.

Alt ho ugh Ho ls t ein s o unds as t ho ugh he is pro mo t ing a new init iat ive, s o me f o rm o f jo int cus t o dy bill has been f iled in t he Mas s achus et t s
Fathe r s 4 J us ti c e , a fathe r s ’ r i g hts
g r o up who s e m e m b e r s o fte n d r e s s as s up e r he r o e s , d e m o ns tr ate o n a
r o o fto p i n 2005. Pho to b y C ate
G i l l o n/G e tty Im ag e s
legis lat ure every year s ince 1983. Since t he 1970s , cert ain co ns ervat ive men’s o rganiz at io ns , co mmo nly called f at hers ’ right s gro ups , have been s eeking t o increas e t heir vis ibilit y and inf luence o ver divo rce- co urt pro ceedings . While t heir t act ics have changed, t hey remain a t hreat t o wo men’s hard- wo n gains .

Fat hers and Families , o ne o f t he hundreds o f f at hers ’ right s gro ups t hat has s prung up in t he pas t 35 years , us es language t hat is f ar remo ved f ro m t he angry pit ch o f early mo vement s po kes peo ple. Fo r example, in 1986, t he jo urnalis t Greg Wes t o n paraphras ed t he f eelings o f s uch f at hers :

They are tired of being legally castrated by what they perceive as a sexist judicial system that almost automatically hands sole custody to women for no other reason than the archaic and unproved belief that children are better off with their mothers.[ii]

In 1989, a divo rced f at her was quo t ed as s aying, “We’re s ick and t ired o f being co ns idered no mo re t han walking wallet s and s perm do no rs .”[iii]

Fro m t he f at hers ’ right s po int o f view, t he wave o f no – f ault divo rce laws t hat s wept acro s s Englis h- s peaking co unt ries in t he 1970s made it t o o eas y t o f ile f o r divo rce. T he gro ups co rrect ly po int o ut t hat mo s t o f t he t ime, wo men do t he init ial f iling,[iv] but t hey go f art her, claiming t hat f at hers us ually lo s e in
divo rce co urt s . T hey bas e t heir o rganiz ing o n t he anger and res ent ment o f a millio n ex- hus bands a year.

Alt ho ugh s o me gro ups co nt inue t o us e ranco ro us , mis o gynis t language, t he mo s t inf luent ial o rganiz at io ns have mo dif ied t heir t o ne. So unding reas o nable gains t hem mileage and has t he added benef it o f mas king t heir t rue agenda.

T he De mographics of Fat he rs’ Right s Groups
Fat hers ’ right s gro ups are divers e, ranging f ro m o ne- man webs it es and gras s ro o t s s uppo rt net wo rks t o nat io nal members hip o rganiz at io ns . T hey s hare s o me co mmo n charact eris t ics , t ho ugh. Acco rding t o Jo celyn Elis e Cro wley, a po lit ical s cient is t at Rut gers who s t udies f at hers ’ right s gro ups , t hes e o rganiz at io ns t end t o at t ract men (and a s mat t ering o f s eco nd wives ) who are mo re highly educat ed, mo re o f t en Whit e, mo re co ns ervat ive, and mo re highly po lit iciz ed t han t he general po pulat io n[v]—alt ho ugh t he mo vement als o includes Af rican Americans s uch as t he lawyer Jef f ery Leving and t he aut ho r Eric Leget t e.
Fat hers ’ right s gro ups o rganiz e agains t what t hey perceive t o be a co urt s ys t em t hat unf airly penaliz es men during co nt es t ed divo rces and cus t o dy bat t les , leaving t hem wit ho ut adequat e co nt act wit h t heir children and wit h burdens o me f inancial o bligat io ns .

T hes e gro ups t end t o be driven by a charis mat ic leader ’s pers o nal, negat ive, experience wit h divo rce and as s uch dis play a high level o f emo t io nal co nt ent . T his appeal t o emo t io n can be an ef f ect ive o rganiz ing t o o l. T he rhet o ric o f f at hers ’ right s t ends t o repres ent wo men’s and men’s right s as mut ually exclus ive; if t he wo man gains benef it s in a divo rce pro ceeding, t hen t he man lo s es . Acco rding t o “Chris t ian,” a member o f a f at hers ’ right s gro up,

Since the 1960s, we [have] had tremendous progress, if you will, in terms of obtaining equal rights between the genders and among the races, but few have realized how much the pendulum has swung the other way in terms of the role women have in the family court system versus what men have.[vi]

T he mo vement has co nt inued t o gro w, s o t hat t here are no w s everal gro ups in every s t at e. Alo ng wit h U.S. gro ups , s uch o rganiz at io ns have s imult aneo us ly develo ped o ver t he pas t 35 years in Canada, t he U.K., and Aus t ralia. T hey all s hare a co mmo n co mplaint : divo rce mus t change.

Making Se nse of Marriage
“Making s ens e o f divo rce requires making s ens e o f marriage,” s ay t he legal s cho lars June Carbo ne and Margaret Brinig.[vii] What t hey mean is t hat t he rankling dis put es o ver divo rce gain meaning when we lo o k at s o ciet y’s vario us expect at io ns f o r marriage. Fo r s o cial co ns ervat ives , t he ins t it ut io n o f marriage is bo t h a s ymbo l o f t radit io nal gender ro les and a bas ic eco no mic s t ruct ure. A s mo o t hly f unct io ning f amily s ho uld be a s elf – s uf f icient eco no mic unit t hat do es no t need t o rely o n charit y f ro m privat e o r s t at e s o urces . T hus , marriage is charact eriz ed as t he building blo ck o f s o ciet y.[viii]

In addit io n, s o me t radit io nalis t s as s ert t hat marriage “t ames ” t he man and makes him mo re res po ns ible, t o bo t h his wif e and his children. Marriage, t hen, is a behavio r regulat o r and guarant o r o f civiliz ed behavio r. Peo ple wit h t hes e views claim t hat challenges t o co nvent io nal marriage are deliberat e at t empt s t o des t ro y o ur s o cial s t ruct ure. Divo rce, t hey believe, s ignals t he dis int egrat io n o f a s acred ins t it ut io n. Mike Duf f , t he pres ident o f Unit ed Families Int ernat io nal, a co ns ervat ive ant i- abo rt io n, pro – t radit io nal f amily advo cacy gro up, s ays :

Experiencing life in a natural family becomes absolutely fundamental to the preservation of society….A culture that does not value marriage will eventually replace civil society with tribalism.[ix]
T he mo s t vis ible current “enemy” o f t radit io nal marriage is s ame- s ex marriage. St rat egis t s have s killf ully us ed exis t ing ho mo pho bic at t it udes t o enco urage o ppo s it io n t o any alt ernat ive t o a het ero s exual f amily s t ruct ure. In t he pas t , s ingle- parent f amilies wit h no nnmarit al birt hs were t he main t arget s . Female- headed ho us eho lds were s een as inco mplet e and devo id o f a mo ral co mpas s . Daniel Pat rick Mo ynihan f amo us ly pro mo t ed t his idea in his 1965 go vernment – f unded repo rt , T he Negro Family, which exco riat ed Af rican Americans :

There is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future— that community asks for and gets chaos. Crime, violence, unrest, disorder—most particularly the furious, unrestrained lashing out at the whole social structure—that is not only to be expected; it is very near to inevitable. And it is richly deserved.[x]

In recent decades , def ens e o f s o – called f amily values has beco me o ne o f t he Right ’s mo s t reliable f rames . Organiz ers have been able t o us e t he is s ue t o pull vo t ers t o t he po lls in s uppo rt o f co ns ervat ive candidat es .

Current po lit ical int eres t in marriage has f o cus ed o n enco uraging s o me peo ple, s uch as po o r, het ero s exual wo men o f co lo r, t o marry, while f o rbidding o t hers , s uch as LGBT peo ple. But marriages can be f ragile t hings , and t here is addit io nal co nt ro vers y o ver ho w s o ciet y handles t he o t her end o f t he marriage
co nt ract , divo rce. T he f at hers ’ right s mo vement has t aken f ull advant age o f all t hes e s o cial anxiet ies .

Divorce in t he Unit e d St at e s
Divo rce has lo ng been s t igmat iz ed by religio us and s o cial co ns ervat ives as a pers o nal, mo ral f law. Unt il t he
1970s , t his no t io n was reinf o rced by s t at e requirement s t hat co uples s eeking a divo rce pro duce a valid reas o n f o r t erminat ing t he marriage, s uch as a s po us e’s adult ery, abus e, o r abando nment .

Becaus e marriage is a legal co nt ract , divo rce requires t he int ervent io n o f t he s t at e t o wit nes s it s dis s o lut io n. In t he Unit ed St at es , t here are abo ut o ne millio n divo rces a year. T he rat e o f divo rce s piked af t er no – f ault divo rce was int ro duced but has s ince declined and leveled o f f t o abo ut f o rt y percent o f
marriages . Yo u wo uld never kno w t hat , t ho ugh, if yo u lis t ened t o peo ple like St ephen Bas kerville, a nat io nal marriage pro mo t io n leader:

The decline of the American family has reached critical and skeptical proportions….The breakdown of the family now touches virtually every American. It is not only the source of instability in the Western world but seriously threatens civic freedom and constitutional government.[xi]

Divo rce laws and t heir ref o rm have largely been t he purview o f s t at e legis lat ures . In 1970, Calif o rnia began o f f ering no – f ault divo rce, which no w exis t s in all f if t y s t at es . No – f ault laws indeed make it eas ier t o divo rce, becaus e neit her part y needs t o pro ve t he o t her is at f ault . If bo t h agree, t he pro ces s can be relat ively s mo o t h. In co nt ras t , co nt es t ed divo rces are expens ive. T he co s t o f repeat ed t rips t o co urt in lawyers ’ f ees , co urt co s t s , child s uppo rt , and s et t lement arrangement s can add up t o hundreds o f t ho us ands o f do llars .

