Michigan NOW Declares 'Action Alert' Against
Shared Parenting Bill; PBS Campaign Aftermath

November 28, 2006

 
Michigan NOW Declares 'Action Alert' Against Shared Parenting Bill

Michigan shared parenting advocates and the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for Women are squaring off over HB 5267, a Michigan shared parenting bill which will be heard by the House Families and Children Services Committee on December 6. Last week NOW issued an "Action Alert" against the bill. Michigan shared parenting groups, including Dads of Michigan, the American Coalition for Fathers & Children's Michigan affiliate, the Family Rights Coalition of Michigan, and others, are rallying support for the bill.

The contact information for the members of the House Families and Children Services Committee who will be deciding on HB 5267 next week are below--I suggest you call and write them. While letters from Michigan residents are best, letters from other states are also helpful.

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House F&C Committee District Position Phone (517) Fax (517) E-mail
Rep. John Stahl (Chair) R-North Branch Supports 373-1800 373-9981 Email
Rep. Tom Pearce (Vice Chair) R-Rockford Supports 373-0218 373-5697 Email
Rep. Jack Hoogendyk* R-Kalamazoo Supports 373-1774 373-8872 Email
Rep. Fulton Sheen* R-Plainwell Supports 373-0836 373-8728 Email
Rep. Barb Vander Veen* R-Allendale Undecided 373-0838 373-9830 Email
Rep. Brenda Clack (Vice Chair) D-Flint Undecided 373-8808 373-5997 Email
Rep. Lamar Lemmons, Jr. D-Detroit Supports 373-0106 373-7271 Email
Rep. Gino Polidori D-Dearborn Undecided 373-0847 373-7538 Email
Rep. Dudley Spade D-Tipton Undecided 373-1706 373-5777 Email
           
House Leadership          
Rep. Craig DeRoche, Speaker R-Novi   373-0827 373-5873 Email
Rep. Chris Ward, Floor Leader* R-Brighton   373-1784 373-8957 Email
Rep. Dianne Byrum, Dem Leader D-Onondaga   373-0587 373-9430 Email
           
*Sponsor of HB 5267          


The Case for HB 5267

Michigan NOW makes its case against shared parenting and HB 5267 here. I laid out the case in favor of HB 5267 and discussed many of NOW's criticisms in my co-authored column HB 5267 Will Help Michigan's Children of Divorce (Lansing State Journal, 5/28/06). Mike McCormick, Executive Director of the American Coalition for Fathers & Children, and I wrote:

"HB 5267 is primarily sponsored by Rep. Leslie Mortimer (R-Horton), who has been joined by 10 other legislators. When parents cannot agree on custody arrangements, the bill instructs courts to order joint custody unless there is clear and convincing evidence that one of the parents is unfit, unwilling, or unable to care for his or her child. A mediator will then help the parents draft a shared parenting plan based on each parent having substantially equal time with their children. The
principle behind the bill is difficult to dispute--as long as both parents are fit and there are no extenuating circumstances, they should both share in parenting their children... 

"NOW claims that HB 5267 'places the interests of parents over the child's interests.' Yet when researchers have examined children of divorce, and studied and queried adult children of divorce, they've found that most prefer joint custody and shared parenting.

"For example, a study by psychologist Joan Kelly, published in the Family and Conciliation Courts Review,  found that children of divorce 'express higher levels of satisfaction with joint physical custody than with sole custody arrangements,' and cite the 'benefit of remaining close to both parents' as an important factor.

"When Arizona State University psychology professor William Fabricius conducted a study of college students who had experienced their parents' divorces while they were children, he found that over two-thirds believed that 'living equal amounts of time with each parent is the best arrangement for children.' His findings were published in Family Relations in 2003.

"Under current law, judges decide custody cases based on the 12 factors delineated in Michigan's Best Interest of the Child Test. Both the Michigan Bar and Michigan NOW assure us that this system is effective and should not be changed. However, the 12 factors fail to place sufficient emphasis on protecting children's relationships with both parents. According to the Michigan Family Independence Agency, the most common parenting time schedule in Michigan allows children only 15% physical time with their noncustodial parents.

"Moreover, the custody decisions based on the factors are often subjective and arbitrary. Under HB 5267 a court cannot deny requests for joint custody without stating its reasons on the record.

"Michigan NOW also asserts that HB 5267 will 'further impoverish children of separated or divorced parents' because in Michigan, as in most states, the amount of physical time divorced parents spend with their children and the concomitant expenses are calculated into the child support obligation. These fears are also unwarranted.

"Research demonstrates that joint custody leads to higher rates of child support compliance. This isn't surprising, since parents who are permitted little role in their children's lives have less motivation to make sacrifices for them. Also, under the current system noncustodial parents are often forced to wage expensive court battles in order to protect their time and relationships with their children. These parents end up supporting lawyers instead of kids.

"While Michigan NOW is correct that there are fathers who put their pocketbooks above their children's best interests, they ignore the obvious converse. If a dad may seek 40 or 50% physical time with his children simply to lower his child support obligation, doesn't it also hold that a mother may seek 85% physical time in order to increase it?

"Both Domestic Violence Escape and NOW claim that the bill will put abused women in harm's way. According to DOVE, HB 5267 'sends a clear message to battered women and children that the 'rights' of a batterer take precedence over their safety and wellbeing.' Yet under HB 5267 only fit parents are eligible for joint custody--battered mothers should and would receive sole custody.

"Unfortunately, NOW, DOVE and other misguided women's advocates seem capable of recognizing only two types of divorces--ones where both spouses agree on a custody arrangement, and divorces involving domestic violence. However, the overwhelming majority of breakups fit neither profile. Instead, decent, fit parents often cannot agree on custody. In such cases, HB 5267 will ensure that children won't see one of the two people they love the most pushed to the margins of their lives."


More on HB 5267

Dr. Michael T. Ross of the Family Rights Coalition of Michigan has some interesting and informative links on HB 5267, including much opposition commentary, below:

HB 5267 as Introduced
HB 5267 Legislative Analysis
Michigan State Bar Public Policy Resource Center (CapWiz)
Family Law Section Article on HB5267 (page 3)
Family Law Section Position on HB5267
Referee Association Article on HB5267
Michigan National Organization for Women
Hanna's Blog: Response to Comments that a Presumption of Joint Custody is Appropriate
Hanna's Blog: Custody Determinations Should Depend Upon the Particular Facts of a Case, Not a Presumption
Proposed Joint Custody Legislation HB 5267 | Make Your Voice Heard in Lansing
Michigan Poverty Law Program - Rebecca Shiemke
 

The American Coalition for Fathers and Children
The American Coalition for Fathers and Children is dedicated to creating a family law system which promotes equal rights for all parties affected by divorce. Contact the ACFC at 1-800-978-3237 or visit them on the web at www.acfc.org.

