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Fathers and Families

Opponents of Shared Parenting Fire Back;
Parental Alienation Action Alert
July 12, 2011
Top Stories
Action Alert: Opponents of Shared Parenting Fire Back at F & F in Boston Globe Magazine

Ned HolsteinThe Boston Globe Magazine ran a feature interview (pictured, right) with Fathers and Families’ Board Chairman and founder Ned Holstein, M.D., M.S. on Father’s Day.

In the piece — Fighting dad (6/18/11) — Holstein discussed our shared parenting bill H02684, which has been endorsed by nearly a third of the Massachusetts legislature. Holstein explained:
Women’s groups are also against [the bill], but they can’t turn out a crowd on this issue. The public understands this is good for children…Judges still award [physical] custody to mothers by default; fathers still see their children every other weekend and maybe Tuesday nights. It’s a cookie-cutter solution that has outlived its usefulness.
The consequences of this, Holstein noted, include:
There is evidence showing adverse outcomes [for kids]. They feel terrible, they long for the missing parent, and begin to draw conclusions that they’re not worthy.
Predictably, there’s now a blowback against Holstein and F & F from opponents of the interests of children of divorce–the domestic violence group Jane Doe Inc., and a divorce attorney, Laura W. Gal.

Jane Doe Inc. and other domestic violence groups have largely succeeded in blocking shared parenting legislation by ludicrously equating divorced fathers seeking a meaningful role in their children’s lives with wife-beaters and child abusers. Jane Doe’s Executive Director Mary R. Lauby accuses Holstein and F & F of “wholesale misogyny” and writes:
We are not sure which is more disturbing: the false claims that Holstein continues to peddle or the uncritical reporting on behalf of the Globe...A review of case outcomes in Massachusetts reveals that in cases where the divorce is contested and abuse is reported, fathers are likely to receive either sole or joint custody. In addition, abusive husbands are more likely to contest custody as a means of controlling or emotionally attacking their victims.
Massachusetts divorced fathers–few of whom get true joint custody–will no doubt be surprised to find that fathers are so favored in court that even fathers who are wife-beaters usually get “either sole or joint custody.”

In another letter, divorce attorney Gal writes:
…Holstein…claims that judges use “default” or “cookie-cutter” solutions and show “old-fashioned gender bias.” As a family law attorney, I can say these claims are inaccurate and misleading…The current law is clear and comprehensive: (1) Parents have equal rights; (2) there is no presumption in favor of, or against, shared custody; and (3) custody decisions are based on the best interests of the children. There is no default outcome. Bias is explicitly prohibited.
In the overwhelming majority of Massachusetts cases today, mothers receive sole custody and fathers are only allowed to spend a few days a month with their children. Does Gal actually expect us to believe that this occurs independent of gender bias? That mothers are such better parents than fathers that courts are truly acting in children’s best interests by severely restricting their time with their fathers?

We want you to write a Letter to the Editor of the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine at

We also urge you to comment on the piece by clicking here.

Lauby and Gal’s full letters can be seen here under the subheading “Contesting divorce.”

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Massachusetts Action Alert
Action Alert: MA Residents, Tell Gov. Patrick You Support Shared Parenting on July 21 & July 26

What's Happening
Action Alert: Parental Alienation Still Under Consideration for DSM-5, Your Comments Needed

Recently there have been rumors that the DSM-5 Task Force has already decided not to include Parental Alienation Disorder in DSM 5. Psychiatrist William Bernet recently checked these statements with members of the DSM-5 leadership, and found that they are not accurate.

According to Dr. Bernet, the DSM-5 Task Force is still considering the option of adding “parental alienation relational problem” (PARP), and perhaps other possibilities.

The DSM-5 Task Force has extended until July 15 the time for comments from the public. We urge you to comment by clicking here. We suggest you refer to “Parental Alienation Relational Problem” (PARP) or “Parental Alienation,” and that you keep your comments brief and to the point.

MA House Advances Alimony Reform Bill

Good news on Massachusetts alimony reform–from the State House News Service’s new article “House Advances Bill Overhauling Alimony Laws” (7/7/11):
The House signaled Thursday that it appears ready to tackle an issue that policy makers have long eyed as in need of reform: the alimony system…the House gave initial approval to a sweeping reform bill and Rep. Paul Donato, (D-Medford), a member of Speaker Robert DeLeo’s leadership team who presided over Thursday’s session, said the House would likely hold a formal session next week to debate the changes.

Under the proposal, state law would lay out for the first time specific guidelines on the levels and duration of payments to former spouses.
Boston Globe Covers Divorced Father Thomas Ball’s Suicide

Newspaper: ‘Presidential hopefuls Johnson, Pawlenty, Huntsman, Gingrich saying ‘yes’ to divorced fathers’

F & F’s Les Veskrna Responds to Psychology Today re: Parental Alienation

State Department: International Parental Abductions of Children ‘Sharply on the Rise’

Non-Feminist Custody Evaluators See DV as Relational, not Political

Survey: Feminist Custody Evaluators See ‘Kernal of Truth in all DV Allegations’

NYT: How Can We Get Men to do More Childcare?

Study: Feminist Custody Evaluators See Most DV as ‘Intimate Terrorism,’ False Allegations Rare

Census: Dramatic Rise in Number of Single Fathers

Six Children Living in Self-Storage Warehouse Taken by CPS

Survey: Fathers Experience Greater Work-Family Conflict Than Ever Before

In the UK, It’s Government vs. Fathers and Government is Winning

SAVE Creates Model Legislation to Replace VAWA

British Family Justice Review: No Equality For Dads

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