"The man as he converses is the lover; silent, he is the husband." ~ Honore de Balzac

Thursday

Dads are not welcome in post-separation family life

Feminist Arguing About Parenting Rights 101

How To Look Credible While Being Dishonest


So, in order to make the point, I presume, that the position of this page and its followers is invalid, she cites an opinion piece (linked below) by Huffington Post Feminist “Divorce Coach”, Cathy W. Meyer; “Do Dads Really Get Dissed In Divorce Court?”
Please note the following quote taken directly from the website of Ms. Myers:
“I think the female spirit is the most beautiful, complex thing God has ever created. I believe that we can do anything we put our minds too. If you don’t believe me, watch Man on Wire.”
Ok, I think helps lend some perspective on where this piece is starting from.
So, let’s look at the arguments:
Now in her piece, the author cites statistics from a Pew Center Research study from June 2011 in which data is pulled from The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s ongoing study “National Study for Family Growth.”
Her first argument, as taken from both reports, is that working mother’s spend twice as much time participating in daily care activities as working fathers.
However, in neither report, can I find any statistical definition of how this variable is defined.
Never the less, let’s assume, even accept, that the premise that different roles within the family structure lend themselves to the working mothers being more involved in child caring activities than the father.
The article then goes into alarmist mode.
“More startling are the stats on absent fathers or the amount of time fathers spend with children once the divorce is final. According to the above study, when fathers and children live separately, 22 percent of fathers see their children more than once a week. Twenty-nine percent of fathers see their children one to four times a month. The most disturbing fact though is that 27 percent of fathers have no contact with their children at all.”
You’ll note here, that the author is implying that fathers are choosing to be absent. She makes a weak acknowledgement for the counter argument noting that “some” fathers assert that the Family Court system, the body of Family Court Law, parental alienation, or child support laws are creating absent fathers.
She then goes on to refute this by citing another study by Divorcepeers.com claiming that 91% of all custody disputes are settled without intervention by the Court.
And in those cases, cites these statistics:
In 51% of the cases, both parties agreed that Mom become the custodial parent.
In 29% of the cases, the decision was made without 3rd party involvement.
11% of decisions for custody to Mom were made during mediation. Translation: Dad is now educated about the realities of Family Law and Court Tendencies.
5% of custody decisions required a court appointed parenting plan evaluator.
Of the 4% for the cases went to trial, of that 4%, only 1.5% complete custody litigation. Translation: if it goes to trial 98.5% of trial cases are decided by the Court.
Then the big close, in 91% of custody cases are decided with no interference from the Court system
Ahh, now can see the beauty of Feminist argument framing tactics.
So, lets approach this in an honest way.
In 51% of the cases, both parties agreed Mom should be the custodial parent – Cool, if both parties agree, that’s awesome – to each their own.
What does the other 49% mean – that they agreed Dad should be the custodial parent? That there was a dispute over custody? Was any custody disputed centered around equal or shared custody?
She doesn’t say. Interesting.
71% of the cases were resolved with mediation or Court Intervention.  What were the financial controls and budget constraints affecting these outcomes? Is the ability to use child support to pay legal fees a factor? How about informative educations from legal professionals about the reality of family law and how things are likely to turn out?
She doesn’t address this. Interesting.
5% of custody decisions required a court appointed parenting plan evaluator. Translation: I have no idea, because she didn’t define this variable – 5% of what?
I suspect this was mindfully left undefined. Interesting.
And lastly 98.5% of custody cases that go to trial are decided by the Court.
And she uses these statistics to support her argument that Family Law is not biased?
It’s pretty clear to me, that the statistics she is throwing out support our argument that the body of Family Court Law has been engineered to achieve a predetermined outcome. 
So she closes with the following assertions:
Fathers are far less involved with children during marriage.  However, no statistical definition is provided.
Fathers are less involved after divorce. Controls for financial or court restraints are not accounted for.
Mothers gain custody because the vast majority of fathers choose to. Roughly half of Dads do this before Court intervention. The other half give in before going to trial – why is this?
Her last assertion is garbage. She’s saying the same thing she said in he previous three points.
I love the circular logic here. Current outcomes prove that the current outcomes are correct.
I wonder what would happen to current outcomes under the presumption of equal parenting?
And interestingly enough, if in fact Cathy Meyer’s argument is correct, then she and other feminists would have absolutely nothing to fear from Family Court reforms that presume 50/50 custody and parenting rights, because men would voluntarily grant primary custody to the mother as she claims they are doing now. Yet, she’s using her argument as a reason to prevent these reforms.
Why?  
Nice try – Very Dishonest. 
Fail.
Emma Watson Feminist Speech
Julia Gillard Ray Martin Interview Partner Hairdresser Tim Matheison

Why Did It Take Two Feminists Speaking Up For Men To Get This Conversation Moving?


