Monday, June 29, 2009

Bradford fire wants Alliston's 'Bat Girl' to pay for broken truck

Posted June 29, 2009

An Alliston woman charged with mischief for climbing the Cookstown Outlet Mall's water tower in April is facing about $50,000 in potential restitution costs, including a $36,921 bill by the Bradford fire department because the truck that responded to the call, broke down on the way back to the station.

Paulette MacDonald, dressed as Bat Girl, climbed the tower to draw attention to Parental Alientation Awareness Day, made a second court appearance last week, and learned from the Crown's disclosure the total cost being sought by South Simcoe Police, Innisfil Fire, and Bradford Fire, is $48,944.

Ms. MacDonald had scaled the tower before sunrise, unfurled a banner supporting her cause, then spent several hours unnoticed before "I finally yelled down to a group of young ladies coming out of the mall and requested that she notify the mall security for me."

Police were called, as were firefighters, first from Innisfil, but then Bradford for its aerial truck.

"When the fireman asked me to come down the ladder of the firetruck, I didn't want to," said Ms. MacDonald in a press release from the group Fathers 4 Justice (F4J). "I felt much safer getting back down the way I came up."

The F4J has also weighed into the situation, suggesting that Bradford should thank "Bat Girl."

"In my eyes, Ms. MacDonald should receive thanks for highlighting flaws in the fire department's equipment before it was actually needed in an emergency," said Kris Titus, F4J National Coordinator. "This might have more to do with with the competence of their maintenance system than our featherweight superhero. We're obviously glad that she was safe during the rescue, considering the circumstances."

Ms. MacDonald is due back in Bradford court July 23.

My letter to the editor, the Mayor and Fire Chief of Bradford West Gwillimbury

Date: 2009/6/29

Subject: Letter to the Editor ~ Bradford fire wants Alliston's 'Bat Girl' to pay for broken truck


Dear Editor:


I'd like to see the maintenance records on the 9 self propelled vehicles in the Bradford Fire Department to ensure the tax payers of this municipality their Fire Chief, Lorne Arscott, actually has a grasp on the areas he needs to manage. They send out #1016 (10 one six) - 100' Aerial (E-ONE) truck to a Grandmother standing steadfastly, strongly and resolutely on a water tower, it is not an emergency by any stretch of the imagination, and they say their truck breaks down. Not overly encouraging is it?

The Fire Chief is playing games with a Crown's Office in Barrie, already under scrutiny for corruption relating to breaking the law in having the police, who are also breaking the law, use the Criminal Conviction data base known as CPIC to pre-screen jurors. Simcoe County used to have more going for it than this. Is this Chief also getting sucked into a prosecutor’s questionable judgment or is this the usual manner that public services pick on citizens in this county?

It is using what power they have to intimidate legitimate protest in aid of children. Did the Chief in Toronto send the bill to the Tamils for the overtime and double shifting of emergency personnel in the city recently? Does the Fire Chief want to cover up their possible mistakes by billing a grandmother that kind of money? Something smells in Bradford. What is it? Power does have its corrupting influences.

Michael Murphy
CC Mayor Doug White , Bradford WG, Fire Chief, Lorne Arscott, Bradford WG


  • 1011 - Rescue Pumper (Almonte/Spartan)
  • 1012 - Pumper/Tanker (Rosenbauer/Spartan)
  • 1014 - Tanker (Dependable/WhiteGMC)
  • 1015 - Pumper/Tanker (Rosenbauer/Spartan on order, currently using a loaner apparatus)
  • 1016 - 100' Aerial (E-ONE)
  • 1019 - Dodge Ram Pickup
  • 10401 - Dodge Ram Van
  • Car 10-1 - Dodge Durango (Fire Chief)
  • Car 10-2 - Dodge Durango (Deputy Fire Chief)
  • Specialized Rescue Trailer

What we need is a fatherhood revolution

It is nice to see more positive discussions on fatherhood. The Victim Feminist mantra that we are all bad and abusers is slowly being suffused with the benefits of paternity for children and that patriarchy is not completely without merit. I don't mean the kind of patriarchy that suppresses anyone rather the kind that offers protection to those in need like our children. There is room for the equality women seek and the strengths dads have to offer in a family of parental equals. Have you ever noticed there is only a one non-vowel letter difference in the words matriarchy and patriarchy. Perhaps we can call a family of parental equals a natriarchy - the "n" standing for neutral. All 3 words start with a consonant.MJM

Warwick Marsh | Saturday, 20 June 2009

The times they are a-changing. Being a dad is becoming cool.

Father's Day 2009 is being celebrated with a renewed sense of vigour and excitement. Fathers and children are appearing in more advertisements. The media are running father-friendly stories. Restaurants are booked out for Father's Day as well as Mother's Day.