While t he divis io n o f mat erial pro pert y plays a part in many o f t hes e dis put es , t he bat t le is mo s t o f t en abo ut cus t o dy and f inancial s uppo rt o f t he children. Where t he children live and who pays f o r t heir expens es are t wo int erdependent as pect s o f divo rce. Us ually, o ne parent is appo int ed t he main phys ical cus t o dian, and t he no ncus t o dial parent pays child s uppo rt . If t he divo rcing parent s canno t agree, a co urt
decides who will gain cus t o dy o f children and t he amo unt o f child s uppo rt t o be paid. Go vernment
enf o rcement agencies mo nit o r ho w o f t en and ho w much child s uppo rt is act ually paid. In 2007 a lit t le mo re t han s ixt y percent o f child s uppo rt mo ney was act ually paid.[xii] T he co urt s and enf o rcement agencies have t he aut ho rit y t o o rder no ncus t o dial parent s t o pay o r t o s eiz e t he mo ney o ut o f t heir paychecks . T his is a majo r s o urce o f anger f o r f at hers ’ right s advo cat es , who res ent s t at e int erf erence in t heir f inances .

Giving cus t o dy o f children t o t heir f at hers is a majo r plank in t he f at hers ’ right s plat f o rm, but an ins pect io n o f gro up members ’ language reveals t hat t hey are o f t en mo re int eres t ed in as s ert ing po wer and co nt ro l t han in pro viding f o r “t he bes t int eres t o f t he child”—f amily co urt s ’ us ual s t andard f o r as s igning cus t o dy— o r t he s t rengt hening o f t he f at her/child relat io ns hip. A s elf – help webs it e, “Divo rce Advice f o r Men: Ho w t he Sys t em Really Wo rks ,” reco mmends ,

Demand primary custody of your children even though you would have agreed to a joint custody or visitation arrangement. You spouse will probably be terrified by the thought, and he or she might agree to an unfair agreement.[xiii]

Us ually, a judge det ermines where t he children will live, bas ed at leas t in part o n evidence o f which parent has bet t er cared f o r t he child. In many cas es , becaus e t he mo t her has already pro vided mo re ho urs o f
direct care, s he receives cus t o dy. Fat hers ’ right s gro ups have f o cus ed t heir recent lo bbying ef f o rt s o n what t hey call t he “pres umpt io n o f jo int phys ical cus t o dy,” which makes bo t h parent s mo re o r les s equal part ners in direct , day- t o – day care.

Fat hers ’ right s gro ups reco gniz e t hat a jo int phys ical cus t o dy s t andard can give t hem mo re t ime wit h t heir children wit ho ut pro lo nged co urt ro o m bat t les . Fo r example, t he Bo s t o n Glo be quo t ed “Brian Ayers , a part – t ime po lice o f f icer who juggles t wo jo bs , [and] is t he pro ud f at her o f a f o urt een- mo nt h- o ld s o n.”

He…says he wants to build the same kind of close relationship he enjoys with his [own] father…. But Ayers does not share joint physical custody of his only child…. “I was very upset,” said
Ayers, 30. “I thought, in this country, you wouldn’t have to necessarily fight to spend time with your child.”[xiv]

Ano t her reas o n t o f avo r jo int phys ical cus t o dy is o ne t hes e gro ups rarely art iculat e: an award o f jo int phys ical cus t o dy us ually reduces t he amo unt o f child- s uppo rt paid by t he no ncus t o dial parent . St ephen Bas kerville, a s po kes pers o n f o r t he f at herho o d mo vement , des cribes s t at e- mandat ed child s uppo rt as a po lit ical underwo rld where go vernment o f f icials are f eat hering t heir nes t s and vio lat ing cit iz ens ’ right s while cynically pro claiming t heir co ncern f o r children… . T he divo rce indus t ry, in s ho rt , has t urned children int o cas h co ws .[xv]

Since o ne- t hird o f co urt – o rdered child s uppo rt is never paid, avo iding t he co urt invo lvement , expens e, and t he t arnis hing o f reput at io n t hat may o ccur becaus e o f no npayment is a prio rit y f o r s o me f at hers ’ right s gro up members . Of co urs e, s peaking o penly abo ut t his as pect o f t he co nnect io n bet ween cus t o dy and child s uppo rt is no t an ef f ect ive way t o build s uppo rt f o r f at hers ’ right s , s ince it hint s at s elf is hnes s .

Rhe t orical Tools
T he f at hers ’ right s rhet o ric t hat t he legal s cho lars Miranda Kaye and Julia To lmie analyz ed in Aus t ralia is s imilar t o t hat in t he Unit ed St at es .[xvi] In general f at hers ’ right s gro ups appeal t o f amiliar, es t eemed values s uch as t he pro t ect io n o f f amilies , t he guarant ee o f equal right s , and t he welf are o f children. T hes e
po werf ul rhet o rical devices link t he des ires o f divo rcing f at hers wit h es t ablis hed no rms , making t heir argument s appear plaus ible and rat io nal.
Of t en f at hers ’ right s gro ups illus t rat e t heir claims and demands us ing s t o ries abo ut individual incident s . T hes e acco unt s creat e an emo t io nal link bet ween t he public and t he f at hers who s eek s uppo rt and unders t anding o f t heir lo s s . Fo r example, t he Bo s t o n Glo be repo rt ed:

For one divorced father of four who requested anonymity because his case hasn’t been settled, the crumbling economy has had consequences beyond the emotional and financial. His $1,400 weekly support payments, plus additional expenses like health insurance and tuition, had been based on a court judgment in 2007. The man works for a realty business, and since the real estate market has frozen, his income has plummeted. Earlier this year he fell $23,000 behind in what he owed, including attorney’s fees to his ex-wife’s lawyer. With his modification petition still pending, he was handcuffed in court and put in jail for 30 days.[xvii]

In res po ns e t o t he Glo be art icle, “Skyhawk85u” wro t e:

I’ve been divorced for a few years, have my children about 50% of the time, yet still pay hundreds in child support every week. Why? I don’t know. As I am self-employed with wildly variable income I often have weeks when my support payments are far more than I’ve made. And I still have my kids 50% and pay for everything while they’re home with me (yes, “home” not “visiting”!) It’s ridiculous, and all the ex wants is more. Everyone should support http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/%5Bxviii%5D

Anecdo t es can be po werf ul rhet o rical t o o ls . Ho wever, as s o cio lo gis t s are f o nd o f reminding us , “anecdo t es are no t evidence.”

Fat hers ’ right s gro ups claim t hat f at hers are dis criminat ed agains t in divo rce pro ceedings becaus e t hey are no t t reat ed “equally”: t hey may end up s pending les s t ime wit h t heir children o r paying mo re child s uppo rt t han t he mo t her. But t he no t io n t hat “equalit y” requires an ident ical divis io n o f benef it s igno res t he
dif f erences bet ween men’s and wo men’s ro les in marriages , t he realit y o f wo men’s great er res po ns ibilit y
f o r childcare, and t heir les s er eco no mic s t rengt h co mpared t o men. Calling f o r equal right s in t his co nt ext is a co – o pt at io n o f t he language o f liberal s o cial change. Nevert heles s , s uch demands have s ucces s f ully appealed t o an American s ens e o f f airnes s . Fo r ins t ance, in 2004, vo t ers in Mas s achus et t s were pres ent ed wit h a ballo t ques t io n abo ut child cus t o dy. T he no nbinding res o lut io n read:

[I]n all separation and divorce proceedings involving minor children, the court shall uphold the fundamental rights of both parents to the shared physical and legal custody of their children and the children’s right to maximize their time with each parent, so far as is practical.[xix]

Mo s t vo t ers pro bably s aw no t hing pro blemat ic wit h s uch language; 86 percent o f t ho s e vo t ing o n t he meas ure s uppo rt ed it . But t he no nbinding ref erendum o bs cured t he f at hers ’ right s s t rat egy o f mo ving t o ward legis lat io n t hat wo uld require equal dis t ribut io n. T he res o lut io n gave f at hers ’ right s gro ups in Mas s achus et t s a po werf ul addit io n t o t heir t o o lkit .

Fat hers ’ right s gro ups o f t en claim t hat t heir members have been denied t heir right s by a s t at e t hat int ervened in t heir privat e lives wit h res t rict io ns o n t heir inco me, f reedo m o f mo vement , and f reedo m o f as s o ciat io n wit h t heir children. A f at her who was impris o ned f o r no t paying s aid,

My fellow fathers…..even though you’ve been a great citizen for all of your life, if you are captured by the child-support Gestapo, you will no longer be treated as human beings. You will
be housed with murderers, three-strikers, lifers … the real scum of the earth.[xx]

Des cribing divo rced o r s ingle f at hers as t arget s o f go vernment – s po ns o red dis criminat io n can appeal t o t he public’s s ens e o f f airnes s , es pecially in a climat e where t rus t in go vernment has plummet ed. But t he
f eminis t legal s cho lar Selma Sevenhuijs en argues t hat “right s ” in o ur cult ure were f o unded o n a “pro pert y mo del,” in which “o wners hip, ent it lement , int eres t , and co nt ro l” are cent ral co ncept s .[xxi] She s ugges t s t hat t he right s t hat f at hers ’ right s gro ups s eek are as s o ciat ed wit h t he t radit io nal, privileged po s it io n o f men in o ur s o ciet y.

