Sunday, April 19, 2009

F4J USA -Today Newsletter

Fathers 4 Justice US Purple Hand

Fathers 4 Justice US®


F4J-Today

It has been 60 days today since we transferred our organizations, Fathers-4-Justice and Families-4-Justice to California. During this time frame we have kept very busy with the day to day operation of our rapidly growing organization. We have also kept busy working on systems where we can better organize our growing membership as well as methodologies where we may all better communicate with each other. The fruits of our labor have resulted in items like this newsletter.


We are excited to announce that starting today the news that you are receiving will better inform you of our efforts, as well as give you information on how we may all unite and work together towards creating effective change. That’s not all! There are also a couple of very interesting articles by two well known writers, Jake Morphonios and Don Mathis. Our newsletter is not complete though, as we are just beginning. Soon, this document will also become history making as it will be available to members in print format. If you would like to contribute an article to our newsletter, please join our group at:

http://groups.google.com/group/f4jwriters


Not only are we working on systems where we may better communicate nationally but we are also working on getting better organized state wide. In doing so we have set up F4J Yahoo groups in all 50 states, as well as the 10 most heavily populated cities. In order to join the group in your state, please click on the following link for a list of states:

http://f4j.us/index.php?id=754&type=1&no_cache=1


What’s next? Families-4-Justice! We are getting ready to launch our new organization and website, www.families4justice.com. This organization is a, not for profit 501(c)(4), this avails us the opportunity to lobby for a change. We need web designers though, if you are ready to demand a change and you are a web designer, we need you! Please contact us at: info@f4j.us


There is much more to come, we are planning a trip from sea to shining sea to bring awareness in a dozen different states and new styles of F4J gear. All scheduled for the very near future!

Questions? Comments? Drop us an e-mail at: info@f4j.us


Fathers-4-Justice is at the forefront of the fathers, family and children's rights movement. Join us and be a part of a better future for our children.

United, we can and will create change!

Fathers-4-Justice


Volunteer needs

Uncle Sam F4J

Coordinators Needed!

Currently Fathers 4 Justice is seeking people to coordinate efforts in states that are not yet organized. If you would like to volunteer for state coordinator fill out the form for your state.

Writers Needed!

There is always a need for new content and writers needed. There are many news stories that go untold because there aren’t enough people to write about it. Sign up as a reporter.


Get Local

Join your state f4J yahoo group to organize and communicate with others in your state.


Upcoming Campaigns

Iwo Justice

No Jail For Being a Dad Campaign

Make sure you let everyone know the devastating effects of being a single father in today’s economy. Print a sign and take it to the streets, contact your local media to talk about how the loss of jobs is leaving children parentless. Get the word out and inform everyone possible on every level

National Events 2009

June 19th

Fatherless Day Rally

(Lobby on the state level)

July 23-27

DC Rally/Festival

(Lobby on Federal level)

Aug 29

Nationwide Micro-rallies

Inform the public


Are you a member, or have you renewed your membership this year? Membership has its privileges. You receive news earlier, are given more opportunities to participate, and will have a better understanding of what the organization is doing and the direction it is going.

To become a member or to get new gear visit the membership section of the website.

Crane Protester Campaign a Success!

From Donald Tenn aka Spiderman

Dear F4J members, supporters, and friends:

The response from the hundreds of telephone calls and e-mails from F4J members and supporters was nothing less than phenomenal. I would like to say "THANK YOU" to you all. The TEAMwork used to pull this off was fantastic. Fathers-4-Justice members and supporters can achieve anything when we UNITE!

It was conveyed to my attorney that the support from F4J members and supporters was overwhelming for the prosecutor’s office. It is this support that may have been instrumental in the rescheduling of our jury trial.

That's right; THE JURY TRIAL for both Paul and Donald has been rescheduled.

So save some energy for the NEXT round. More updates will come as the events progress.



Father’s 4 Justice Public Demonstration Interrupted by New Jersey Police and Gloucester County Sheriff’s Department

Woodbury New Jersey police and the Gloucester County Sheriff Department confiscated a video camera from Fathers 4 Justice Members, Jim O’Brien and Mark Margugalio.