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PBS Campaign Aftermath: Corporation for Public Broadcasting Ombudsman Praises PBS for 'Making Good on Its Promise' to Air Balanced Program

In October 2005, PBS aired the film Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories on many of its affiliates. The film portrayed fathers as batterers and child molesters who use family court machinations to wrest children away from their mothers. The film was extremely one-sided, and presented a harmful and inaccurate view of divorce and child custody cases. Moreover, the film portrayed one mother as a heroic, victimized mom, when records which we made public show that she had abused children under her care, and had lost custody for that reason.

I joined with Fathers and Families, the American Coalition for Fathers & Children, and others in a campaign to force PBS to "provide fatherhood and shared parenting advocates a meaningful opportunity to present our side of the issues." Over 10,000 of you wrote or called PBS, and both PBS's ombudsman and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting's ombudsman echoed our central criticisms about the film.

In December, PBS notified us that they would "commission an hour-long documentary" for the purpose of further examining the "complex and important issues" raised in the film and by our campaign. They promised the "hour-long treatment of the subject will allow ample opportunity" for those of differing views to "have their perspectives shared, challenged and debated."

Kids & Divorce: For Better or Worse, the film they commissioned in response to our campaign, aired in over 50 markets in September. To PBS's credit, they followed through on the commitment they made last December to produce a balanced film. Moreover, PBS partially adopted the approach we suggested for the film. Earlier this year Fathers and Families wrote to Dave Iverson, the film's producer and host, and suggested that he make shared parenting the central theme of the new PBS film. We are pleased to see that Iverson took the suggestion seriously--much of Kids & Divorce concerns shared parenting.

The film made two overriding points. Much of the mainstream media engages in divorce happy talk, particularly left-leaning institutions, of which PBS is one. However, from Kids & Divorce's opening moments the film powerfully depicts the way children suffer in divorce. Also, throughout the film it was clear that children want and need both parents, that they are very aggrieved when their parents don't get along, and that two-parent involvement is important after divorce.

This week Ken A. Bode, the Ombudsman for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, issued PBS Follows Through On Commitment to Air Balanced Program, his report on the Breaking the Silence controversy. Bode writes:

"[PBS Follows Through On Commitment to Air Balanced Program] was the headline on the column written by commentator and talk show host Glenn Sacks. Mr. Sacks was a leader in denouncing the PBS broadcast, Breaking the Silence: Children's Stories broadcast systemwide in October 2005. The program was a documentary about the treatment of abused children in divorce courts offered by Connecticut Public Television and underwritten by the Mary Kay Ash Foundation.

"'The film was extremely one-sided, and presented a harmful and inaccurate view of divorce and child custody cases,' says Mr. Sacks. He helped mobilize groups representing fathers to produce thousands of letters and calls to PBS along with many postings on the CPB Ombudsman's website.

"In my initial review of the program, I said the following: 'My own conclusion is that there is no hint of balance in Breaking the Silence. The father's point of view is ignored as are new strategies for lessening the damage to children in custody battles.' Michael Getler, the ombudsman for PBS, shared my conclusions that the programs lacked fairness and balance.

"At PBS the program was placed under official review, and last December it was announced that PBS would commission an hour-long documentary for the purpose of further examining the complex and important issues raised in Breaking the Silence. Twin Cities Public Television was tapped to produce the second film, and they engaged experienced PBS broadcaster David Iverson as producer, writer and host. Jerry Richmond, head of programming for Twin Cities says that PBS did not prescribe a point of view. 'PBS only told us to do another program on the subject. They did not say to do it in response to Breaking the Silence.'

"The resulting program, Kids & Divorce: For Better or Worse, reflects the experience and skills of David Iverson, and also showcases his ability to produce a fair and objective treatment of the problems of child custody cases, a part of the law where the issues have become enmeshed in gender politics. Iverson's approach was simply to say, 'How can we improve the odds of kids doing well in divorce? The central question is what can make things better for kids? We'll try to figure it out.'

"All in all the hour-long production chugs along in a steady, deliberate manner, as if in a permanent second gear. Panels of psychological, legal and custody experts are assembled with Mr. Iverson leading a series of discussions, using his low-key, Mr. Rogers manner to good advantage.

"Keeping to the central question of what best serves the kids, Iverson examines the legal system -- Does it make it better or worse? -- along with various shared custody arrangements. If the film has a point of view it is that children want and need both parents and that two-parent involvement after a divorce is important. An interesting point is that the notion of joint custody is becoming a political issue at the state level. The film briefly examines moves toward shared parenting laws in Massachusetts and Iowa.

"There were a few criticisms of Kids & Divorce, but most respondents agreed with Mr. Sacks. PBS spent a considerable amount of money on the film and made an honest and effective effort to be balanced. As Sacks put it, 'Last fall on PBS dads were portrayed as evil, scheming abusers. This week dads were portrayed as an important and valued part of their children's lives.'

"What lessons are to be learned from this experience with Breaking the Silence and Kids & Divorce? Perhaps the overriding one is that before accepting programming for the PBS schedule, someone needs to make a more thorough check on the motives of sponsors. Breaking the Silence was underwritten by a grant from the Mary Kay Ash Foundation, an organization devoted to the laudable goal of stopping violence against women, especially abusive relationships. The mission of the organization seemingly drove the original production in the direction of concluding that family courts are routinely awarding child custody to abusive fathers.

"I am not suggesting that rigid guidelines be adopted which preclude advocacy organizations or foundations from funding public affairs programming on PBS or NPR. But somewhere there must be a responsibility to check the editorial thrust of the production against the mission of the sponsors and to assure that the standards of fairness and balance are not sacrificed to political agendas.

"Jerry Richmond of Twin Cities Public TV checked the carriage reports for Breaking the Silence and Kids & Divorce and found them nearly equal at 77 and 78 percent. That's more good news. Kudos to PBS for making good on its promise and for trusting a solid production team to do the job with no strings attached."

I gave my full critique of Breaking the Silence here, and Dr. Ned Holstein of Fathers and Families gave his here. As I pointed out, the show, while good, does have its weaknesses. As far as entertainment goes, Bode's description of it "chugging along in a steady, deliberate manner, as if in a permanent second gear" is apt. On a brighter note, Bode's comment that "If the film has a point of view it is that children want and need both parents and that two-parent involvement after a divorce is important" is also appropriate. 

It was nice to see Bode note that as far as markets and air time is concerned, the balanced Kids & Divorce got as much--in fact a tiny bit more--than Breaking the Silence did. Thanks again to Fathers and Families, the American Coalition for Fathers & Children, and the many thousands of you who participated in our campaign.