Fat hers ’ right s gro ups o f t en po rt ray t heir members as vict ims , eit her o f an uncaring co urt s ys t em o r vindict ive wo men. T he f at hers des cribe t hems elves as having lo s t co nt ro l o ver t heir lives becaus e o f an ext ernal s o urce. Occas io nally, t hey co mbine wo men and t he co urt s int o a melded o ppo nent , claiming t hat t he co urt s have been inf luenced by f eminis t t ho ught , which t hey believe is neces s arily bias ed agains t men.

Appe aling t o “Scie nce ”: T he Myt h of Pare nt al Alie nat ion
Over t he las t t wo decades a dis t res s ing pat t ern has emerged in divo rce s et t lement s : wo men who claimed t hat t he f at hers had abus ed t heir children iro nically began t o lo s e cus t o dy, in f avo r o f t he alleged abus ers . It t urned o ut t hat f at hers ’ right s gro ups had develo ped a pers uas ive argument in f amily co urt s acro s s t he co unt ry, enabling t hem t o win cus t o dy o f t heir children mo re o f t en. T he f at hers hired expert wit nes s es t rained in ident if ying a dis o rder in children called Parent al Alienat io n Syndro me, o r PAS—a phras e co ined in
1985 by t he ps ychiat ris t Richard Gardner, who gave hims elf a new career in t he pro ces s . He claimed t hat children o f divo rce co uld be alienat ed f ro m o ne parent by t he o t her, t hus t rans f o rming what mo s t expert s ackno wledge may be an o ccas io nal pheno meno n int o a f ull- blo wn, alt ho ugh unpro ven, t heo ry. Gardner
f urt her ins is t ed t hat any as s o ciat ed charges o f child abus e were unf o unded and due t o a s pit ef ul at t empt by o ne parent t o alienat e children f ro m t he o t her.

Scient is t s ’ react io n t o Gardner ’s co ns iderable inf luence has been hars h. “T his is an at ro cio us t heo ry wit h no s cience t o back it up,” s ays Eli Newberger, a pro f es s o r at Harvard Medical Scho o l and an expert o n child abus e.[xxii] “No dat a are pro vided by Gardner t o s uppo rt t he exis t ence o f t he s yndro me and it s pro po s ed dynamics ,” s ays Kat hleen C. Faller, a pro f es s o r at t he Univers it y o f Michigan.[xxiii] Gardner regularly publis hed his o wn writ ing, avo iding t he peer- review pro ces s . T he American Ps ychiat ric As s o ciat io n do es no t include PAS in it s Diagno s t ic and St at is t ical Manual o f Ment al Dis o rders (DSM), t he go ld s t andard o f
ment al- illnes s def init io ns . Des pit e t he t heo ry’s lack o f s cient if ic credibilit y, Gardner co nt inued t o publis h ext ens ively unt il his deat h in 2003, and t he PAS argument has been us ed in hundreds o f divo rce cas es , almo s t ent irely by men who are t rying t o increas e t heir changes o f receiving cus t o dy o f t heir children. In Mas s achus et t s , f at hers no w receive primary o r jo int cus t o dy in mo re t han s event y percent o f co nt es t ed cas es .[xxiv]

PAS claims can o bs cure legit imat e accus at io ns o f child abus e and vio lence agains t wo men. Sadly, dis put es in a divo rce are no t always verbal; do mes t ic abus e o ccurs in 25 t o f if t y percent o f cus t o dy cas es .[xxv] Feminis t s began t o po int t his o ut in t he 1980s , and s ince t hat t ime s o cio lo gis t s and ps ycho lo gis t s have co nt inued t o do cument t he pro blem. Do mes t ic vio lence remains a majo r pro blem f o r wo men and children in t his co unt ry. A co ns ervat ive es t imat e is t hat mo re t han 1.3 millio n wo men per year are at t acked by t heir male part ners .[xxvi] T hree- quart ers o f vis it s t o emergency ro o ms by vict ims o f do mes t ic vio lence o ccur af t er a s eparat io n, making t he divo rce pro ces s o ne o f t he mo s t dangero us t imes in a wo man’s lif e.[xxvii]

T he t act ic o f claiming PAS is us ed t o dis t ract co urt s f ro m an accurat e unders t anding o f claims f o r divo rce; accus ing wo men o f making f als e allegat io ns o f child s exual abus e is ano t her. So me f at hers ’ right gro ups us e t he t erm “abus e- excus e” t o t rivializ e accus at io ns o f vio lence agains t wo men. In f act , mult iple s t udies have s ho wn t hat up t o t went y percent o f child s exual abus e allegat io ns made during cus t o dy dis put es are
f als ely init iat ed; but t he evidence s ho ws t hat t hes e f als e allegat io ns are mo s t o f t en made by men.[xxviii] By deliberat ely s preading mis inf o rmat io n, f at her ’s right s gro ups have managed t o s hif t t he gro unds f o r dis cus s io n abo ut vio lence agains t wo men f ro m a f eminis t challenge t o men’s phys ical po wer t o a male-
cent ered at t ack o n wo men.

So me f at hers ’ right s gro ups make t he s pecio us claim t hat wo men abus e men as o f t en as men abus e wo men. T he f at hers ’ right s gro up RADAR [Res pect ing Accuracy in Do mes t ic Abus e Repo rt ing] claims t o have weakened f o ur pieces o f legis lat io n abo ut vio lence agains t wo men, including t he reaut ho riz at io n o f t he gro undbreaking f ederal Vio lence Agains t Wo men Act (VAWA).[xxix]

Fat he rs’ Right s and Dome st ic Viole nce
A gro wing s egment o f t he f at hers ’ right s mo vement co ns is t s o f f at hers who never married t heir children’s mo t hers . A man who do es no t marry his child’s mo t her lacks vis it at io n o r cus t o dy right s when t he relat io ns hip ends unles s he s ecures a co urt o rder, and he is required t o pay child s uppo rt , even if t he mo t her receives TANF (Tempo rary As s is t ance f o r Needy Families ) f unding. T his lack o f legal right s can creat e res ent ment amo ng f at hers t hat may t rans f o rm int o anger.

Applying f o r TANF creat es pro blems f o r lo w- inco me wo men. To receive s uppo rt , t hey mus t pro vide t he
f at her ’s name t o TANF o f f icials . Fear t hat t he agency may t rack do wn an angry f at her and require him t o pay child s uppo rt may prevent t hem f ro m applying, s ince it may res ult in t heir beco ming vict ims o f vio lence.[xxx] Reco gniz ing t he pro blem, TANF creat ed a Family Vio lence o pt io n f o r applicant s . But acco rding t o a s t udy co nduct ed by Legal Mo ment um, t he wo men’s legal def ens e and educat io n f und, t his o pt io n is inadequat e and creat es it s o wn pro blems .[xxxi] Wo men mus t s ubmit burdens o me do cument at io n pro ving t hey are vict ims o f vio lence in o rder t o receive a waiver f ro m pro viding t he f at her ’s name. Many TANF- eligible wo men f ear t hat s t at e child pro t ect io n agencies will beco me invo lved if t hey pro vide evidence o f do mes t ic vio lence. T hes e o bs t acles have prevent ed s o me wo men who need TANF f ro m applying f o r it .

Ge t Involve d t o Pre ve nt Havoc
Des pit e t heir us e o f ques t io nable t act ics , f at hers ’ right s gro ups have s ucceeded in inf luencing public po licy t hro ugh t es t imo ny bef o re co mmis s io ns and o t her s t at e bo dies , lo bbying f o r changing f amily law t hro ugh legis lat io n and cas e law in t he co urt s , and creat ing an echo chamber in t he media t o bro adcas t t heir views .

Addit io nally, t hey have built a mo vement by pro viding s uppo rt ive s paces f o r f at hers who experience anger, res ent ment , and lo s s at t he ending o f t heir relat io ns hips . Af t er all, s ympat hy f o r t ho s e invo lved in co nt es t ed divo rces is wides pread and unders t andable. Such react io ns creat e a climat e in which f at hers ’
right s gro ups can gain a lis t ening ear, if no t act ual po licy change. So me leaders have us ed t he mo vement t o f uel bo t h t heir anger at a lo s s o f male po wer in a relat io ns hip and t heir res ent ment in t he f ace o f s t at e int erf erence in what t hey co ns ider a privat e f amily mat t er.

Pract it io ners o f f eminis t f amily law are, o f co urs e, already aware o f gender bias in t he co urt s and t he s t ealt h t act ics o f f at hers ’ right s gro ups . T he res t o f us wo uld do well t o get up t o s peed. Fat hers ’ right s gro ups are no t a s ho rt – lived o r a t rivial pheno meno n. To ho ld f at hers ’ right s advo cat es acco unt able and res t rict t heir illegit imat e grab f o r po wer, act ivis t s s ho uld s crut iniz e s t at e- level ballo t ques t io ns and
pro po s ed pieces o f legis lat io n abo ut child cus t o dy and vio lence agains t wo men. T hey s ho uld s uppo rt public educat io n campaigns abo ut t he act ual agenda o f f at hers ’ right s gro ups . And, t hey s ho uld alert pro gres s ive judicial wat chdo gs t o s co ur t he co urt s f o r changes in pat t erns o f legal judgment s . Such vigilance will reduce t he amo unt o f havo c s uch gro ups can inf lict o n wo men, children, and t he cult ure as a who le.