When the Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation was formed in 2002 to help and encourage Australian dads, our television community service advertisements were initially threatened with a black ban by the Advertising Standards Board. Political correctness ruled the day and fathers were incorrect. This would not happen today. Fatherhood has become sexy, a newspaper here said recently. A quick squiz at pop culture supports this optimistic statement.

Take the 2003 film Finding Nemo. That was a story about a father fish looking for his son. Amazingly, it is well inside the top 20 grossing movies of all time. Just a bit further down that list are other popular movies with positive fatherhood themes: I am Sam, Dear Frankie, The Incredibles, Night at the Museum, Pursuit of Happyness, and the brilliant Australian movie with Eric Bana, Romulus My Father. Even Snoop Dogg is cashing in on the fatherhood revival with his Father Hood TV show.

Last night, with my wife, I watched Swing Vote, Kevin Costner’s popular film about a no-hoper dad whose vote determines an entire presidential election. Interestingly, the plot revolves around a single father and his daughter and treats him with a great deal of respect. This story could never have screened 20 years ago. Fatherhood is coming in from the cold -- and not before time.

Here in Australia, songwriter Colin George put together a compilation CD called Fatherhood which features some of our best artists such as Paul Kelly, Shane Howard, Neil Murray and John Butler. They sing about their children, fatherhood and families. This album has morphed into an annual Fatherhood Festival in the surfing town of Byron Bay, which is better known for hardcore punk, drugs and yoga festivals. The home of Australian counterculture has become the home of fatherhood. The idea of a Fatherhood Festival has spread to several other cities in Australia. Similar events are happening in the US. "Family First" is the name of a minor political party in Australia, but the idea putting your family first is catching on. Just like the 60s counterculture, it could be the beginning of a revolution.

The renovation of fatherhood and the renewal of masculinity have been heralded by writers like Ed Cole, author of Maximised Manhood; Gordon Dalby, Healing the Masculine Soul; Robert Bly, Iron John; and Warren Farrell, Father and Child Reunion and even by feminist authors such as Adrienne Burgess, Fatherhood Reclaimed and Susan Falundi, Stiffed. Australian author Steve Biddulph has been a trailblazer for the Australian fatherhood and men's movement for many years. His books sell very smartly overseas as well.

The Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation believes that fatherlessness is a major contributor to the problems our children face. A leading expert, Dr Bruce Robinson, says that fatherlessness costs Australia A$13 billion a year. Similar estimates on the cost of fatherlessness in America by the National Fatherhood Initiative are well over US$100 billion per year. Fatherlessness increases the likelihood that children will grow up in poverty, increased crime, drug abuse, youth suicide, child sexual abuse, mental health problems, high levels of child obesity, poor health, poor nutrition and lower levels of educational performance for children. In spite of what radical feminists may say about the ills of patriarchy, involved and loving fathers are essential for the development of healthy children and strong families.

Last year Matthew Hayden, one of Australia's most famous cricketers, was pleased to go in to bat for Aussie dads and their children. He starred in our community service advertisements around Australia as the epitome of the renewal of Australian fatherhood. I asked Matthew how he felt when he had his first child and how he now feels as a father of three children.

There's nothing that replaces the moment of joy in your life when you have children. As a male I think you actually go through a bit of a chest beating stage. It's like, "Gees, I've produced this beautiful baby, I'm a man." It actually physically does change you as well because suddenly it's not just your wife and you. It's a very unselfish thing, you've now got this beautiful little individual and life, that you have to care and nurture and you become very selfless and that’s a difficult time in your life, but look, whatever you put into life, you get back ten-fold. With our three beautiful children, it’s just amazing how they give back to you in such simple but such rewarding ways. I wouldn’t change one damn thing.

Hayden's passion for his family is inspirational and it is men like him, all across Australia, America and around the world, who are arresting the harmful effects of fatherlessness by their love and commitment to their families. We need a fatherhood revolution which will create involved, committed and responsible fathers. Everyone benefits. A fatherhood revolution will bring support and joy to hardworking mothers and will help children lead exceptional lives.

Warwick Marsh and his wife Alison are the founders of Dads4Kids Fatherhood Foundation. They have five children and have been married for 33 years.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Five Myths on Fathers and Family

Be on the lookout this week for stories with these bogus memes.

By W. Bradford Wilcox

With Father’s Day almost upon us, expect a host of media stories on men and family life. Some will do a good job of capturing the changes and continuities associated with fatherhood in contemporary America. But other reporters and writers will generalize from their own unrepresentative networks of friends and family members, try to baptize the latest family trend, or assume that our society is heading ceaselessly in a progressive direction. So be on the lookout this week for stories, op-eds, and essays that include these five myths on contemporary fatherhood and family life.