The confiscation of the video camera occurred while O’Brien and Margugalio participated in a public demonstration in front of the Gloucester courthouse. During an interview, O’Brien said, “The Sheriff descended from a fire escape at the back of a nearby building and had police backup. Sheriff Tyre, took the video camera and said we couldn’t video tape the demonstration in front of the Gloucester County Courthouse because it is a threat to National Security." O’Brien, who has not seen his daughter in 9 months, has spent the last three weeks demonstrating in front of the court house, for what appears to be a violation of due process in the family court. O’Brien, concerned about the escalating abusive nature of police officers during his weekly demonstrations, began taping the incidents with his personal video camera. According to O’Brien, his bullhorn was confiscated two weeks ago, and today Sherriff Tyre told demonstrators to stay away from the street because they “might get hurt.” It is reported that Sgt. Ridinger of the Gloucester County Sheriff's department authorized the seizure of the video camera and harassment of demonstrators.

The phone number for the Gloucester County Sheriff Department is (856) 384-4600


At the time of this newsletter the ACLU has contacted Jim and talked with the Sheriff’s department. Although nothing has been filed yet Jim’s camera equipment has been returned without the memory card.


This is the first in a series of articles on false child sexual abuse allegations made by moms against dads in family court.


Jake Morphoinios, the Fathers 4 Justice State Coordinator of North Carolina

by Jake Morphonios

Lesson # 1: Angry Moms Make False Child Sex Abuse Allegations Because They Work!

Jeffrey M. Leving is one of the leading family law attorneys in America. Leving (1997) wrote that, "the use of false sexual abuse allegations to win custody suits has become almost a standard tactic among disturbed mothers and unethical divorce lawyers" (pg 148).

These false abuse allegations are almost always made by a divorcing woman against her husband in the midst of an acrimonious divorce or custody dispute. A false sex abuse allegation is the perfect weapon for mom to use against dad. Here's why:

1) It is easy to make a false sexual abuse allegation.

2) The mother is given instant sympathy and support while the father is instantly ostracized because society hates child abusers..

3) It almost always guarantees the immediate removal of the father from the mother and child's life.

4) It usually results in the mother being granted immediate, temporary sole custody.

5) It establishes a status quo living arrangement for the children that will yield a precedent for continued primary physical custody by the mother.

6) The mother is given moral vindication for the divorce.

7) It is nearly impossible to prove that the mother made the allegation in bad faith.

8) There is virtually no punishment for mothers who are found to have made a false child abuse accusation.

Throughout the world, child sexual abuse is considered the ultimate crime. Not even murder generates the kind of raw emotional reaction that results from the sexual abuse of a child. Society acknowledges the innocence of children and responds to child abusers with extreme prejudice. The power of the accusation alone is often enough for public opinion to impeach the character of the alleged child abuser and guarantee legal victory for the mother.

Next Lesson: Making False Allegations is a Form of Child Abuse

- - -

Reference: Leving, Jefferey M. (1997). Fathers' Rights: Hard hitting and fair advice for every father involved in a custody dispute. New York, NY: Basic Books.


Review - The Film Club, by David Gilmour

"Don’t be fooled. Teenage boys need as much attention as newborns. Except they need it from their fathers." (page 116)

Have you ever heard the story about the single mom, unable to discipline her teenager, who asks the noncustodial dad to have a go at raising the errant youth? "He needs a man to live with," she says. Well, you're going to hear it again.

Except in this case, a serious suspension of disbelief is called for. Instead of the boy moving to Dad's house, in this story, Mom and Dad switch houses. If you think that is far-fetched, stay tuned.

The narrator offers a deal to his wanna-be-dropout. "If you don't want to go to school anymore, then you don't have to." What?! Don't have to work, no rent, you can sleep until the afternoon. But there are a few catches...

"Any drugs and the deal's off." Okay. Also, "I want you to watch three movies a week with me. I pick them. It's the only education you're going to get."

So begins a book for cinema aficionados. And folks in the child-rearing business.

Discussions ensue between the 15-year-old and his film-loving father. Relationships are built around these conversations, relationships that enable exchanges about other topics, other issues.

The growth that comes between a father and a son is a two-way street. In this case, the reader enters the interchange. And what a road to growth it is.

First love is encountered. And first heartbreak. So the Film Club focuses on reels that show real feelings.

Rebounding (or is it rebuilding) relationships follow. So it follows that father and son find movies that explore the aftermath of failure.

Anger issues call for angry movies. The ramifications of a new job can be understood in the introspection of working flicks. Foreign films, hidden treasures, and other themes take their place on the marquee.