Int e rne t Re source s
Right s f o r Mo t hers is a blo g t hat pro vides “Res o urces and Suppo rt f o r No ncus t o dial and Cus t o dially- Challenged Mo t hers .” ht t p://www.Right s f o rMo t hers .co m

T he Leaders hip Co uncil o n Child Abus e and Int erpers o nal Vio lence is an educat io nal and advo cacy gro up o f pro f es s io nals including s cho lars , lawyers , and s cient is t s who pro vide reliable inf o rmat io n o n f amily s t ruct ures and do mes t ic vio lence. ht t p://www.leaders hipco uncil.o rg/index.ht ml
Nat io nal Organiz at io n f o r Wo men Family Law Ad Ho c Advis o ry Co mmit t ee News let t er pro vides art icles and res o urces f o r wo men and t heir advo cat es invo lved in f amily co urt s .
ht t p://www.no wf o undat io n.o rg/is s ues /f amily/f amily_law_news let t er_s ummer2010.pdf
[i] “Radio Bo s t o n,” WBUR, June 18, 2010. ht t p://www.wbur.o rg/media- player?
s o urce=radio bo s t o n&url=ht t p://www.wbur.o rg/
2010/06/18/jo int cus t o dy&t it le=Mas s .+Fat hers + Gro up+Fight s +Fo r+Jo int +Cus t o dy+Right s ment =jo int – cus t o dy&pubdat e=2010- 06- 18
[ii] Greg Wes t o n, “Divo rced Dads Tired o f ‘Sexis t ’ Judicial Sys t em,” Ot t awa Cit iz en, January 23, 1986, p. A4. [iii] Kris Wells , “Divo rced Dads Tell T heir Side o f t he St o ry,” St . Pet ers burg (FL) Times , May 15, 1989, p. 1D. [iv] Acco rding Margaret Brinig and Do uglas Allen, 60- 70% o f divo rces are init iat ed by wo men. “T hes e Bo o t s
are Made f o r Walking: Why Mo s t Divo rce Filers are Wo men,” American Law and Eco no mics Review, (2) 2000,
p. 127.

[v] Jo celyn Elis e Cro wley, Def iant Dads : Fat hers ’ Right s Act ivis t s in America. (It haca N.Y.: Co rnell U. Pres s ),
2008, p. 45.

[vi] In Jo celyn Elis e Cro wley, “Ado pt ing ‘Equalit y To o ls ’ f ro m t he To o lbo xes o f t heir Predeces s o rs : T he
Fat hers ’ Right s Mo vement in t he Unit ed St at es ,” Fat hers f o r Jus t ice: Fat hers Right s Act ivis m and Law
Ref o rm in Co mparat ive Pers pect ive, ed. Richard Co llier and Sally Sheldo n, (Oxf o rd: Hart Publis hers ) 2006, p.
96.

[vii] June Carbo ne and Margaret F. Brinig, “Ret hinking Marriage: Feminis t Ideo lo gy, Eco no mic Change, and
Divo rce Ref o rm,” Tulane Law Review, (65) 5, May 1991, p. 954.
[viii] See Allan Carls o n and Paul Mero , T he Nat ural Family, A Manif es t o (Dallas : Spence Publis hing) 2007. [ix] Mike Duf f , “T he Age o f t he Unciviliz ed,” Unit ed Families Int ernat io nal Weekly Alert , Augus t 17, 2010;
email news let t er o n f ile at PRA.

[x] Daniel Pat rick Mo ynihan, T he Negro Family: A Cas e f o r Nat io nal Act io n, (Was hingt o n, D.C.:U.S. Depart ment o f Labo r) 1965.

[xi] St ephen Bas kerville, Taken int o Cus t o dy: T he War agains t Fat herho o d, Marriage, and t he Family
(Nas hville: Cumberland Ho us e) 2007, p. 11.

[xii] “Cus t o dial Mo t hers and Fat hers and T heir Child Suppo rt , 2007,” (Was hingt o n D.C.:U.S. Cens us Bureau) No vember 2009, p. 1. ht t p://www.cens us .go v/pro d/2009pubs /p60- 237.pdf

[xiii] “Divo rce Tips ,” Divo rce Advice f o r Men, ht t p://divo rce- advice- f o r- men.co m/88/divo rce- t ips – learn- t he- dirt y- t ricks – t hat – may- win- yo ur- divo rce/

[xiv] Brian MacQuarrie, “Fat hers Back Bill o n Right s o f Parent s ,” Bo s t o n Glo be, July 5, 2010. ht t p://www.bo s t o n.co m/news /lo cal/mas s ac
hus et t s /art icles /2010/07/05/f at hers _back_bill_
o n_right s _o f _parent s /

[xv] St ephen Bas kerville, “Appet it e f o r Family Des t ruct io n,” Was hingt o n Times , June 17, 2001, p. B5.

[xvi] Miranda Kaye and Julia To lmie, “Dis co urs ing Dads : t he Rhet o rical Devices o f Fat hers ’ Right s Gro ups ,” Melbo urne Univers it y Law Review, 22 (1998), p. 162.

[xvii] Jo s eph P. Kahn, “Amid Layo f f s , Child Suppo rt Pact s Fraying,” Bo s t o n Glo be, April 13, 2009.
ht t p://www.bo s t o n.co m/news /lo cal/mas s ach us et t s /art icles /2009/04/13/amid_layo f f s _child_ s uppo rt _pact s _f raying/

[xviii] Reader co mment t o Kahn art icle, “Amid Layo f f s .” ht t p://www.bo s t o n.co m/news /lo cal/mas s achus et t s /art icles /2009/04/13/amid_layo f f s _child_
s uppo rt _pact s _f raying/?co mment s =all&plckCurrent Page=1

[xix] Ballo t ques t io n o n pres umpt ive jo int cus t o dy, Mas s achus et t s 2004, ht t p://www.bo s t o n.co m/news /s pecial/po lit ic s /2004_res ult s /general_elect io n/ques t io n_
s ums /Q26.ht m .

[xx] Chris t o pher Ro bin, Sr. “Advent ures o f a Fat her ’s Right Act ivis t in Debt o r ’s Pris o n,” Fat hers f o r Lif e.o rg; ht t p://f at hers f o rlif e.o rg/art icles /ro bin/adven
t ures .ht m

[xxi] Selma Sevenhuijs en, “Jus t ice, Mo ral Reas o ning, and t he Po lit ics o f Child Cus t o dy,” (1992) 1 So cial & Legal St udies n. 48,p. 92.

[xxii] Jamie Talan, News day.co m, July 1, 2003, “T he Debat e Rages o n… In Deat h Can He
Survive?” ht t p://www.leaders hipco uncil.o rg
|/1/pas /t alan.ht ml

[xxiii] Kat hleen Co ulbo rn Faller, “T he Parent al Alienat io n Syndro me: What is it and What Dat a Suppo rt it ?” Child Malt reat ment , (3)2, May 1998, p. 112.
[xxiv]Lynn Hecht Shaf ran, “Gender Bias and Family Co urt s ,” Family Advo cat e, Summer 1994, p. 26. [xxv] Co mmis s io n o n Do mes t ic Vio lence, American Bar As s o ciat io n, “10 Cus t o dy Myt hs
and Ho w t o Co unt er T hem,” Quart erly
E- News let t er, 4, 2006, July. ht t p://www.abanet .o rg/do mvio l/enews let t er/
vo l4/cus t o dymyt hs andco unt er.pdf

[xxvi] “Do mes t ic Vio lence Fact s ,” ht t p://www.ncadv.o rg/f iles /Do mes t icVio lence
Fact Sheet (Nat io nal).pdf

[xxvii] St ark, Evan and Anne H. Flit craf t ,
(1988). “Wo men and Children at Ris k: A Feminis t Pers pect ive o n Child Abus e,” 1988. In E. Fee and N. Krieger (Eds .), (1994) Wo men’s Healt h, Po lit ics , and Po wer: Es s ays o n Sex/Gender, Medicine, and Public Healt h. (Amit yville, NY: Baywo o d Publis hing,1994), pp. 307- 331.

[xxviii] T he Leaders hip Co uncil o n Child Abus e and Int erpers o nal Vio lence, “Are Allegat io ns o f Sexual Abus e t hat Aris e During Child Cus t o dy Dis put es Les s Likely t o be Valid? An Anno t at ed Review o f t he Res earch,” ht t p://leaders hipco uncil.o rg/1/pas /ap.ht ml

[xxix] See Kat hryn Jo yce, “‘Men’s Right s ’ Gro ups have Beco me Fright eningly Ef f ect ive,” Do ubleX, No vember
5, 2009, ht t p://www.do ublex.co m/print /9316.

[xxx] Mart ha Fineman, J.E. Jacks o n and A.P. Ro mero , Feminis t and Queer Legal T heo ry: Int imat e Enco unt ers , Unco mf o rt able Co nvers at io ns , (As hgat e, Farnham, Surrey UK) 2009, p.330.

[xxxi] Timo t hy Cas ey et .al., “No t Eno ugh: What TANF Of f ers Family Vio lence Vict ims ,” 2010;
ht t p://www.legalmo ment um.o rg/as s et s /pdf s /no t – eno ugh- what – t anf – o f f ers .pdf .

Father ’s Rights Groups Threaten Women’s Gains—And Their
Safety

Pam Cham berlain

About Pam Chamberlain

Pam Chamberlain was s enio r res earcher at Po lit ical Res earch As s o ciat es , wit h an expert is e in gender jus t ice, educat io n, and campus is s ues .
Read mo re by Pam Chamberlain →

In June 2010, Ned Ho ls t ein, t he pres ident o f t he nat io nal gro up Fat hers and Families , appeared o n a Bo s t o n call- in radio s ho w t o pro mo t e a child- cus t o dy bill bef o re t he Mas s achus et t s legis lat ure. “T he mes s age is s o s imple, he s aid.