My wife worked fairly late last night and didn’t get home until after 6:30pm. After picking up the youngest from preschool and taking he and his brother to the park to kick around the soccer ball, I came back home and cooked dinner (my nightly duty) and sat the boy’s down to start theirs whilst I started on grilling the fish my wife and I were having so it was freshly cooked for her arrival home.
I had seen the news headlines about U.N. Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson’s feminist speech pop up in my Facebook news feed earlier in the day, but with a busy day at work including going to a truck depot to pick up some parts followed by two stops in to see customers, and a lunch stop whilst I was out on the road, I didn’t have a chance to watch it at my desk during my lunch break.
While I was out on the road I was listening to my favourite talk-back radio station and the veteran journalist Ray Martin was on the afternoon show promoting the (then) upcoming interview he did with former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard which was shown on television last night. I was looking forward to hearing the interview, the first in depth one she had given since her departure.
Although it was not the crux of her interview, Ms. Gillard is famous for her feminist laden misogyny speech and that was brought up by Mr Martin, but it was her comment about the media’s sexist remarks about her long time partner Tim Matheison and his occupation – that being a hairdresser – that tied the two stories together.
This week I have been seeing regular updates on the personal pages of my fellow Dad Bloggers from the US who have been attending the 19th Annual At-Home Dads Convention (AHD Convention) held by the National At-Home Dad Network. There have been further shares of information and photos within our Dad Bloggers’ group. From their website;
“The convention will again offer primary caregiving dads the chance to network, learn and grow in their roles as at-home fathers. In addition to keynote speakers and breakout sessions that address the day-to-day issues stay-at-home dads face, the convention will continue to feature popular events such as a Dads’ Night Out, Meet and Greet and post-convention dinner at a popular site in downtown Denver.”
The AHD Convention highlights a conversation that needs to be had to promote the roles of dads who choose to or who are forced to be the primary caregiver. But it’s a conversation that needs to be outside the walls of a convention centre and also, a conversation that needs to include those men who are not the primary caregivers but could be if they didn’t have the burden that society puts upon men to be the primary breadwinner rather than the one who can raise the children.
There are many of my fellow Dad Bloggers who promote this conversation via their personal blogs as well as having their freelance work published on popular news aggregator and media sites, and many others who have had their stories go viral on the mainstream media including two of my contemporaries who were both on Australian morning breakfast television shows back in early July this year. You can read about that in this post; Why This Morning Was A Leap Forward For Stay At Home Dads In This Country.
I am sure that you would be aware of the conversation that has been played out for many years by the feminist groups and personalities promoting women’s rights, and the right for women to be whatever the hell they want to be. And why the hell not? (Sorry for using that expression, but compared to the four-letter-word I first typed, I’m sure you can agree “hell” is quite tame).
I am currently studying part-time an undergraduate Bachelor of Behavioural Studies (Psychology) with the hope of continuing on the a full degree in Psychology before I die. As part of the first unit that I am studying we are talking about inequalities in further education and this week the topic of gender came up. Three weeks ago when we were given our first essay to complete, we were given a list of sub-topics, one of which we needed to pick to be ours to write about in relation to inequalities in further education. Straight away I chose gender because it is a topic that truly interests me.
Of course with that, I will have to put forward an argument from the point of view that women are lacking in numbers in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) further education courses. Now whilst I mentioned to one of my lecturers on Monday night that I was taking “the devil’s advocate” position seeing that I am a male arguing on behalf of women, she pointed out that many men do this as their topic and that really, this is just as important an argument for men as it is for women; especially for men who are fathers of daughters.
When women enter into the roles, occupations and fields that are traditionally “assigned” to the male of our species, the conversation that is being had goes along the lines of “these are not just men’s roles, and women can do these just as good (if not better sometimes) than men.” And no one should really argue with that because, it’s true. Sadly however, when men decide to enter the fields of occupation that women dominate in, the conversation being had is not a favourable one. As I wrote in my piece Should Men Be Banned From Working In Childcare? late July this year, we need more men in the role of childcarers, not less as a local government is suggesting.
In regards to her partner being a hairdresser, Julia Gillard offered this gem;
“To some extent you look at all of that and you say, how much of that is gender working, because would we think it was quite so odd if a male Prime Minister or a male chief executive officer of a big bank or whatever had a wife who worked as a hairdresser? Would we think that was… really odd, you know? ‘Why on earth did he marry her? She’s a hairdresser!’ I just don’t think it would occur to us. I think it was the gender thing a bit.”