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Help, Resources for Dads
The National Fathers' Resource Center is a division of Fathers For Equal Rights, Inc. (FER), located in Dallas, Texas, with offices in both Dallas and Houston. In existence for over three decades, it has services and resources for dads nationwide and is one of the largest and most active fathers' rights organizations in the U.S. www.fathers4kids.org

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Woman Spends Thanksgiving On Billboard

Shared Parenting activist Teri Stoddard writes about a great protest:

"Shelly Barreras says sometimes you have to do whatever it takes, in a peaceful way, to get results, especially when you're dealing with government.

"New Mexico Governor Richardson has apparently reneged on a promise to help the Barreras family recover $15,000 collected by the state as child support from Steve Barreras, for a child that never existed.

"At half-past four Thursday morning Barreras climbed a ladder to her perch above I-40 to hang a large banner. Emergency vehicles and crews from three television stations arrived and the roads were closed.

"VIDEO: Barreras planned on spending four days atop the billboard at I-40 and University in Albuquerque, until Clear Channel Outdoor - Global Outdoor Advertising representatives offered a venue for her issues in exchange for her descent. She agreed to come down after 10 hours and 30 minutes, and was not arrested.

"'I didn't just do this for my family,' Barreras explained, 'I did it for all the families in this country who are suffering with family law and child support issues. The whole system needs to be demolished and rebuilt.'

"'I thought of John Murtari in New York, who's endured over 100 days without solid food for parents' rights. His non-violent peaceful protest inspired me to do whatever I could to bring attention to the issue of family law reform,' Barreras said, 'We definitely need immediate Congressional Hearings.'"

Finally What Child Support Payers Need
Child Support obligors face a stacked deck when squaring off against CS Enforcement's army of lawyers and agents, all pitted against some beleaguered father who's working 50 hours a week to pay his child support and support his family. The burden of proving compliance with court-ordered support falls on the obligor, not the custodial parent or the enforcement agencies. Very often fathers are forced to pay money they don't really owe, or are saddled with fake arrearages and the concomitant interest and penalties.

Since the state provides a ton of free assistance to custodial parents, fathers need quality, affordable representation for these battles. Child Support Liberation's Child Support Audits and Record Management Program helps obligors challenge arrears by producing professional, top-quality self-audits which include all the necessary records in the proper form. CSARMP then conducts quarterly audits that will alert obligors to overcharges. In addition, they will maintain ongoing records of obligations, payments and interest.

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How to Win Shared Custody
If you are an active, engaged, committed, dedicated, loving parent facing a divorce, family law attorney Nicholas Palermo's The Ten Essential Elements to Winning Joint Shared Physical and Legal Custody can help you protect your relationship with your children. www.TenEssentialElements.com

Help for Colorado Dads
As someone who has personally experienced the heartbreak of divorce and family breakup, Brett W. Martin, Esq. works to advance the interests and concerns of fathers in domestic and family law litigation. Personal attention is given to clients to help them through a very difficult time in their lives. www.brettwmartin.com

Out-of-Wedlock Births in the United States at an All-Time High

From the Associated Press article "37 Percent of U.S. Births Out of Wedlock" (11/21/06):

"Out-of-wedlock births in the United States have climbed to an all-time high, accounting for nearly four in 10 babies born last year, government health officials said Tuesday.

"While out-of-wedlock births have long been associated with teen mothers, the birth rate among girls ages 10 to 17 actually dropped last year to the lowest level on record. Instead, births among unwed mothers rose most dramatically among women in their 20s.

"Experts said the overall rise reflects the burgeoning number of people who are putting off marriage or living together without getting married. They said it also reflects the fact that having a child out of wedlock is more acceptable nowadays and not necessarily the source of shame it once was.

"The increase in births to unwed mothers was seen in all racial groups, but rose most sharply among Hispanics. It was up among all age groups except youngsters ages 10 to 17.

"'A lot of people think of teenagers and unmarried mothers synonymously, but they are not driving this,' said Stephanie Ventura of the National Center for Health Statistics, a co-author of the report...

"About 4.1 million babies were born in the United States last year, up slightly from 2004. More than 1.5 million of those were to unmarried women; that is about 37 percent of the total. In 2004, about 36 percent of births were out of wedlock.

"Out-of-wedlock births have been rising since the late 1990s.

"Several factors may be contributing to the trend, said Dr. Yolanda Wimberly, an adolescent-medicine specialist at Atlanta's Morehouse School of Medicine.

"More women in their 30s and 40s, hearing their biological clock, are choosing to give birth despite their single status. Younger women are not as worried about being unmarried, either, she added.

"'I think it's more acceptable in society' to have a child without getting married, she said."

Read the full article here.

The trend toward single motherhood is usually treated in one of three ways: it's an example of how men are irresponsible and bad; it's a symbol of women's increasing independence and empowerment; and/or there's little stigma today against it, so why not? While there's certainly truth in all of those, there's another aspect which is usually not mentioned but which is perhaps the most important of all--this is something which women are choosing to do, even though it's bad for our children and bad for our society.

I discussed single motherhood as it relates to women's independence and empowerment in my co-authored column Are Single Mothers the 'New American Family?' (World Net Daily, 9/28/06) and in my columns Raising Boys Without Men: Lesbian Parents Good, Dads Bad (World Net Daily, 9/10/05) and Are Boys Really Better off Without Fathers? (San Francisco Chronicle, 8/31/05, Seattle Post Intelligencer, 9/6/05). My underlying message is that women's independence/empowerment is a good thing but that some women misuse and abuse that power, just as some men abuse their power. As a society we're very keyed in to the ways that men abuse their power but are largely blind to or in denial about the ways women abuse their power.

On the subject of irresponsible men, a flip side of the "irresponsible men" postulate is the "marriage strike" argument. I put forth this idea several years ago in the Philadelphia Inquirer in my co-authored column Have Anti-Father Family Court Policies Led to a Men's Marriage Strike? (7/5/02). We wrote:

"Kathleen is attractive, successful, witty, and educated. She also can't find a husband. Why? Because most of the men this thirty-something software analyst dates do not want to get married. These men have Peter Pan Syndrome--they refuse to commit, refuse to settle down, and refuse to 'grow up.'

"However, given the family court policies and divorce trends of today, Peter Pan is no naive boy, but instead a wise man.

"'Why should I get married and have kids when I could lose those kids and most of what I've worked for at a moment's notice?' asks Dan, a 31 year-old power plant technician who says he will never marry. 'I've seen it happen to many of my friends. I know guys who came home one day to an empty house or apartment--wife gone, kids gone. They never saw it coming. Some of them were never able to see their kids regularly again.'"


A Brief Salute to an Opponent

On several occasions I've noted that many of my misguided feminist critics criticize me without providing links to my work that they're criticizing. By contrast, I try to make a  point of linking to opposition material and allowing my readers to read the point of view of those I criticize.