We’re fit parents, most of us. We just want to be involved in helping to raise our children…. [Divorced] children have a hole in their heart. The average child would crawl over broken glass to see their absent parent.…. [This bill] is a very mild nudge in the direction of getting both parents to be involved.[i]

T his mild- mannered appro ach t o child cus t o dy, a majo r is s ue in co nt es t ed divo rces , hides t he real agenda o f Fat hers and Families . What appears at f irs t glance t o be an ho nes t plea f o r f airnes s is in f act a backlas h mo vement agains t changing gender- ro le no rms and f amily s t ruct ures —cult ural s hif t s t hat have been inf luenced by
f eminis t t ho ught and act io n.

Alt ho ugh Ho ls t ein s o unds as t ho ugh he is pro mo t ing a new init iat ive, s o me f o rm o f jo int cus t o dy bill has been f iled in t he Mas s achus et t s
Fathe r s 4 J us ti c e , a fathe r s ’ r i g hts
g r o up who s e m e m b e r s o fte n d r e s s as s up e r he r o e s , d e m o ns tr ate o n a
r o o fto p i n 2005. Pho to b y C ate
G i l l o n/G e tty Im ag e s
legis lat ure every year s ince 1983. Since t he 1970s , cert ain co ns ervat ive men’s o rganiz at io ns , co mmo nly called f at hers ’ right s gro ups , have been s eeking t o increas e t heir vis ibilit y and inf luence o ver divo rce- co urt pro ceedings . While t heir t act ics have changed, t hey remain a t hreat t o wo men’s hard- wo n gains .

Fat hers and Families , o ne o f t he hundreds o f f at hers ’ right s gro ups t hat has s prung up in t he pas t 35 years , us es language t hat is f ar remo ved f ro m t he angry pit ch o f early mo vement s po kes peo ple. Fo r example, in 1986, t he jo urnalis t Greg Wes t o n paraphras ed t he f eelings o f s uch f at hers :

They are tired of being legally castrated by what they perceive as a sexist judicial system that almost automatically hands sole custody to women for no other reason than the archaic and unproved belief that children are better off with their mothers.[ii]

In 1989, a divo rced f at her was quo t ed as s aying, “We’re s ick and t ired o f being co ns idered no mo re t han walking wallet s and s perm do no rs .”[iii]

Fro m t he f at hers ’ right s po int o f view, t he wave o f no – f ault divo rce laws t hat s wept acro s s Englis h- s peaking co unt ries in t he 1970s made it t o o eas y t o f ile f o r divo rce. T he gro ups co rrect ly po int o ut t hat mo s t o f t he t ime, wo men do t he init ial f iling,[iv] but t hey go f art her, claiming t hat f at hers us ually lo s e in
divo rce co urt s . T hey bas e t heir o rganiz ing o n t he anger and res ent ment o f a millio n ex- hus bands a year.

Alt ho ugh s o me gro ups co nt inue t o us e ranco ro us , mis o gynis t language, t he mo s t inf luent ial o rganiz at io ns have mo dif ied t heir t o ne. So unding reas o nable gains t hem mileage and has t he added benef it o f mas king t heir t rue agenda.

T he De mographics of Fat he rs’ Right s Groups
Fat hers ’ right s gro ups are divers e, ranging f ro m o ne- man webs it es and gras s ro o t s s uppo rt net wo rks t o nat io nal members hip o rganiz at io ns . T hey s hare s o me co mmo n charact eris t ics , t ho ugh. Acco rding t o Jo celyn Elis e Cro wley, a po lit ical s cient is t at Rut gers who s t udies f at hers ’ right s gro ups , t hes e o rganiz at io ns t end t o at t ract men (and a s mat t ering o f s eco nd wives ) who are mo re highly educat ed, mo re o f t en Whit e, mo re co ns ervat ive, and mo re highly po lit iciz ed t han t he general po pulat io n[v]—alt ho ugh t he mo vement als o includes Af rican Americans s uch as t he lawyer Jef f ery Leving and t he aut ho r Eric Leget t e.
Fat hers ’ right s gro ups o rganiz e agains t what t hey perceive t o be a co urt s ys t em t hat unf airly penaliz es men during co nt es t ed divo rces and cus t o dy bat t les , leaving t hem wit ho ut adequat e co nt act wit h t heir children and wit h burdens o me f inancial o bligat io ns .

T hes e gro ups t end t o be driven by a charis mat ic leader ’s pers o nal, negat ive, experience wit h divo rce and as s uch dis play a high level o f emo t io nal co nt ent . T his appeal t o emo t io n can be an ef f ect ive o rganiz ing t o o l. T he rhet o ric o f f at hers ’ right s t ends t o repres ent wo men’s and men’s right s as mut ually exclus ive; if t he wo man gains benef it s in a divo rce pro ceeding, t hen t he man lo s es . Acco rding t o “Chris t ian,” a member o f a f at hers ’ right s gro up,

Since the 1960s, we [have] had tremendous progress, if you will, in terms of obtaining equal rights between the genders and among the races, but few have realized how much the pendulum has swung the other way in terms of the role women have in the family court system versus what men have.[vi]

T he mo vement has co nt inued t o gro w, s o t hat t here are no w s everal gro ups in every s t at e. Alo ng wit h U.S. gro ups , s uch o rganiz at io ns have s imult aneo us ly develo ped o ver t he pas t 35 years in Canada, t he U.K., and Aus t ralia. T hey all s hare a co mmo n co mplaint : divo rce mus t change.

Making Se nse of Marriage
“Making s ens e o f divo rce requires making s ens e o f marriage,” s ay t he legal s cho lars June Carbo ne and Margaret Brinig.[vii] What t hey mean is t hat t he rankling dis put es o ver divo rce gain meaning when we lo o k at s o ciet y’s vario us expect at io ns f o r marriage. Fo r s o cial co ns ervat ives , t he ins t it ut io n o f marriage is bo t h a s ymbo l o f t radit io nal gender ro les and a bas ic eco no mic s t ruct ure. A s mo o t hly f unct io ning f amily s ho uld be a s elf – s uf f icient eco no mic unit t hat do es no t need t o rely o n charit y f ro m privat e o r s t at e s o urces . T hus , marriage is charact eriz ed as t he building blo ck o f s o ciet y.[viii]

In addit io n, s o me t radit io nalis t s as s ert t hat marriage “t ames ” t he man and makes him mo re res po ns ible, t o bo t h his wif e and his children. Marriage, t hen, is a behavio r regulat o r and guarant o r o f civiliz ed behavio r. Peo ple wit h t hes e views claim t hat challenges t o co nvent io nal marriage are deliberat e at t empt s t o des t ro y o ur s o cial s t ruct ure. Divo rce, t hey believe, s ignals t he dis int egrat io n o f a s acred ins t it ut io n. Mike Duf f , t he pres ident o f Unit ed Families Int ernat io nal, a co ns ervat ive ant i- abo rt io n, pro – t radit io nal f amily advo cacy gro up, s ays :

Experiencing life in a natural family becomes absolutely fundamental to the preservation of society….A culture that does not value marriage will eventually replace civil society with tribalism.[ix]
T he mo s t vis ible current “enemy” o f t radit io nal marriage is s ame- s ex marriage. St rat egis t s have s killf ully us ed exis t ing ho mo pho bic at t it udes t o enco urage o ppo s it io n t o any alt ernat ive t o a het ero s exual f amily s t ruct ure. In t he pas t , s ingle- parent f amilies wit h no nnmarit al birt hs were t he main t arget s . Female- headed ho us eho lds were s een as inco mplet e and devo id o f a mo ral co mpas s . Daniel Pat rick Mo ynihan f amo us ly pro mo t ed t his idea in his 1965 go vernment – f unded repo rt , T he Negro Family, which exco riat ed Af rican Americans :

There is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows a large number of young men to grow up in broken families, dominated by women, never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future— that community asks for and gets chaos. Crime, violence, unrest, disorder—most particularly the furious, unrestrained lashing out at the whole social structure—that is not only to be expected; it is very near to inevitable. And it is richly deserved.[x]

In recent decades , def ens e o f s o – called f amily values has beco me o ne o f t he Right ’s mo s t reliable f rames . Organiz ers have been able t o us e t he is s ue t o pull vo t ers t o t he po lls in s uppo rt o f co ns ervat ive candidat es .

Current po lit ical int eres t in marriage has f o cus ed o n enco uraging s o me peo ple, s uch as po o r, het ero s exual wo men o f co lo r, t o marry, while f o rbidding o t hers , s uch as LGBT peo ple. But marriages can be f ragile t hings , and t here is addit io nal co nt ro vers y o ver ho w s o ciet y handles t he o t her end o f t he marriage
co nt ract , divo rce. T he f at hers ’ right s mo vement has t aken f ull advant age o f all t hes e s o cial anxiet ies .

Divorce in t he Unit e d St at e s
Divo rce has lo ng been s t igmat iz ed by religio us and s o cial co ns ervat ives as a pers o nal, mo ral f law. Unt il t he
1970s , t his no t io n was reinf o rced by s t at e requirement s t hat co uples s eeking a divo rce pro duce a valid reas o n f o r t erminat ing t he marriage, s uch as a s po us e’s adult ery, abus e, o r abando nment .