Open a newspaper or turn on a TV in the week heading up to Father’s Day and you are bound to confront a story on stay-at-home dads. I have nothing against stay-at-home dads, but they make up a minuscule share of American fathers.

For instance, less than 1 percent (140,000) of America’s 22.5 million married families with children under 15 had a stay-at-home dad in 2008, according to the U.S. Census. By contrast, about 24 percent (5,327,000) of those families had a stay-at-home mom. This means that the vast majoritymore than 97 percent — of all stay-at-home parents are moms, not dads.

The focus on Mr. Mom obscures another important reality. In most American families today, fathers still take the lead when it comes to breadwinning: In 2008, the Census estimated that fathers were the main provider in almost three-quarters of American married families with children under 18. Providership is important to protect children from poverty, raise their odds of educational success, and increase the likelihood that they will succeed later in life. Thus, the very real material contribution that the average American dad makes to his family is obscured by stories that focus on that exotic breed, the stay-at-home dad.

Another prevailing media myth is that contemporary women are looking for fathers who will split their time evenly between work and family life. It may be true for the average journalist or academic, but it is not true for the average American married mom.

married mothers nowadays do want their husbands to do their fair share of housework and childcare. But they do not define fairness in terms of a 50-50 balancing act where fathers and mothers do the same thing at home and work. Instead, contemporary mothers take into account their husbands’ work outside the home when they assess the fairness of the division of labor inside the home.

Moreover, most women who are married with children are happy to have their husbands take the lead when it comes to providing and do not wish to work full-time. For instance, a 2007 Pew Research Center study found that only 20 percent of mothers with children under 18 wanted to work full-time, compared with 72 percent of fathers with children under 18. My own research has shown that married mothers are happiest in their marriages when their husbands take the lead when it comes to breadwinning largely because his success as a provider gives her more opportunities to focus on the children, or balance childcare with part-time work (the most popular work arrangement for married mothers). So, on this Father’s Day, dads who are fortunate enough to hold down a good job and make a major contribution to their families financial welfare should take some comfort from the fact that they are likely to be boosting not only their families bottom line but also their wives’ happiness.

With the rise of cohabitation over the last 40 years, a large minority of American children will spend some time in a household headed by a cohabiting couple. Experts now estimate that about 40 percent of American children will spend some time in a cohabiting household, either because they are born into such a household or because one of their parents cohabits after a breakup. Faced with this reality, many journalists, scholars, and advocates are tempted to minimize the differences between married and cohabiting fathers and families.

But the reality is that, on average, cohabiting fathers do not compare with married fathers. As Sandra Hofferth of the University of Maryland and Kermyt Anderson of the University of Oklahoma found in a recent study, married fathers are significantly more involved and affectionate with their children than are cohabiting fathers. In fact, from their research, they conclude “that marriage per se confers advantage in terms of father involvement above and beyond the characteristics of the fathers themselves.”

Married fathers are also much more likely than their cohabiting peers to stick around. One recent study by Wendy Manning at Bowling Green State and Pamela Smock at the University of Michigan found that 50 percent of children born to cohabiting parents saw their parents break up by age five; by comparison, only 15 percent of children born to married parents saw their parents divorce by age five. Dad is much more likely to stick around if he has a wedding ring on his finger.

This is because, for men, marriage and fatherhood are a “package deal,” as sociologists Frank Frustenberg and Andrew Cherlin observed a number of years ago. By force of law and custom, marriage binds men to their families and gives them a recognizable role to play in the lives of their children. Try as they might, unmarried men typically find it difficult to be a consistent and positive force in the lives of their children.

Every couple of years, some journalist seeks to revive the myth of the good divorceoften to excuse his or her own bad behavior. Sandra Tsing Loh is Exhibit A this week. In the most recent issue of The Atlantic, she spends several thousand words trying to justify her divorce from her husband of 20 yearsa man she admits is a “good man” and “loving father” — under the cover of a sprawling, incoherent, and frankly disturbing review of five books on marriage and family life. (Among other things, the reader is regaled with all too much information about Loh’s private life; we learn, for instance, that one reason she ended up divorced is that she could not replace the “romantic memory of my fellow [adulterous] transgressor with the more suitable image of my husband.”)

Loh claims that her children appear to be doing just fine. Her two school-age girlsaged 7 and 9appear to be “unfazed” and “relatively content” in the midst of their parents’ divorce. Who knew divorce could be so easy on the kids?

In reality, Loh is probably deluding herself. The best social science presents a rather different picture than the rosy one Loh is trying to paint. According to research by Sara McLanahan of Princeton University and Paul Amato of Penn State, girls whose parents divorce are about twice as likely to drop out of high school, to become pregnant as teenagers, and to suffer from psychological problems such as depression and thoughts of suicide. Girls whose parents divorce are also much more likely to divorce later in life.