In this light I must give Rosanna Hertz, the feminist law professor I criticize in Are Single Mothers the 'New American Family?' (World Net Daily, 9/28/06), a salute. On her press page I noticed that she lists and links to my column criticizing her. I'll return the gesture by linking to her press page here, and also to her recent column And baby makes two (Christian Science Monitor, 10/30/06).

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Tawny Kitaen in Trouble Again

Some of you may recall the case of former pitcher Chuck Finley, who was a victim of domestic violence perpetrated by his then-wife, actress Tawny Kitaen.

Kitaen was arrested in April of 2002 for attacking Finley as he was driving the couple home. Police officers reported seeing abrasions and scrapes on Finley's body after Kitaen had allegedly kicked Finley repeatedly with her high-heeled shoes, grabbed his ear and twisted it, and put her foot on top of his, forcing the accelerator to the floor. After Kitaen's arrest, Finley was granted temporary custody of their two daughters, then ages nine and three.    

Pam Sheek, a 51 year-old nanny who has cared for the Finley children for six years, made a sworn declaration shortly afterward stating that Kitaen has a severe prescription drug addiction and that her erratic and abusive behavior has often put the children at risk. She described an incident in March, 2002 when Kitaen turned on the gas in the gas fireplace log without lighting it and then called the two children to come into bed with her to go to sleep. Sheek, suspicious, entered the room and, smelling the gas, turned off the fireplace, probably saving the lives of both Kitaen and her children.

In September of 2003 Kitaen went on the Howard Stern Show and denied everything, claiming that she was the victim of abuse, and that she was getting railroaded. I criticized her for this on His Side with Glenn Sacks, and sure enough I got a letter from Kitaen the next week, telling me that I was wrong, irresponsible, unfair to her, etc.

A little while afterwards I was amazed but not surprised to see that Inside Edition did an interview exclusive with Kitaen shortly after the Stern Show, and in it Kitaen admitted that she had attacked Finley. Kitaen's letter of apology to me must have gotten lost in the mail.

Now Kitaen is back in trouble again. According to the E! Online article Tawny Kitaen's Cocaine Rap:

"Actress Tawny Kitaen, who was best known for a handful of '80s-era roles before supposedly clocking hubby Chuck Finley with her high-heeled shoes, was rung up Tuesday on a felony drug charge. 

"Prosecutors said that the Bachelor Party bride-to-be is facing one count of possessing a controlled substance after police found 15 grams of cocaine in her apartment. 

"According to Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff's Department, deputies showed up at Kitaen's San Juan Capistrano apartment to perform a 'welfare check' on her and her two daughters with Finley, Wynter and Raine. 

"Police said that Kitaen was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol at the time but that the children, ages 8 and 13, were home when officers arrived and found the cocaine.  

"Kitaen, 45, who's scheduled to be arraigned Dec. 18, is facing up to three years in prison if convicted. But, she can avoid hard time if she qualifies for a drug diversion program and enters rehab, O.C. District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Susan Schroeder said. 

"Whitesnake's favorite hood ornament pleaded guilty to attacking Finley, then a pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, in 2002 in exchange for the court's dismissal of two misdemeanor spousal abuse charges. Kitaen agreed to attend anger management and conflict resolution counseling and donate $500 to a battered-women's shelter. 

"The case wasn't closed until October 2003, however, when Kitaen issued a written apology for saying in an interview on The Howard Stern Show that she had been forced into a guilty plea. The onetime music video muse also denied having a drug problem, which Finley had alleged in court documents and Kitaen later admitted, saying she had developed an addiction to prescription meds for depression and migraines. 

"Finley filed for divorce on Apr. 4, three days after he accused Kitaen of kicking him with her stiletto boots and viciously twisting his ear while the couple were driving to their home in Newport Beach..."

It's against my nature to ever sympathize with false accusers, and I doubt I'll ever be counted among Kitaen's supporters. Nevertheless, I certainly don't think she should go to jail for three years for possessing cocaine. Similarly, I don't believe we should be locking up hundreds of thousands of people--mostly minority males--for drug use, either.

Nobody despises drug abuse more than I, but I also believe that while our society insists on treating drug abuse as a criminal justice problem, it is in reality a public health problem. Many of these celebrity drug cases are a good example. Kitaen has screwed up her life with her drug addictions, yet she continues, and the criminal justice system's typical reaction--"she's broken the law, let's put her in jail" doesn't begin to address her real problem.

The Steve Howe and Daryl Strawberry cases are other examples. Both were immensely talented athletes who damaged/destroyed their careers because of their addictions. Logically, all three would do anything to get off of the stuff. I have to believe that the reason is not that they don't want to, but that they can't.

I suppose one could argue that locking them up separates them from their drugs, but I doubt this is true--there are plenty of drugs in prison. One time I heard a radio interview with an ex-convict who said that he used to sneak under the guard tower at his prison, meet his dealer and do his drugs. I remember thinking "here's a guy who's locked up in prison, surrounded by huge cement walls and barbed wire, standing underneath a tower with two guards and a machine gun, and he still got his drugs. Prison is not the answer."

I discussed our society's misguided drug policies on the His Side with Glenn Sacks show Warehousing Minority Males (3/14/04) with Judge Jim Gray, former Libertarian Party candidate for US Senate in California, and David Borden, Executive Director of the Drug Reform Coordination Network. The two are among America's leading opponents of the "War on Drugs."
 

Help for Midwest Fathers
Cordell & Cordell is one of the largest domestic relations firms for men in the Midwest, representing fathers in Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Kansas, Indiana and Georgia. Men who come to Cordell & Cordell know that their interests and the interests of their children will be aggressively championed. www.cordellcordell.com

Civil War - A Father's Guide to Winning Child Custody
Joseph E. Cordell's Civil War - A Father's Guide to Winning Child Custody gives fathers clear, easy-to-understand tips on how to achieve the best results possible in a divorce. Comprehensive chapters explain every step of the divorce process, the meaning of legal terms, how courts determine custody, and how to maximize chances of victory at every stage. Cordell is the founder of Cordell & Cordell.

The Cost of Divorce to Businesses

I've pointed out on numerous occasions the problems faced by divorced and divorcing military parents--to learn more, see my co-authored column Protect Deployed Parents' Rights (Tucson Citizen, 11/9/06, Trenton Times, 11/11/06, Macon Telegraph, 11/11/06). The military has recognized the way divorce is hurting its personnel, and has taken some steps to try to curb divorce within its ranks.