Becaus e marriage is a legal co nt ract , divo rce requires t he int ervent io n o f t he s t at e t o wit nes s it s dis s o lut io n. In t he Unit ed St at es , t here are abo ut o ne millio n divo rces a year. T he rat e o f divo rce s piked af t er no – f ault divo rce was int ro duced but has s ince declined and leveled o f f t o abo ut f o rt y percent o f
marriages . Yo u wo uld never kno w t hat , t ho ugh, if yo u lis t ened t o peo ple like St ephen Bas kerville, a nat io nal marriage pro mo t io n leader:

The decline of the American family has reached critical and skeptical proportions….The breakdown of the family now touches virtually every American. It is not only the source of instability in the Western world but seriously threatens civic freedom and constitutional government.[xi]

Divo rce laws and t heir ref o rm have largely been t he purview o f s t at e legis lat ures . In 1970, Calif o rnia began o f f ering no – f ault divo rce, which no w exis t s in all f if t y s t at es . No – f ault laws indeed make it eas ier t o divo rce, becaus e neit her part y needs t o pro ve t he o t her is at f ault . If bo t h agree, t he pro ces s can be relat ively s mo o t h. In co nt ras t , co nt es t ed divo rces are expens ive. T he co s t o f repeat ed t rips t o co urt in lawyers ’ f ees , co urt co s t s , child s uppo rt , and s et t lement arrangement s can add up t o hundreds o f t ho us ands o f do llars .

While t he divis io n o f mat erial pro pert y plays a part in many o f t hes e dis put es , t he bat t le is mo s t o f t en abo ut cus t o dy and f inancial s uppo rt o f t he children. Where t he children live and who pays f o r t heir expens es are t wo int erdependent as pect s o f divo rce. Us ually, o ne parent is appo int ed t he main phys ical cus t o dian, and t he no ncus t o dial parent pays child s uppo rt . If t he divo rcing parent s canno t agree, a co urt
decides who will gain cus t o dy o f children and t he amo unt o f child s uppo rt t o be paid. Go vernment
enf o rcement agencies mo nit o r ho w o f t en and ho w much child s uppo rt is act ually paid. In 2007 a lit t le mo re t han s ixt y percent o f child s uppo rt mo ney was act ually paid.[xii] T he co urt s and enf o rcement agencies have t he aut ho rit y t o o rder no ncus t o dial parent s t o pay o r t o s eiz e t he mo ney o ut o f t heir paychecks . T his is a majo r s o urce o f anger f o r f at hers ’ right s advo cat es , who res ent s t at e int erf erence in t heir f inances .

Giving cus t o dy o f children t o t heir f at hers is a majo r plank in t he f at hers ’ right s plat f o rm, but an ins pect io n o f gro up members ’ language reveals t hat t hey are o f t en mo re int eres t ed in as s ert ing po wer and co nt ro l t han in pro viding f o r “t he bes t int eres t o f t he child”—f amily co urt s ’ us ual s t andard f o r as s igning cus t o dy— o r t he s t rengt hening o f t he f at her/child relat io ns hip. A s elf – help webs it e, “Divo rce Advice f o r Men: Ho w t he Sys t em Really Wo rks ,” reco mmends ,

Demand primary custody of your children even though you would have agreed to a joint custody or visitation arrangement. You spouse will probably be terrified by the thought, and he or she might agree to an unfair agreement.[xiii]

Us ually, a judge det ermines where t he children will live, bas ed at leas t in part o n evidence o f which parent has bet t er cared f o r t he child. In many cas es , becaus e t he mo t her has already pro vided mo re ho urs o f
direct care, s he receives cus t o dy. Fat hers ’ right s gro ups have f o cus ed t heir recent lo bbying ef f o rt s o n what t hey call t he “pres umpt io n o f jo int phys ical cus t o dy,” which makes bo t h parent s mo re o r les s equal part ners in direct , day- t o – day care.

Fat hers ’ right s gro ups reco gniz e t hat a jo int phys ical cus t o dy s t andard can give t hem mo re t ime wit h t heir children wit ho ut pro lo nged co urt ro o m bat t les . Fo r example, t he Bo s t o n Glo be quo t ed “Brian Ayers , a part – t ime po lice o f f icer who juggles t wo jo bs , [and] is t he pro ud f at her o f a f o urt een- mo nt h- o ld s o n.”

He…says he wants to build the same kind of close relationship he enjoys with his [own] father…. But Ayers does not share joint physical custody of his only child…. “I was very upset,” said
Ayers, 30. “I thought, in this country, you wouldn’t have to necessarily fight to spend time with your child.”[xiv]

Ano t her reas o n t o f avo r jo int phys ical cus t o dy is o ne t hes e gro ups rarely art iculat e: an award o f jo int phys ical cus t o dy us ually reduces t he amo unt o f child- s uppo rt paid by t he no ncus t o dial parent . St ephen Bas kerville, a s po kes pers o n f o r t he f at herho o d mo vement , des cribes s t at e- mandat ed child s uppo rt as a po lit ical underwo rld where go vernment o f f icials are f eat hering t heir nes t s and vio lat ing cit iz ens ’ right s while cynically pro claiming t heir co ncern f o r children… . T he divo rce indus t ry, in s ho rt , has t urned children int o cas h co ws .[xv]

Since o ne- t hird o f co urt – o rdered child s uppo rt is never paid, avo iding t he co urt invo lvement , expens e, and t he t arnis hing o f reput at io n t hat may o ccur becaus e o f no npayment is a prio rit y f o r s o me f at hers ’ right s gro up members . Of co urs e, s peaking o penly abo ut t his as pect o f t he co nnect io n bet ween cus t o dy and child s uppo rt is no t an ef f ect ive way t o build s uppo rt f o r f at hers ’ right s , s ince it hint s at s elf is hnes s .

Rhe t orical Tools
T he f at hers ’ right s rhet o ric t hat t he legal s cho lars Miranda Kaye and Julia To lmie analyz ed in Aus t ralia is s imilar t o t hat in t he Unit ed St at es .[xvi] In general f at hers ’ right s gro ups appeal t o f amiliar, es t eemed values s uch as t he pro t ect io n o f f amilies , t he guarant ee o f equal right s , and t he welf are o f children. T hes e
po werf ul rhet o rical devices link t he des ires o f divo rcing f at hers wit h es t ablis hed no rms , making t heir argument s appear plaus ible and rat io nal.
Of t en f at hers ’ right s gro ups illus t rat e t heir claims and demands us ing s t o ries abo ut individual incident s . T hes e acco unt s creat e an emo t io nal link bet ween t he public and t he f at hers who s eek s uppo rt and unders t anding o f t heir lo s s . Fo r example, t he Bo s t o n Glo be repo rt ed:

For one divorced father of four who requested anonymity because his case hasn’t been settled, the crumbling economy has had consequences beyond the emotional and financial. His $1,400 weekly support payments, plus additional expenses like health insurance and tuition, had been based on a court judgment in 2007. The man works for a realty business, and since the real estate market has frozen, his income has plummeted. Earlier this year he fell $23,000 behind in what he owed, including attorney’s fees to his ex-wife’s lawyer. With his modification petition still pending, he was handcuffed in court and put in jail for 30 days.[xvii]

In res po ns e t o t he Glo be art icle, “Skyhawk85u” wro t e:

I’ve been divorced for a few years, have my children about 50% of the time, yet still pay hundreds in child support every week. Why? I don’t know. As I am self-employed with wildly variable income I often have weeks when my support payments are far more than I’ve made. And I still have my kids 50% and pay for everything while they’re home with me (yes, “home” not “visiting”!) It’s ridiculous, and all the ex wants is more. Everyone should support http://www.fathersandfamilies.org/%5Bxviii%5D

Anecdo t es can be po werf ul rhet o rical t o o ls . Ho wever, as s o cio lo gis t s are f o nd o f reminding us , “anecdo t es are no t evidence.”

Fat hers ’ right s gro ups claim t hat f at hers are dis criminat ed agains t in divo rce pro ceedings becaus e t hey are no t t reat ed “equally”: t hey may end up s pending les s t ime wit h t heir children o r paying mo re child s uppo rt t han t he mo t her. But t he no t io n t hat “equalit y” requires an ident ical divis io n o f benef it s igno res t he
dif f erences bet ween men’s and wo men’s ro les in marriages , t he realit y o f wo men’s great er res po ns ibilit y
f o r childcare, and t heir les s er eco no mic s t rengt h co mpared t o men. Calling f o r equal right s in t his co nt ext is a co – o pt at io n o f t he language o f liberal s o cial change. Nevert heles s , s uch demands have s ucces s f ully appealed t o an American s ens e o f f airnes s . Fo r ins t ance, in 2004, vo t ers in Mas s achus et t s were pres ent ed wit h a ballo t ques t io n abo ut child cus t o dy. T he no nbinding res o lut io n read:

[I]n all separation and divorce proceedings involving minor children, the court shall uphold the fundamental rights of both parents to the shared physical and legal custody of their children and the children’s right to maximize their time with each parent, so far as is practical.[xix]

Mo s t vo t ers pro bably s aw no t hing pro blemat ic wit h s uch language; 86 percent o f t ho s e vo t ing o n t he meas ure s uppo rt ed it . But t he no nbinding ref erendum o bs cured t he f at hers ’ right s s t rat egy o f mo ving t o ward legis lat io n t hat wo uld require equal dis t ribut io n. T he res o lut io n gave f at hers ’ right s gro ups in Mas s achus et t s a po werf ul addit io n t o t heir t o o lkit .