Moreover, studies indicate that children experience the most harm when their parents divorce after living together in a low-conflict marriage for many years (as Loh appears to have done). Why? These divorces come as the most surprising ones to children who thought that their parents had a good-enough marriage.

Loh manages to find for her Atlantic piece a bunch of well-educated friends who are also entertaining thoughts of divorce, she is (fortunately) in increasingly rare company. The work of sociologist Steven Martin indicates that since 1980, college-educated Americans have grown less tolerant of divorce, and the divorce rate among this cohort has fallen off sharply. Thus, well-educated readers of The Atlantic are unlikely to take Loh’s misleading and self-serving essay to heart.

The final myth propagated by journalists in connection with fatherhood these days is the myth of the dispensable father. Often conjured up in glowing profiles of women who have become single mothers by choice, this myth holds that fathers do not play a central role in children’s lives.

This myth fails to take into account the now-vast social scientific literature (discussed above) showing that children typically do better in an intact, married families with their fathers than they do in families headed by single mothers.

It also overlooks the growing body of research indicating that fathers bring distinctive talents to the parenting enterprise. The work of psychologist Ross Parke, for instance, indicates that fathers are more likely than mothers to engage their children in vigorous physical play (e.g., roughhousing), to challenge their childrenincluding their daughtersto embrace life’s challenges, and to be firm disciplinarians.

Not surprisingly, children benefit from being exposed to the distinctive paternal style. Sociologist David Eggebeen has shown, for instance, that teenagers are significantly less likely to suffer from depression and delinquency when they have involved and affectionate fathers, even after controlling for the quality of their relationship with their mother. In his words, “What these analyses clearly show is that mothers and fathers both make vital contributions to adolescent well-being.”

This is not to say that all journalists get it wrong when it comes to making sense of contemporary fatherhood and family life. This week, for instance, Sue Shellenberger at the Wall Street Journal had a great piece discussing the ways in which mothers serve as gatekeepers for fathers to their children; she also encourages mothers to allow fathers to engage children with their own distinctive style of parenting. Likewise, Linda Carroll at MSNBC has written an incisive story showing that involved and affectionate fathers play a crucial role in steering their daughters away from early sexual activity; in fact, it turns out that dads are more important than moms in protecting their teenage daughters from early sex.

In the coming years, we will need more tough-minded and honest journalism like the kind offered by Shellenberger and Carroll. This is particularly true because the cultural and economic storms of latee.g., the individualistic turn of contemporary life and the recessionhave been eroding the marital foundations of family life in America. Given the social scientific record on fatherhood, marriage, and family life, the United States could use more journalists who are willing to confront hard truths about the roles that fathers and marriage play in advancing the welfare of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens, our children, and the cultural, economic, and legal forces that are now undercutting marriage and fatherhood in America.

W. Bradford Wilcox is a professor of sociology at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow at the Institute for American Values.

National Review Online -

Geoff Hibbert - M25 Batman UK Letter from Jail

1-888-F4J Canada

Press release

Contact: Kris Titus
Phone: 1-888-345-2262 ext.703

June 27, 2009

For Immediate Release June 27, 2009
Geoff Hibbert - M25 Batman UK
Letter from Jail
The Global Battle for equal rights.

F4J Fathers 4 Justice activists fighting for the rights of children to both parents face prison in the UK, Canada and the U.S.A.

Geoff Hibbert, aka M25 Batman, isn't the first and likely won't be the last superhero who has spent time in jail for this worthy and noble goal, but his may be the harshest sentence to date after being convicted by a Jury after police halted traffic on the M25 highway for many hours, he faces the possibility of a 7 year sentence.

"This unjustice at its best. You're kidding yourselves if you think F4J activists will crumble under these ever harsher punishments," says Kris Titus, National Coordinator for the Canadian arm of the International group, "if anything we dig in our heels any further. This is a human rights issue and it's about time it was addressed as one. We stand behind our members in the UK and in the US as well as our own activists facing imprisonment."

Hibbert has begun a hunger strike as he awaits sentencing and his lawyers attempt an appeal.

The news of his conviction has sent tidal waves throughout England and the International Fathers 4 Justice movement

Got your letter today 23/6/09
Thank you very much

Glad to see you and others are doing what you can for me

The court and judge & jury was totally wrong to send me or any father to prison
Because we fight for the right to see our children
Its mothers that should be put in prison not the fathers,

Please make sure that the support is there for me and other fathers

I am ok. And are going for bail this week I hope I get it will have to wait and see.