Divorce is also very costly to businesses. I believe that eventually the business community will be compelled to fully recognize this, and join in efforts to reduce the divorce rate and to address the problems within the family law system which help make divorce so painful and devastating. Dr. John Curtis has a business background and is also a former marriage counselor, and he has some interesting observations on this issue in his book The Business of Love. Below are some quotes Curtis has collected from experts about the cost of divorce to businesses:

"Have you looked at your employee assistance program statistics lately? You would suddenly find the number of people who sought assistance in areas that are related to marriage. Your employee costs are higher today because of the difficulty your people are having in their marriages." -- Former Lieutenant Governor John Mutz of Indiana (1981-1989), President of PSI Energy (1993-1999)

"A family or career does not happen in a vacuum. It's all interwoven. It's interrelated...The divorce rate has an impact on the bottom line of every business because divorce is not an easy thing and whenever a person is undergoing divorce, that affects their ability to focus and concentrate in their business...Personal problems inevitably distract workers and sap them of energy." -- Dr. Joy Reed Belt - Owner, Oklahoma City Human Resources Consulting Firm

"...good marriages may buffer couples against the stress of demanding jobs in which the worker has little control....You may not be able to get away from the job stress, but a good marriage soothes people, minimizing bad effects from the job." -- American Psychosomatic Society - Study by psychologists Janice Kiecolt-Glaser and Ronald Glaser of Ohio State University College of Medicine, Vancouver, B.C.

"You can't expect people to do well in their business if they've got problems at home...Happy homes means more productive employees."-- S. Truett Cathy, Founder of Chick-fil-A which spends millions annually on programs to help couples enrich their relationships.

"Divorce disrupts the workplace more than drugs or alcohol." -- The College of Family Life Extension

I've discussed Curtis' work on marriage before--see Marriages Breaking up over Money.

How to Stop a Dirty Divorce
Many fathers are very naive when they walk into family court, and the results can be disastrous. Family Law Attorney A.J. Comparetto's Ultimate Guide to Stopping a Dirty Divorce teaches you the Dirty Divorce tricks before they are played on you. It's a series of cassettes and videos which teaches you what judges really want to hear from you in court, how to keep your words from being twisted by attorneys, and how to keep your kids from being caught in the middle. www.divorceproblems.com.

Concerned about Financial Issues in Your Divorce?
If you're concerned about financial issues in your divorce, contact Jim DiGabriele of DiGabriele, McNulty & Co by email here or at 973-243-2600.

Los Angeles Dads--Free Legal Consultation on Your Case
If you are involved in a divorce, domestic violence, paternity, child custody or support case in the greater Los Angeles area, call Stephen A. Gershman to schedule your FREE initial one hour consultation at (888) 295-1756 or (818) 990-6505. Gershman is certified as a Specialist in Family Law by the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California. He is an experienced attorney, over 25 years, who will competently and aggressively defend you against unjust domestic violence restraining orders or unfair financial obligations. When Parental Alienation or custody is an issue, he will help you protect your relationship with your kids. www.losangelesfamilylawyer.com  

 
Wisdom of Our Fathers

As I mentioned after my co-authored column America's Father Hunger (World Net Daily, 10/13/06) came out, a new feature on my enewsletter for the near future is an excerpt from Wisdom of Our Fathers. This week's excerpt is "The Mail" from John Mooy, of Interlochen, Michigan, about his father mailman Nat Mooy (1905-1985).

"As a young boy, I sometimes traveled the country roads with my dad. He was a rural mail carrier in southwestern Michigan, and on Saturdays he would often ask me to go on the route with him. I loved it. Driving through the countryside was always an adventure. There were animals to see, people to visit, and freshly-baked chocolate-chip cookies if you knew where to stop, and Dad did. We made more stops than usual when I was on the route because I always got carsick, but stopping for me never seemed to bother Dad.

"In the spring, Dad delivered boxes full of baby chicks. Their continuous peeping could drive you crazy, but Dad loved it. When the peeping became too loud to bear, you could quiet them down by trilling your tongue and making the sounds of a hawk. When I was a boy it was fun to stick your fingers through one of the holes in the side of the cardboard boxes and let the baby birds peck on your finger. Such bravery!

"On Dad's final day of work on a beautiful summer day, it took him well into the evening to complete his rounds because at least one member of each family was waiting at their mailbox to thank him for his friendship and his years of service. 'Two hundred and nineteen mailboxes on my route,' he used to say, 'and a story at every one.' One lady had no mailbox, so Dad took the mail in to her every day because she was nearly blind. Once inside, he read her mail and helped her pay her bills. And every Thursday he read her the local newspaper.

"Mailboxes were sometimes used for things other than mail. One note left in a mailbox read, 'Nat, take these eggs to Marian; She's baking a cake and doesn't have any eggs, and don't stop to talk to Archie!' Mailboxes might be buried in the snow, or broken, or lying on the ground, but the mail was always delivered. On cold days Dad might find one of his customers waiting for him by the mailbox with a cup of hot chocolate. A young girl wrote letters but had no stamps, so she left a few buttons on the envelope in the mailbox; Dad paid for the stamps. One busy merchant used to leave large amounts of cash in his mailbox in a paper bag for Dad to take to the bank. On one occasion, the amount came to $32,000. It's hard to believe, but it's true.

"A dozen years ago, when I traveled back to my hometown on the sad occasion of Dad's death, the mailboxes along the way reminded me of some of his stories. I thought I knew them all, but that wasn't quite the case.

"As I drove through Marcellus, I noticed to aluminum lamp poles, one on each side of the street, reflecting the light of the late-afternoon summer sun. When my dad was around, those poles supported wooden boxes that were roughly four feet off the ground. One box was painted green, and the other was red, and each had a slot at the top with white lettering: SANTA CLAUS, NORTH POLE. For years children had dropped letters to Santa through those slots.

"I made a left turn at the corner and drove past the post office and across the railroad tracks to our house. Mom and I were sitting at the kitchen table when I heard footsteps on our porch. There, at the door, stood Frank Townsend, who had been Dad's postmaster and great friend for many years. So of course we all sat down at the table and began to tell stories.

"At one point Frank looked at me across the table with tears in his eyes. 'What are we going to do about the letters this Christmas?' he asked.

"The letters?"

"I guess you never knew."

"Knew what?"

"'Remember, when you were a kid and you used to put your letters to Santa in green and red boxes on Main Street? It was your dad that answered all those letters that the kids wrote every year.'

"I just sat there with tears in my eyes.  It wasn't hard for me to imagine Dad sitting at the old oak table in our basement reading those letters and answering each one. I have since spoken with several of the people who received Christmas letters during their childhood, and they told me how amazed they were that Santa had know so much about their homes and families.

"For me, just knowing that story about my father was the gift of a lifetime."


I Almost Made a Mistake

I sometimes tell my daughter stories from Wisdom of Our Fathers for bedtime. A few weeks ago I started telling her this story and then I realized in the middle of it that I was in trouble. My daughter still believes in Santa Claus, and this story presupposes that there is no Santa Claus. In the middle I improvised and changed the story, making it not much of a story at all. My daughter gave me a funny look. I'm not really one for trying to get my kids to believe in Santa, but I've always figured that as long as they want to believe it, I won't do anything to dissuade them. I keep telling my wife that "this is the last Christmas she'll believe in Santa," but I've been wrong twice already, and I guess I just don't have the heart to tell the little lamb the truth...
 