A hundred specific movies (with dates) are discussed. The reader may dog-ear the pages as a reminder to visit the library to check out unseen DVDs. Insight into your favorite move, as well as your life, rests in these pages.

This coming of age story is recommended for parents, not for children. Instead, watch a film with your child. It may inspire your own Film Club.

Don Mathis, reviewer, is the editor of The Fourteen Percenter, an international newsletter for noncustodial parents

Toronto Star ~ Custody battle 'beyond tragic'

My comments sent to the Toronto Star in 4 packages due to the 1,000 character limit.

In any problem exercise one looks at the situation faced, makes certain assumptions does analysis and makes recommendations to resolve it. The antecedents to this dysfunctional outcome are an antiquated Family Law (FLAW) system. It is created by lawyers and passed by mostly lawyers in legislators. Advisory boards for changing laws are usually dominated by lawyers. Judges are former lawyers who have had feminist sensitivity training to ensure they make appropriate decisions. Is it any wonder why lawyers resist equal shared parenting as a presumption in law? That would reduce the adversarial relationship and potentially affect their pocket books.

In this case FLAW has reached a new low by pitting one parent against another with children and financial outcomes as the prize. Neither parent may be fit but we don’t know all the details so I’ll focus on systemic failures. If shared and equal parenting were the presumption both parents would have the children equally. The playing field is level at the start. That won’t resolve all the problems but if a parent tries to alienate children the system needs to catch it early through changes I propose.

Entitlements to female litigants under the current regime are an inducement to take unilateral action (66-70% of divorces are initiated by the female). Given there are no tests to get married society is encumbered with the aftermath of failed relationships. We need to be more proactive. These are steps required to get the job done better than now. First - compulsory counselling before lawyers are hired. All counselling would have an identifiable outcome. Reconciliation, further mitigating counselling of a more specialized nature or mediation. Counselling of children by professionals, not social workers. We currently spend $208,000,000.00 per year on women's issues alone in Ontario, none on men. Wouldn't it be useful to spend some money on "family" issues instead of one gender!

The next step would be mediation but this would be tax supported and compulsory if counselling does not get the warring parties properly focused, not including lawyers. Next if required, lawyers - if anyone can afford them. They are clearly pricing themselves out of the market and are becoming redundant for the average person. If no lawyers then the feuding couple need guidance on how to take the required steps to get to court which should be the last resort. No Fault divorce must end and all the perceived entitlements a female litigant will get including almost automatic custody and "ownership" of the children. This happens even if the female (or male as the case may be) has committed criminal acts affecting the livelihood of the other partner and ruined their career and reputation. To do this the divorce act must be changed to include a presumption of equal and shared parenting for fit parents. This gives judges no discretion which in 90% of cases they currently award or approve custody to the mother. Judges are currently part of the problem in addition to the pickpockets we call lawyers.

Dr. Jane Major presented a new paradigm at the recent Canadian Symposium on Parental Alienation Syndrome which is a very comprehensive look at Family Law from a veteran. It deserves a look. You can read the summary of her paper here as well as contact info.MJM http://parentalalienationcanada.blogspot.com/2009/04/he-macabre-dance-of-family-law-court.html


CHRONOLOGY

1997: Parents separate.

1999: Court grants mom custody. Dad has regular access.

January 2007: All three boys have moved in with dad after alleging abuse by mom. She claims they've been brainwashed and she's been cut out of their lives.

Nov. 6, 2008: The two youngest boys are ordered into controversial parental alienation treatment by Justice Francine Van Melle based on a social worker's comprehensive report pointing to evidence dad has alienated kids.

Nov. 12: Both boys taken to St. Joseph's Health Centre for assessment amid concerns they are refusing treatment and are a danger to themselves.

Dec. 11: St. Joseph's psychiatrist Dr. Nagi Ghabbour writes a report finding no evidence of a psychiatric disorder and expressing concerns about ongoing efforts to treat the boys for parental alienation and separate them from each other, the dad and Daniel.

Dec. 12: Justice Van Melle reconfirms need to get the boys treatment and prohibits Daniel and Dad from seeing siblings. Mom expressed concerns that Daniel had supervised visits with brothers at St. Joseph's and was acting as an "agent" of his father.

Dr. Ghabbour emails the Children's Aid Society, expressing fears for the boys' mental health if they are separated and forced to undergo parental alienation treatment. CAS puts boys in same foster home.