My new girlfriend is very upset over all this you can call her ***********
She will also let you know what is going on with the case
And the injustice that has been done to me and f4j
The judge said a lot of things about f4j and fathers

The jury of which some did not speak English at all, one of which could not even read the oath out in court,

Ron Reid is a very long and good friend and will talk to you and anyone we know all of my case and so does Marie my girlfriend

Have heard about the newspapers but have been unable to get my hands on any yet

Have not eaten anything from Thursday when I went down to cells but I am drinking tea that’s something

This shows that there is no justice for fathers

By the way the judge acted in this case,

They will not show me the you tube website, but they are trying to help me as much as they can and giving me there support

What happened with the tower protest in oxford the day I was sent down

I will keep my head up high for our children and for fathers of the injustice that the courts are doing to our children and for the fathers who care

Thanks for everything and everyone for there help and there support

Speak to you soon my friend

Geoff Hibbert

CONTACT: National Coordinator, Kris Titus 1-888-345-2262 ext. 703

National Website for more information about F4J Fathers 4 Justice Canada Canada:

National Action website:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Pennsylvania Proposal gives divorced dads reason for hope

This is good news for Pennsylvania dads if it goes through. The objections are typical. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence sees an increase in abuse. Of course they would but given DV is pretty much equal and its mothers who are the main killers and abusers of children their argument is like sand dunes in a strong wind and collapses under its own weight. In fact we will likely see a reduction in child abuse if dads are equals in their children's lives. The judge can still listen to evidence and make an informed decision. The only caveat is we may see an increase in false allegations in a desperate move to maintain the current biased status quo.

The bar associations stance is typical as well. They will lose revenue if they cannot continue to foster an adversarial system pitting parent against parent. Why someone with such a vested pecuniary interest in outcomes should be taken seriously is beyond me. It's like asking the makers of heavy duty winter clothing if global warming will affect their income. Duh! They tout the best interest of the child will be compromised. It shows how little they know and understand the studies that conclude more positive outcomes for children when tw
o parents stay in their lives.MJM

Staff Writer
Lebanon Daily News

Dan Giffin, father, speaks to the county commissioners.
Like many fathers, Dan Giffin has been looking forward to enjoying a relaxing Father’s Day today — in his case, spending it at his Palmyra home playing with his 4-year-old son, Alex.

To Giffin’s delight, the pair are spending a lot more time together now that he has a joint-custody arrangement with the boy’s mother, who lives in Lancaster County. She refused to comment for this article and asked that her name not be included.

The custody agreement gives Alex to each of his parents on an every-other-week basis. It took three years of court hearings and cost both of them tens of thousands of dollars in legal bills to achieve the arrangement, said Giffin, a 32-year-old telecommunications technician.

Before the equal split, Giffin explained, he saw his son about 10 days a month. That was an improvement from the start of their separation in 2006, he said, when he was limited by a court order to seeing him three weekends a month.

Giffin said he is hoping the state Legislature will pass a new custody law that will spare other sparring parents from going through the same stressful and expensive experience.

House Bill 463

House Bill 463, the Presumptive Joint-Custody law, would, at the outset of a couple’s separation or divorce, automatically give each parent equal custody of their children. It would require parents to submit a parenting plan and give the judge the authority to order counseling for them, but it would still leave the door open for appeals by both parents for a different custody arrangement.

Presumptive joint custody is a change from the current statute, which requires that custody decisions be made on a case-by-case basis by judges who are to rule “in the best interest of the child,” after hearing testimony from both parents.

The proposed law is supported by father’s right’s groups, like Fathers4Justice, a national organization with chapters in Pennsylvania. Its members feel that the current custody system is unfair and biased in favor of the mother. They criticize family-law professionals, claiming attorneys want to maintain the status quo because it lines their pockets with legal fees.

“Not everybody is a deadbeat dad,” said Mark Carrol, spokesman for the central Pennsylvania chapter of Fathers4Justice. “I work with a lot of fathers who just want to help raise their children. ... The bottom line is, children need both parents but, for whatever reasons, the courts are biased. Eighty-five percent of the time when dad goes into court asking for more time with his kids, the judge says no.”


Not everyone, however, is in favor of changing the best-interest standard to one requiring presumptive joint custody.

The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence has released a position paper stating that automatic joint custody could increase a child’s exposure to an abusive parent and destabilize children’s lives by ignoring the pre-divorce living arrangement.

Many family-law attorneys also oppose the presumptive joint-custody provision because it puts the interest of the parents above that of the children and will do nothing to minimize custody disputes.

That’s the sentiment of Mary Burchik, an attorney for Buzgon Davis Law Offices and chairwoman of the Lebanon County Bar Association’s Family Law Committee.

“I don’t disagree that both parents need to get involved in the child’s life, but if those two parents don’t get along that does not bode well for a (50/50) shared-custody arrangement,” she said. “My concern is any type of presumption of joint custody will decimate the best interest of the child standard. I believe starting from that presumption takes away all the discretion of the court and the judge, who is the fact finder and who hears from both sides what is going on and makes the final determination of what is in best interest of the child.”