Steven Carlson's How to Win Child Custody
Are you contemplating divorce or separation but are unsure about how child custody will be determined or what you can expect from attorneys and the family court system? Knowing these things can help you win custody. Steven Carlson is known nationally as The Custody Coach, and has helped thousands of parents with child custody and custody evaluation. He is the author of "How to Win Child Custody" and the founder of Child Custody Coach in Orange County, California. Don't get caught unprepared, download your copy of "How to Win Child Custody" today.

Help for Boston Dads
Boston family law attorney Nick Palermo is a shared custody advocate who believes that divorced dads are parents, not visitors. The Law Offices of Nicholas Palermo is a dedicated and committed trial law firm which has worked to make shared custody for all fit parents the law of the land. LAW OFFICES OF NICHOLAS PALERMO

Expose False Allegations with Technology
Don't let the anti-male bias in criminal law victimize you. If you could be falsely accused by an angry woman, be prepared! Use technology to expose the real aggressor. DontMakeHerMad.com

New Jersey Divorce and Family Law
New Jersey family law attorney David Perry Davis, Esq. can help you through your divorce. In Pasqua v. Council (2006) Davis successfully challenged New Jersey's unconstitutional practice of failing to appoint attorneys for indigent child support obligors at enforcement hearings where they face incarceration. As a result of this suit, trial courts must apply the same standard used when a defendant requests a public defender in a criminal matter. www.dpdlaw.com

Without Honor
Has the family court system failed you? Without Honor is the true expose of one man's journey in the Rancho Cucamonga, California Family Law court system. It chronicles the destruction of a man's life at the hands of unethical attorneys and judges, who carry out their operations under the guise of equitable, established law and the facade of respectability. Order Without Honor by clicking here.


Dissident Domestic Violence Experts Form New Group to Challenge DV Establishment

As I've noted on many occasions, the domestic violence establishment is not telling us the full truth about domestic violence, and many destructive family law policies have been based on misleading information. Research clearly establishes that women are frequently the aggressors in domestic combat, often employing the element of surprise and weapons to compensate for men's strength. In my co-authored column October's Domestic Violence Awareness Month Ignores Many Victims (Omaha World Herald, 10/26/06, Daytona Beach News-Journal, 10/20/06, Louisville Courier-Journal, 10/4/06) I explained:

"Current DV policies are so at odds with research and reality that many domestic violence researchers and treatment providers are rebelling against the DV establishment. Earlier this year over 50 of these authorities signed a letter urging the California legislature to stop the state's policy of excluding male victims and their children from DV services.

"According to signatory John Hamel, LCSW, a court-certified batterer treatment provider, research shows that children who witness their mothers abusing their fathers are just as likely to assault their intimate partners when they are adults as those who saw their fathers assault their mothers. Hamel, the author of Gender-Inclusive Treatment of Intimate Partner Abuse: A Comprehensive Approach, told legislators:

"'Men account for half of all DV victims and incur a third of DV-related injuries. There is an overwhelming, irrefutable body of research indicating that children are adversely affected by witnessing interparental violence, regardless of the perpetrator's gender. Ignoring female-on-male violence inhibits our efforts to combat domestic violence.'"

The "rebellion" I mentioned in the column just took a major step forward with the formation of the National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center. The NFVLRC is a group of distinguished domestic violence experts who have joined together to "advocate for non-discriminatory and evidence-based policies" and correct the many damaging laws and policies which have been based on misleading claims. In a new statement Hamel, one of the leaders of the NFVLRC, says:

"The founding members of NFVLRC have recognized for some time that current polices are politically driven rather being based on scientifically sound information, and are seeking to change them. As a result of flawed policies, many children are being denied the same range of services simply because of their victimized parent's gender. Current policies have in many instances also resulted in a loss of civil liberties, and research indicates that they have sometimes resulted in increased danger to victims...NFVLRC believes that unless domestic and family violence policies are reformed, victims, children and future generations will continue to suffer from this social problem."

Founding members of the NFVLRC include: author and psychologist Don Dutton, who served as a domestic violence expert on the prosecution team in the OJ Simpson trial; Carol Ensign, LCSW, former executive director of the Antelope Valley Domestic Violence Council and Los Angeles County "Woman of the Year" in 2000; author and psychologist Kathleen Malley-Morrison; clinical psychologist Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling of the University of South Alabama; forensic psychologist Dr. Tonia Nicholls; Philip Cook, Executive Director for Stop Abuse for Everyone and the author of Abused Men: The Hidden Side of Domestic Violence; Patricia Jones, MS, of the Antelope Valley Domestic Violence Council/Valley Oasis Shelter; batterer intervention specialist Lonnie Hazlewood, M.S.H.P., L.C.D.C., C.C.C.J.S., co-author of The Violent Couple; retired police lieutenant Richard L. Davis, author of Domestic Violence: Facts and Fallacies; Marlene Moretti, PhD, coauthor of the book, Girls and Aggression: Contributing Factors and Intervention Principles; John Hamel; and others.

To learn more about the National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center, visit their website at www.nfvlrc.org. To contact them, write to John Hamel by clicking here.

To learn more about problems with the domestic violence system, see:

Also, listen to the His Side with Glenn Sacks  shows:

Help for Maryland Fathers
Family law attorney Dawn Elaine Bowie works to protect parents' relationships with their children and reduce post-divorce conflict. She practices in Montgomery, Anne Arundel and Prince George's Counties. Contact her at attorneydawn@marylandfamilylawfirm.com or go to www.marylandfamilylawfirm.com.

Parenting Plan Calendar Software
Shared Ground (R) is an easy-to-use custody calendar software program designed for divorced families to track visitation schedules. Includes a built-in percentage calculator, schedule templates, free training and excellent customer assistance. Parents, attorneys, arbitrators and mediators can generate equitable parenting plans, which is especially useful for parents seeking fair division of their children's time. FREE TRIAL SOFTWARE AVAILABLE by clicking here.

How Does Sex Discrimination Affect Men and Boys?
The National Coalition of Free Men Los Angeles is a non-profit educational & civil rights organization that looks at the ways sex discrimination affects men and boys. NCFM-LA helps provide men a unified voice on important political and social issues. www.NCFMLA.org 


My Hero Vindicated Yet Again...

Heroic English fatherhood protester David Chick (aka "Spiderman") has been acquitted yet again--it's been three strikes you're out for the English legal system. In my column In Defense of Spiderman (Cybercast News Service, 11/11/03) I wrote:

"The mayor of London compares him to Osama bin Laden. He's been dubbed a 'menace' holding a city for 'ransom,' as well as a lunatic and an extremist.