Dec. 19: Justice Van Melle makes clear at an emergency court hearing she is upset at the CAS action, which is in contravention of her earlier order to treat and separate the boys, but CAS intervention trumps all.

March 9, 2009: Daniel seeks standing in the case, a first step in claiming custody of brothers.

April 9: Daniel is granted standing in a written judgment by Justice Steven Clark, which his mother is now appealing.

Teen fighting for right to care for brothers speaks publicly on his family's 'warfare'
Apr 19, 2009 04:30 AM

LIVING REPORTER

The set of drums scattered in the back of his dad's van is a painful reminder for 18-year-old Daniel of how his family has been destroyed by divorce.

The Mississauga teen had hoped to start a band with his two younger brothers, who were both learning to play guitar. But by the time he was given the drums, his brothers had disappeared.

Jake, 12, and Max, 14, were ripped from Daniel's arms – crying for help – five months ago outside a Brampton courtroom in an alleged case of parental alienation that one veteran divorce lawyer describes as "beyond tragic."

They were committed to an adolescent psychiatric ward at St. Joseph's Health Centre for five weeks. Then they were seized by the Peel Children's Aid Society in mid-December. Since then, they have been in a Mississauga foster home, cut off from any contact with their older sibling and their battling parents. (None of the family members can be named under court order, and the boys' names have been altered for this story.)

Tomorrow, Daniel will be back in court, just short of his 19th birthday, seeking the right to see his brothers. He'll also be pushing ahead with his landmark case, seeking custody of Jake and Max in hopes of bringing an end to what he describes as family "warfare."

"I can't imagine going on in life without my brothers," says the soft-spoken Daniel, an articulate honour-roll student who works part-time at a grocery store and has put his hopes of studying visual arts on hold."We were close and I think all the going back and forth between our mom and our dad just brought us closer together. In fact, I've spent more time with them than our parents have. And I've seen and felt almost every single thing that's happened to them in their life."

This has become one of the most controversial cases of alleged parental alienation to be handled by the courts, with Daniel and his parents – along with a growing chorus of lawyers – questioning if a legal system set up to protect children in cases of high-conflict divorce has done more harm than good.

"From a children's rights perspective, it's horrific," says veteran family law lawyer Jeffery Wilson, who has now stepped in to represent Daniel. "The kids who have done nothing wrong were committed to a psychiatric ward and then to a foster home. Why? Because they loved one parent too much?"

The boys' mother alleges her sons were turned against her in a decade-long campaign by her ex-husband, with considerable help from Daniel. She describes the father as a "deadbeat" with a personality disorder who has used the boys to get social assistance and not have to work, she says.

But Daniel claims his mother was so physically and verbally abusive – investigators found her to be a good mom, but prone to yelling – that, by 2007, he and his brothers had moved in with their dad.

"How can we be close when I'm not there?" says Daniel, upset his brothers had no family at Christmas and Easter. "Obviously they can remember everything we've been through together. But they don't know that I'm trying to help them. And I doubt anyone is telling them that. They're probably losing hope, thinking that I've given up."

This is a heartbreaking tale backed up by boxes of legal documents, mental health evaluations and a comprehensive report by a social worker who interviewed the kids, the parents, teachers and many others, and recommended treatment for parental alienation.

Documents paint a picture of three lively boys who ended up in a homeless shelter for five months when their dad was evicted from his apartment, whose school work has suffered, whose friends have dwindled and who have become "flat," fearful and suspicious of the court system. That includes their mother and their government-funded counsel from the Office of the Children's Lawyer, who they maintain hasn't fought on their behalf. (That lawyer supported treatment.)

"My children need help," says their frantic mother, a community worker who lives in a pleasant bungalow, makes $80,000 a year and has spent more than $100,000 trying to get her boys back. She's "devastated" by how efforts to get the boys treatment, through a controversial U.S. program aimed at undoing parental alienation, has spiralled out of control. She says her boys need both parents but have become "the biggest victims."

While Daniel says his mother has only herself to blame for the fact the boys prefer living with their father, he's equally traumatized by what's happened to his siblings, who were taken from court Nov. 6 and driven to a hotel room for what some consider "deprogramming" by forensic psychologist Randy Rand, who runs the controversial Family Workshop for Alienated Children.