The amended law was written by Rep. Robert E. Belfanti Jr. (D-Montour) who has sponsored similar legislation twice before that did not pass into law. It was introduced in February and referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where it currently awaits review by the Subcommittee on Family Law, chaired by Rep. Kathy Manderino (D-Philadelphia). Belfanti is recovering from health problems and was unavailable for comment.

Finding support

Giffin is a member of the Pennsylvania Families Association, a Lancaster-based support group for parents involved in custody battles. The association, which has both men and women as members, meets regularly and has a Web site, It has been working hard to change custody laws and supports passage of Belfanti’s bill.

Twice in recent weeks, Giffin and other members of the PFA have lobbied the Lebanon County commissioners, urging them to join their counterparts in Lancaster, York and a handful of other counties by writing a letter to Manderino calling for her to convene hearings on the joint-custody bill.

“There’s no good reason why my son had to be deprived of spending equal time with me while the courts took nearly three years and $25,000 in lawyer fees to come to an equal-custody arrangement,” Giffin told the commissioners. “A parent shouldn’t be made to feel that spending time with and raising their child is a privilege. In a higher sense, and in a blessed sense, I feel privileged to watch my son learn, grow and laugh. But when my son’s future is left in the hands of one mortal man (the judge), I just can’t understand that.”

The commissioners decided to stay out of the political fray and did not write a letter to Manderino calling for hearings on HB 463.

“I don’t think any of us felt we should get involved at this time,” Commissioner Larry Stohler said.

Other options

The matter of joint-custody will be taken up in the fall, according to Manderino’s legal counsel. But Belfanti’s bill will not be the only one under consideration.

“We are looking to address this (joint custody) in the fall,” said Mary McDaniels, Manderino’s counsel. “House Bill 463 is just one idea. But we are hoping to take a broader look at the custody issue and maybe give it a total rewrite. Representative Manderino has introduced a bill to do that.”

That more comprehensive bill is HB 1639, similar to Senate Bill 74 submitted by Sen. Stewart Greanleaf (R-Montgomery) in 2007, which died without a vote before the session expired.

Manderino’s bill addresses the joint-custody issue but does not change the “best interest of the child” standard. It does, however, make provisions for jail punishment and fines for parents who violate terms of a court-ordered custody arrangement and spells out the rights of grandparents.

Many of HB 1639’s amendments are based on recommendations included in a report produced by a Joint State Government Commission’s Advisory Committee on Domestic Relations Law that has been reviewing the state’s custody law for more than a decade, said Camp Hill attorney Maria Cognetti, a member of the committee.

Cognetti, who chairs the commission’s subcommittee on custody law, opposes Belfanti’s presumptive joint-custody bill, calling it poorly written and extremely dangerous because it does not protect the child’s best interest. Manderino’s bill is more promising, she said, and picks up where Greanleaf’s bill left off.

“House Bill 1639 goes farther than old Senate Bill 74 in that it re-emphasizes the goal of really making sure that both parents get as much time as possible with their children without it being a presumption,” she said.

Rep. Mauree Gingrich of Palmyra is one of more than 50 co-sponsors of Belfanti’s presumptive joint-custody bill. But she said she has an open mind regarding changes to custody law and will keep close watch as the issue moves through the legislative process.

“This is a sensitive and complex issue,” she wrote in an e-mail response to a request for comment. “The only way to determine if the current process should be re-defined, is to bring the issue forward for comprehensive debate, understanding that decisions regarding custody have a profound impact upon both parents and most of all upon the children who are subject to the order.”

Stressing the positive

With his fight behind him, Giffin said he will continue to work to change the state’s custody law, but most of all he will enjoy parenting his son, who will enter kindergarten in the fall. To make the shared raising of their son easier, he is planning moving closer to his ex-wife.

“I know she loves our son. And she knows I love him, too. I think the system made us adversarial,” Giffin said. “At this point, since we’ve had equal custody, our conversation has been more civil, and our stress levels have all gone down — even Alex’s.”

fromMike Murphy
sender timeSent at 23:03 (GMT-04:00). Current time there: 23:23.,
jeremy swanson <>,
Kris Titus>
date27 June 2009 23:03
subjectYour column "Proposal gives divorced dads reason for hope" June 20/09


Thanks for your coverage of the shared parenting bill. Although I do not live in PA, indeed I don’t even live in your country, the goal to get presumptive 50-50 shared parenting is one that is ongoing in many countries including mine.

I’ve made the following observations in my blogs.

