Child Custodyrefers to the legal right and responsibility to raise a minor child and to make decisions. The parent a child normally lives with, and the one who makes legal decisions concerning the child, is called the custodial parent, usually the mother. Though every state has laws which forbid discrimination based on gender, these are often ignored in the world of family courtrooms across America.
Overcoming the unimaginable was the theme at the root of David Goldman's remarkable story and his fight for a father’s right to be reunited with his abducted son, Sean.
In 2004, David’s then-wife took their son to Brazil for a brief vacation, but she refused to return starting a complex international custody and abduction battle that took five years until David was reunited with Sean. The case drew worldwide media and political attention.
David talked with Men's Rights about overcoming parental alienation, dealing with corrupt foreign legal systems, and his reaction to his son’s first question to him after not being able to see him for years: "where have you been all this time?"
He has also written about the experience in a new book called "A Father’s Love," which is available at bookstores and online retailers nationwide.
You can learn much more about David and Sean's story by visiting the website BringSeanHome.org.
As a father's rights activist, Stanley Charles Thorne is part of a civil rights movement seeking to give men rights in the courtroom as part of their human right to fundamental fairness.
Since 85 percent of custodial parents are mothers, Thorne says studies are proving court-ordered fatherlessness is creating systemic social pathology in juveniles on an unprecedented scale.
"Instead of starting with equality and fairness, we throw parents like a couple of pit bulls into an arena of conflict and contention where the end result is an outcome that poisons the parental relationship and ruins the father's relationship with his children," Thorne said.
He discussed the real-world inequality and gender bias that exists in the family law system and why courts are financially incentivized to have lopsided child custody models with Joseph Cordell, co-founder of Cordell & Cordell, the nation’s largest law firm of divorce attorneys for men.
A proposed law in Missouri would eliminate child support in joint physical custody cases where the child would be spending equal or substantially equal time with both parents.
However, both parents would need to sign an agreement consenting to no child support, the difference in the verified incomes of the parents must be less than 25 percent, and a finding must be made that such custody and award of no child support is in the best interest of the child, according to the text of Senate Bill 35.
Molly Olson watched as three fathers she knew well had their relationships with their children destroyed by the family courts.
That's why the married mother with no children decided to become one of the leading advocates for father's rights and family law reform. Olson is the founder of the Center for Parental Responsibility and is currently working toward the passage of a Joint Physical Custody bill in Minnesota.
"This isn't just about one bad judge, one bad lawyer, or one bad custody evaluator," Olson said. "It's a systemic problem."
She talked with MensRights.com editor Matt Allen about the equal parenting bill and the impact its passage would have on families.
April is Parental Alienation Awareness Month so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to discuss 10 facts about parental alienation. (Also, read my related column "Parental Alienation Awareness Month.")
Dr. Amy Baker is a highly respected researcher in the field of parental alienation and the author of the seminal book "Adult Children of Parental Alienation Syndrome."
She previously was interviewed on DadsDivorce.com about the long-term effects parental alienation has on children as they grow older. (Note: If parental alienation is evident in your divorce case, contact the divorce lawyers for men at the Cordell & Cordell Law Firm for information on fighting for your rights.)
Baker shared 10 facts about parental alienation she discovered in her research:
Shared parenting legislation is making its mark across the country with at least half a dozen states considering bills that would implement equal parenting in child custody cases.
One reason for the increased awareness is Dr. Linda Nielsen’s report "Shared Parenting: A Review of the Support Research." Nielsen is a nationally recognized expert on father-daughter relationships, president of the American Coalition for Fathers and Children, and professor of women's studies at Wake Forest University. She was also featured on DadsDivorce.com for her interview on father-daughter relationships.
Nielsen examined dozens of studies to highlight the benefits of shared parenting where children live a minimum of one-third of the time with each parent.
A recent Huffington Post column focused on a 2010 study by Jacob Cheadle, Paul Amato and Valerie King on how involved non-custodial fathers were with their children post-divorce.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the "Patterns of Nonresident Father Contact" research study found that physical distance between a father and child is the biggest determining factor in the amount of contact between them.
As more and more fathers are becoming stay-at-home dads, many have questions about dads rights and if theirs are the same as stay-at-home moms.
Typically, the mom who stayed at home during the marriage receives primary custody of the children along with child support and alimony after a divorce in order to continue living the lifestyle she was accustomed to.
But with the new era of stay-at-home fatherhood, is it any different for a stay-at-home dad?
Many men, including the Cordell & Cordell Law Firm attorneys, are applauding changes to Pennsylvania’s child custody laws marking a significant step toward making both the mother and the father equal in the eyes of family court judges.
Notably, for its relevance to fathers, the new statute finally has a gender-neutral requirement stating, “The court shall be gender neutral in making a determination (of custody). No party shall receive preference based solely upon gender in any award granted.”
With the new law now in effect, Pennsylvania judges are also now required to state on the record their reasons for custody decisions. Previously, fathers were left in the dark as to a judge’s reasoning behind the custody determination, which usually came at the detriment of the father/non-custodial parent.
Fathers & Families is a national organization committed to family court reform at the political level. The group’s wide-ranging and ambitious legislative agenda for 2011 is aimed at providing more men’s and father’s rights in family law cases.
One bill that is being introduced in the California legislature would give the courts statutory power to enforce visitation orders, something that should have been done decades ago.