Fat hers ’ right s gro ups o f t en claim t hat t heir members have been denied t heir right s by a s t at e t hat int ervened in t heir privat e lives wit h res t rict io ns o n t heir inco me, f reedo m o f mo vement , and f reedo m o f as s o ciat io n wit h t heir children. A f at her who was impris o ned f o r no t paying s aid,

My fellow fathers…..even though you’ve been a great citizen for all of your life, if you are captured by the child-support Gestapo, you will no longer be treated as human beings. You will
be housed with murderers, three-strikers, lifers … the real scum of the earth.[xx]

Des cribing divo rced o r s ingle f at hers as t arget s o f go vernment – s po ns o red dis criminat io n can appeal t o t he public’s s ens e o f f airnes s , es pecially in a climat e where t rus t in go vernment has plummet ed. But t he
f eminis t legal s cho lar Selma Sevenhuijs en argues t hat “right s ” in o ur cult ure were f o unded o n a “pro pert y mo del,” in which “o wners hip, ent it lement , int eres t , and co nt ro l” are cent ral co ncept s .[xxi] She s ugges t s t hat t he right s t hat f at hers ’ right s gro ups s eek are as s o ciat ed wit h t he t radit io nal, privileged po s it io n o f men in o ur s o ciet y.

Fat hers ’ right s gro ups o f t en po rt ray t heir members as vict ims , eit her o f an uncaring co urt s ys t em o r vindict ive wo men. T he f at hers des cribe t hems elves as having lo s t co nt ro l o ver t heir lives becaus e o f an ext ernal s o urce. Occas io nally, t hey co mbine wo men and t he co urt s int o a melded o ppo nent , claiming t hat t he co urt s have been inf luenced by f eminis t t ho ught , which t hey believe is neces s arily bias ed agains t men.

Appe aling t o “Scie nce ”: T he Myt h of Pare nt al Alie nat ion
Over t he las t t wo decades a dis t res s ing pat t ern has emerged in divo rce s et t lement s : wo men who claimed t hat t he f at hers had abus ed t heir children iro nically began t o lo s e cus t o dy, in f avo r o f t he alleged abus ers . It t urned o ut t hat f at hers ’ right s gro ups had develo ped a pers uas ive argument in f amily co urt s acro s s t he co unt ry, enabling t hem t o win cus t o dy o f t heir children mo re o f t en. T he f at hers hired expert wit nes s es t rained in ident if ying a dis o rder in children called Parent al Alienat io n Syndro me, o r PAS—a phras e co ined in
1985 by t he ps ychiat ris t Richard Gardner, who gave hims elf a new career in t he pro ces s . He claimed t hat children o f divo rce co uld be alienat ed f ro m o ne parent by t he o t her, t hus t rans f o rming what mo s t expert s ackno wledge may be an o ccas io nal pheno meno n int o a f ull- blo wn, alt ho ugh unpro ven, t heo ry. Gardner
f urt her ins is t ed t hat any as s o ciat ed charges o f child abus e were unf o unded and due t o a s pit ef ul at t empt by o ne parent t o alienat e children f ro m t he o t her.

Scient is t s ’ react io n t o Gardner ’s co ns iderable inf luence has been hars h. “T his is an at ro cio us t heo ry wit h no s cience t o back it up,” s ays Eli Newberger, a pro f es s o r at Harvard Medical Scho o l and an expert o n child abus e.[xxii] “No dat a are pro vided by Gardner t o s uppo rt t he exis t ence o f t he s yndro me and it s pro po s ed dynamics ,” s ays Kat hleen C. Faller, a pro f es s o r at t he Univers it y o f Michigan.[xxiii] Gardner regularly publis hed his o wn writ ing, avo iding t he peer- review pro ces s . T he American Ps ychiat ric As s o ciat io n do es no t include PAS in it s Diagno s t ic and St at is t ical Manual o f Ment al Dis o rders (DSM), t he go ld s t andard o f
ment al- illnes s def init io ns . Des pit e t he t heo ry’s lack o f s cient if ic credibilit y, Gardner co nt inued t o publis h ext ens ively unt il his deat h in 2003, and t he PAS argument has been us ed in hundreds o f divo rce cas es , almo s t ent irely by men who are t rying t o increas e t heir changes o f receiving cus t o dy o f t heir children. In Mas s achus et t s , f at hers no w receive primary o r jo int cus t o dy in mo re t han s event y percent o f co nt es t ed cas es .[xxiv]

PAS claims can o bs cure legit imat e accus at io ns o f child abus e and vio lence agains t wo men. Sadly, dis put es in a divo rce are no t always verbal; do mes t ic abus e o ccurs in 25 t o f if t y percent o f cus t o dy cas es .[xxv] Feminis t s began t o po int t his o ut in t he 1980s , and s ince t hat t ime s o cio lo gis t s and ps ycho lo gis t s have co nt inued t o do cument t he pro blem. Do mes t ic vio lence remains a majo r pro blem f o r wo men and children in t his co unt ry. A co ns ervat ive es t imat e is t hat mo re t han 1.3 millio n wo men per year are at t acked by t heir male part ners .[xxvi] T hree- quart ers o f vis it s t o emergency ro o ms by vict ims o f do mes t ic vio lence o ccur af t er a s eparat io n, making t he divo rce pro ces s o ne o f t he mo s t dangero us t imes in a wo man’s lif e.[xxvii]

T he t act ic o f claiming PAS is us ed t o dis t ract co urt s f ro m an accurat e unders t anding o f claims f o r divo rce; accus ing wo men o f making f als e allegat io ns o f child s exual abus e is ano t her. So me f at hers ’ right gro ups us e t he t erm “abus e- excus e” t o t rivializ e accus at io ns o f vio lence agains t wo men. In f act , mult iple s t udies have s ho wn t hat up t o t went y percent o f child s exual abus e allegat io ns made during cus t o dy dis put es are
f als ely init iat ed; but t he evidence s ho ws t hat t hes e f als e allegat io ns are mo s t o f t en made by men.[xxviii] By deliberat ely s preading mis inf o rmat io n, f at her ’s right s gro ups have managed t o s hif t t he gro unds f o r dis cus s io n abo ut vio lence agains t wo men f ro m a f eminis t challenge t o men’s phys ical po wer t o a male-
cent ered at t ack o n wo men.

So me f at hers ’ right s gro ups make t he s pecio us claim t hat wo men abus e men as o f t en as men abus e wo men. T he f at hers ’ right s gro up RADAR [Res pect ing Accuracy in Do mes t ic Abus e Repo rt ing] claims t o have weakened f o ur pieces o f legis lat io n abo ut vio lence agains t wo men, including t he reaut ho riz at io n o f t he gro undbreaking f ederal Vio lence Agains t Wo men Act (VAWA).[xxix]

Fat he rs’ Right s and Dome st ic Viole nce
A gro wing s egment o f t he f at hers ’ right s mo vement co ns is t s o f f at hers who never married t heir children’s mo t hers . A man who do es no t marry his child’s mo t her lacks vis it at io n o r cus t o dy right s when t he relat io ns hip ends unles s he s ecures a co urt o rder, and he is required t o pay child s uppo rt , even if t he mo t her receives TANF (Tempo rary As s is t ance f o r Needy Families ) f unding. T his lack o f legal right s can creat e res ent ment amo ng f at hers t hat may t rans f o rm int o anger.

Applying f o r TANF creat es pro blems f o r lo w- inco me wo men. To receive s uppo rt , t hey mus t pro vide t he
f at her ’s name t o TANF o f f icials . Fear t hat t he agency may t rack do wn an angry f at her and require him t o pay child s uppo rt may prevent t hem f ro m applying, s ince it may res ult in t heir beco ming vict ims o f vio lence.[xxx] Reco gniz ing t he pro blem, TANF creat ed a Family Vio lence o pt io n f o r applicant s . But acco rding t o a s t udy co nduct ed by Legal Mo ment um, t he wo men’s legal def ens e and educat io n f und, t his o pt io n is inadequat e and creat es it s o wn pro blems .[xxxi] Wo men mus t s ubmit burdens o me do cument at io n pro ving t hey are vict ims o f vio lence in o rder t o receive a waiver f ro m pro viding t he f at her ’s name. Many TANF- eligible wo men f ear t hat s t at e child pro t ect io n agencies will beco me invo lved if t hey pro vide evidence o f do mes t ic vio lence. T hes e o bs t acles have prevent ed s o me wo men who need TANF f ro m applying f o r it .

Ge t Involve d t o Pre ve nt Havoc
Des pit e t heir us e o f ques t io nable t act ics , f at hers ’ right s gro ups have s ucceeded in inf luencing public po licy t hro ugh t es t imo ny bef o re co mmis s io ns and o t her s t at e bo dies , lo bbying f o r changing f amily law t hro ugh legis lat io n and cas e law in t he co urt s , and creat ing an echo chamber in t he media t o bro adcas t t heir views .

Addit io nally, t hey have built a mo vement by pro viding s uppo rt ive s paces f o r f at hers who experience anger, res ent ment , and lo s s at t he ending o f t heir relat io ns hips . Af t er all, s ympat hy f o r t ho s e invo lved in co nt es t ed divo rces is wides pread and unders t andable. Such react io ns creat e a climat e in which f at hers ’
right s gro ups can gain a lis t ening ear, if no t act ual po licy change. So me leaders have us ed t he mo vement t o f uel bo t h t heir anger at a lo s s o f male po wer in a relat io ns hip and t heir res ent ment in t he f ace o f s t at e int erf erence in what t hey co ns ider a privat e f amily mat t er.

Pract it io ners o f f eminis t f amily law are, o f co urs e, already aware o f gender bias in t he co urt s and t he s t ealt h t act ics o f f at hers ’ right s gro ups . T he res t o f us wo uld do well t o get up t o s peed. Fat hers ’ right s gro ups are no t a s ho rt – lived o r a t rivial pheno meno n. To ho ld f at hers ’ right s advo cat es acco unt able and res t rict t heir illegit imat e grab f o r po wer, act ivis t s s ho uld s crut iniz e s t at e- level ballo t ques t io ns and
pro po s ed pieces o f legis lat io n abo ut child cus t o dy and vio lence agains t wo men. T hey s ho uld s uppo rt public educat io n campaigns abo ut t he act ual agenda o f f at hers ’ right s gro ups . And, t hey s ho uld alert pro gres s ive judicial wat chdo gs t o s co ur t he co urt s f o r changes in pat t erns o f legal judgment s . Such vigilance will reduce t he amo unt o f havo c s uch gro ups can inf lict o n wo men, children, and t he cult ure as a who le.