This is good news for Pennsylvania dads if it goes through. The objections are typical. The Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence sees an increase in abuse. Of course they would but given DV is pretty much equal and its mothers who are the main killers and abusers of children their argument is like sand dunes in a strong wind and collapses under its own weight. In fact we will likely see a reduction in child abuse if dads are equals in their children's lives. The judge can still listen to evidence and make an informed decision. The only caveat is we may see an increase in false allegations in a desperate move to maintain the current biased status quo.

The bar associations stance is typical as well. They will lose revenue if they cannot continue to foster an adversarial system pitting parent against parent. Why someone with such a vested pecuniary interest in outcomes should be taken seriously is beyond me. It's like asking the makers of heavy duty winter clothing if global warming will affect their income. Duh! They tout the best interest of the child will be compromised. It shows how little they know and understand the studies that conclude more positive outcomes for children when two parents stay in their lives.

Thank you.

Michael Murphy

When kids get caught in the middle

fromMike Murphy
sender timeSent at 13:15 (GMT-04:00). Current time there: 13:16.
jeremy swanson ,
date27 June 2009 13:15
subjectColumn on Parental Alienation "When kids get caught in the middle"


The behaviours you have outlined are only too typical when it comes to this abuse of children by a parent who hates the ex more than they love the children children and who may have a personality disorder.

The end result for a child is emotional pain and confusion which may last a lifetime. Broader awareness of this is essential in trying to identify it and indeed prevent it.

Thank you for publishing this article.

Michael Murphy

Children of divorce are often forced to choose between mom and dad

Her mother rewrote her history. Our daughter thinks I came into her life in Grade 2.

Posted By Melanie Thompson, EXAMINER STAFF

Updated 2 days ago

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The names in this story have been changed in order to protect “Jenny.”)

Ben no longer sees his daughter. He has lost all contact. A separation from his spouse forced their daughter to choose one parent over the other.

Jenny chose her mother.

Ben always had a normal father-daughter relationship with Jenny. After the separation, Jenny remained with her mother but Ben maintained a regular bi-weekly visitation schedule as agreed to by himself and his ex-spouse.

Things were going well. But soon he began to notice changes in Jenny.


Now, seven years after the separation, she doesn’t want him near. She doesn’t want to go to his home for visits. She doesn’t want his birthday gifts.

Ben has almost given up all hope for a relationship with his daughter.

Jenny is caught in the middle of a case of parental alienation, which commonly occurs among divorced families.

This condition is described by the Parental Alienation Awareness Organization (PAAO) as a group of verbal and non-verbal behaviours by one or both parents that are damaging to children’s mental and emotional well being. Children are manipulated or brainwashed into choosing one parent over the other.

Often, one or both parents will badmouth the other, refuse visitation, and lie, among other aggressive behaviours, which alienates the children and forces them into an unhealthy position of having to choose.

Ben says that is exactly what happened between himself, his ex-spouse and child.

“Her mother re-wrote her history,” Ben says. “Our daughter thinks that I just came into her life in Grade 2, although I’ve been in her life since the day she was born.”

The separation occurred when Jenny was eight years old. Ben and his daughter were closer than ever. But Ben says the bi-weekly visitations began to fall apart when his ex-spouse began to alienate Jenny from him by refusing to allow his visitations.

Lawyers and the court system became involved. A custody battle ensued.

A child psychiatrist was hired to assess Jenny when claims were made by his ex-spouse that Jenny was traumatized and afraid of Ben.

Ben remembered a suggestion his lawyer had made to take videos and photos of his time spent with his daughter to prove they do indeed have a normal relationship.

“I put a video camera up on a shelf at my mother’s…,” Ben says. “It was directed at the couch, and on the video camera it shows Jenny (and I). We come in the door, and she’s laughing and giggling and chasing me with a water pistol. It shows us watching a movie.”

Ben provided this video as evidence. The judge ruled in his favour and ordered that his ex-spouse receive counselling.

Ben says she did not follow the court order, and things have gotten worse since his case was passed on to a new judge.

“I thought, with court orders, people are going to be held accountable for their actions,” says a clearly-frustrated Ben. “But when it came to that, (the judge) just said to her lawyer, ‘Your client simply refused to go.'’ He didn't do anything.”

“I thought all judges were trained in this. That doesn’t appear to be the case.”


Ben hasn’t seen his daughter for almost a year and is awaiting another chance in court to fight for his right to see her.

“They say wait, your child will figure it out when they grow up. But what about all the time in between? All that time is lost.”

Most people aren’t aware of parental alienation until they experience it first-hand. But Ben hopes that by telling his story, more people will recognize parental alienation as a form of child abuse, and maybe other parents won’t have to fight so hard to simply be with their children.

For more information about parental alienation, visit

Friday, June 26, 2009

Egregious Parental Alienation of an American Child in Brazil

Sean Goldman is still a hostage in Brazil as the kidnapping step family still tries to abuse him while manipulating the Brazilian Justice System. CBS had a segment on their morning show this week with the kidnappers which was stunning in its naivete. They gave these Brazilian abusers a platform to try and justify the kidnapping and emotional abuse of a young boy.