After the interview was over I headed upstairs to assist our eldest son getting ready for bed including having a bath and cleaning his teeth. Once he was off to sleep, I headed back downstairs to do my next nightly chore of packing the dishwasher and cleaning up after dinner.
We have a 42″ smart TV in our lounge room so I switched it to computer mode and loaded up the Emma Watson speech on YouTube. I would have loved to sit on the comfortable couch or to have sat at my desk in my office to watch it on the computer so I could take it all in, but a busy working father’s job is never done, and packing the dishwasher and cleaning the dining table wasn’t going to be the last of my chores for the night.
My favourite part of her speech was when she addressed us men;
“Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.
Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s.
I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49; eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.  
We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.
If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.
Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.
If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.”
And although that passage is brilliant, the next paragraph sums it up perfectly for me;
“I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.”
I have hesitated to fully take on the title of being a feminist mainly for the reason Miss Watson stated at the beginning of her speech;
“I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop. For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”
I don’t hate men. I am one. And I don’t hate women, even the radical feminists amongst the ranks who do come off as being anti-men. I share that belief that men and women should have equal rights. If either of my sons wants to be a childcare worker, a hairdresser (as opposed to a barber), or go into any of the fields that are traditionally roles for women, they have my full support. And I hope that this doesn’t prejudice their ability to find loving and caring partners who will support their choice.
And if they end up starting a family with a partner who earns more than them and the decision is made that they become the stay-at-home parent, I hope that they can look to their own father and see me as a role model for them. Whether it’s  through my writing, my activism or my own actions of taking on many of the traditional “mothering” roles, whatever it is that speaks to them, I hope the conversation keeps going and it doesn’t end late September 2014 with a viral speech from “this Harry Potter girl” or former Prime Minister.
Now please excuse me, I have some washing to fold…
Thank you to UN Women.org for the Emma Watson transcript. You can read the whole speech here.Alternatively you can watch the speech below;

U.N. Women's Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson gives a speech at an event focusing on gender inequality.

INTERFERENCE WITH PARENTAL RIGHTS OF NONCUSTODIAL PARENT AS GROUNDS FOR MODIFICATION OF CHILD CUSTODY Edward B. Borris, Assistant Editor, Divorce Litigation I. Introduction Interference by one parent in the relationship of a child and the other parent is almost never in the child’s best interests. In fact, in extreme cases, actions by one parent to alienate the affections of the child from the other parent, to interfere win the other parent’s visitation rights, or to remove the child to a distant state or country can often lead to liability in tort. [ 7432 more words. ]  —

When a noncustodial parent is repeatedly denied his or her rights to visit their child, it is important that…

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Fathers As Advocates

I have always prided myself in the fact that from the very beginning I always tried to include all in my efforts to advocate – all disabilities, races, languages and genders. I have seen the growt…