"What has 36 year-old David Chick done to arouse such anger? He loves his little daughter, from whom he's been forcibly separated, and he had the courage to do something about it.

"The now world famous Englishman recently ended his traffic stopping, six day, one man protest atop a 150 foot high crane near the Tower Bridge in London. Dressed as Spiderman because he is his two year-old daughter's favorite comic book character, Chick says his daughter's mother has not allowed him to see his girl for eight months and has tried to alienate her from him...

"According to Carol Plummer, Chick's sister, 'David would never harm his daughter or Jo [the ex-girlfriend]. He doesn't want custody of his daughter, he just wants to see her. But Jo is making him suffer by depriving him of seeing his daughter, who is his life'...

"Chick says:

"'[My daughter] is the most precious thing in my world. I was there for the scans when she was still in the womb, I was there for her birth. I fed her, bathed her, got up in the night with her, cuddled her when she cried.'

"Now I'm just another statistic--another dad who has no part in his daughter's life. For me, it is a living bereavement.'

"Today fathers in England, America and most of the Western world stand upon a foundation of sand, knowing that our loved ones can be ripped away from us and there is often little we can do about it. We invest our lives in the children we love and tell them that we will always be there for them. But in the back of our minds we can't help but think of a question which Spiderman no doubt considered before he began his ascent up that crane hanging over Tower Bridge: will we be allowed to?"

Chick's efforts captured the public's imagination, and he came in second in the Evening Standard London Personality of the Year contest, and was the runner-up Political Personality of the Year on a major English television station.

At his trial Chick showed that he had been to court 25 times and spent the equivalent of $30,000 in unsuccessful attempts to get English courts to enforce his visitation rights. He was acquitted by an English jury, some of whom were reportedly moved to tears by his testimony. Strike one.

In September 2004, Chick struck again, climbing the London Eye, an enormous 450-foot-high ferris wheel on the banks of the River Thames. Chick spent 18 hours there--one hour for every month that had passed since he had been able to see his little daughter. Nearly 20,000 people were prevented from visiting the attraction because the police closed it down during the protest.

Popular still, a London jury again acquitted Chick of causing a public nuisance. Strike two.

In 2004 Chick was convicted of harassment because he and his ex-sister-in-law had some angry text mail exchanges. Chick was angry that after the woman divorced his brother she prevented his three nephews from contact with him, even though they had been very close. I don't blame David for being annoyed, but in the end it's always the parents' decision, good or bad.

Chick says the charge was concocted by the police as a way of preventing him from continuing his protests--the bail conditions would have prevented Chick from protesting at the Labour Party Conference of 2004. Chick's conviction was just overturned on appeal. Strike three.

Read the full article on Chick from the U.K. newspaper The Argus at Fathers' rights protester cleared (11/2/06).

Chick's heroics won him something, though not as much as they should have. Chick now sees his daughter on regular visitation. That's progress, but it's a sad indicator of how bad our system is. Chick had to repeatedly risk his life and risk prison just to get less than what every fit parent should have automatically upon divorce or separation--substantially equal physical time with one's child.

Earlier this year Chick sent me a "picture of my little princess and I for you to see how we're getting on." To see the picture, click here. Chick's daughter looks very happy, and she's almost as beautiful as mine...

To learn more about Chick, see his website www.SpidermanDad.com.
 
Lisa Scott Launches RealFamilyLaw.com
Shared Parenting Advocate/Family Law Attorney Lisa Scott has launched www.RealFamilyLaw.com to expose the truth about what is happening in our family law system. Lisa, the all-time leader in appearances on His Side with Glenn Sacks, says that she was "tired of having her stuff rejected by elitist bar publications and politically-correct newspapers" and decided to start her own website. www.RealFamilyLaw.com

Help for Michigan Dads
Michigan family law attorney Mindy L. Hitchcock has experience fighting for noncustodial parents against Michigan's abusive FOC. Her holistic approach to divorce gets results for her clients while avoiding the scorched earth approach to law that leaves families emotionally and financially devastated. www.Lady4Justice.com

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John Murtari Update

Thanks to efforts by shared parenting activists Jane Spies and Teri Stoddard, the John Murtari story is being covered by several New York State newspapers and television statements. Murtari says he fell behind on his child support because the court imputed an income to him based on a job he no longer has, and he has had to absorb the travel expenses to see his son, who was moved 2,000 miles away. A recent Associated Press article on Murtari says:

"An inmate who has been fasting for more than 100 days to protest his sentence for failing to pay child support will be featured in a documentary.

"John Murtari, 50, is serving six months at the Justice Center jail and has not eaten since he was incarcerated July 31. On Thursday, Angelo Lobo, a San Diego-based producer, interviewed Murtari for a documentary on people who have been affected by family court decisions and are advocating for reform.

"Murtari is given breakfast drinks through a feeding tube inserted Aug. 10 and his weight is stable, Sgt. Joe Powlina said.

"Murtari owes more than $60,000 to his ex-wife. He has said he can't afford to pay because the support was calculated using an income he no longer has. He is the founder of AKidsRight.org, which criticizes the child support system."

To watch a jailhouse interview with Murtari conducted by News 10 in Syracuse, click here.

As I've noted before, I do have some disagreements with Murtari; however, I tremendously respect his courage, as well as his courteous manner and fighting spirit. I wish we had many more John Murtaris.

In his TV interview Murtari says he hopes his son will see that "Dad did that and people paid attention and it was a good thing, right? You don't have to be angry, you don't have to hurt somebody to get your point across."

He's right.

Help for Seattle Fathers
The Law Offices of O. Yale Lewis III is a one-person law firm that focuses on customer care. Mr. Lewis can help you identify and focus on the outcome that you want and implement the steps necessary to get there. www.yalelewislaw.com.

Help for California Divorced Dads
The Divorced Fathers Network helps dads in Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Santa Cruz. Local chapters sponsor free weekly co-parenting classes, individual mentoring for fathers and much more. www.divorcedfathers.com.

The Secrets of Happily Married Men
How can a man achieve a long and happy marriage? If you've been checking out advice columns or seeing a therapist, you may have been looking in the wrong place. Despite all the advances in brain technology, and all of that we have learned about developmental psychology--men and women are given the same advice about solving problems. But when we ask men what works for them, we hear a different story. www.SecretsofMarriedMen.com


Child Support Enforcement Demands Man Pay Ex-Wife Child Support for Child He Has with New Wife

On many occasions I've discussed problems with child support enforcement and their errors--see my co-authored column Memphis Commercial Appeal, Chest-Thumping Sheriff Humiliate Hard Luck Noncustodial Parents (Tennessee Tribune, 4/27/06), as well as my enewsletter entries Boy Mistakenly Threatened With Jail For Being Deadbeat Dad and I Couldn't Be Less Surprised.