The following is a Today Show Interview held June 25/09 after the CBS session where the interviewer has done some actual research.MJM

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New Fathers 4 Justice UK ~ Angry dad takes protest to rooftops

Published Date: 25 June 2009

An angry father who has been banned from seeing his teenage daughter for the past 15 years, took drastic action by protesting for fathers' rights on a tower rooftop.

60-year-old Roger Crawford climbed to the top of the Carfax Tower in Oxford where his estranged daughter and wife live, where he dressed up as a court jester and protested against the family court system.

He took part in the protest last Thursday afternoon, along with a another New Fathers 4 Justice member, who dressed up as the Incredible Hulk.

Mr Crawford, of Shefford Road, Meppershall, held a banner over the roof top saying ' Fathers are for life, not just conception' and another with a message to his daughter saying 'Heather' and 'My love for you.'

He told the Chronicle: "I have been through the courts to try to get access to my daughter, but I am allowed no contact with her when I have done nothing wrong.

"The court system really is a compete joke, they seem to punish non-resident parents and that's what they have done to me.

"They have stopped me seeing my daughter for no good reason."

He added: "I am extremely angry with the whole process and I will keep protesting in Oxford in the hope that Heather hears about it and maybe one day will realise how much I care for her and how much I want contact with her.

"But I'm not doing this for me I'm doing this for fathers everywhere. It's just not right how they are treated."

Mr Crawford who has already protested twice in Oxford this year, was denied access to his now 17-year-old daughter Heather, when his relationship broke down.

He carried on seeing her until she was two and half years old, but was denied access after that point by her mother.

He went through the court system, but despite a High Court judge ruling that full access should be given to him, the family court in Oxford denied him any access to Heather.

He added: "Not being allowed contact with Heather has just been awful.

"I would describe the feeling as a living bereavement.

"Of course no parent should ever have to bury a child I understand that must be awful, but it is it similar.

"In some ways it's worse because you know that your child is out there and you're not allowed to contact them.

"I will never give up hope, that's what keeps me going and I know hat there is a powerful bond between a parent and children and that just shouldn't be broken.

"I just hope that one day Heather will realise that as well."

A video of the protest has been posted onto popular website YouTube. (ed note see below)

F4J-USA ~ Marginalized fathers capitalize on unofficial Fatherless Day
California protesters for equal parental rights

A special group of California dads will be gathering at the state capital in Sacramento Friday to honor and bring attention to their missing and exploited children. Left behind and marginalized fathers and their supporters will be gathering at state capitals across the country on June 19th, unofficial Fatherless Day, to communicate the necessity of equal parenting rights.

Acknowledging that some mothers lose contact with their children by way of the same corruption, equal parenting advocates say this week is for the dads. National representative Donald Tenn said he can't keep up with the calls and emails coming into Fathers 4 Justice, especially now. "This week is one of the hardest for most of the dads I know," said Tenn, whose daughter Madison was abducted to Illinois by her mother Shannon Phillips three years ago.
Madison's daddy Donald Tenn

These men say they've been robbed of their right and duty to be fathers by a corrupt legal system. Claiming the current family court system not only ignores, but rewards deceit, they point to this video of Nancy Schaefer speaking of how corruption in family courts devastates parents and children, including families of divorce.

Tenn told the story of a local father who missed his children so much he became overcome with grief. On a website describing his plight, the father had included plans to commit suicide. After being contacted by fathers advocates the man changed his mind and took down the website. "He now has hope," Tenn explained, "it's all I can give him, but at least I can give him that."
Fatherless rally in Sacramento '08

Northern California father Nate posted to the California Fathers 4 Justice forum, "For the past five years I have felt I was alone. No one could understand what I was up against, not even my parents or siblings."

"There is unity when you align yourself with like-minded individuals," responded Fathers 4 Justice member Robert Saunders, "I see empowerment as one of the most important things a wronged parent can do to gain and maintain the strength to fight the oppressive, immoral and corrupt anti-family court system.

Those interested in family law reform are encouraged to meet Friday at the north steps of the capital at 9:00 am. Participants will lobby with legislators, then return to the north steps at noon to rally until 3:00 pm. Last year's speeches, like Tenn's story of his daughter's abduction drew tears, indignation and applause. (Tenn's speech here)

Nate spoke for many marginalized parents who I've spoken with when he wrote, "They can take our freedom, our money, our rights, but they can not take our love for our children."

For more info: Fathers 4 Justice, Robert Saunders: (916) 370-8251

The work of Fathers 4 Justice and the Pain of Fathers ~ Activism in the UK

Equal and Shared Parenting ~ The Movie