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Disposable Dads and the Myth of the Modern Family
Dads are not welcome in post-separation family life, especially if they are going to cause trouble by wanting to actually parent their children. For those modern men who gave their all to fatherhood, the injustice of such a swift eviction from the…
HUFFINGTONPOST.CO.UK
I should say straight away that I am not legally qualified, I don’t pretend to be and I don’t give legal advice as a result.  Legal issues are for legal people and I am a mental health professional. That said, we regularly get requests (as we did yesterday), for advice on how to manage a case of parental alienation in court and I regularly work as a coach with parents who are going through the court process (when I am not working in any other capacity in their case – the two things have to be separate at all times).  When I work as a coach I assist parents to manage their legal team and their understanding of parental alienation and how it presents in children and in parents. I also assist them to plan and follow a strategy to utilise court intervention to liberate the child.  None of this is legal advice but is management of the case from a mental health perspective and an understanding of how the legal system operates in this country.  Learning the law of the land in which you live is a pre-requisite for anyone entering into the family courts to seek assistance with a case of parental alienation.  So with all that in mind, here is your legal lesson for lay people.
Case Management
Parental alienation cannot be resolved by mental health professionals alone. End of story.  Whilst we can offer interventions, it is the use of the court system to compel a parent to change which creates the dynamic required to properly deploy the support we can give. That said, the relationship between mental health professionals and the courts are interdependent in cases of parental alienation, one cannot work independently of the other. Without the intervention the court cannot act and without the court the intervention does not have teeth. Thus it is absolutely essential for all parents trying to manage a case of parental alienation in court to understand that interface.
Legal processes
It is also critical to understand that going into court to fight your case is not about any kind of ‘natural justice’ holding sway. There is no such thing as ‘natural justice’ in the court process, which is adversarial and which depends upon one or the other of the parties proving that their case is more compelling than the other side.  It is therefore pointless to go into court expecting that the Judge will somehow see the truth of what is happening or expecting that the court will provide the answer to the problem that you face. The Judge won’t and the court can’t. If there is a truth, you must demonstrate it. If there is an answer, you must provide it and fight to get the court to adopt your proposal.
The court arena
The court is an arena which is not designed for lay people to work in, it is designed for legal people.  The language, the structures of the law and the manner in which all of this operates is set up so that those who are trained legally can operate the system.  Thus, going into court as a litigant in person as so many are forced to do these days, puts one at an immediate disadvantage unless one understands that the arena you are operating in has etiquette, rules and expectations. Follow these and you will find your way through. Go in expecting to be able to do as you please and you will soon find yourself outside of the system with little hope of navigating it.
Managing your own case
If you are in the UK it is worth taking a look at this book which you can download free of charge, or at this website and our new site which will give you strategies for managing your case throughout.  If you are in the US it is worth looking at thiswebsite which tells you all about how each state views the best interest of the child, which in turn allows you to begin to build your case.  Building your case, which is key in parental alienation situations, begins with the argument that a child’s best interests are served by a healthy relationship with both parents, not just one and that a child who suddenly or inexplicably rejects a parent, is likely to be doing so because of pressure placed upon them from someone, somewhere. Evidencing who is placing the pressure is the next step in your case strategy.
Evidencing your case
In a case of parental alienation there is a very big risk that alienation unaware professionals will become involved and will read the case as a he said/she said situation.  In order to avoid this, you must prevent yourself from spending your whole time telling people that the other parent is alienating you – even if you know this to be true. Instead what you must do is provide the evidence that the other parent is causing harm to the relationship between you and your child. Evidence such as – arranging events on the days you should have your children with you, constantly changing or interfering with your parenting time, consistently causing children to feel afraid of you, reducing a child’s respect and love for you by undermining your parenting skills, seeking to influence a child by competing with you (buying presents that are bigger and better or conversely, buying the same presents), refusing to share information about your child with you, telling schools and nurseries and other places where children go that your children do not wish to see you.  There are many more situations which can be evidenced, in order to do so you must gather the information and present it with a cool head. You must be able to show the people who are working with your family that you are a reasonable and rational person. Not easy when you know that the other parent is doing all possible to damage your relationship with your child, but necessary to ensure that they look in the right direction instead of at you.
Avoiding the other parent’s hooks
And you can be sure that family court people will be looking at you (at least in the UK) in the early stages of your case. This is because, without indepth training in cases of alienation and without knowledge of how psychological profiles of parents contribute to such cases, most of these people will come at your case with the assumption that this is a he said/she said situation.  Worse than that there will be, amongst those family court people, some who analyse your case from a political ideological perspective of women’s rights, in which they will assume things to be true based upon a belief system which teaches that women are inherently disadvantaged.  (Yes, we know the damage that does but the family court people are governed by a system which does not yet realise this and so you as a parent have to watch out). This is relevant whether you are a mother or a father because the women’s rights activists are often doubly judgemental when children reject their mother, on the basis that mothers are good people and therefore children who do not want to see their mothers must have very very bad mothers.
The alienating parent’s dysfunctional behaviours will cause them to seek to blame you for the problem of the children refusing to see you. This is often aided and abetted by alienation unaware people working with your family. Therefore it is very important that you are not, at any point, seen to be the person they tell other people that you are. As the process unfolds and you feel as if you are going insane because you can see what is happening but no-one else can, you have to ensure that you stay focused and do not succuumb to frustration. Understand that the system you are working in will collude with the alienating parent’s negative behaviours because the alienating parent is very very skilled at manipulation. Do not be manipulated. Use the evidence based you have built. Use the research evidence which is available and use the case law in the country you live in to support your strategy.
Asking the court for what you want to happen
Part of your strategy is about knowing how to manage the court process. For example, it is pointless going into court asking that the court make your children see you if your children are absolutely refusing to do so. What you have to do instead is show the court what can be done to assist the current situation to change. First of all you must convince the court that it is not because of something that you have done which causes the outright rejection, secondly, that something has to happen and that the children cannot be left in this situation, thirdly that there are things that can help children in this situation and lastly (and outrageously in the UK at least) that you can and will pay for the intervention that can help your child.  When you have reached that point then the mental health intervention which you have located can be put to the court and you have reached the next stage.
(I will write more about the next stage shortly, for now this is a brief introduction on how to manage your case in court, it is generic because we are not legal people but it gives you the beginnings of those things you must think about to get your strategy up and running.  On our new site we have barristers from the UK and the US writing for us on how to manage your case as well as more detailed information on how to get help and where to get it from.  We are still working hard to get the site ready for launch and I will be letting you know more about that and all of our new services shortly).

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"So live your life that the fear of death can never enter your heart. Trouble no one about their religion; respect others in their view, and demand that they respect yours. Love your life, perfect your life, beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Prepare a noble death song for the day when you go over the great divide. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger, when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and grovel to none. When you arise in the morning give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and no thing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the spirit of its vision. When it comes your time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with fear of death, so that when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song and die like a hero going home." (Tecumseh).

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