Int e rne t Re source s
Right s f o r Mo t hers is a blo g t hat pro vides “Res o urces and Suppo rt f o r No ncus t o dial and Cus t o dially- Challenged Mo t hers .” ht t p://www.Right s f o rMo t hers .co m

T he Leaders hip Co uncil o n Child Abus e and Int erpers o nal Vio lence is an educat io nal and advo cacy gro up o f pro f es s io nals including s cho lars , lawyers , and s cient is t s who pro vide reliable inf o rmat io n o n f amily s t ruct ures and do mes t ic vio lence. ht t p://www.leaders hipco uncil.o rg/index.ht ml
Nat io nal Organiz at io n f o r Wo men Family Law Ad Ho c Advis o ry Co mmit t ee News let t er pro vides art icles and res o urces f o r wo men and t heir advo cat es invo lved in f amily co urt s .
ht t p://www.no wf o undat io n.o rg/is s ues /f amily/f amily_law_news let t er_s ummer2010.pdf
[i] “Radio Bo s t o n,” WBUR, June 18, 2010. ht t p://www.wbur.o rg/media- player?
s o urce=radio bo s t o n&url=ht t p://www.wbur.o rg/
2010/06/18/jo int cus t o dy&t it le=Mas s .+Fat hers + Gro up+Fight s +Fo r+Jo int +Cus t o dy+Right s ment =jo int – cus t o dy&pubdat e=2010- 06- 18
[ii] Greg Wes t o n, “Divo rced Dads Tired o f ‘Sexis t ’ Judicial Sys t em,” Ot t awa Cit iz en, January 23, 1986, p. A4. [iii] Kris Wells , “Divo rced Dads Tell T heir Side o f t he St o ry,” St . Pet ers burg (FL) Times , May 15, 1989, p. 1D. [iv] Acco rding Margaret Brinig and Do uglas Allen, 60- 70% o f divo rces are init iat ed by wo men. “T hes e Bo o t s
are Made f o r Walking: Why Mo s t Divo rce Filers are Wo men,” American Law and Eco no mics Review, (2) 2000,
p. 127.

[v] Jo celyn Elis e Cro wley, Def iant Dads : Fat hers ’ Right s Act ivis t s in America. (It haca N.Y.: Co rnell U. Pres s ),
2008, p. 45.

[vi] In Jo celyn Elis e Cro wley, “Ado pt ing ‘Equalit y To o ls ’ f ro m t he To o lbo xes o f t heir Predeces s o rs : T he
Fat hers ’ Right s Mo vement in t he Unit ed St at es ,” Fat hers f o r Jus t ice: Fat hers Right s Act ivis m and Law
Ref o rm in Co mparat ive Pers pect ive, ed. Richard Co llier and Sally Sheldo n, (Oxf o rd: Hart Publis hers ) 2006, p.
96.

[vii] June Carbo ne and Margaret F. Brinig, “Ret hinking Marriage: Feminis t Ideo lo gy, Eco no mic Change, and
Divo rce Ref o rm,” Tulane Law Review, (65) 5, May 1991, p. 954.
[viii] See Allan Carls o n and Paul Mero , T he Nat ural Family, A Manif es t o (Dallas : Spence Publis hing) 2007. [ix] Mike Duf f , “T he Age o f t he Unciviliz ed,” Unit ed Families Int ernat io nal Weekly Alert , Augus t 17, 2010;
email news let t er o n f ile at PRA.

[x] Daniel Pat rick Mo ynihan, T he Negro Family: A Cas e f o r Nat io nal Act io n, (Was hingt o n, D.C.:U.S. Depart ment o f Labo r) 1965.

[xi] St ephen Bas kerville, Taken int o Cus t o dy: T he War agains t Fat herho o d, Marriage, and t he Family
(Nas hville: Cumberland Ho us e) 2007, p. 11.

[xii] “Cus t o dial Mo t hers and Fat hers and T heir Child Suppo rt , 2007,” (Was hingt o n D.C.:U.S. Cens us Bureau) No vember 2009, p. 1. ht t p://www.cens us .go v/pro d/2009pubs /p60- 237.pdf

[xiii] “Divo rce Tips ,” Divo rce Advice f o r Men, ht t p://divo rce- advice- f o r- men.co m/88/divo rce- t ips – learn- t he- dirt y- t ricks – t hat – may- win- yo ur- divo rce/

[xiv] Brian MacQuarrie, “Fat hers Back Bill o n Right s o f Parent s ,” Bo s t o n Glo be, July 5, 2010. ht t p://www.bo s t o n.co m/news /lo cal/mas s ac
hus et t s /art icles /2010/07/05/f at hers _back_bill_
o n_right s _o f _parent s /

[xv] St ephen Bas kerville, “Appet it e f o r Family Des t ruct io n,” Was hingt o n Times , June 17, 2001, p. B5.

[xvi] Miranda Kaye and Julia To lmie, “Dis co urs ing Dads : t he Rhet o rical Devices o f Fat hers ’ Right s Gro ups ,” Melbo urne Univers it y Law Review, 22 (1998), p. 162.

[xvii] Jo s eph P. Kahn, “Amid Layo f f s , Child Suppo rt Pact s Fraying,” Bo s t o n Glo be, April 13, 2009.
ht t p://www.bo s t o n.co m/news /lo cal/mas s ach us et t s /art icles /2009/04/13/amid_layo f f s _child_ s uppo rt _pact s _f raying/

[xviii] Reader co mment t o Kahn art icle, “Amid Layo f f s .” ht t p://www.bo s t o n.co m/news /lo cal/mas s achus et t s /art icles /2009/04/13/amid_layo f f s _child_
s uppo rt _pact s _f raying/?co mment s =all&plckCurrent Page=1

[xix] Ballo t ques t io n o n pres umpt ive jo int cus t o dy, Mas s achus et t s 2004, ht t p://www.bo s t o n.co m/news /s pecial/po lit ic s /2004_res ult s /general_elect io n/ques t io n_
s ums /Q26.ht m .

[xx] Chris t o pher Ro bin, Sr. “Advent ures o f a Fat her ’s Right Act ivis t in Debt o r ’s Pris o n,” Fat hers f o r Lif e.o rg; ht t p://f at hers f o rlif e.o rg/art icles /ro bin/adven
t ures .ht m

[xxi] Selma Sevenhuijs en, “Jus t ice, Mo ral Reas o ning, and t he Po lit ics o f Child Cus t o dy,” (1992) 1 So cial & Legal St udies n. 48,p. 92.

[xxii] Jamie Talan, News day.co m, July 1, 2003, “T he Debat e Rages o n… In Deat h Can He
Survive?” ht t p://www.leaders hipco uncil.o rg
|/1/pas /t alan.ht ml

[xxiii] Kat hleen Co ulbo rn Faller, “T he Parent al Alienat io n Syndro me: What is it and What Dat a Suppo rt it ?” Child Malt reat ment , (3)2, May 1998, p. 112.
[xxiv]Lynn Hecht Shaf ran, “Gender Bias and Family Co urt s ,” Family Advo cat e, Summer 1994, p. 26. [xxv] Co mmis s io n o n Do mes t ic Vio lence, American Bar As s o ciat io n, “10 Cus t o dy Myt hs
and Ho w t o Co unt er T hem,” Quart erly
E- News let t er, 4, 2006, July. ht t p://www.abanet .o rg/do mvio l/enews let t er/
vo l4/cus t o dymyt hs andco unt er.pdf

[xxvi] “Do mes t ic Vio lence Fact s ,” ht t p://www.ncadv.o rg/f iles /Do mes t icVio lence
Fact Sheet (Nat io nal).pdf

[xxvii] St ark, Evan and Anne H. Flit craf t ,
(1988). “Wo men and Children at Ris k: A Feminis t Pers pect ive o n Child Abus e,” 1988. In E. Fee and N. Krieger (Eds .), (1994) Wo men’s Healt h, Po lit ics , and Po wer: Es s ays o n Sex/Gender, Medicine, and Public Healt h. (Amit yville, NY: Baywo o d Publis hing,1994), pp. 307- 331.

[xxviii] T he Leaders hip Co uncil o n Child Abus e and Int erpers o nal Vio lence, “Are Allegat io ns o f Sexual Abus e t hat Aris e During Child Cus t o dy Dis put es Les s Likely t o be Valid? An Anno t at ed Review o f t he Res earch,” ht t p://leaders hipco uncil.o rg/1/pas /ap.ht ml

[xxix] See Kat hryn Jo yce, “‘Men’s Right s ’ Gro ups have Beco me Fright eningly Ef f ect ive,” Do ubleX, No vember
5, 2009, ht t p://www.do ublex.co m/print /9316.

[xxx] Mart ha Fineman, J.E. Jacks o n and A.P. Ro mero , Feminis t and Queer Legal T heo ry: Int imat e Enco unt ers , Unco mf o rt able Co nvers at io ns , (As hgat e, Farnham, Surrey UK) 2009, p.330.

[xxxi] Timo t hy Cas ey et .al., “No t Eno ugh: What TANF Of f ers Family Vio lence Vict ims ,” 2010;
ht t p://www.legalmo ment um.o rg/as s et s /pdf s /no t – eno ugh- what – t anf – o f f ers .pdf .

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