According to the Detroit TV station WXYZ's news report Friend of the Court (11/10/06):

"It's a system designed to protect children from the hardships of divorce, but one family says Wayne County Friend of the Court made life miserable instead.

"The Wayne County Friend of the Court is a place with a history of botching simple cases and turning them into a maddeningly confusing mess.

"No one knows that better than Ruth and Dale Akers, who married 6 years ago and had a baby named Dale IV.

"But then they got a notice from Friend of the Court saying their son wasn't theirs. Instead, it said, he belonged to Dale's ex-wife and Dale owed child support.

"Bungling cases isn't anything new at Friend of the Court. In recent years Action News has repeatedly showed you how Friend of the Court has accused honest men of being deadbeat dads even when they had proof they were paying child support or didn't owe a penny.

"Terrance Hale said Friend of the Court misspelled his name and had him paying support for a newborn named Marjae to a stranger named Toni Etters.

"'All they could tell me is this is your kid because the computer says it's your kid,' he said.

"Director of the state's office of child support Marilyn Stephen says the program has improved but admits problems linger with the state's million dollar computer system.

"The state has been making similar excuses since it first installed the system 3 years ago.

"'Every time you go in and touch something in system, extensive testing is required to make sure no ripple effect and change other calculations resulting in problems,' said Stephen.

"But Ruth and Dale say there is no excuse for what Friend of the Court has done to them.

"Records show Dale has faithfully paid his ex-wife child support for three children they've had together. But two years ago, the child support computer system started making life miserable.

"This year alone in a four week stretch Dale got three notices; the first said he owed about $700 a month, the second said he owed $849, and the last one said he owed more than $1,300.

"And then the most baffling mistake of all, asking Dale to pay his ex-wife for a son he had with his current wife.

"But the state and Friend of the Court haven't even been able to fix that, instead saying what they've said for years, 'we're working on it'."

If you're a California child support obligor with this type of problem, write to me about it by clicking here. Thanks to Jane Spies of the National Family Justice Association for the news tip.

Experience the Book that Dares to Scream the Inner Thoughts of Men
Drawing upon encounters with both foreign and domestic women, American writer Thomas Ellis offers up The Rantings of a Single Male: Losing Patience with Feminism, Political Correctness... and Basically Everything--a collection of incredible but true stories, satire, and social commentary. Running the gamut from hilarious to tragic, these rants employ dark humor to illuminate the many absurdities of our gender culture. Ellis is unapologetic and unrestrained in his handling of women's history, women's spirituality, gender norming, implants, affirmative action, rape hysteria, pornography, homophobia, and bad dates. Contains adult situations and language. Now in its third printing. On sale through the end of 2006 for $9.95 + shipping from Amazon via direct purchase.

The LaMusga Company
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Feminist Blogger Needs to Check That One...

As I've mentioned before, I'm a frequent target of feminist bloggers. For a few examples, click here, here, here, here and here. I ignore 99.9% of it, but occasionally there's something of note. Recently one of my readers sent me this blog post by blogger Red State Feminist. Red State Feminist, who focuses on family law issues, writes:

"Glenn Sacks and other Fathers Rights groups have aggressively pushed 'shared-parenting' legislation, (mandatory joint custody in all situations)."

I think she needs to check that one. Even a cursory examination of my columns on shared parenting quickly reveal that I do not support "mandatory joint custody in all situations." For example, in HB 5267 Will Help Michigan's Children of Divorce (Lansing State Journal, 5/28/06) I wrote:

"Both Domestic Violence Escape and NOW claim that the bill will put abused women in harm's way. According to DOVE, HB 5267 'sends a clear message to battered women and children that the 'rights' of a batterer take precedence over their safety and wellbeing.' Yet under HB 5267 only fit parents are eligible for joint custody--battered mothers should and would receive sole custody." 

In A330 Would Help New York's Children of Divorce (Albany Times Union, 3/28/06) I wrote:

"NY NOW and others are legitimately concerned about protecting divorcing women who have been victims of domestic violence. However, A330's presumption of joint custody only applies to fit parents--abused women would receive sole custody."

In Louisiana's HB 315 Says One Parent is Better Than Two (Shreveport Times, 5/20/06) I wrote:

"Current Louisiana law states 'To the extent it is feasible and in the best interest of the child, physical custody of the children should be shared equally.' This is reasonable--it presumes that as long as both parents are fit and there are no extenuating circumstances, they should both share in parenting their children. HB 315 weakens the law's wise preference for two parents instead of one. Under the bill all that children receive is a vaguely defined 'as frequent and continuing contact as is feasible with each parent.' However, research establishes that shared custody is what's best for kids."

I have a hard time seeing how anyone could honestly state that I advocate "mandatory joint custody in all situations."

Red State Feminist also writes that I am "notoriously misogynist" in my "rhetoric." Many times I've challenged critics to cite a single instance of this in my columns, radio appearances and enewsletters, but no one ever takes me up on it. When I've debated misguided women's advocates on the radio and TV and they throw out the "misogynist" label, I always smile inside, knowing that they just surrendered. As I always say, "A misogynist is a man who is winning an argument with a feminist."

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Legal Help for Fathers
If you live in Los Angeles, Riverside or Orange counties and you're facing a divorce, separation, or a child custody issue, the law firm of Oddenino & Gaule can help. www.OddLaw.net

Legal Help for Fathers in New Jersey
If you're a New Jersey father facing a divorce or separation, the law firm of Pitman, Pitman, Mindas, Grossman & Lee can help. PitmanLaw.com


Another Fan

As supportive as Red State Feminist is of my work, a recent letter writer was even more helpful. Crystal writes:

"Mr. Sacks,

"You are some piece of work...I am an unemployed mother of 3 kids and one granddaughter. My issue however is only with the father of one of my children. My other kids have different fathers...my son who is 8 years old has a father that has been to court with me so many times I cannot even begin to count. He has disobeyed every court order put upon him. He is over $14,000 in arrears and he has once again, in less than 2 years, after I spent a great deal of money for an attorney, stop paying me. How many times am I suppose to allow this? Well no more. He has not paid me since June and he has been ordered to pay me $300 a month a drop in the bucket compared to what he makes. I am out again over $1,200 in June. Is this the kind of father you advocated? Then you sir can and will by the grace of God GO TO HELL.

"Your stories mean nothing to me as most fathers get the children and either run, allowing the wife to never see them again or they are child abusers. Wake up and smell the devastation you have caused! May you rot in hell for the work you do!

"P.S. I am a college educated mother who knows more about raising children in my baby finger than you will ever know."

Interesting too how Crystal assumes that I have no idea how to care for my children. Actually, I've been my children's primary caregiver for the past 8+ years, and was a stay-at-home dad for the first three years of my daughter's life. I guess since I'm a man I can't possibly know how to raise children...

Best Wishes,
Glenn Sacks
GlennSacks.com

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