The treatment had to be abandoned after just a few hours because of the boys' fears (prompted by dad, the mother says) they would be turned into "zombies." That convinced Rand they suffered from "shared paranoid delusional disorder," making them a danger to themselves. Acting on a mental health order, police took the children to St. Joseph's a few days later, where doctors found no evidence of a psychiatric disorder but were so concerned about Rand and the mother's "rigid" and "dangerous" treatment of the boys, they contacted the CAS. On Dec. 12, Max and Jake were placed in a foster home and ordered to have no contact with family members.

The last time Daniel saw his brothers was in November at St. Joseph's when he took them their guitars, some of his paintings and "a ton of candy" during three supervised visits that clearly haunt him.

He's determined to win custody and, preferably, bring them back to live in their dad's bare-bones, $980-a-month apartment – where Daniel sleeps on a mattress on the floor. He hopes to collect welfare or sue his parents for support, although his dad hasn't worked in years.

Daniel knows his parents will never be able to spend time together, unless it's in a courtroom. But he's hoping, in time, all three boys can meet their mom for a burger, or a movie, as they did in the fall.

"Maybe it's naïve in a way, but I hope ... one day for my dad to drive my brothers to soccer and my mom to pick them up."



Letters to the Editor:

Custody system needs an overhaul
April 25, 2009

Re: Custody battle 'beyond tragic,' April 19

Your story illustrates in graphic terms how our family law encourages family warfare and hurts kids. If our courts, as is the case in Sweden, could simply presume that divorced parents are equal, there would be no prize to fight over.

Sole custody with child support, so often granted in Canada, is a great tool for revenge. Whichever parent does the best job of destroying the other's character in court, or who turns the kids against the other, wins the kids and a big chunk of the loser's salary for up to a couple of decades. How can a legal system that rewards slander and selfishness produce peace?

It would be wrong, however, to say that no one benefited from the family tragedy depicted in your story. As the article points out, the lawyer or lawyers representing the mother alone have already billed more than $100,000.

Eric T. Skelton, Barrie

Having been through an unexpected custody battle 15 years ago to defend my daughter's right and wishes to remain with me, I know the anguish felt by the teen fighting for his right to care for his brothers. I went through a fiasco created by so-called children's lawyers, unfeeling psychiatrists and a court system that has no clue how to deal with these issues. No one except one brave social worker (to whom the court refused to listen) agreed that children must have a say in determining their own future.

Robin Jones, Pickering

At what point is someone in power going to stand up and say, "Enough! Let's overhaul our very sick family court system already!"

I am a single mother of three, currently being accused of the charge-du-jour of angry ex-spouses – parental alienation. It scares me to death to watch story after story unfold, where seemingly happy and healthy kids are ripped from one parent to another because of a successful parental alienation case. Obviously some parents are alienators, but some are not, and we are not even asking what is really best for the children. Having my own kids battered around by this system, I can say with 100 per cent certainty that the phrase upon which this family court system was supposedly built is meaningless.

Politicians must overhaul this system. Some of the solutions are so obvious to those of us being bashed by it, like have one judge follow a family through an entire case. It is not brain surgery, but in the best interests of the children, someone better do something, fast.

Mara Cole, Toronto

Parental alienation is real and it is a pervasive cancer in society. If positive changes are to be made, we must first address the personality disorders and other mental health problems that are often the triggers for these high-conflict divorces.

Once a tornado hits, it's impossible to avoid its wrath. Screening for mental health issues before obtaining a marriage licence could spare thousands of families extreme custody battles that are "beyond tragic."

In reference to this particular case, nothing short of a restraining order with jail penalties could have enforced the court order against the alienating father. Who knows if that would have helped or exacerbated the situation. Those children and thousands like them will need therapy for years to come.

M.J. Marlowe, Thornhill

I just wanted to lend support to the family described in this article. We have known the family quite well, for a number of years, even before the marriage, and we would like to stress that we are very disappointed and saddened for the way this issue has been presented in the paper, but most importantly for the way this issue is being dealt with by our system. It is appalling to us that the Canadian judicial system has been working on this case for more than two years already and has been unable – for the sake of those children – to solve this tragic family problem sooner, and bring normalcy to the children's life.

In fact, it makes one wonder how those kids can adjust to a normal, loving life after such an ordeal – talks, assessments, hearings, interviews, and in November of 2008, the decision issued by the Superior Court of Justice granting, returning, the custody of the children to their mother.

Now this system is opening up this case yet again.

Ewa & George Karpowicz, Mississauga

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

Equal and Shared Parenting ~ The Movie